|Jesus enters Jerusalem|
On Palm Sunday, Christians reflect upon a paradox: the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, and the Gospel proclamation of the passion and death of Jesus. Even in the tragedy of Good Friday there is the triumph of Easter.
The Word of God from Isaiah is a poem about a “servant” who suffers for us.
Paul’s letter quotes an early Christian hymn about God who became one of us, obedient even to death on the cross. And because of this, God greatly exalted him.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday are known as the triduum (from a Latin word meaning three days).
Thursday we commemorate the Lord’s Supper: there is the washing of feet (a symbol of service); and then the eating of a sacrificial meal in which Jesus gives himself to us in the signs of bread and wine (a symbol of our oneness with God and with our fellow human beings).
Good Friday we meditate upon the passion and death of Jesus: the Garden of Gethsemane; the trial; the crucifixion; the burial; the veneration of the cross; and then a simple communion service.
The Easter vigil commemorates the passage of Jesus from this earthly life through death into a transformative heavenly life. The vigil includes fire (a symbol of Jesus as the light); the story of our salvation; the sacraments of initiation for our RCIA candidates; the renewal of our baptismal promises; and Eucharist.
Let me conclude briefly by noting the Deutschland, a ship which ran aground off the coast of England in 1875. Among the 157 passengers who perished were five nuns fleeing Otto von Bismarck’s anti-Catholic legislation.
As the water rose around them, the nuns clasped hands and were heard saying, “O Christus, komm schnell” or “O Christ, come quickly!”
Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote a poem, The Wreck of the Deutschland, dedicated to the nuns. He concludes the poem with this line referring to Christ:
“Let him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us…”
As used in this poem, the word “easter” is a nautical term. It means steering a craft toward the east, into the light. And that light is Jesus Christ.
Yes, “Let Christ easter or live in us as our light.” Have a blessed Holy Week.