Holy Week begins with the cry, “Hosanna! Hosanna!”
In the Hebrew Bible, the word “hosanna” is used only in contexts like “help” or “save, I pray,” such as in Psalm 118. In the Gospels—for example, when Jesus enters into Jerusalem riding on a donkey surrounded by jubilant crowds waving palm branches—hosanna is used as a shout of jubilation. In this case, hosanna means a special kind of respect and honor given to the one who comes to save.
For a year, even those who may not normally pray have cried out to God, save us! Save us from the pandemic. Save us from financial loss. Save my job. Save my loved ones from death. Protect us from prejudice, racist attacks, bullying. Save me from the thousand terrors that fill my mind by night and by day.
And now in this week, this holiest of weeks, the week in which the Son of God kneels before us to tend to our deepest wounds, we whisper, Save us that we may live forever with you in the Kingdom to come!
Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom, cried out the repentant thief. Two bookends to one glorious week of salvation.
One of Jesus’ deepest heart-cries this week is the longing for us to understand what was in his heart for us. Mary, who anointed him at Bethany a few short days before his Passion—she understood him. His mother who met him on the way to Calvary as he trudged beneath the wooden beams of our salvation—she understood him. John, standing beneath the cross to receive for all of us the precious treasure of Jesus’ mother—he understood him.
There are many things in the world today that could make us run and hide, just as did the apostles who didn’t understand Jesus deeply enough to overcome their fear for themselves. Remember Hosanna. Save us that we may live forever with you in the Kingdom to come! Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.
Whatever you are facing this Paschal Triduum and Easter-tide, Hope is here. Hope is strong. Hope has a name. Our hope is Jesus. Save us that we may live forever with you in the Kingdom to come! Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.
Sr Kathryn J. Hermes, FSP