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The Holiest Week of the Year for Christians and Jews

To the Editor:

On Sunday past, called the “Sunday of the Palms,” Christians throughout the world held up palm branches while proclaiming ‘Hosanna Filio David!’ (save, we pray Son of David!) This event that some of the Gospel writers interpreted as Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem as the long – awaited king – Messiah of Israel.  Such acclaim would quickly give way to a passionate outcry for his death – a sentence that would surely follow, but not until a memorable evening, on the first night of Passover, would be celebrated. Christians term said evening as Maundy (Mandate) or Holy Thursday and the event named differently, either as The Lord’s Supper, the Divine Mysteries, the Mass or Holy Eucharist. 

Some are celebrating the meal as this very newspaper is being distributed throughout our community. The ancient feast of Passover, calling to mind God’s deliverance of His people from Egypt, the Exodus  journey and, finally, the joyful entrance into the promised land, is re-enacted, each year, by  faithful Jews all over the world. Christians believe that what they celebrate, each time they come together for Eucharist (“eucharistein” = thanksgiving), is God’s continuing , effective presence in their lives. I believe that Jesus is actually and sacramentally present in the Eucharistic bread and wine and that that presence truly makes believers into the “Corpus Christi,” the body of Christ.

The calendar celebration, both of Passover and Holy Eucharist are celebrated on this very week in churches and synagogues, the world over. Newtown had a unique pre-celebration of these very connected feasts, during the previous week, at the Newtown United Methodist Church. The Bee gave us all a very accurate account of a most inspiring service. Such is an essential part of Newtown’s healing.

On the eve of this celebration of Easter, we can all loudly proclaim with St. Paul: “O grave, where is your power; O death where is your sting?”  A Blessed Easter to all!

Rev. Leo McIlrath

13 Sugarloaf Road, Sandy Hook               April 13, 2014

More stories like this: Easter, Holy Week, Christianity
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