WE ARE ALL FAMILIAR WITH THE PASSAGE of the Passion Narrative in St. Mathew’s Gospel in which Jesus is brought before Pilate by the chief priests and elders to condemn Him to death. Pilate is convinced of his innocence but weak in his resolve to free him. He washes his hands and declares “I am innocent of this man’s blood. It is your concern! The rabble respond “His blood be upon us and upon our children.”
Think deeply for a moment—–‘Jesus loves us and washes away our sins in his own blood.’ He poured out the very last drop of his precious blood Just to save you and me. That is the reality; his blood is upon us and our children. We are bathed in this blood particularly at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in the Sacrament of Penance as St Catherine of Siena is so fond of telling us. The saintly Sr Mary Jane, of our community, always said when asked to pray for anyone, “I will go directly to the Chapel and pour the Precious Blood over her or him”, she realised the treasure she had and used it for the salvation of others.

In a reading on the feast of St Agatha, virgin and martyr, we are told that Agatha kept continually in her thoughts the death of her eager lover, Jesus and bore it in her heart as if he had only just been drenched in his own blood.
As we enter with the whole Church into this most solemn of weeks we can accompany our eager Lover on his journey through death to resurrection. Eager in his love for suffering and death? Can that really be true? Listen to St Paul, “He loved me and gave himself up for me.”

Julian of Norwich, the English mystic confirms this when in the recounting of her revelations she puts on the lips of Jesus “JULIAN, ARE YOU WELL SATISIFIED WITH MY SUFFERING FOR YOU?” “Yes, thank you Lord”, she replied. Jesus answered, “If you are satisfied, I am satisfied too. It gives me great happiness and joy and indeed eternal delight ever to have suffered for you. If I could possibly have suffered more I would have done so. See the delight and happiness I have in your salvation and because you love me, rejoice with me.” I ask myself do I have the trust and courage to rejoice to be a partner on this journey of my eager Lover?
May Mary our mother and lover above all lovers who stood unflinchingly by the Cross of Jesus teach us and all who are suffering throughout the world to unite our pain with that of Jesus and so help to redeem the world, in our own little way. Let us pray for one another that this Holy Week will draw us into an ever deeper and more loving appreciation of Jesus our Lover.
As one of the hymns of our Brother, St Thomas Aquinas, puts it:

Pelican most tender, Jesus Lord and God
Wash my guilty Spirit in Thy Precious Blood
Oh, a drop availeth all the world to win
From its land of bondage and its stain of sin.