We are now well into Holy Week. The day after tomorrow is Maundy Thursday, when Jesus said his farewells to his disciples and instituted the Holy Eucharist.

The time between Jesus’s arrival in Jerusalem and the events of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday were a busy time for Jesus. In the Gospels a lot of the parables and teachings of Jesus take place after the record of the entry into Jerusalem. He was keenly aware that he was about to leave his disciples, leaving in a way that, initially, would be traumatic and incomprehensible to them. They needed to be prepared for what was ahead.

As we approach again the traumas of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, we are one up on the Disciples in so far as we know the ultimate outcome, the Resurrection and then the Ascension of our Lord. But this should not take away from our reflection on what led up to this. We need to prepare ourselves prayerfully for the next few days.

This is the week before Jesus died, a week of him sharing final thoughts and of reminding his Disciples how much he loved them. It was a week filled with pain and promise, leading up to the final agonised declaration from the Cross of “It is finished”. As we go forward in Holy Week, perhaps this is a good opportunity to ask ourselves once again what Jesus’ sacrifice means to us individually and personally and how we can serve him better.

Richard Austen