by Fr. Bob Hilz
Isaiah 50:4-7; Ps 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24); Philippians 2:6-11; Luke 23:1-49
The Liturgy is so rushed and full of meaning. We remember Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry through the Golden Gate into God’s temple in Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. Its significance is often overlooked because of the sad reading of the Passion. Jesus is proclaimed as Messiah by the people as he comes into his holy city on Palm Sunday.
Let us stop and think what this solemn entry is really saying. Here is the Son of God who will take away the sins of the entire human race by his suffering and death. Jesus died condemned for the disobedience of the entire human race. Only God could atone for all of those sins. He loved us that much and wants us to be in his Kingdom and claim again our ancient inheritance. God the Father showed his acceptance of what his Son did by raising Jesus from the dead on that first Easter Sunday.
On Thursday we often miss the ordination of the first bishops. Their charge was to serve the people and wash feet as Jesus did. Then Jesus changes the words of blessing over the bread and wine saying, This is my Body; This is the cup of my Blood. The apostles were in shock at this change and it took them a while to grasp more fully what Jesus had done. Only in heaven will we understand completely. It is one of the major mysteries of our faith. The Holy Spirit and the ordination of the priest, in apostolic succession, bring about the change. Jesus really becomes our food, thus, teaching, feeding and healing us. This is the greatest meal on earth.
We are continuing to do what Jesus did since the Last Supper. Jesus is the glorified and sacrificial lamb offered in atonement for our the sins of all people. Jesus paid the price by his suffering and death, which only he as God could do for us. Thus Jesus formed the New Covenant with his own blood poured out for us.
On Good Friday we remember Jesus’ scourging, crowning with thorns, dying on the Cross and burial. We can now claim our lost inheritance. Praise God! After his burial, the church is dispersed and in hiding until Jesus rises from the dead on Easter Sunday.
Also on Friday, we observe a solemn day of fast and abstinence. We also begin a 9-day Novena for God to pour out his Divine Mercy on various groups of people in the world. Jesus himself gave this list to St. Faustina in the 1930s in Poland. With this Novena we beg Jesus to pour out more of his Divine Mercy on us. Originally, it was from Good Friday until the Saturday after Easter. The intentions are so needed today that we need to say it all year round. When I finish nine days, I start over again.
During this year of Divine Mercy, Pope Francis, seeing the great difficulties throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, asks us to go to God begging him to pour out his love and mercy on us and the whole world. As we receive more of his mercy by some daily prayer time, reading the New Testament and attending Mass more frequently, we get filled with more of God’s love. Then as we go out into the world, with Jesus, we share that love in physical and spiritual ways.
Let us walk reverently and prayerfully through these days of Holy Week with calm confidence in God’s love and provision for us. Don’t become depressed. Jesus is not in the tomb. Expectantly keep your eyes on the risen and glorified Jesus Christ.
"May God in his great wisdom and infinite love
Look down on you always from heaven above.
May he send you good fortune, contentment and peace.
And may all your blessings forever increase,"
I pray in Jesus Name.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2016 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)