Tomorrow we begin Holy Week, which at one time was called ‘The Great Week’. It is a great week because within it we will commemorate the events of our salvation. But the liturgy doesn’t present Our Lord’s Passion in merely sad or sorrowful terms, as if we didn’t know the outcome. There is no tragic note about Our Lord’s suffering and death as if he were a failure, dragged down to defeat by the connivance of weak, cowardly men like the high priest Caiaphas and many of the Pharisees. Rather throughout Holy Week there runs a feeling of joyful victory generated by the realisation that the death of Christ led to the glory of his Resurrection.
We will begin the Great Week tomorrow by commemorating Our Lord’s joyful entry into Jerusalem. All the shouts and cheers of the people on Palm Sunday are an anticipation of Our Lord’s true glory which will be revealed in his resurrection at Easter. On Palm Sunday, after the triumphal procession, Our Lord instructed his Apostles concerning the mysterious events that were to follow. He told them: “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit”. Jesus was that grain of wheat which had to die and be planted in the earth for three days only to burst out of the earth like a growing stalk of wheat bearing much fruit. That fruit was his glorification and our salvation. His life has become our life and in his glory, our glory.
During Holy Week, the liturgy will give us the opportunity to re-live with Christ his Paschal Mystery. Let us pray that our union with him this week may bear the fruit of eternal life.