As we begin Holy Week, I strongly encourage everyone to enter into the fullness of this week’s beauty as we remember and celebrate the saving work of Jesus Christ. The liturgy celebrated this week draws us beyond thinking about the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus to fully partaking in it and receiving new life from it. I hope all will fully partake of these beautiful and saving gifts of Christ. Here is the schedule:
Holy Thursday: Mass of the Lord’s Supper: Thursday, March 24, 7:00 PM
Good Friday, Passion of the Lord: Friday, March 25, 3:00 PM
Holy Saturday, Easter Vigil: Saturday, March 26, 9:15 PM
Easter Sunday Masses: Sunday, March 27, 8:00 AM and 10:30 AM
As we “remember” what Jesus accomplished during Holy Week, our act of remembering is meant to lead us to live these events and to receive now the blessings that God intended for all times. The greatest example of this “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. We particularly enter into this mystery of remembering on Holy Thursday by celebrating the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, entering into Jesus’ saving work in the Eucharistic mystery and in response to the invitation to be close to him in the Agony of the Garden (as commemorated by the reserving of the Eucharist in the Altar of Repose.) Then, on Good Friday, we accompany Jesus on the way of the cross, giving adoration to that cross by which Christ offered himself for us once for all.
While Holy Saturday is a day of anticipation, nightfall brings an entrance into the fullness of the victory of Christ. For on Saturday Night, after it is completely dark outside, we begin the Easter Season first by keeping vigil wherein we receive and bless the new Paschal Candle as a symbol of Christ, the light of the world, and then by recalling the history of salvation (given in the seven Old Testament readings.) PLEASE NOTE: the late start of the Vigil at 9:15pm is to preserve the fullness of its integrity as a vigil, celebrated during complete darkness. During this vigil (as well as on Easter Sunday morning) we are also renewed in our share in the victory of Christ by renewing our baptismal promises, that we may “die” to this worldly life, leaving behind the old ways of sin – and those “earthly attachments” that we first gave up for Lent – so to live in the light of Christ for the rest of our days. Easter, therefore, 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).
It is my hope and prayer for you is that you will enter into the fullness of this Holy Week, participating in the works of salvation in 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.