When a loved one dies, we gather with family and friends and recall the stories and events of the deceased person’s life. It is important for the whole grief process. We cry and laugh together. We remember and give thanks for the goodness and influence of the one who has died. We begin a process of letting go past hurts and regrets.
The early Christians listened to the account of the last days of Jesus’ life to reconnect with him, to be encouraged and inspired by his great act of self-giving, to allow his story to continue to transform their lives.
We do the same today as the Passion of Jesus Christ is read. As Holy Week begins, we invite Christ, the one who entered Jerusalem so humbly on the back of a donkey, who was seized and taken charge of in the garden of Gethsemane to seize our hearts and allow him to continue to take charge of our lives.
We can identify with the crowd who cried out ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’ as he entered Jerusalem but sadly we can also identify ourselves with the crowd who cried out ‘Crucify him.’
Our invitation is not too despair at our infidelity but to give thanks to Jesus who allowed his blood to be poured out for the forgiveness of our sins and the sins of the whole world.
We are invited to keep faith with him and contemplate these most sacred days and allow them to touch our hearts, the inner core of our being. To allow the silence, a gesture, a word and perhaps even a look from Jesus himself or one of the other key players in this drama to connect with us and our own story. The silence of Jesus before Pilate, the gaze of Jesus towards Peter after his denial, the hands of Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross with Jesus, the tears of the women of Jerusalem, the gaze of Mary and Jesus as she stood beneath the cross, the word of Jesus just before his death, ‘Into your hands I commend my spirit’. Let us all keep vigil with Jesus over these days, give thanks to him and stand in silent awe as we recall and reconnect with these events.
You may like to sit in silence and listen to track 10 ‘Come Away To a Lonely Place’ from ‘Under Southern Stars’ where I imagine Jesus speaking to us from the Garden of Gethsemane.