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Tomorrow, we begin to retrace Jesus' journey through suffering and death

 

By Fr Patrick McCafferty

Holy Week 2017 begins this weekend with the celebration of Palm Sunday - the commemoration of the Lord Jesus' triumphant entrance into Jerusalem - welcomed and acclaimed by the crowds with cries of "Hosanna!"

The Lord had "set His face towards Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51), approaching the scene that had been set for Him to, willingly and most lovingly, enter His saving Passion for our deliverance.

The word 'Hosanna', used by the crowds to greet Jesus, was a cry for help: the Hebrew word, 'Hoshana', means to rescue, to save, to deliver. The One whom the crowds acclaim is Himself our Rescuer, our Champion, our Deliverer, our Mighty Help, our Saviour and Redeemer.

What was once a cry for help has become an acclamation of thanksgiving for that help now received. The great cry had gone up from the depths of human distress, 'Lord, rescue us', "Hosanna in the highest heavens!" (Matthew 21:9).

Humanity cries out to Him who dwells in the highest heavens and, in Jesus Christ, "the Lord leaned down from his sanctuary on high. He looked down from heaven to the earth that he might hear the groans of the prisoners and free those condemned to die" (Psalm 102:19-20).

During Holy Week, we retrace the journey of Jesus through suffering and death, to glory and victory. He draws us with Him along that path. He is the "pioneer and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) and "the leader who takes us to our salvation" (Hebrews 2:10).

He has made safe for us the way that leads through Death by filling "the valley of the shadow of Death" with His loving presence (Psalm 23:4). By His own suffering and dying, He shone forth as Light in the deepest recesses of darkness.

"Now Christ has come" (Hebrews 9:11). God Himself has taken His stand upon earth in solidarity with humanity (Job 19:25-27). Gathered now with Jesus, "the Eldest of many brothers and sisters" (Romans 8:29), His Father and our Father pours into our hearts the Spirit who gave the Lord Jesus victory over Death (Romans 8:8-11).

Do not be afraid. Death has no more power over us because of Christ (Romans 6:9).

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