Wednesday, April 8, 2009

HOLY WEEK “He who gives his life . . .”

Holy Week is the most important week for Christians. In it, especially in the “Paschal Triduum”, Christians celebrate and commemorate in synthesis the happenings in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Those three days are the pillars in which our Christian faith is founded: his passion, his death and his resurrection. As the Apostle Paul says: “If Christ wasn’t raised to life, our message is worthless, and so is our faith.” (1 Co. 15.14)

The portal to Holy Week is Palm Sunday: the commemoration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. The dramatic reading of the passion and death of Jesus becomes a foretaste of the days we celebrate after the “Paschal Triduum.” The passion, the conviction of an innocent and his death endorse a lifestyle that He himself lives and preaches as a synonym of happiness --to give one’s live for the ones we love without thinking of ourselves, because: “If you try to save your life, you will loose it. But if you give it up for the Gospel, you will surely find it.” The resurrection, through which God-Father validates all in the life and work of Jesus of Nazareth as “the way, the truth and the life” is what God wants and suggests, in Jesus, for every man and woman of goodwill.

All of Jesus’ life, especially in the Catholic liturgy of Holy Week, is presented as a model of humaneness, as the first vocation to which should aspire all who recognize themselves as creatures and children of God-Father in Jesus Christ; since “the mystery which is man becomes clear in the word made flesh: Jesus Christ”. (GS22)

Therefore, today as yesterday, the hope, the pain, the sufferings and the evil which all humans experience in the daily task of being man or woman, become clear --especially during Holy Week and specifically on Holy Thursday and Holy Friday-- through the pain and suffering of the one from Nazareth who, confidently, puts his life and destiny in the hands of the Father (“…not my will, but thine be done”). At the same time the Paschal Vigil lightens our thirst for infinitude, our hope, our longing for the transcendental, our dreams for a full life, our projections of the future which does not end in the here and now of temporal history.

Because the Resurrection --a confession of faith about the triumph of life over death in Jesus-- is a confession that in the final and definitive destiny of man’s life, is victorious over death, hope triumphs over hopelessness, and the kindness and mercy of God triumphs over evil. This confession of faith urges and commits us to build through our acts and our words, and through our attitudes and behavior an abundant life in the here and now of our existence.

Holy Week depicts, like no other liturgical period, the paradox and mystery of human life in the specific life of Jesus of Nazareth; and through it the paradox of the Christian mystery –which is power from weakness and salvation from the insanity of the wooden cross. Because we, as Paul says, preach of Christ crucified, which is a scandal for the world, but is for us “power and strength.”

May we, from this Holy Week, (while commemorating what Jesus went through and what happened to him two thousand years ago), draw power and strength to lighten up our personal and communitarian story; and open our hopes to the celebration of the liturgical Pascua and the final Pascua which we await and are constructing in the now but not yet of our present story.

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