HOLY WEEK – CELEBRATING THE MYSTERIES OF OUR FAITH
As we approach the holiest week of the Christian Calendar, have you ever wondered why this week is called ‘Holy Week’?
This is the week in which the saving mysteries of our faith unfold in Jesus Christ, the man.
The week began with Palm Sunday, then moves towards the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil).
Each day is significant in our understanding of God’s love for us.
Palm Sunday marks Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem as a King. We testify to how well people exalt Him and yet, as the scene unfolds into Friday, the true nature of human emotions would be revealed. Who within the crowd would still stick by His side in the moment of crisis?
The Easter Triduum is one celebration of its nature in the Church’s Liturgical Year. The sign of the cross is made at the beginning of the mass of the Last Supper and no blessings until the final blessing at the Vigil Mass of the Resurrection.
Holy Thursday begins a tense moment. We celebrate Jesus’ institution of two sacraments – Holy Orders and Holy Eucharist. In washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus commissioned them to a life of service. In instituting the Eucharist, He commissioned them to make these mysteries continually present. During the mass of oils in the Cathedral, the priests renew their vows to their bishop and the mass of the Last Supper celebrated in parishes.
After supper, Jesus goes to the Garden of Olives for intense prayer. Jesus invites us to spend a moment with Him in prayer. It is here that Judas finds and betrays Jesus. The arrest follows.
Good Friday is ‘good’ because it led to the Resurrection of Jesus and his victory over death and sin and the celebration of Easter, the very pinnacle of Christian celebrations,”. The crown that exalted His entry in Jerusalem now screaming out, “crucify Him!” Jesus submits to the torture because He knows how much debt our sins have caused in God’s love. We draw this memory in the Stations of the Cross and the celebration of the Lord’s Passion at the ninth hour (3 o’clock).
Holy Saturday is a low tone day, waiting for the vigil celebrations. As we mourn and try to comprehend the reality of Jesus’ death, we join with the entire Church in prayer – Divine Office.
Easter Vigil is the night in which light and life dawns. Light emerges out of darkness, life out of the barrow of death. Victory over sin and death giving us new hope of eternal life. Jesus emerges as a Saviour and Lord in the glory of the Resurrection. Let us all celebrate these events with renewed and invigorated hearts.
Each year we are reminded of the sacrifice of Jesus and that it was His love for us that is be celebrated on Easter Sunday. Jesus is not just a memory but rather He lives within us and amongst us.
May His love for all of us be experienced during this Easter period.