There is something unique about Holy Week.
We know that, starting with Palm Sunday, we should be reliving the events which erased the wrongs of our past, give meaning to our present and shape our future with a promise of immortality and eternal glory.
Today’s passion narrative (Matthew 26:14 – 27:66) has a particular significance amid all the mysteries we will be reliving in these days with a heavy heart. We experience shame for being the cause of what Jesus had to endure; we feel sorrow for our broken promises; but, in our imperfect love for him, we would also like to ease some of his horrific sufferings, if we only could.
The starting point should be to remind us that we are truly one with Christ Jesus. So far, that sublime reality did not keep us from identifying at times with the Jesus’ supporters, with one of his disciples, with one in the enthusiastic crowds who heralded him as the new king of Israel, with a distant, distracted bystander, even with his enemies. Through all these changes and different identifications, the Lord has always been with us and, thus, we can now boldly face our confusion, hesitations, fears, temporary enthusiasms, our running away, our timid hopes, our abandoning him, even our betrayals.
But some of us might wonder: is it necessary, this time around, to rehash our painful, even shameful past? Yes, because Jesus, the Head of the mystical Body of which we are all members, sustains us with his Holy Spirit so that we can relive events of the past of which we are not proud at all, and those that were very painful.
In Christ Jesus we are certain that the Father will set everything aright: the injustices we endured and our taking advantage of those weaker than ourselves; the pain inflicted on us and the one we inflicted on others; the plans we botched and the successful ones we attributed to our skill; even our imperfect loving and all the things we gave up for the Lord during Lent—and yes, even our numbing anxiety.
In this week, we should continue with our tasks at hand according to our state and calling. We should carry out all our obligations as best we can, within the constraints and limits of our human nature. But the uniqueness of this week should be evidenced by the grace-filled time we set aside to accompany Jesus through the next seven days.
And to accomplish this, there is no better way than to use God’s Word. We can choose to read one of the four passion narratives (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and Psalms 22 and 69. We will be surprised to find striking similarity between the Passion narratives and what is written in those two psalms.
A note about these two psalms: if we reflect on psalms 22 and 69 during this week, we should also notice how they both have a happy ending. It is the same happy ending for which we long to gather again, hopefully soon, to celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday.
Our Mass is the reenactment, the reliving of the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord; but this time around, we must add ourselves as living protagonists. This has been so decreed by our God, so that we may continue our life with renewed hope, more courage, and the certainty that the happy ending is truly an endless life reserved by Jesus for all of us in his Kingdom.