27 Mar 2013

Holy Week in Jerusalem and other resources for Holy Week

As we move towards the culmination of the liturgical year, sometimes it seems like you can drown in the amount of resources, reflections, writings and musings that are online.
But sometimes it pays to sit, turn off the computer, the radio and television and take up the text of our story as Christians - be it the account of the passion we heard on Sunday from Luke or what we will hear on Friday from John - and sit and read it there in black and white, the ultimate love story ever told. The love story of God and humanity, the love story of you and God! 
Each year we remember, we bring ourselves back to that intensely physical week, a week of signs and symbols and words in which we can wallow and swim letting them engulf all our senses. Soft bread and bitter wine, the metallic smell and taste of blood and the sweet cloying stench of sweat filled crowds in cramped streets; the bare harsh wood of a instrument of torture streaked in blood and sweat; the crack of a whip and the piercing jagged pain of a whip on battered flesh; the agony of nails through the wrist and ultimately asphyxiation and the darkness of death which in turn leads to the loneliness and heart ache of a tomb, hewn from the rock in which no one had yet been buried.......
We enter into this season of sorrow and grief, aware that all of us are hurting, aware of those around us in pain; but remembering that we are not alone. As we walk the daily struggles of life, we walk the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem with Christ again. Are we there under the cross suffering with him? Are we Simon of Cyrene to some one's Jesus? Are we Veronica? Are we the weeping women? Are we Pilate washing our hands of the stain of blood and tears? Are we Peter denying our friends and loves for the pressures of society? Who are you this Holy Week? Where do you stand in the crowd that cried "Crucify him, crucify him"?
Alone, abandoned, forsaken. No one to turn to, no one who cares. The most awful feeling for any human being is to feel completely alone, especially in the midst of suffering. Is there no one who will even try, who will walk with me this sorrowful way? His faithful disciples have abandoned him. Peter, the Rock, crumbled like wet sand and denied him three times. The others ran or simply watched as he was carried away by the soldiers. Only John and the women -his mother and the two Marys-remain. They have been stalwart and steadfast. Jesus in his dying agony cries out, "Father, O Father, why have you forsaken me?"

There are so many hanging on crosses now, needlessly hanging. Jesus dies on the cross. Children die in cross fires. Young adults die in too many ways to count. Mothers smoke crack, and fathers languish in jail. It is God who is alone, who has been abandoned, who has been forsaken. We have walked away, turned our backs. Jesus overcame his fear, forgave those who had participated in his death, and died. Jesus will not abandon us if we turn to him. If we forget, he always remembers
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Denial, sorrow, pain, death but all countered by love, service and a command to love. Christ opened his arms on the cross, not to die but to embrace all of the universe in the loving embrace of a compassionate God.
This Holy Week take the time to sit, read, reflect and ultimately pray.

Watch videos of the ceremonies in the Holy Land from Franciscan Media Centre HERE (the links to the videos can't be embedded)

Prior year resources from the SS10fm available HERE

Stations of the Cross HERE

Phil over at Blue Eyed Ennis has some great links and reflections as always

At the Limerick Diocesan Website, regular SS10fm visitor Noirin Lynch has an amazing round of up links, resources and information for Limerick Diocese about the celebrations over the next few days. She also has a round up of the ceremonies and other media resources for those elderly, housebound and sick - HERE and HERE.


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