by Ciel Tagaza
The event at Calvary is a historical fact. Nevertheless, it is not limited in time and space. It goes back into the past, to the beginning, and opens toward the future until the end of history. It encompasses all places and times and all of mankind.
– St. John Paul II, “Crossing the Threshold of Hope”
We are now in the middle of Holy Week. We marked its beginning with Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion by recalling the triumphal entry of Jesus in Jerusalem and His Passion and Death.
As we celebrate the Paschal Triduum (Maundy Thursday to Resurrection Sunday), we delve into the mystery of our faith. But to arrive at the joy of Easter, we must go through the sorrow of the Passion and Death of Christ. If we only worship the Risen Lord and refuse to behold Him on the cross, we are rejecting the very sign of God’s love and mercy. It can also reflect our hesitation to take up our own cross and follow Him to our own Calvary.
Some may ask, why dwell on Calvary when Jesus is already risen? Why do we have to commemorate His passion and death? Can’t we just celebrate His victory?
The Cross is the path to God’s glorious resurrection. There is good reason why we always mark the beginning of Holy Week by putting Jesus’ triumphal entry and His Passion side by side. There is good reason why the Cross is the sign of our Christian faith and not the empty tomb. The empty tomb symbolizes Christ’s triumph over death, yes, but it doesn’t quite capture the Paschal Mystery which we commemorate and proclaim when we worship particularly in the Mass. The glorification of Jesus was not in His triumphal entry nor in the Hosannas, nor is it primarily hinged on His resurrection. His power is in His Passion by which we were saved. His glory is at the Cross. This is the truth that we must grasp and fully embrace. This is the crux of our faith. This is what we proclaim.
but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:23-24 NASB)