Fr. Michael Writes:-
When did this journey begin? Where and when will it end? Jesus sends His disciples to collect the donkey from a village within sight of the Mount of Olives. It wouldn’t have taken very long for them to return to Him ready for His messianic procession into Jerusalem. So did this journey begin on the Mount of Olives? Yes, in one sense. But as the Gospel tells us, this entry into the city on a donkey fulfils the prophesies in scripture from the Prophet Zechariah, “Look, your king comes to you: he is humble, he rides on a donkey.” And the Prophet Zechariah lived six hundred years before Christ, so really in another sense we can say that this journey began then, foreseen by the prophets because inspired by God. And as for what Jesus suffers in Jerusalem, He is clearly to be seen in the prophesy of Isaiah, our First Reading, from eight hundred years before Christ, and, very chillingly, in the psalm which describes so accurately what happens to Jesus on Calvary even though the psalm was written a thousand years before the events it describes. Throughout the Passion read today, there is reference after reference to the events of that week fulfilling the scriptures of old. So when did this journey begin? Foreseeing from eternity humanity’s fall into sin, God had, in the truest sense, always begun in His Son this journey of our rescue. This is why we commemorate and live in this Holy Week the most momentous week of human history to date. When will this journey end? It will end definitively and climactically when the Son’s entry into Jerusalem to effect the events of human salvation, bears, on Judgement Day, the fruits of that salvation, bringing to heaven those destined for the fullness of life. We can be sure of our place in that life if we now accompany Him on His journey through the season of our lives, willing, as St Paul says, “in my own body to make up all the suffering that still has to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body the Church” (Col.1:24). By this means we not only journey with Jesus and He with us, but we participate in ‘journey’s end’ so to speak, the salvation of the world. A rich expression of this communion is being agents of God’s mercy, as Pope Francis encourages us on the attached flyer from Aid to the Church in Need. “I invite all of you, together with ACN, to do everywhere in the world a work of mercy. Mercy is God’s tender touch.” The 60,000 homeless who escaped with nothing but their lives from ISIS and for whom ACN are providing shelter and food, are not only Christians, of course, but other minorities, such as the Yazidis and Shabaks. But it is a Christian, the ‘survivor’ on the back page, who does appeal to us: “We ask Christians in the West to pray for us and to help us to live. Even a small thing from you will make a big difference to us – it will help us to live.” What better way to deepen our journeying with the Lord than by journeying too with those in whom Christ is still suffering all that has to be undergone for His body the Church? She asks us for prayer and alms. Thank you to those who have already given generously to our parish Lenten project. Let us do what we can.