The blessings of Holy Week
Today we begin the holiest of weeks when our Lord Jesus Christ, out of love for us and obedience to His heavenly Father, accepted death so as to give new life. It is in this act of love that our whole life truly finds its eternal meaning. It is in celebrating this love of God for us that we are given an opportunity for a deeper and more perfect relationship with God in every moment of our lives—that we might be “holy.” Here is the schedule:
Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper: Thursday, March 29 at 7:00 PM
Good Friday, Passion of the Lord: Friday, March 30 at 3:00 PM
Holy Saturday, Easter Vigil: Saturday, March 31 at 9:00 PM
Easter Sunday Masses: Sunday, April 1 at 9:00 AM
Sunday, April 1, at 12:00 PM (Latin Extraordinary Form)
Holy Week serves not simply for us to “remember” Jesus’ love for us—but for us to enter into it. While remembering in our minds is an important part of our faith, we remember during Holy Week so as to live these events and to receive now the blessings that God intended for all times. The greatest example of this type of “remembering” is the Eucharist, which is offered “in memory” of Jesus’ sacrifice, so that we can receive all that Jesus intended to give through it: namely, His own life. So it is with the whole week: we remember it so as to live it. Thus, our week begins today, as we walk with Jesus “up” to Jerusalem, where He will accomplish the work of the Father. Having entered into the Holy City, Jesus will enter the “Holy of Holies,” making an offering of His life to the Father, for the sake of His loved ones. This offering is made one time (as said in the Letter to the Hebrews), but is effective for and shared by all times—thus, we share in this one offering of Jesus’ life. It is in this “sharing” of the one offering of Jesus that our Holy Week and the rest of our lives can truly be made more perfect.
Each of us is invited to approach Holy Week with faith that Jesus’ love is always effective. We are among the ones that Jesus came to save—and thus, we can receive salvation: through receiving the sacrament of confession, by which His power to forgive is offered to us, and makes us His own; through the Eucharist, by which this one sacrifice is re-presented, that we might die and rise with Him. In addition, we will “remember” how our Lord carried His cross, suffered, and died out of love for us—that we, who carry our crosses, suffer, and eventually will die can know the power of Jesus with us, even in these moments. We will walk with Jesus to His earthly end—so that we can also share His eternal beginning in the resurrection. At the Easter Vigil and on Easter Sunday, we will be renewed in baptism, that we may “die” to this worldly life and be renewed in the new life of Jesus Christ. Finally, Easter is not meant as a single day; it is the rest of our lives! What we celebrate on Easter is the new beginning of life, “so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
Thus, my hope and prayer for you is that you will not just remember…but truly “live” Holy Week as a deeper entrance into Jesus Christ—that He may transform you and truly make present in you the new life that He has won for us in His death and resurrection.