Letters & Opinion

Easter: The Culmination of the Passion of Jesus Christ

By Sylvestre Phillip M.B.E

EASTER 2024, will culminate the Passion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Easter will also bring a joyful end to the period of Lent in which Catholic Christians were engaged in forty days of fasting, prayer and penance.

In the Marchand Sacred Heart Parish, parishioners were engaged, for one week, in a family retreat which culminated with Palm Sunday.

Now previously, there were separate retreats for the youth, women and men. However, for several years now, we, at the Marchand Sacred Heart Parish have followed a Family Retreat, which brought together all members of the family to spend time with God.

In 2024, the family retreat was conducted by Deacon Jeffers Paul of Dominica who proclaimed the word of God with zeal and music, so that those who attended had the opportunity to listen to scripture readings and explanations, to be engaged in songs and catholic rituals. Deacon Paul was indeed, very dynamic. The power of the word gave participants Hope and Comfort.

Now let us investigate some vital aspects or parts of the Holy Week.

I would like to begin with Palm Sunday.

Holy week begins with Palm Sunday, which is the most important week for us Catholic Christians. Palm Sunday commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem as saviour and King. Palm Sunday is also known as Passion Sunday.

It is well known that Palm Sunday does not fall on the same day every year. The ceremony is determined by when Easter will be celebrated.

Indeed, for Christians, Holy Week commemorates the final days of Jesus on Earth.

Now Palm Sunday has its own symbolism in the form of a donkey and palms. At Sacred Heart parish, parishioners could be seen waiving their palms vigorously during the ceremony.

Indeed, the donkey is an animal which symbolizes service, suffering, peace and humility. Those of us who have had the opportunity to witness the activities of the donkey would have experienced the heavy loads which they carried along the country roads.

The palm branches represent victory with integrity as well as peace joy and eternal life. The palm branches never die. For example, the palms used for 2024 will be used on Ash Wednesday, 2025, after being burned and the ashes used during the Ash Wednesday ceremony.

But more importantly, when Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly, he was mounted on the back of a donkey and the crowds that gathered along the way, waived or laid palm branches before him.

We come now to Wednesday of Holy Week. That Wednesday, known biblically, as spy Wednesday. It was the day When Judas spied on Jesus in an effort to plan his arrest and death.

Indeed, for us Catholic Christians, the church recognizes that day as the ceremony of the oils. That is the oils used in the various ceremonies and sacraments of the church are blessed. During that ceremony, the priests renew their vows to serve God in their various parishes and communities. Holy Thursday is also referred to as Maundy Thursday.

On Maundy or Holy Thursday, Jesus shared the last supper with His disciples, before His betrayal by His disciple Judas Iscariot.

For those of us Independent Mechanics, Thursday of Holy is the day when we remember the last Supper of Jesus Christ with the sharing of the Passover by engaging in a seder meal. The Last Supper or Seder Meal is shared during twilight of Holy Thursday leading to the dawn of good Friday.

Indeed, the word Passover means deliverance since in the Exodus story, the Lord passed over the houses of the children of Israel who were in bondage in Egypt.

The Last Supper is also referred to as the festival of unleavened Bread or bread without yeast. It also signifies the washing of the feet during which Jesus washed the feet of his disciples in order to show humility.

Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread is also known as the season of our freedom. Now in their haste to flee Egypt to freedom, the Israelites carried their dough still unleavened.

The Passover is a festival of great rejoicing, which reveals how God led us from captivity to freedom, from sadness to joy, from mourning to feasting, from servitude to redemption, from darkness to brilliant light.

Independent Mechanics know those elements very well since it is the roots of our heritage. During the seder meal, we drink of the Cup of Sanctification, the Cup of Instruction, the Cup of Praise and the cup of consummation.

The following morning is good Friday, when Jesus would be sentenced and put to death. At 3:00 p.m. that day Catholic Christians celebrate the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Indeed the following day is Holy Saturday when we keep a vigil leading to the Great Easter Sunday when Jesus rose from the dead, left the tomb, and continued to show himself until He returned to His Heavenly Father.

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