As we turn the page on the next chapter of the great Drama of our Redemption, we come to the Joy of the Resurrection. We entered Holy Week on Palm Sunday with the Triumphal Entry of our Lord into Jerusalem sitting on a donkey amidst the shouts of ‘Hosanna to the Son of David, Blessed is He who cometh in the Name of the Lord.’ A few days later, the supporters of Jesus, who had hailed him with shouts of praise along with the waving of palm branches, were incited by his enemies to condemn him with cries of ‘Crucify Him, Crucify Him.’ Holy Week to Easter continues in the emotional contrasts in the triduum of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. From the Divine Institution of the Blessed Sacrament to the Garden of Gethsemane and the betrayal by Judas Iscariot the story continues. It may appear that Jesus’s life was taken from him as he was condemned by the religious leaders and crucified on the cross. But we remember his words recorded by St. John, “…I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down myself.” Jesus did not find himself in that position because he could not avoid it, but freely placed Himself where the will of God the Father would be done. In Romans, St. Paul reminds us that God’s love was shown towards us, in that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
As we arrive at the glorious day celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on that first Easter morning, it is sad that the forces of the evil one remain tangibly present in our world. We witnessed this past Palm Sunday, Christian Churches in Egypt being bombed with many lives lost. The militant Islamic terrorists have as their goal to exterminate “the infidels” which is how they refer to Christians. Their threats go out to the entire Christian world in an attempt to instill fear in the hearts of worshipers. I am reminded of the disciples who were gathered together for fear of those who crucified Jesus coming to take them as well. And suddenly the risen Christ was physically in the room with them. Their fear changed into joy and from there they went forth with courage to proclaim the message of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we gather for Holy Week and the grand celebration of Easter, may we do so with great joy for the gift of our Salvation and go forth to love and serve the Lord without fear.
Easter triumph, Easter joy to all,