From the ashes on Ash Wednesday we have almost gone full circle through the six weeks of Lent and here we are at Palm Sunday with three more days to come as we head towards the last round up that is the Easter Triduum. In the 1960’s there was a TV programme called ‘That was the week that was’ and the week that we are beginning today (HOLY WEEK) certainly was the week that was but unlike the TV programme which ended within a few years over 2000 years later we are celebrating Palm Sunday and Holy Week which we celebrate year after year. There is a connection between the two days of Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday that I’m sure not many people know about, the ashes we use on Ash Wednesday are the burnt palm branches from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. If you look and listen carefully at the liturgy from time to time you might see and hear about connections that you may not be aware of. From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday we have so many great events rolled into just seven days. In Holy Week we celebrate life death and resurrection, we celebrate happiness and sorrow and we see all that is good in human life as well as all that is bad. We begin our Holy Week journey in the Joy of Palm Sunday with Jesus entering Jerusalem in triumph, with the people singing hosanna to the son of David. We read the passion gospel, in this reading we see betrayal but we also see hope. Jesus has brought his disciples together as a group, then it all seems to fall apart with one of his apostles Judas betraying Jesus and then of course we all know what followed.
There are so many different aspects to this week it is so hard to flag up all of them on this particular day and I’m not going to do that, as they each have their own emphasis and there will be time to comment on them later on in the week. Holy Week and the events within it give all of us an opportunity to look at our lives and to accept responsibility for all that is within our lives good bad or indifferent. It is important that we who say we are Christians accept the truth about ourselves and then in our acceptance of the truth we will be able to look at the Cross and recognise the love of God our Father for us and for everyone. This week and indeed the whole of our Lenten Journey give us the opportunity to look hard at ourselves and see exactly where we have come from and where we are going and perhaps were we should be going. We have always to remember that Jesus came to take away our sins and to point us in the right direction that is towards our father in heaven and all that is good. During this week we remember that Christ came to give his life as a ransom for many and as a result of this he points us to faith in God. Christ took our sinful ways on himself because of his love for us. May the passion story inspire all of us to try to imitate in some small way the all loving all forgiving Jesus who went through betrayal to death and finally to resurrection for us so that we will have life and have it to the full. Over the next few days let us prepare with greater intensity for the Easter Triduum and then we will really be able to enjoy Easter feast which we have been preparing for since Ash Wednesday.