8 April | Holy Week
Staring up at the crucifix in the Church of San Juan in Furelos, Spain, I fixed myself in a pew at the feet of Jesus, stationary from the moment the church opened until it closed just one hour later. This church—and its unique crucifix—served as an exceptional thin space along the Camino, offering me a brief moment in time when God very tangibly interacted with me. In His warmth and joy and peace during that particular, precious hour, Jesus revealed His essence through that artistic crucifix hanging above me: while one arm stretches to a heavenly eternity the other reaches down toward me, His creation. He truly is the conduit between Heaven and Earth. In that moment of divine beauty, my spirit fully opened. Ephphatha.
On the road to Santiago de Compostela, God invites pilgrims to share a meal of ephphathaic experiences: listening to the angelic voices of the singing Sisters of Carrion de Los Condes; participating in the nightly pilgrim masses offered at local churches and large city cathedrals; viewing and reflecting upon the architecture and artwork; feeling a light breeze in the dense heat of the day; or, just breathing in God with each step, knowing the road ahead will be extremely arduous but victorious in the end.
Though my entrance into the city of Compostela ended in celebration in front of the Cathedral of Saint James, Jesus’s entrance into Jerusalem ended in betrayal, false accusation, torture, and death. His cup awaited Him. As the Psalmist laments in today’s readings, “For I am eaten up with zeal for your house, and insults directed against you fall on me. I mortify myself with fasting, and find myself insulted for it. To eat they gave me poison, to drink, vinegar when I was thirsty” (Psalm 69:9-10; 21). And yet Jesus continues on His Own Way, choosing obedience, choosing to live Isaiah’s prophesy: “Lord Yahweh has opened my ear and I have not resisted, I have not turned away. I have offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; I have not turned my face away from insult and spitting” (50: 5-6). He endured. And then He drank from the cup of death. For me. For you. A communal, yet personal sacrifice.
Passover begins tonight. Let’s reflect upon this Season of remembrance of the Exodus and how God has freed us from our own persecutors. Easter is a few days away.
About this Blog
The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage through Spain, ending at the spot said to contain the relics of Saint James the Apostle. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims travel this route each year.