"Go into the city to a certain man and tell him,
'The teacher says, my appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples." The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover.
Philosophical types have long been fascinated with time. 19th century writers, led by H.G.Wells (The Time Machine) and Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court) explored the idea of time travel. In the 20th century, Einstein and others physicists joined the fun, calling time a fourth dimension; or, more precisely, one dimension of time as compared to three dimensions of space. The concept generates a lively discussion in some circles. If we can move up and down, left and right, forward and backward in the three dimensions of space, why can't we move backward in time, or even tesseract across wrinkles of time? Nowadays, fantasy fiction like Dr. Who and Star Trek dabble in that kiddie pool of philosophical thought.
It seems almost heretical to suggest no one can or ever will time-travel. As I understand, Saint Thomas Aquinas declared that not even God can change the past. (But don't quote me on that. God does, in fact, heal the past.) While some might argue it is "theoretically possible," their theories include impossible preconditions, like the ability to travel faster than light. We are doomed to live forever in the present moment. That restriction is the foundation of human freedom.
The Hebrews were also fascinated with time. Although the Greek Herodotus is credited with inventing the study of history, the Hebrews introduced purpose, direction and hope to the endless monotony of time. Our faith in God tells us we are going someplace and it will be a better place. If other nations looked back to a glorious past and regretted its disappearance, the People of God looked forward to the Day when God's merciful justice would reign upon earth. That "Day of the Lord" first appears in the writing of the 9th century bce prophet Amos, although he said it would be a day of judgement and doom.
Jesus added another, deeper dimension to this story. He is the long awaited Day. He is the end of our longing. He is also the promise of future glory and delight as we resume our travel through time.
The Evangelists were profoundly aware of his mysterious appearance in time. In today's gospel he says, "...my appointed time draws near." His appointed time was fastened to the Jewish Passover -- a connection both surprising and not surprising. It was surprising in the sense that the Jews had been celebrating the feast for over a thousand years. Why would this feast day be any different? But it was not surprising in the sense: "When else could his appointed time occur except at the Passover?"
Holy Week is for Christians the most sacred time of year. Beginning with Palm Sunday; it processes through Holy Thursday and Good Friday and reaches its climax with the Holy Saturday Vigil. This is a "L'Englelian tesseract" which permits us to time-travel back to the most ancient origins of the feast in the Sinai Peninsula; and back to that astounding moment of death and resurrection in Jerusalem; and forward to that glorious future day when all the nations will recognize the Crucified as the Crowned Son of God. (It is unfortunate that we call this feast Easter as the word fails to evoke our roots in the Jewish Pasch.)
These tesseracts appear only occasionally, as feast days. This is an opportunity not to be missed.