Holy Week

As we begin Holy week, I have been reflecting on the liturgy for Palm Sunday. We are presented with a taster or a trailer for the week ahead – a rollercoaster of feelings and mixed emotions.

The news had spread about Jesus the preacher and healer, who had even brought his friend back to life.  Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey, bringing joy and the hope of change to an oppressed people. He provides a glimpse of a different life of freedom and liberation. 

‘The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.  So, they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna!Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord – the King of Israel!’   Jn 12: 12-13

In many of our communities we wave palms in procession as we give praise to God, united in our journey of transformation and growth. We to are invited to welcome Jesus into our lives more fully. The word Hosanna means ‘Save us’ – if we think about this moment, and our physical response, then this can be a real profession of faith. 

But how the narrative changes as we move into the liturgy of the word and the reading of the passion, this year from Mark. Just a few days later, some of these same people are now shouting, ‘Crucify him’. The influence of the occupying Roman army and those in power who control and oppress the people through terror, leave the people afraid to stand up and speak out. 

We can recognise this in our own time: corrupt leaders who hold position through force; the closing of borders to the most desperate and needy; situations where there is a disregard for another’s humanity or dignity; the use of violence and war to control the ‘other’; the destruction of our planet for economic gain.

The paradox highlighted on Palm Sunday sets us up for our journey through Holy week.  Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey: humble, vulnerable, and a compassionate witness of love and service. A short time later he is killed. As we move through holy week, may we have the courage to face the things that stop us from knowing and accepting the love of Jesus, and living out our faith each day. Give us strength to love our neighbour, to wash the feet of others and to speak out for the voiceless. Help us to make sense of any loss, suffering and pain we experience or see in our world. 

“It is not the act of a good disciple to flee from the cross in order to enjoy an easy piety.” St. John of the Cross

John Toryusen

Weekly Reflections

Steps on the Journey - weekly Reflections from Carmel
Scroll to Top