The priest could go to the police, he could ask for protection, he could run away for his own safety. But the film simply follows him as the week unfolds - and we see him going about daily life in the round of parish happenings, the quirkiness and problems of his parishioners, and in exploring his relationship with a daughter who was growing up when his wife died and he entered the priesthood. All along he is heading to “Calvary.” And the question is - where should he be?
I wondered how many people in the audience might need the reference to Calvary explaining. Holy Week takes us from Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem - hailed as a King - to his death on the Cross. Jesus could have cut and run. In his prayer in Gethsemane he’d asked that “the cup might pass from him.” But what we discover is how he discerns where he must be - with his people, finally dying for his people, not shirking his meeting with the man who would betray him.
Go on to Easter… and we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection and the glory that goes with it. And then - the celebrations should go on. Easter-tide itself lasts 50 days, through Ascension Day right up to Pentecost. Meanwhile we find ourselves back with the daily round of tasks we must attend to and relationships in which we are called to give and receive care. I love Easter - but then almost immediately find myself wearied at the prospect of lots of official paperwork and other administration which is always required at this time. The challenge of Easter is to see that it’s not merely a backward-looking glance at an event of 2,000 years ago - but rather the good news of how God brings new life and light into our world, and how we need to live it out every day. Jesus calls us - not to escape the realities of life which we confront, but to show us how to live through those realities with a new hope and aided by his grace.
A blessed Easter-tide to you!
[Taken from the May issue of St. Cuthbert's Parish Magazine - find it all online here]