With the reading of the sorrowful passion of our Lord, Lent is over. Today we begin Holy Week. Today, we heard two Gospels: the Gospel of Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem at the beginning of Mass, and later, the Gospel of his suffering and death.
At this unique moment in the Church year, it is good to look back upon your Lent. Where did your Lenten journey take you? Make no mistake, you have been on a journey, a rather long journey that began on Ash Wednesday. Where did your journey take you?
Perhaps your journey took you to the first Gospel we read today. Are you entering Holy Week bursting with joy at all the mighty deeds God has worked in your life? Mighty deeds of conversion, of love, of new life. Then you should indeed shout with the crowds: Hosana!
But maybe your Lenten journey took you to the Gospel we just read- the story of the Passion. Maybe your Lent has been one of repentance, of facing your sins and their consequences. Or perhaps your Lent has been hard, very hard, with sickness or pain or loss. The story of the Passion might seem to you a version of your own life right now. You might then find yourself crying out with the words we just heard in the Psalm – “My God, why have you abandoned me”.
Looking back at this Lent and those of other stages of your life, you probably can recall both itineraries, elation and sorrow, ascending in joy to Jerusalem or ascending in pain to Calvary. Maybe both in the same year, or even in the same day.
The thing is, all our Lenten journeys lead to the same place. They lead neither to Jerusalem nor Calvary, but beyond.
Jesus journeyed through both the joy of Palm Sunday and the anguish of his Passion in that first Holy Week. It is Jesus in his agony and humiliation that won for us kingdom beyond earthly joys and earthly sorrows, and it is he alone who is our guide and helper to reach that kingdom, the Kingdom of God.
Wherever you started from this Lent, wherever you ended up, look now only to Jesus for your guide and your future.