As you may have noticed, the blog has been silent during Holy Week. We are resuming with a summary of the homilies delivered during Holy Week. Perhaps not the proverbial “sermon in a sentence” for each day, but closer to a sermon in a paragraph.
Due to the length of the gospel reading of the Passion, and perhaps due to its emotional effect, the liturgy calls for a short homily or no homily at all on Palm Sunday. We focused on the actual meaning of the title of what we read, the Passion: it does not mean passion in the sense of intensity, as one who lives passionately, but from the Latin passio, we actually read about the passivity of Christ. Passivity in that the Son of God, with all his power, allows the torture, the insult and the death to take place. Not mounting a self-defense or a counter-attack. In extreme obedience to the plan of God, Jesus allows his death, and a horrible one, to happen. May we learn from this holy passivity when we spend so much time and energy in defending ourselves from what we perceive as attacks—real or imagined—against us.
On Holy Thursday we reflected about two gaps we need to bridge to understand what we celebrate as we begin the journey of the Triduum. First, Jesus and the disciples (men, women, and children) gather to celebrate the highest Jewish feast, the feast of Passover, a celebration of the liberating action of God in the past and in the present. Think about this in the vigil of the Cross. The second gap is that Jesus is a “dead man walking.” We know about his anxiety about the Cross. He trusts God will take him by the hand on his own Passover, but how else would you explain Gethsemane if there is no degree of uncertainty? What he tells and what he does on this vigil night is a testament, the last words of someone who is about to die (it made me think what would I preach tonight if I knew this would be my last celebration of the Eucharist.) And Jesus chooses to talk about love, and to turn a ritual of purification—the Washing of Feet—into an act of service.
On Good Friday we started by reflecting that the Cross is not just a historical event, or a piety. The reasons that brought Jesus to the Cross are still be much present in our world: fear, thirst for power, jealousy, etc. We also reflected about our call to live our lives the way Jesus died—obedient to God’s plan, letting go of any sense of self, out of extreme love for those that were with him.
Only once we have understood the Last Supper, Gethsemane, and the Cross, we can begin to understand the meaning of the Easter Resurrection, and what it meant for Jesus, what it meant for his community, what it means to us. We proposed that this Easter we focus on one single idea, namely that Easter is a choice. The Resurrection—like the Eucharist, or the Cross—is a belief, but we should not just limit ourselves to the intellectual acceptance of a dogma. We are called to make the choice to live out the Resurrection, the same way that we are called to live out the Eucharist and the Cross. Like the women who first witnessed the Resurrection, we are called to live without fear, letting go of the weight of the past, but with the energy of our Galilees—the beginnings of our vocations. That’s the Easter Choice.