On Palm Sunday we commemorate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. A crowd has assembled shouting “Hosanna! Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Cloaks are spread in the road in front of Jesus and some people cut greenery and wave it in salutation.
The entry into Jerusalem is the beginning of a journey of triumph. We will accompany Jesus as he passes through the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the trial by the Sanhedrin, the Praetorium, the Way of the Cross, Calvary and the Sepulchre to the Resurrection.
One of the outstanding elements of Holy Week is our commemoration of the Lord’s suffering. This suffering is so extreme that, perhaps, sometimes we do not like to think about it. Nevertheless it is an element of the affective side of our Christian devotion. We consider how much Our Lord suffered for our sins and we also unite our sufferings and the sufferings of others with His. At this time we are very conscious of the suffering in Ukraine and the wider anxiety about the war. It appears that some people have been killed in cold blood, others attacked and raped. We remember that Jesus’s suffering was not the last word, the suffering in Ukraine is not the last word. We look at Christ on the Cross as we pray for an end to the violence.
We meditate on what is called “the work” of Christ: it is the salvation of the World from the death incurred as a result of the disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, and the subsequent sinfulness of the human race. The earliest depictions of the Crucifixion show Christ in royal robes reigning from the Cross.
We thank God for our salvation, already witnessed to by our ability to worship Him and to love and be happy now, and then we acknowledger the horror of sin, shown in the atrocious suffering inflicted on Christ in Hs Passion.
As we commence Holy Week we might make a conscious effort to thank God for our salvation and humbly ask him that he will give us the grace to persevere in it.