Before a rocket is launched into outer space, the command center’s main responsibility is to ensure that absolutely everything is in proper order before takeoff. If just one screw is out of place, it could result in total disaster. Once the inspection is complete and the Launch Director has determined the rocket “Go for Launch” then final liftoff sequence may begin. The same can be said about the Passion of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.
With the raising of Lazarus from the dead which we commemorated yesterday, the stage was set for Christ to complete what He had come to accomplish. Up until this point, Jesus always rejected the public praises of the crowd, even disappearing without notice to avoid arriving at His Passion too quickly. The Gospels teach of Christ’ birth, Baptism, temptation, recruiting His disciples, His teaching, His miracles, His public and private debates with members of the religious elite, and the numerous prophecies He fulfilled. Once everything had been set in order, then Jesus authorized the final countdown sequence.
Saint Athanasios teaches us that Christ waited for the most public day, in the most public city, during the most public feast, for the most public death, in order that when He is Raised from the Dead the joyous truth of His saving mission for us will be believed by as many as were witnesses to His death. On that first Palm Sunday, five days before Passover, Christ no longer stopped the crowd from proclaiming His authority. He no longer slipped away quietly to avoid being discovered by the elites. He was prepared to begin the final countdown to His Glorious Passion. Today the Church looks joyously ahead at the result of Pascha, but understands there are still a few last minute details to work through before Christ is lifted upon the Cross.
Just as it can be exciting to be a witness of the launch of the rocket into outer space from distance, it is even more rewarding to be a part of the launch team and be present first hand for the event. Holy Week is your chance to be present first hand with Christ and His launch team (the Church) to witness the final launch of His plan to save us from death. I hope you’re ready. T-6 DAYS.
Here is your final checklist for Holy Week...
- Have you fasted as the Church teaches?
- Have you read your Scriptures as the Church teaches?
- Have you prayed daily as the Church teaches?
- Have you prepared for Holy Communion as the Church teaches?
- Have you helped the poor as the Church teaches?
- Have you made plans to be in Church this week?
The Lord has initiated the final countdown to Pascha! Don’t be late! You don’t want to miss the event that changed the world for ever!