This week of Holy Week ascends like the Hallelujah chorus. We begin the week with the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem as a simple King on the back of a donkey. This reminds me of his coming into the world with his mother riding a donkey. He was a King for the poor, the broken, the oppressed, the blind, lame, and the powerful.
This is a week of drama. As the week progresses we hear from the scripture stories that Jesus while in Jerusalem prepares for the Passover, as any good Jew would. He and his friends make sacred a place to celebrate the memory of the flight of the Israelites from the land of Egypt. At this very special meal he institutes a new understanding of the “bread of flight” and the “wine of bitters.” The bread now becomes his body and the wine his blood. Of course we know that in the following hours he will be betrayed, arrested, beaten, and crucified as a common criminal. His body is broken and spirit taken because of our sinfulness, fear, and compliance. Broken because we just can’t trust his kind of love. A love that is unconditional, that liberates, and that embraces all.
His body is broken like so many bodies that are broken today in our world of war, greed, and avarice. His body is broken leaving behind the grieving disciples, his mother, and followers. His body is broken today, as we weep for the families who lost their loved ones in the Germanwinds flight 9525. And how many other families lose their loved ones to tragedy each day? His body and blood is still being spilt in the body of his people. Our Jesus died once, but his body continues to suffer. This is a week we are specifically to be “at one” with the suffering of the world. And just as we know the story doesn’t end with the crucifixion, so too, we believe that all those who suffer will have a resurrection with Jesus. God’s last word is for us to have life; and so as we remember the events of this week together and hold in prayer all those who suffer and trust that the “empty tomb” is our promise and belief. We can and do sing the Hallelujah chorus, because God does have the last word-resurrection.
Clare Carr, OSB-Prioress