Dear friends in Christ,
This coming Sunday, we begin our journey through Holy Week. It is the heart of our liturgical life, and in these few days, we see and experience so much of God’s vast love for us.
Our week begins on a high note with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It was an occasion of much hope. Hosanna! Save us! People might have hoped that Jesus would persuade his Father in heaven to vanquish their oppressors. Jesus indeed came to bring freedom, but not in terms defined by the powers and principalities of the world.
Later in our Palm Sunday service, we will hear the passion gospel from St. Luke. Near the end, Jesus has a series of poignant and revelatory conversations. In one exchange, the authorities say to Jesus, “If you are the Messiah, tell us.”
But Jesus is not there for a debate or a rhetorical demonstration. Rather, he is about how show forth his love as he offers himself for us and for our world on the cross. Where people wanted words, Jesus offered himself. As the letter to the Hebrews says, “He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being.” He didn’t need to engage in pointless words because he himself is the Word.
This tragic disconnect is one of many we will hear and see in Holy Week. We sinful humans simply weren’t – and aren’t – able to grasp the immensity of God’s love for us.
I love Holy Week because it all moves beyond words. In the scriptures and liturgies of the week, we meet the God who loves us more than we can imagine. We meet the God who shows us perfect love in Christ Jesus enfleshed. We meet the God who did finally vanquish evil, but on a cross and in an empty tomb. We meet God.
The height and depth and breadth of God’s love is manifest on the cross. Let us enter with joy into this week in which we contemplate and see God’s saving love.