Reflection on Palm Sunday & Holy Week: 28th March 2021

Betwixt and Between

During Holy Week, the liturgy invites us to surrender to the mystery of the cross ‘…which teaches us that the price we pay for holding together the contradictions within ourselves, others and the world is always some form of crucifixion.’1 We begin Palm Sunday by joining the jubilant crowds as they welcome Jesus as their Messiah with joyful cries of ‘Hosanna’. In contrast, in the same liturgical ceremony, we are reminded that the way of the palms will lead to the way of the passion. The liturgy of Holy Thursday and Good Friday leave us in no doubt that ‘Love is His meaning’2 When we kneel at the foot of the cross ‘Jesus teaches us how to stand against hate without becoming hate, how to oppose evil without becoming evil.’1

And Holy Saturday? In the days when Midnight Mass was celebrated at midnight, there was no liturgical ceremony on Holy Saturday. However, this is the day when our experience of the cross is ‘holding the tension between one space and another. This is called liminal space. (The Latin root limen literally means threshold.) It is in these transitional moments of our lives that authentic transformation can happen.’1 ‘Holy Saturday is the ultimate liminal space’.3 ‘What are we to do at such a threshold moment? The ancient Celtic tradition provides a simple response: in moments of transition, we are simply to be. We are to pause and acknowledge that a transition is taking place.’4 ‘In liminal space we sometimes need to not-do and not-perform according to our usual successful patterns.’1

‘A threshold is the moment of liminal space between that which once was and what is to come. When we cling tightly to our past experiences, we fail to recognise what is. Once we have outgrown our version of reality, we see a world that is vastly bigger than we imagined. Nostalgia can be a gift when we cultivate gratitude for the path we have walked. However, memories can deceive us if we believe that revisiting what once nourished us will sustain us moving forward.’4

‘Liminal space is a place in between what we were and what we are becoming. It is like a chrysalis for humans.’5 ‘How does one become a butterfly? You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.’6

[1] Richard Rohr [2] Julian of Norwich [3] Alison Barr [4] Brandan J. Robertson
[5] Byron McMillan [6] Trina Paulus: ‘Hope for the Flowers’

Readings

  • Palm Sunday: Mark 14: 1—15: 47 (Shorter: Mark 15: 1-39)
  • Holy Thursday: John 13: 1-15
  • Good Friday: John 18:1—19:42