We are only a few days away from the start of the only week that Christianity specifically identifies as "Holy" - the week that begins with Palm Sunday and ends on Saturday, the day before Easter. But not Easter.
Why is that? Why isn't the ultimate celebration in Christianity, the commemoration of Jesus' resurrection - the symbol of the triumph of God's ways of life over the world's frequently competing ways of death - not considered part of that most sacred week?
Perhaps it is because Easter is, in a spiritual sense, a product of Holy Week, or more specifically, the result of the spiritual process that Holy Week exemplifies.
During Holy Week, we are presented with a summary of the fundamentals of the life Jesus lived and called us to live, an earthly life which leads to eternal life - life in union with God and God's ways. Resurrection Life, if you will. During Holy Week, Jesus engaged in ultimate acts of faith - ultimate integrity in his refusal to save himself from pain and suffering by renouncing the mission that God had given him; ultimate moral courage in resisting the unjust powers that oppressed the majority of people and elevated themselves above God; ultimate inclusion of and compassion for those considered "least" in the eyes of society; and ultimate forgiveness in refusing to condemn anyone - even those who had a hand in his execution.
It was, and is, that kind of "Holy" integrity, moral courage, inclusion, compassion and forgiveness which opens the door for God's power to raise good from evil; hope from despair; and life from death to enter the world.
It is that kind of "Holy Week", that kind of "Holy Life", which opens the door to Easter.
Easter Blessings, Mark