The Hour of our Redemption is at hand.
Once and for all, in the times of the Roman Empire and Pontius Pilate, the Savior gave Himself over for us. He submitted Himself to the power of evil men and died a horrible death. That one, single springtime–two millennia ago–saw more grace flow down from heaven than the world could ever use up.
But every year we renew the time—the Holy Hour of our Redemption—because Christ has willed that we do so.
We hear in today’s gospel reading how He commanded that the place be prepared for the celebration of the Passover. And at every Mass we hear how he commanded us to celebrate these rites in His memory.
On the one hand, it all happened once and for all, two millennia ago. On the other, we keep a yearly observance in order to sanctify our times. Because the One Who made the sacrifice is Christ, and the One Who renews it is Christ, the ‘once and for all,’ and the ‘every year’ do not contradict each other.
When we remember Jesus Christ, and what He did during Holy Week, it is not like conjuring up someone gone, reminiscing as if we were at an Irish wake. To the contrary: Jesus Christ is not dead. He is a million times more alive than we are. When we remember Him by fulfilling His commandments, He acts on us. He connects us with His eternal, undying life.
The once-and-for-all sacrifice of our Redemption is the sacrifice of the divine Son to the divine Father: It is the triune life of God. It has no end. The Hour of our Redemption is always right now. By commanding us to keep Holy Week, Jesus wakes us up again every year to this fact. The Hour of our Redemption unfolded in the world 2,000 years ago and has not run out yet. It doesn’t tick away like the minutes on a clock. Rather, it lifts every moment of time up to itself, until the Lord comes again and the Age of Grace becomes the Age of Glory.
So let’s prepare the place: our church, our schedules, ourselves—for a good Confession this week, if at all possible. Let’s prepare our hearts to accompany the Savior through the events of our Redemption. Let’s live the rest of this week in the thick of the real news: Jesus Christ has gone up to Jerusalem to keep the feast.