There are many scenes in the Passion account from the Gospel of Matthew (21:1-11). This year, a particular scene keeps recurring to me. The scene is not on Golgotha, but in Jerusalem, in the Temple. The time in at 3 in the afternoon at the moment that Jesus dies. The reading said that there was an earthquake, and the curtain of the Temple was torn in two.
What was this curtain, and how is its tearing significant? The curtain was the barrier between the Holy of Holies representing where God dwelt and the rest of the Temple representing where man dwelt. When Jesus died on the Cross, the barrier between God and man was destroyed. The Holy of Holies was also the place of the major sacrifices of the year, mostly slaughtered animals. There would no longer be a reason for man to make burnt offerings. Jesus’ sacrifice made these types of sacrifices absurd. In fact, there would no longer be a need for a Temple. For now, God’s People, united to Christ, would be the Temple.
The Passion reading began with Jesus proclaiming a new covenant that was being made between God and man, a covenant of blood made by His sacrifice. It is easy to get caught up in the emotions of Passion Sunday and of Good Friday. We want to feel sorry for Jesus suffering as He did. But He does not want our sympathy. He wants our union with Him in a world transformed by His Love, sacrificial love. He wants our fidelity to the New Covenant.
I pray that you and your families may have a Holy Week.