With Jesus we went first to the desert where three times we echoed the Lord’s renunciation of the devil. Then the Lord invited us with his three Apostles to the Mount Tabor to contemplate his Transfiguration. There we professed his Divinity and echoed the first Pope in acknowledging that the faith we had in Jesus meant that we wanted to stay with him there. However in spite of our readiness to stay our Blessed Lord kept us moving. He didn’t take us to visit the Seven Wonders of the World though. Instead he took us to visit three people. Interestingly two were still alive (the woman of Samaria and the man born blind), one was already dead (Lazarus). With those three characters we came to appreciate Jesus from Nazareth as the living water, the light of the world and the Resurrection and the life. We did feel like on the top of the world. We did share with the Apostles the feeling that we made the right choice; that we belonged to something huge. This Jesus from Nazareth was an impressive figure. It was so easy to say to the people we met along the way, that we were Jesus’. We might have even felt superior to those poor creatures who didn’t belong to our group. We might have pitied them. We felt bigger by being part of the big story of Jesus.
Just before we began the final lap of our journey from Jericho (that’s a city near the Dead Sea and located 258 meters below sea level) to Jerusalem via the Mount of Olives which is more than 800 meters above sea level, Jesus opened the eyes of two blind men. We could easily put ourselves in the shoes of those two nameless blind people because the Jesus’ events we had seen before and Jesus’ teachings we had heard before allowed us to look at the world around us differently. We felt the successors. We felt in control. We thought we had known everything. We thought that we were the learnt ones.
My Dear Sisters and Brothers! As we listen to the Gospel of Jesus’ entry to the Holy City of Jerusalem let us notice in the crowds those two nameless blind people from Jericho. That’s the final (and double) miracle of Jesus before his death and Resurrection. 1) Their sight returned and 2) they followed him. There was a tough ascent ahead of them, more than a thousand meters to reach the summit of the Mount of Olives. It was the first lesson of the final learning: following Jesus doesn’t mean that it is going to be easy and light.
The second lesson of the final learning which the Gospel offers is this: following Jesus is shattering, crushing and cataclysmic because following Jesus doesn’t stop on a cheerful and happy-clappy Palm Sunday. Prophetically Palm Sunday is also Passion Sunday, as in this world of ours, the world of sin and corruption, there is no happiness without suffering and loss. Even Jesus Christ, the Son of God emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave and became as men are, and being as men are, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on the cross.
That final lap of Jesus’, and ours, Lenten journey is going to be shattering. Like those two disciples on the way to Emmaus we will say: Jesus of Nazareth proved he was a great prophet by the things he did and said. That’s a summary of that first leg of the journey with Jesus, up to Palm Sunday.
Our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set us free. Can you hear what they are saying? Our hope is shattered, it is gone. They are hopeless. That’s a summary of the second leg of the journey with Jesus, from Palm Sunday to Easter.
My Dear Friends! We could skip the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday night. We could skip the Good Friday Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion. We could even skip the shattering silence of the Holy Saturday. We could just turn up to Easter Sunday Eucharist. We could do that. But we cannot skip the loss, abandonment, suffering, misunderstanding, humiliation and death. That’s why in the name of the Lord Jesus, for God’s glory, for salvation of people and your salvation, I invite you to the Liturgy of the Paschal Triduum, the Three Sacred Days. Immerse your heart, mind, will, your whole being in the sacred events of Jesus’ Passover so that like the newly baptised you can emerge out of that profound sacrifice with a new heart, mind, will, with your whole being renewed so that you could enlighten others with the light of Resurrection.