Commentary on “Great and Holy Week”

A few years ago while reading “The Brother’s Karamazov” by Fyodor Doestevesky I was struck by how awful the youngest son, the saintly Aloysha Karamazov, was treated. He was derided for his kind and Christlike behavior. He was called a “holy fool” by his father, and isn’t wasn’t a term of endearment. The Apostle Paul writes this in his first letter to the Corinthian church:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

1 Corinthians 1.18-21

I was reading the novel arround Holy Week and it just struck the derision suffered by Aloysha is the same derision I made Christ suffer this week. Christ is a great fool for loving me, for loving us.

There first two stanzas are a paraphrase of Philippians with a direct allusion to Philippians 2:6 in the second stanza:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage. Philippians 2:5-6

My favorite moment of the poem is at the end, which alludes to Holy Saturday when the disciples hid away in the upper room. But, I wanted to attach ourselves to that moment. I used Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

The allegory asks us to imagine that there’s a group of prisoners chained to a wall of a cave and all the prisoners can see is shadows of the above world dancing on the wall. In time those chained to the walls begin to believe that all there was was the cave and shadows on the wall. If a prisoner was dragged out of the cave and brought into the light it would be at first painful, like death for him, the light of the outside world would be blinding. But, in time his eyes would adjust and he’d begin to see the sun, and the moon, and the stars. He would realize that not being chained to the wall of a cave and being free in the above world is superior. When the freed prisoner came to this understanding he would return to the cave and try and free the other prisoners.

Worldly wisdom suggests that all there is is the material we can see and touch. Wordly wisdom suggests that all that matters is what has utilitarian purpose. Worldly wisdom suggests that all there is is cave and shadows. But Jesus who knew no sin became sin, he became a prisoner chained to the wall alongside of us. His death and resurrection is the freedom that will allow us to see the sun, and the moon, and the stars.

Platon_Cave_Sanraedam_1604-2(Plato’s Allegory of the Cave by Jan Saenredam, according to Cornelis van Haarlem, 1604, Albertina, Vienna)

The poem can be found here.

Commentary on “Great and Holy Week”

One thought on “Commentary on “Great and Holy Week”

Comments are closed.