Holy Week begins with the jubilant procession honoring Jesus as he rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. People honor him, waving palms and singing:
Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
The mood quickly changes as the different crowds move dramatically from honoring Jesus to forcing him to carry the cross for the crucifixion.
Paul’s letter to the Philippians in the second reading again reminds us that Christ “emptied himself becoming obedient to the point of death.”
The startling final Gospel words are, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
If we have developed a personal relationship with Jesus, the most appropriate response on our part is: to fast, to pray and to empty ourselves for the hungry, the lonely, the grieving.
We cannot change Jesus’ suffering, nothing we do can “pay him back.”
But as members of his Body, as one in union with him, we are called to imitate Jesus’ generosity. We are called to put into action the words we hear at every Eucharistic celebration, to do as He did.
Listening to the Passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ proclaimed, we realize anew that Jesus gave himself totally and as members of his body we ask ourselves:
Where in my life circumstances can I be more generous, more loving, more caring and less selfish? Whose feet can I wash?
How can I develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? On Holy Thursday, do I dare speak to him in the Garden of Gethsemane?
Will I dare to enter into conversation with him on the cross?