By Father Anthony Odiong, Director
Suppose you were in love with the dogs of Waco, and you desired to teach them how to behave properly – not to snap at mailmen and children! So, you decided to become a dog! All went well except you could only bark and not speak, though you could think. To your surprise, the other dogs did not pay much attention to you. One day, they got mad at you, and tore you to pieces. There was nothing you could do. You had taken the risk to love them anyway.
The life of the God/Man Jesus Christ was something like this. During Holy Week we penetrate deeply the mystery of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ. Which do you think was the greatest gift: that Jesus became one of us, or that he suffered and died for us? The God/Man Jesus Christ is God’s Word to us – one eternal word – Love.
Holy Week is the heart of the liturgical year. It celebrates the culmination of the ministry and life of Jesus Christ on earth. The last week of Jesus’ life is perhaps a summary of all of human existence. Jesus was loved by many. This is symbolized by the several anointings that He received from Mary Magdalene. Once in honor of Lazarus, and again in the house of Simon the leper. In this time the Lord experienced also the betrayal of Judas, one of His disciples. He was rejected by His own people, tried by three Judges, crucified, died and rose from the dead.
The story of Jesus is your story and mine. If you look at that mangled body hanging on the cross, you will find yourself, or your story, written all over Him. Holy Week and Easter reminds us that in the end, it is Love that will triumph. Only Love is credible.
The Easter Triduum is one celebration in three moments. Holy Thursday reenacts Jesus’ three fold gift to the world: The Eucharist, the priesthood and the shining example of service in the washing of His disciples’ feet. Good Friday celebrates the death of God. In the words of the philosopher Nietzsche, “God is dead and we have killed Him.” However, the death of God on Good Friday reaps the salvation of the world. Good Friday is really good. Holy Saturday celebrates the absence of God in the world, when His presence is reduced to a whisper or a ‘rumor of angels’. Sometimes, life feels like Holy Saturday. In the Easter Vigil, we wait in patient expectation for Christ our Light to triumph over the hell of the human condition with a life that cannot be destroyed forever.
God’s love for us in Christ is in excess of anything we could ever ask for or imagine. As we enter into this solemn hour, let us become aware that there is nothing we could ever do for God to compare with what He has done for us in Christ. We could never do enough for God or for one another.
A happy Holy Week and Easter to you all!