the days towards which Lent points

We are now nearing the days towards which the whole of Lent has pointed us.

Dear Parishioner,

We are now nearing the days towards which the whole of Lent has pointed us.  This very holy week for us begins with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, greeted with cries of enthusiasm by the crowds as he rides into the city on a donkey.  This picks up on the messianic prophecy from Zechariah where the messiah is not the warrior king on a dazzling white horse, but a humble, righteous  peaceful king  who brings the kingdom of God. 

We often focus on the humility of Jesus on the donkey; we need to focus on the nature of his kingship too.  He brings the peace and freedom and life of the kingdom of God which the oppressed Jewish people had been long awaiting.  And they see it coming now, as Jesus rides into their midst, into the heart of the city of David; and they rejoice. The potentiality of the moment is great…. Yet what happens is a different story.

Today’s gospel, Mark’s passion narrative  which follows such acclaim, shows us the world’s response to those who come to bring peace and wholeness.  The political and religious authorities cannot cope with what they perceive as the sedition of Jesus and his followers and join together to become forces of darkness that close in on Jesus unto the moment of his execution. 

This year we cannot but be painfully aware of the background against which we celebrate Holy Week, with violence and famine taking away the lives of so many in the Holy Land. We yearn for a bringer of peace even as we see positions harden and conciliatory voices quenched. Perhaps the fate of Jesus, the bringer of peace who is nailed to a cross, makes this harsh reality unsurprising.  Will things ever change? Yet we also know that this is not the end of the story, for deep down we believe in resurrection, in the giving of new hearts of flesh and in love’s driving force.

It may be that at the moment resurrection hope may seem to be only a tiny flicker in the darkness, or indeed may even appear to have been snuffed out.  Even in his moment of deepest abandonment on the cross, Jesus clung on to God.  Let us do the same in the coming days, keeping at the forefront of our hearts and minds those who are suffering all kinds of atrocities and praying that God’s kingdom may come in all its abundant fullness.

With best wishes,

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