The Great Week
We are now entering into what is the greatest week in the Christian calen- dar. We call it Holy Week and it is as if as Christians we enter a sort of parallel universe alongside what is happening in the rest of the commu- nity. But should it really be like that? Shouldn’t it be more the case that what we experience through our faith during this week, is the re-telling of the story that has given our nation its narrative? And in revisiting this story we are actually recalling the events which have so informed us about the very things which bind us together as a society.
The debates go on and on about the place of faith in the market place of public affairs, and many people wish to sideline the Christian faith alto- gether from having any place at all in the public square. This is desper- ately sad and so very narrow minded as the story which we tell is so very pertinent to our era and to every era. The events of this Great Week can never be simply airbrushed away—the Romans tried to scrub Jesus from the memory of the world, and to thus consign him to history— but failed, for the very same reason that all attempts to do so will fail.
What we will remember and re-live as we pass through these next seven days, is the re-telling of how, through the love of God, our understanding of what it is to be a human being, is challenged, examined and ultimately redeemed. The events of this week call us to look deeply into our own hearts and reflect on how our hearts can at different times be coerced through betrayal, denial, indifference, vindictiveness and jealousy to act with a callous impunity to the fate of a human being or how through cour- age, compassion, forgiveness, mercy and service that heart can be moved to such great acts of love that it renders us speechless. All of these emotions are played out during this week. They are played out in the gospel by Judas, Peter, Pilate Caiaphas, Barabass and the bay- ing crowd. By Mary, the Beloved Disciple, Mary of Magdala, Joseph of Arimethea, Nicodemus and more. Pick out any one of that cast, and just see through their words and actions, what actually takes place. In doing so you’ll observe that panoply of human actions expressed above in all fullness, and then cast your eyes around our streets and you’ll witness it happening again.
The Passion of Jesus, when read out today and on Good Friday, is a re- minder to us all of what we were capable of then, and what we are capa- ble of still today, and we need to hear it speaking to us and to our nation. Not because we are intent on devaluing our communities, but because we need to understand that what follows this Passion story, is Easter. On Easter day, the human heart will soar, because mors et vita duello, death and life fought, and life conquered. Come and live it out in your Church, and take this risen life it into your homes, into your communities and into your lives.