St Etheldreda's

Roman Catholic Church

Homilies from St Etheldreda's

Palm Sunday: entry into Holy Week

Posted March 24, 2013

Today we enter Jerusalem with Jesus, acclaiming him as our Messiah. On Thursday we shall be with him in the upper room, sharing his last supper.  On Friday we shall accompany him along the via dolorosa to his death.  We shall share the silence of his tomb on Saturday.  And finally we shall share with him the joy of Easter.

It is a very strange and mysterious thing that we are doing during Holy Week.  We are not just commemorating the founder’s death or even the death of a loved one.  We are not just contemplating a story of heroic virtue, so as to be edified by it.  It is not a pageant or a drama ‘out there’, which we view as spectators.  It is not just an annual feast, however solemn or meaningful.  Holy Week is immensely more significant, and immensely more mysterious, than any of those things.  It is the Lord present here and now suffering and dying for our sake, as really and as effectively and as momentously as ever he did in the past.  We Catholics speak of the ‘real presence’ with reference to the Eucharist.  But we must also speak of the real presence of the whole work of salvation which Jesus accomplishes here and now through his Passion, death and resurrection.  It happens now as something essentially new.  When the New Testament tells us that Christ died ‘once and for all’, it wants to tell us that with the death of Jesus time stands still.  Precisely here is the Lord: here is Judas and Pilate and Peter and the repentant criminal and me and you.  Yes, me and you, for the whole point of the Lord’s paschal mystery is that it involves me and you.  Jesus wants us with him in everything he does: wants me with him, wants you with him; wants us as a believing community with him.  He wants us to live Holy Week intensely, or rather, he wants to live Holy Week intensely in us, because Holy Week is our salvation.

Cling to Jesus Christ, follow him, accompany him, bring your lives to him, invest everything in him, knowing that when everything else has passed away, that will be the only thing that matters, for our eternity is tied into it.  Ask him now to take us deeper into the mystery of his sufferings and death; to make this mystery urgent and relevant in our lives.  Make time for prayer, as individuals and as families.  Live the Lord’s death in your hearts.  Participate very earnestly in the Holy Week liturgy.  Share deeply and personally in the sufferings of the Lord, so as to enter with him into his glory.

Fr Tom Deidun

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