Friday, April 15, 2011

Palm Sunday and Holy Week, 2011

Indifference to the Passion

When Jesus Came to Birmingham

When Jesus came to Golgotha, they hanged Him on a tree,
They drove great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary;
They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds and deep,
For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.

When Jesus came to Birmingham, they simply passed Him by.
They would not hurt a hair of Him, they only let Him die;
For men had grown more tender, and they would not give Him pain,
They only just passed down the street, and left Him in the rain.

Still Jesus cried, 'Forgive them, for they know not what they do, '
And still it rained the winter rain that drenched Him through and through;
The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see,
And Jesus crouched against a wall, and cried for Calvary.

G. A. Studdert-Kennedy

I am always amazed at the relative indifference people show towards the great events of Holy Week. Even some who attend Church on a regular basis seem to trivialise the events of Salvation as just the happenings of another week. Some lament the fact that the ceremonies of Holy Week are longer, some bemoan that the Easter Vigil is at 9pm not the regular 7, others just do not care and stay away, popping in for a while on Easter Sunday.

It is however this very week that we live for. In the Liturgy we actively play our part in the Gospel events of the first Holy Week. There are so many roles in the drama we can identify with. At one time we can be untied with Jesus in His sufferings, bravely carrying our crosses usque ad mortem. At other times His cry from the Cross can be  our prayer of abandonment and loneliness. We can be soldiers of Rome or women of Jerusalem. We can sell Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (or less) or lovingly wipe his face on the road to Calvary. We can identify with the centurion, acknowledging Christ as the Son of the Most High, or we can be like the people hurrying into Jerusalem, passing the crucified saviour of the world, ignoring or avoiding the price of our redemption.

If one of our loved ones was to die within days, we would not think of leaving their side. This week as we carry the palms into the Jerusalem, may we not leave Jesus' side. When the crowds change their tune from adulation to bitter cries of condemnation, we will be faced with the choice; do we stay or do we leave. Christ suffered for us all, may we have the faith to go up to Jerusalem with Him.

No comments:

Post a Comment