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"Holy Week reminds the whole of Humanity that our God is there."

The chaplain of Tecnun and Colegio Mayor Ayete, Don Emilio Fuertes, writes the following article on the occasion of the Passion Week

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Mr. Emilio Fuertes PHOTO: Communication Service
26/03/18 18:58 Communication Service

When the writer Elie Weisel was 15 years old, he was forced to witness, along with many other prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp, the hanging of a boy younger than himself. It was one of those horrors that so move and bewilder us: the suffering of the innocent. While the guards were killing the little boy, a voice cried out in the silence, in the midst of the crowd of prisoners: Where is God now? The answer of little Elie Weisel was: "God is there, hanging". 

This same cry arises in many on the occasion of an attack like the one in Barcelona last summer, the endless war in Syria, or the tremendous phenomena such as child soldiers, or human trafficking.

Holy Week reminds Christians and the whole of humanity that our God is there, here, with us, with everyone, with those who suffer and with those who need deep consolation and understanding

The holy days of that week liturgically commemorate the response that God has given to the pain and the withdrawal of men: Jesus Christ, the carpenter of Nazareth, born during the reign of Augustus, is the Son of God who has come down to earth and suffered with us and for us, and has risen to die no more. 

This week, known in the Christian world as Holy Week, begins with Palm Sunday. The Sunday Mass presents Jesus entering the holy city, Jerusalem, built on Mount Zion. And he enters on the back of a donkey, as king of peace, amidst acclamations, palms and praises, recalling the words of the prophet: 

Rejoice, O Zion, rejoice, O Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming, righteous and triumphant, poor and riding on a donkey, on a donkey's colt (Zechariah 9:9). After this joyful and hopeful beginning, the liturgy of the following days evokes the arrest, trial, and condemnation to death by the power of Rome of Jesus Christ on the Cross. On the third day, Easter Sunday, Jesus rises to die no more.

Holy Week relives these events on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. And it reminds the entire Christian world - everyone - that God is with us, and will not leave us. It is not a tradition with no known origin, nor a surviving and now meaningless reflection of an ancient legend, like the glow of a star whose brightness comes when it is already extinguished. It is the living and updated representation of the last hours of Jesus Christ.

This is the meaning of these days that are approaching: to remind us that we are not alone in the universe, God accompanies us even in the worst moments. We may not be able to explain the reasons for pain and injustice, but we have the assurance of God's presence, and the confidence of knowing that He has forgiven and redeemed us.

Even now, as in the first century, St. Paul's insistence that "we Christians speak of Christ and him crucified" can be scandalous. The news of his painful and tragic death and the joy of his resurrection continues to confront today a culture refractory to the spirit. 

On the statement of Stephen Hawking 's death on March 14, his three children recall that he once told them: 'The universe wouldn't be much if it wasn't home to the people you love'. Christians remember at Easter in a real and profound way that the universe is the home of God and his children, despite the pains and troubles we may encounter in life. And that is why we can savor again these days that anonymous sonnet that reminds us: 

It does not move me, my God, to love you
the heaven you have promised me,
nor am I moved by the hell so dreaded
to stop offending you for that reason.

You move me, Lord, you move me to see you
nailed to a cross and mocked,
move me to see your body so wounded,
move me to see your affronts and your death.
Finally, your love moves me, and in such a way,
that even if there were no heaven, I would love thee,
and if there were no hell, I would fear thee.
You do not have to give me because I love you,
For though what I hope for I do not expect,
I would love you just as much as I love you.

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