Why in the world are we remembering the worst week ever in the history of the world? Why are we re-living the worst days in the life of our Lord! Let us put it to rest once and for all. Let us move on. The Lord would not want us to remember this week. After all, he did not remind the apostles of their betrayal, of their cowardice or of their malice. He appeared to them and said, “Peace be with you.” So what is the purpose of Holy Week? To never forget.
I must never forget what the Lord suffered for me. I can never forget what the Lord did for me; and I should never forget what I did to him! All these are true. All these are important. But, I must come to grips with another reality: What happened to the Lord will eventually happen to me. I too will go through my passion, my agony, my death; and I hope and pray that as I die with the Lord I will also rise with Him.
Why is Holy Week so powerful and moving? Because it begins just as we have experienced it countless times in our lives. It begins with BETRAYAL.
“If an enemy insulted me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from Him. But it is you, my companion, my friend.” (Ps 55:12-13)
This morning during Mass, I asked the children if a friend of theirs had turned their back on them. Almost every hand went up in the 8th grade. But I was shocked to see how many Kindergarten students, elementary school children, had their hands up! We start at an early age and we never seem to grow out of it.
Judas was more than just an Apostle; he was the Lord’s friend, and a close friend at that. How did the Lord overcome so many difficulties that dark night in Gethsemane? How did he do it? What helped him to get through it all? The answer is striking: He prayed. He prayed the most powerful prayer ever recorded. He said, “Father, not my will but your will be done!” The Lord opened the door to his Father’s plan. Thy Will Be Done! God forbid that I ever forget this! God forbid that I ever think I can live my life without the Lord! God forbid that I begin to boast of my own accomplishments and abilities and neglect to give the Lord the glory and the honor he deserves! He deserves it all because he gave it all. This is no false humility. It is the honest to God truth!
We remember Holy Week because I too will go through my Holy Week. “There is no greater love than to lay down your life for another.” This verse is very similar to another: “Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit.” Which is again, a reminder of the Lord’s shocking prayer, “Father, not as I will, but your will be done.” This is the perfect prayer because it is perfect love. In fact, no greater love has a man!
“Father, do whatever you want with me.” Is this not the greatest fruit I could give to the Lord? Is this not the greatest gift offering? Is this not the greatest burnt offering I could give to my Lord and Savior this Holy Week? So what is stopping me from praying it?
We know the answer because we know the end of the story! We know that perfect Love, to be with God, produces everlasting life, a never ending story!
Lord, you know me. You know everything about me. I love you but not as much as I could. I believe in you, but not as much I should. Give me your grace to grow closer to you in faith, hope and love. I ask this in your holy name. Amen.