Catholic Men’s Lenten Gospel Pilgrimage – Holy Week – The Passion of Our Lord – Sunday – Cycle A – Matt 26:14-27:66
Bringing into reality God’s deliberate plan of salvation conceived from the beginning, the culminating act of Christ’s Incarnation is accomplished in His Passion. Christ’s entire life and the three years of His public ministry prefigure and reveal the saving events of His Passion. The profound mysteries of the Passion can only be imperfectly considered in the briefest of ways in this short commentary.
Beginning on Holy Thursday, Christ transforms the Passover Seder (Jewish ritual meal which commemorates the Passover and deliverance from Egypt; Ex 12) into His Eucharist by the transubstantiation of His Glorified Body and Blood; Christ’s transformation of the Seder is complete when He sips wine from the Cross (John 19:23-30), the final cup of blessing in the Jewish Seder. Christ’s death establishes the eternal New Covenant in which the repentant are baptized in Christ, become adopted children of God and are fed by the Eucharist and are united with Him and granted eternal life.
Christ’s Passion is beyond the ability of a man and only God could accomplish the Passion. The Passion spans the depths of human suffering (betrayal, abandonment, anguish, torture, mocking, humiliation, a mother witnessing her only child’s death, extreme agony in death) but goes further: Christ’s suffering includes the incomprehensible pain of the effects of every human sin, from Adam until the end of time. Christ’s Last Seven Words offer great blessing: the great offer of forgiveness for the worst of crimes, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:43), should be on every man’s lips every day; “My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Matt 27:46) is not a cry of confused desperation, but is a cry of victory (a quote from Psalm 22 which points to Christ’s vindication and victory); Christ’s gift, “Behold your Mother” (John 19:26-27), is a call for every Catholic man to commit to a devotion to the Holy Mother.
1) Be astounded by how Christ transforms the 1200-year-old annual ritual of the Passover, becoming the Sacrificial Lamb of God, establishing Jewish rituals of thanksgiving (Greek – eukharistos) into the Eucharist, and how Christ continually feeds Catholics through the transubstantiation of bread and wine into His glorified Body and Blood.
2) The profound and life-changing event of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection is the greatest event in human history. During Holy Week, review the Church’s reflections on the Passion (CCC 571-637; review Scripture notes in a Catholic study bible) and pray for Christ to draw you further into the great mysteries of His saving Passion.
3) The Church exhorts men to regularly pray the Rosary to stay close to Christ and the Blessed Mother of God. During Holy Week, refresh your understanding of the Rosary (CCC 2708, 2673-2682, 971) and pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.