18 Apr. Christians keep Holy these seven days. This Holy Week began with Palm Sunday, commemorating the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, when he was welcomed by crowds, hailing him as the King of Peace and singing Hosanna (jai!)
Then, within a few days, things turned for the worse. Jesus was betrayed by the very people who benefited from his compassion and love. His own people arrested him, charged him with treason (since the Romans refused to interfere with the Jewish religious matters, fearing the huge crowds gathered for the great Sabbath (Yom Kippur) in Jerusalem. Finally, the political conspiracy worked in favour of priests and pharisees.
That final journey of Jesus began with a final dinner (The Last Supper) of Jesus with his disciples, where he showed them what is true greatness: bending down and washing his disciples’ feet and wiping them with his own towel. On this occasion, he instituted the Eucharist, which we call the Holy Mass – pre-symbolising his total self-sacrifice; in doing so, Jesus also instituted priesthood, another sacrament.
After this, he goes with disciples to the Garden of Olives to pray, since he had sensed the terrible danger to his life. That is what we celebrated yesterday in Maundy Thursday. It is there, he was betrayed by his own disciple Judas Iscariot, and sold for 30 silver pieces. Then on, it was all about jews, pharisees (priestly class), and the high priests, together with the Roman administration which was ruling Palestine, then.
Jesus was tried on false charges, accused, abused, tortured, scourged, plaited with thorny crown, given a cross and made to carry it to mount Calvary. There, they crucified him, among two other robbers, and finally Jesus forgives those who persecuted/crucified him, and gives up his spirit. That is Good Friday. At our celebration of the Passion of Our Lord, at St Joseph’s College, Bangalore, I presided, with passion sung by Fr Louis, Sch Amos and self. After the Passion narrative, I reflected on pain and suffering.
Now, we wait for the Resurrection, when we will celebrate His triumph over death, hatred, enmity; his coming to life again. That is what we celebrate tomorrow during the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. Sunday following this is Easter Sunday when one of His women disciples first discovered the empty tomb, where Jesus was buried. And later, Jesus made his presence felt once again among his scattered flock, and filled them with new life, courage, and hope! It’s all about hope!