My Dear Sisters and Brothers! At the culmination of that sacred time of the Holy Week and the Easter Triduum, at Easter Vigil, when we give glory to our God for the event of our salvation, we will be looking at the new flame of the Paschal Candle. Than we will hear the words: ‘May this flame be found still burning brightly by the Morning Star: the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ your Son, who coming back from death’s domain, has shed his peaceful light on humanity, and lives and reigns for ever and ever.’
My Dear fellow believers! We who love the Lord Jesus, we who treasure what he has done for us by his death and Resurrection, we call him our Morning Star. Our faith moves us to echo what the old Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, said when his was able to speak again upon the birth of the son who was promised to him by the Angel Gabriel: ‘The loving kindness of the heart of our God who visits us like the rising sun from on high.’ It wasn’t made up by the old man. For centuries the Jewish people were treasuring a belief that when Messiah would come from the East. They believed also that the first place he would visit would be the Jerusalem Temple. Some thirty three years after prophesy of Zechariah the people who were around the Temple could hear some noise coming from a mountain ridge called the Mount of Olives: ‘Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens.’
The Mount of Olives is the ridge east of Jerusalem. If one wants to enjoy the sunrise in Jerusalem he needs to look towards the Mount of Olives.
So those in Jerusalem attracted by the signing, as they riveted their eyes upon the Mount of Olives, could see, like they had seen the Sun many mornings before, a figure appearing as he was approaching the summit from the other side. It was Jesus Christ, the Rising Sun, the Morning Star, the Messiah coming to the Holy City. However his appearance was different to the sunrise the people of Jerusalem were accustomed to see every morning. The Sun would appear over the Mount of Olives and it would continue its rising higher and higher. Jesus after appearing on the summit began descending in order to reach the Holy City and the people who needed his salvation. We are these people too. He, our Rising Sun, was descending to the valley located between the Mount of Olives and the hill on which the Temple was built. He did this so that all of us who at some stage of our life feel like walking in the valley of darkness could say with confidence after the psalmist: ‘If I should walk in the valley of darkness no evil would I fear. You are there my Lord.’
The Gospels tell us that after that wonderful entry to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the days which followed were the days of darkness. The disciples of Jesus found themselves in darkness when their Master was taken away, when their dreams and expectations were shattered, when their own weakness, cowardice, sins and selfishness surfaced. Some of them run away, but as we follow carefully the unfolding events to the Holy Week and Easter Triduum we discover a small community of disciples which followed Jesus right to the hill of Golgotha. Their following didn’t have the same joyful character which we could see in the crowds on Palm Sunday, nevertheless the love with which Jesus loved them was their light. They continued following Jesus. They were his Mystical Body on earth.
Over two millennia the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, has been a number of times on the Mount of Olives enjoying praise and appreciation of others. However the Church has also been a number of times in the situations of darkness when some thought that it would be the end of the Church. However God has always raised people like St Francis to rebuild the Church holding unto the love Jesus has loved us.
My dear fellow followers of Jesus. As we enter this holy time draw from the sacred Liturgies, which mark this time, the grace of faith, hope and love. Let us hold fast to Jesus’ love for us, the love which costed him his life. I pray to our Blessed Mother for each of us so that like her we may treasure and ponder all these events in our hearts. I pray also so that like her we may fill our conversations, whether at home or school, workplace or club, with the events which are ahead of us this mysterious week.