■ By Luis E. Barreto Lugo / Contributed
Starting on March 25, the Christian church all over the world will immerse herself in the commemoration of Holy Week. It’s the tribute of the savior, Jesus Christ, the son of God, in the week of his passion. It’s the remembrance of his harrowing torture and suffering on the cross, his sacrificial death and hasty burial, but above all; it is the week before the celebration of his glorious resurrection.
Beginning with Palm Sunday, where Christians celebrate Christ’s triumphal entrance into Jerusalem and including the solemn services of Holy Wednesday (Spy Wednesday), Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday), the very solemn service of Good Friday (Holy Friday), and ending—in some traditions—with Holy Saturday or Vigil of Easter, Holy Week is the culmination of the Lenten Season which began on Feb. 14 this year.
Resurrection Sunday will be celebrated on April 1 this year. This is without a doubt the single most important date in the Christian year and by far the greatest feast of the Christian calendar. It’s without a question the one event in the history of mankind and the church that holds every doctrine of Christian faith together and marks the triumphal celebration of Christ’s fulfillment of his ministry of redemption.
The whole narrative of the New Testament and its redemptive message would be nothing without the resurrection account as voiced in the gospels of Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 and John 20. In the words of the Apostle Paul: “…If Christ has not been raised (from the dead), then your (our) faith is futile and you (we) are still in your (our) sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17 ESV).
Lent—beginning with Ash Wednesday—acts of contrition, public and private confession and services emphasizing the righteous suffering of the Messiah mark the pace of the church toward Holy Week commemorations. The somber introspective nature of Lent is then changed into one of jubilation once Holy Week ends.
Indeed, Christ’s church all over the world has reasons to be jubilant beyond the ordinary. Resurrection Sunday is the celebration of life! The Church of Christ the savior is overjoyed because we have received the message; the historical accounts of Jesus’ witnesses and disciples who narrated the events and circumstances that brought the son of God to the cross and the miraculous event that ensued.
Christians of all denominations celebrate because we have been set free from bondage to sin and to live a new life. We make merry because on the cross Jesus paid the price in full. Drop by drop of his redeeming blood, the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” (John 1: 29), bled for our salvation and fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies.
“When he had shed his blood, he died and was buried, and the sign of Jonah was given to those who had demanded he performed one.” (Matthew 12: 38-40). Yes, Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a big fish, likewise, Jesus, the son of God, was three days and three nights in the heart of the Earth and then, the resurrection, the coming to life and the dispensation of God’s grace and mercy began.