This weekend, we enter into that most holy of times as we begin to celebrate the fullness of the paschal mystery, living through Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.
At Palm Sunday, we remember that we stand beside all those who seek to end Christ’s life through our own sin, as we too cry out, “Crucify Him!” It is an emotional time for me. I cannot help but be drawn up into the mystery and emotional roller coaster of it all.
Today, as I was praying my morning office, I came upon a reading that stopped my heart, and I wanted to share it with you.
From a homily by Saint Gregory Nazianzen, bishop
I will say more: we must sacrifice ourselves to God, each day and in everything we do, accepting all that happens to us for the sake of the Word, imitating his passion by our sufferings, and honoring his blood by shedding our own. We must be ready to be crucified.
If you are a Simon of Cyrene, take up your cross and follow Christ. If you are crucified beside him like one of the thieves, now, like the good thief, acknowledge your God. For your sake, and because of your sin, Christ himself was regarded as a sinner; for his sake, therefore, you must cease to sin. Worship him who was hung on the cross because of you, even if you are hanging there yourself. Derive some benefit from the very shame; purchase salvation with your death. Enter paradise with Jesus, and discover how far you have fallen. Contemplate the glories there, and leave the other scoffing thief to die outside in his blasphemy.
If you are a Joseph of Arimathea, go to the one who ordered his crucifixion, and ask for Christ’s body. Make your own the expiation for the sins of the whole world. If you are a Nicodemus, like the man who worshiped God by night, bring spices and prepare Christ’s body for burial. If you are one of the Marys, or Salome, or Joanna, weep in the early morning. Be the first to see the stone rolled back, and even the angels perhaps, and Jesus himself.
This weekend, we will be the crowd, crying for his death. Let us also be those who call out for life! Let us stand to help Christ carry his load like Simon of Cyrene, let us hang on the cross beside our Lord like the good thief, let us beg to bring Christ down from the cross like Joseph of Arimathea, let us rush to anoint Him like Mary Magdeline!
This week is a time to live, to be alive with the joy of everything it means to be in love with the Lord. Let us bring ourselves deeply into the mystery, and find ourselves written in throughout the greatest story that will ever be told!