This Sunday, we begin the holiest week of the Church’s liturgical year. We read two passages from the Gospels, relating how the joyful entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, accompanied by crowds who acclaim him as Saviour and King, gave way to his betrayal and death, alone and abandoned by all. The other readings help us understand the meaning of these events of the Passion.
The First Reading is one of the passages about the suffering servant of God from the book of Isaiah. As Christians, we read this as showing how Jesus lived out his patient trust in God. It can help and enable us to bear our trials and difficulties.
In Psalm 21 (22) we hear familiar echoes of the crucifixion narratives. You may like to find the whole of the psalm in your bible or online; its words of hope in the midst of great suffering, and profound trust in God, are the prayer of Jesus from the cross.
St Paul’s text is a hymn to Jesus’s life and death (Second Reading). Christ’s humility in becoming a human being was even more profound when he accepted to die a shameful death on a cross. But, as Paul writes, God raised him from death and gave him the highest name of all, so that all beings should bend the knee to Jesus and ‘acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’
This week we accompany Jesus; we pray for the grace of an awareness of our sinfulness, and for sorrow and true contrition in the face of the sufferings of Jesus. We also continue to pray for peace across the world, especially in Ukraine and eastern Europe.