As we began our Masses outside today, and heard the gospel story of Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem, and have now recalled the dark betrayal, passion, suffering, and ultimate death of Christ in a communal narrative, one might wonder, “What are we doing, really?”, or rather “why are we doing all of this?” Clearly, parents of younger children are most probably hearing such questions from their children this morning. Yes, it’s good for us to consider what we’re really doing at the opening of Holy Week and throughout these next sacred days.
But, in order to answer questions such as these, it’s good for us to recall what Jesus Christ does during Holy Week and why He does them. The Lord enters into Jerusalem and endures the events of Holy Week in order to celebrate Passover. Not merely the Passover of His ancestors, but His own Passover.
Jesus is commemorating the Israelites’ bondage in Egyptian slavery, and their Passover to freedom; their hopeless darkness and their Passover to light and new-found hope in Yahweh; their suffering and Passover into healing; their sin and Passover into God’s mercy; their death, and Passover into new life found in God alone.
And as Jesus commemorates that ancient, holy history, He Himself also enters into all those realities of Passover: He takes upon Himself darkness, hopelessness and sin, suffering despair and deathâ€¦all so that He might Passover such things and enter into the light, the freedom, the hope and the new life of His Resurrection at Easter.
So, returning to our children’s question, “what are we really doing?’, we are entering into our own Passover with Christ. We bring our lives and we enter into Passover: from our particular sinfulness, we then Passover into God’s mercy; from our bondage and slavery to so many things, we then Passover to freedom as God’s daughters and sons; from our despair, we Passover into renewed faith; from our selfishness, we Passover into faithful generosity; from our darkness, we Passover into God’s gift of Light; and from our death, we Passover into the New Life of the Risen Christ.
Let us â€˜Passover’ well this week: take advantage of all of the glorious and loving works of the Lord Jesus this passion-tide, that our Holy Week might be fruitful and we might all receive the blessings of the Risen Lord who is coming.
God love you.