remembering the crucifixion of Christ
“With this liturgical assembly we enter into Holy Week, to live the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Pope Benedict XVI said.
As many of you may know, it’s Holy Week. And if you were at chapel on Monday, then you heard Greg Peters of Torrey Honors fame talk about the importance of this week. As the quote above from Pope Benedict XVI perfectly states, the purpose of this week is to live through the final week of the life of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This means that we should not get ahead of ourselves this week and begin to focus on Easter. While the resurrection is the culmination of all of Christ’s work on the cross, we must also remember his passion, or his suffering leading up to the death on the cross, and his death. I have seen a tendency in some people to gloss over the importance of Good Friday in order to focus on Easter Sunday, and while that is the culmination of this week, it is not the focus.
Remembering the passion of Christ
Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, which, as most of you probably know, is the celebration and remembrance of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem atop a donkey. At my church, we were all given palm fronds which had been blessed by my priest and we marched around the church before processing in as a way to honor Christ as King.
After the procession, we went through mass as usual, but then something strange happened. During the reading of the gospel, which would usually be done by only one person, three readers took places in the sanctuary, and read through the passion narrative from the Gospel of Matthew 27:1-54. The oddest thing about this reading, though, is that when we read it in the liturgical context at my church, the part of the crowd seeking the crucifixion of Christ was read corporally by the congregation.
This brought to me this realization: We crucified Christ. We didn’t personally nail in the nails and whip him and stab him in the side, but he had to go through his passion in order for our sins to be forgiven. Because of our failures, he had to redeem us.
Keep this thought in mind while you finish this week. As you look to Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, remember what Christ did for you on the cross. And as you finish your fast well, remember again that you are fasting in remembrance of his passion, and in preparation to celebrate his resurrection this Sunday.
Andrew Entzminger is a writer and blogger for The Chimes. He attends St. Matthew’s Anglican Catholic Church each Sunday in Newport Beach, enjoys listening to music and is looking forward to a week of Netflix when Lent is over.