Dear Believers in the Christ,
Today begins “Holy Week”, the most important week in our Church calendar. We enter into the formal rituals that provide the foundation of our faith in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
I invite you with all my heart to pray with us this week. The grace of these rituals, prayers, scriptures and liturgies change us as people by showing us how to follow Jesus. We have been preparing all of Lent to better enter into the mystery of our baptism and to more closely follow the suffering and joy of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Our faith is not a private devotion. Our faith builds us up as the Church, as the People of God. Community heals us. When we pray together with these ancient practices, our lives are formed into love and we learn to serve others based on the love God has for us. Pray with integrity this week. Pray as if you have never prayed before. Pray with your doubt. Pray with your anger about your family. Pray with all the divisions in our country and world. Pray and trust that God can offer you what you need. Pray.
The “Triduum” liturgies express the core of our faith. We begin on Holy Thursday. The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper gives us a glimpse into Jesus’ love and service. This is the night in which we received the Eucharist itself. On the night before he died, Jesus gave us his continuing Real Presence. Jesus’ presence, however, does not stop at the Church door. Jesus also showed us how to wash feet, a ritual that remains within the liturgy on this holy night. He shows us how to heal people with love, acceptance and hospitality. He shows us that humility must be at the core of our service as the Church. I invite you to reflect on how Jesus washes your feet and your own call to wash the feet of other people in need.
Good Friday or Friday of the Passion of the Lord invites us to enter the mystery of Jesus’ passion and death. Jesus took on himself the sacrifice for our lives and sins. This day is a solemn experience of death but calls us deeply into hope. We know as Christians that death does not have the last word. However, suffering in our world is real and tangible. People starve for food and housing. People experience the brutality of war and violence, shootings and addictions, slander and hopelessness. All suffering is brought to the Cross of Christ. The Cross is our Only Hope.
Holy Saturday, the Easter Vigil in the Night of Easter is a glorious night! On this night we bless the new fire and bless the Easter Candle used for the entire year. We welcome those who have been preparing for Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist to the Church! This is the night of Resurrection. This is our faith!
Blessings to you as enter the magnificence and mystery of this Holy Week.