Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday: The Duality of Holy Week

Today Holy Week begins. Today we are on the road to Easter, but first we must go through the cross. This is the most intense week in the Christian year. Not only in terms of the business of those who work in the church, though that is certainly true. This is the most intense week because this is the week when it all comes together. All the symbols of the Christian narrative are pulled together this week as the rhythm of the liturgy reaches its climax.

This is the week of Christ's death, mere days before his Resurrection. Sorrow and rejoicing, bitterness and light, wedded together by a mere span of days.

Today, Palm Sunday, is a sort of second Christmas. Today Christ is born, not to flesh, but to the people of Jerusalem. Today the people adore him as the shepherds and the magi adored his birth. Today we welcome him in, singing praise to him.

"Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."

But soon we will cry "crucify him," indeed many of us already have in the Palm Sunday liturgy.

Let us, then, approach the cross in silent reverence.