Today we will see quite a change in the Liturgy and we will see a similar change with the next few Liturgies that we will experience. You will be in processions. You will see readings read out in three parts. You will see or participate in feet washing. The Cross will be revealed to you. At the Vigil, a glimpse of salvation history will be revealed where we go back in time to look at the promises and revelation that God has given to His people and witness how they were all fulfilled. Why such a change? Because these Liturgies are meant to help us encounter Jesus, to experience the Passion, to pray like Jesus did for all those who need redemption. Yes, Holy Mother Church is inviting you into the greatest story ever told. It is greater than all the fairy tales, the wildest movies because none of them ever had such great and sacrificing love for their beloved. No one has ever suffered so much and with so much love and in no story has a god ever offered himself for ungrateful people and none of them brought themselves from the dead. This is the most amazing event in history and it is brought to us now in the flesh, to be experienced this Holy Week. Yes, my brothers and sisters, this is made to be a life changing experience and encounter with God like never experienced before.
How can we do this well? First we pray and ask God to help us enter into this great mystery. We read the Scriptures ahead of time and ask God to point things out that are important for us to know. When we enter into the Liturgy we can meditate on our part in the Passion, how our sins partly caused His death. I say partly because it was partly His great love and His desire to be with us for ever. We must meditate on that as well, that God loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die in our place. Love and sin were the cause of this Passion. We need to pray for the grace to know and embrace this love, which will make us flee from sin and our destruction and leap into the arms of our loving and merciful God who paid the ultimate price for our salvation. We can imagine ourselves in the crowd saying, “Hosanna in the highest!” and we can imagine ourselves clamouring for His death because things didn’t turn out the way we thought, that He didn’t save as we wanted Him to.
We can witness the Last Supper and see where our part was. We can think of all the times we have abandoned Jesus in His hour, the people we turned our back on when they needed us, the people that we have failed to love. On how we, like Peter, want to follow Jesus in the glory, but not in the suffering, not in His humiliation and not in the way He loved. We can witness in the washing of the feet that God has come down to serve us, to wash our feet and ask for the grace to serve others for the sake of Him.
We can witness the desolation of the Church empty of our Lord and we can meditate on what our sin really does, it empties our lives of all beauty, all glory and makes it dark on Good Friday. On Good Friday, we can once again enter into the Passion vision of what happened and venerate the Holy Cross, such an ugly thing, really a functional thing meant to torture and humiliate. How God’s creation was used to desecrate, to kill God Himself. How we use the things of God to abuse Him, to kill Him, to sin and how God used all that ugliness to save and heal us. Yes, it is ugly, but ugly mixed with great love becomes beauty, becomes glory.
Then Easter morning comes and we look to live anew. We renew our Baptism when we were brought into God’s family and we ask for the grace to live the Resurrection, avoid sin and bring the news that God is risen and everyone has hope in this loving Saviour. We can bring all our brokenness to this God who allowed Himself to be broken for our sake, to be sin for our sake, to be sacrifice for our sake. Yes, in this Easter we can walk in a new way. Holy Mother Church makes these Liturgies very engaging because She invites us to revive God’s great love for us so that you and I can experience life anew.