Sunday, March 16, 2008
Holy Week begins with the Messiah astride a burro into the city of Jerusalem. The Saviour of the world has a small pack animal as his steed. Sancho Panza also had this animal as his mount. An ass colt carries Jesus now, as did another burro carry Mary and the infant Jesus away from the murderous Herod and onto exile. This burro brings Jesus closer to that bloody death.
The Judaen capital city, He is triumphantly greeted and saluted and his way is made on palms. This impromptu processional is made without a parade permit from the authorities. By the end of the week, the authorities will authorise, at several places, his travel path to crucifixion. Some of the same cheering crowd will rant and clamor for a most cruel denouement.
To-day’s mass relives this. It is a long mass, not easy for children to stand through: a long gospel on the passion. There is a dialogue, that, has the congregrants give voice to the crowd. There is something striking when a child, is seized within the moment, zealously chants, “Crucify!”, while another has a baby bottle roll along the floor. Previously, there was a procession carrying palms, candles, thurible and boat. Now are read the parts of Judas, Caiaphas, Peter, Simon from Cyrene, Barabbas, Pilate and the rest; and of course, the Via Dolorosa and Calvary. An aural, sometimes dramatic, reading that limns the high drama of the suffering and torment that God endured to redeem His people. When one puts himself into the story, he can become very shaken, and then there is the Communion of the last supper again given. The christian story and God's love of us unto death.