Sunday, April 1, 2012

Holy Week

How do you keep this week holy? What does it mean to walk the ‘way of the cross’ for you?

This somber week calls us to recognize our mortality, the quick passage of our time together. The tragedy of Jesus’ last days lies not just in the torture, the unfair condemnation, the name-calling, and the final excruciating hours of pain before death. It also lies in the isolation of his plight. Jesus walks alone, without friend or companion to help him on his way. Peter deserts him. Simon of Cyrene only helps him because he is forced to. Veronica is pushed away after wiping his face, and Mary can only approach in the final moments.

If Holy Week teaches us anything, it is to stand by our friendships to the end. Would all the disciples have been crucified if they had stood by Jesus? Or would the weight of their presence have changed Pilate’s heart?

Holy Week calls us to solidarity by showing us what happens without it. This week the students of my school will be showing their solidarity with land mine victims. They will be taking pictures of their lower legs and sending them to Mines Action Canada in a show of support for the victims of cluster bombs. It may not stop indiscriminate bombing. It will not solve every problem. But perhaps for someone somewhere, the weight of the cross will become just a little lighter.

Holy Week makes me ask, where can I show my solidarity with the poor, the lonely, the sick or the oppressed? Who is stumbling on the road to Calvary before me? Who is falling under the weight of their cross? And can I forget my own cross long enough to reach just a little further, just a little more to give them a hand?

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