We join in wishing you all, wherever you may be, a blessed Holy Week and a joyful Eastertide.
We invite you to enter with real spiritual seriousness into the powerful story of Holy Week so that you can experience personally and profoundly the joy and happiness of Easter.
Easter Day is far more than a happy ending to the sad tale of Good Friday. Rather it is the celebration of the ultimate victory of God over all that damages, terrifies and destroys us.
On Good Friday it seemed that the worst that the world can do was victorious over the best that there can ever be. The crucifixion was the rejection of all that it is to be truly human. It was the refusal to believe that only in Christ can men and women find their truest identity and fullest humanity. It was the attack of darkness on the reality of a total Love.
All around us today, we still see powerful signs of that same darkness in our world. It is found in in the horrors of cruel and vicious inhumanity to those who are seen as other; in the day to day debasement of the dignity of those who are unable to defend themselves; in physical violence, murder, war and persecution. It issues in the extreme selfishness of some individual lives that have fallen away catastrophically from any generosity and forgiveness.
But in the compassionate cry of abandonment from the cross, Good Friday reminds us that God is to be found not among those who can destroy others most effectively, but rather totally with those who are at the receiving end of the envy, spite and viciousness of others.
Saint Paul describes the resurrection of Christ as the “first fruits” – the evidence that there will be a harvest of hope, and a final victory of love over hatred, injustice and futility.
May we together follow trustfully with Jesus Christ on the way to the Cross, and share fully with him in the joy of his resurrection. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed, Alleluia!
+Eamon Martin +Richard Clarke
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh
Holy Week begins on this Sunday 29 March, Palm Sunday. This day marks the celebration of the entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem. The Palm Sunday ceremony begins with the blessing of the palms. It is an occasion for reflecting on the final week of Jesus’s life and a time for Christians to prepare for the agony of His Passion and the joy of His Resurrection.