The best that I can do is to urge all of our faithful to attend the liturgies of Holy Week. These liturgies are one: Passion / Palm Sunday; Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday; the Passion and Death of Christ on Good Friday; the Easter Vigil in which Christ’s Life from death is proclaimed; the joyful celebration of Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Day. These services are not easy to prepare for, not easy to celebrate, probably in some ways not emotionally easy to undergo. Some of us have shared our thoughts and feelings about what we experience during Holy Week. It is painful to remember what happened to Jesus Christ. His rejection, suffering, brutal death are indeed a profound judgment on this world, and on what one can expect here: love is often rejected; goodness is often thwarted by evil; truth is often distorted into lies by the devious; human innocence is often trampled by the powerful.
If that were the entire story, however, how dark, dismal, and depressing life would be: we are born, we suffer, we die. That would be the whole story of our lives in briefest form. There is more, not because of human strength and power, but because of the God of love and life. Despite what we did to Jesus, and what we still often do by disregarding truth and justice, God triumphed in Christ. And in union with God in Christ, humankind emerges victorious. Death does not destroy love, but tests and purifies it. Rejection and hatred kill goodness only here in this passing light; beyond death, goodness and truth shine ever more brightly, as indestructible manifestations of the all-good God. Here evil often triumphs. In God, beyond death, evil has utterly no reality, as divine Love and Truth alone endure.
Attendance at the Holy Week liturgies in our faith communities has been high and active. I have heard many appreciative and kind words about the services over the years here. Frankly, I have been proud of our people for attending in body and mind. I notice that especially the members of St. Mary’s, Raynesford, attend in a high proportion. Those who attend faithfully seem to have learned well that these liturgies are for them, and that they do indeed have the attitude of the Apostle Thomas: “Let us go up to die with Jesus.” These Christians understand well that the greater the death, the greater the life; the more one gives up self to enter into Christ, the more one truly and joyfully lives.