Red draped the Crucifix as it proceeded amidst waving palm branches – blood red! Shouts of “Hail and hosanna” would soon change to “Crucify!” It is so brief a time to reign and be acknowledged as the Holy One of God. Our homilist, Fr. Michael De Palma asked what happened? For the Church, not many weeks ago, we were gazing on the face of the Christ Child. Angels sang and Wise Men bowed low. We sang:
“Sacred Infant, all Divine,
What a tender love was Thine;
Thus to come from highest bliss
Down to such a world as this !
Teach, oh, teach us, Holy Child,
By Thy face so meek and mild.
Teach us to resemble Thee,
In Thy sweet humility !
What happened? Have we, too, dismissed Him? He reigns on our calendars, but what about our hearts? What other loves have replaced Him in our day to day? Can we bear to look upon His disfigured Face? Can we “Behold the Man?.”
Father Michael invited us to live this week differently from all others, to banish all other loves and gaze upon one bruised and bloodied Face. Angels trembled at what we had done to the Son of God. They trembled, too, at what He accomplished on that Cross for me and you.
We will soon sing with the Church around the world:
O Sacred Head, surrounded
by crown of piercing thorn!
O bleeding head, so wounded,
reviled and put to scorn!
Our sins have marred the glory
of thy most holy face,
yet angel hosts adore thee
and tremble as they gaze
I see thy strength and vigor
all fading in the strife,
and death with cruel rigor,
bereaving thee of life;
O agony and dying!
O love to sinners free!
Jesus, all grace supplying,
O turn thy face on me.
(Words Henry Williams Baker after Bernard of Clairvaux)
One Holy Week remains of Lent. We are invited to walk these days with our Lord to Calvary. Without the Cross there is no Resurrection, no Easter glory. With Christ we, too, can rise again to new Life
“When He is King we will give Him the Kings’ gifts,
Myrrh for its sweetness, and gold for a crown…
When He is King they will clothe Him in grave-sheets,
Myrrh for embalming and wood for a crown..
Bethlehem Down – words by Bruce Blunt