Now we are in Passiontide, and traditionally the crucifixes are veiled in our churches until the Good Friday liturgy. This is a reminder that “Jesus hid himself and left the Temple” (John 8:59, in the Gospel for Thursday), until the hour comes when, as our High Priest, he would pass within the veil of the Holy of Holies, offering his own blood for our redemption.
On Wednesday however, we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord: the unfathomable moment of the Incarnation of God in the womb of virgin from Nazareth. This joyful day foreshadows the triumph of Easter morning, which everything is leading up to; “For the Virgin Mary heard with faith that the Christ was to be born among men and for men’s sake by the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit. Lovingly she bore him in her immaculate womb, that the promises to the children of Israel might come about and the hope of nations be accomplished beyond all telling” (Preface for the Annunciation).
The week culminates in Palm Sunday, for which you will need to turn to your ‘Holy Week’ issue of MAGNIFICAT. At Mass, we will recall the entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem, and hear the narrative of the Passion from the events of Passover (this year, from Mark’s Gospel). As Blessed Guerric of Igny says in the MAGNIFICAT Meditation for that day, “If then … today’s procession and Passion are considered together, in the one Jesus is seen as sublime and glorious, in the other as lowly and suffering. In the procession he is thought of as receiving the honour of a king, in the Passion he is seen undergoing the punishment of a thief.”
Such paradoxes are what make up our faith in the saving power of God made flesh: suffering, dying, and rising from the dead.
Leonie Caldecott is the editor of MAGNIFICAT UK and Ireland
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