Today we begin the journey of Holy Week.
It is a day that growing up many of us may have either dreaded or enjoyed.
Some of us, although I would never admit it, loved this day because for once…we didn’t start like every other Sunday…all lined up…in church…sitting quietly and praying the rosary like we often did during Lent.
This Sunday was different, we got to begin, often outside…waving palm branches, poking and tickling each other, often to the chargrin of our parents and the frowns of our Church’s parents.
But then…then came the long reading of the Passion narrative…sometimes it seemed like for ever. And I knew it was going to be a long week. And I knew we would hear this passion narrative again on Friday and I somewhat dreaded the week.
Oh how I longed for the chocolate that I had given up, or the candy, or the favorite toy that I had put away for the last 40 days…come on Easter!
We have made the decision as a community not to proclaim the passion narrative today…not in defiance, but in order to allow us to experience the entirety of the roller coaster of Holy Week.
You see my friends, one unique thing about Christianity, is the unequivocal belief that the God of our faith is a God who chose to become one with us…a human, who lived and experienced the entire range of our human experience…from birth to death and everything between…temptation, joy, disappointment, happiness, betrayal, pain, suffering, and even death.
What is the Good News? It lays in that unique understanding of our God…the God in whom we believe, understands every intimate aspect of our lives.
That is awesome…that is actually more than awesome it is mind blowing.
There is nothing—nothing we can experience—that God does not understand.
Are we hurting from loss—Jesus did too.
Are we over joyed with new life—Jesus did too.
Are we pained with some trouble—Jesus was too.
Have we been to a mountain top and experienced the sheer joy of magnificence? Jesus has too.
Jesus is not only the Lord of our lives…Jesus is our companion who understands our lives as well.
This week is one big liturgy…today the height, Friday the depth of pain, Saturday and Sunday the promise of the Resurrection.
I hope and pray that we walk these days, probing the mysteries of the life, passion, death and resurrection of Christ, so that we can see, it was not only 2000+ years ago…it is our journey as well.
And they sheer joy of this journey will lay in the fact, that the God of our understanding has been in every experience that we have been as well.
Bishop Marty Shanahan