Dear Followers of Jesus Christ,
Welcome to Holy Week, the essential celebrations of our liturgical year. In these liturgies, we pray the journey of the Paschal Mystery, the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I explain here the images from my cover of today’s bulletin:
Coins: Judas betrayed Jesus with a few coins. Judas was persuaded to hand over Jesus to the authorities. These coins become an image of our own betrayal as well. They signify how we live unable to surrender to Christ. Our pride, self-sufficiency and our lack of integrity are at the core of our Holy Week journey. We are led beyond ourselves this week. These coins also represent our almsgiving during this Lenten season. Our Rice Bowls are donated on Holy Thursday during the Mass.
Holy Oils: The Chrism Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday of Holy Week at the Cathedral. Bishop Sheridan and all of the clergy will bless the oils. The oils are essential for the mission of the Church. The Sacred Chrism (SC) is used for adults and children who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil and all through the year. Chrism is also used for the sacrament of Confirmation and Holy Orders. The aroma of chrism will linger long into the year. The Oil of Catechumens (OS) is used for those who will be joining our Church. The Oil of the Sick (OI) is used for the healing of the sick and to prepare the ill for their home in heaven.
The Holy Cross: Christ Jesus sacrificed his very life. His death opens our lives to the Kingdom of Heaven. All suffering is lifted up in Christ. We also kiss the wood of salvation on Good Friday, the path to love and mercy, to forgiveness and ultimate peace. The cross is our only hope as seen in the sunrise behind the cross as we all wait for eternal life.
The Key: This week is the key to faith, to Jesus’ life within the Universal Church and each of us. This key also represents the key to Sacred Heart Church as our long awaited journey of restoration will come to its completion in the Easter Season.
The Body and Blood of Christ and the Heart of Christ: The Eucharist was given to the disciples on Holy Thursday. Every time we offer such a miracle, we remember Jesus. His life and Real Presence remains among us. His heart bears our pain. We humbly approach the Eucharist with sincere longing and faith. Jesus feeds us to sustain the mission of faith and the Church.
The Word of God: The gospel is true food for us. When the gospel is proclaimed, the grace of God opens our hearts to hear the vital story of Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection. The gospel was written after the Resurrection of Jesus and is still being written from our own faith in the world today.
The Pitcher and Bowl: On Holy Thursday, the Church washes feet. This is not just a reenactment of the gospel, but a sure call for each of us to live the gospel of mercy in all we do and all we hope to become. We learn to serve others from this Holy Week. We learn to bend down to touch the suffering of all people and to serve well beyond our expertise, well beyond our selfishness and pride.
The Palms: We begin Holy Week blessing palms and proclaiming the Passion of Jesus Christ. These palms invite us into real praise and thanksgiving in Christ Jesus leading us to Christ’s Resurrection.
Blessings in this Holy Week,