Dear Believers in Christ Jesus,
On this Palm Sunday, we listen to the Passion of Jesus Christ from Luke 22:14-23:56. The Passion narrative invites us in this Holy Week. We listen to the fundamental aspect of why we are Christians— Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection.
This week invites us into the nitty-gritty of the end days of Jesus’ life. This is not about the past however. It is not about what Jesus did; it is about what Jesus is still doing. In other words, the redeeming death and resurrection of Christ Jesus is still happening within our lives, calling us deeper to trust in his real presence for the world.
Holy Week is central to our Church. The Paschal Mystery is the foundation of who we are, for we are built upon suffering, death and new life. Jesus is the core of our lives in the world. We call ourselves Christians and we remain connected to his passion, death and resurrection through our baptism. Lent is the time in which we examine our commitment as baptized people, so to renew our baptism at Easter.
Holy Week is not a reenactment of the past. The mysteries we celebrate this week become active grace for us, for our conversion in faith as members of the Church. If you only have time to pray in one week of the entire year, I hope it will be this one. This week offers us a renewal of faith and the hope on which to build our lives and the Church.
I invite you into Holy Week. The Triduum, the liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday are central to our faith. These liturgies change hearts. These liturgies are celebrated as one event. Please consider participating in these liturgies of prayer, of silence and song, of fasting and communal ritual. I invite you to change your heart.
The Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday invites us to make the connection of Eucharist and justice. For we wash the feet of twelve parishioners as Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. We also process with the Eucharist to an altar of repose (in the gym) for adoration on this holy night. This gesture of leaving the church symbolizes Christ going to his death. The physical church will be empty of his presence.
The Passion of the Lord on Good Friday celebrates our life in the Cross of Christ. We reverence the wood of the cross with a kiss or bow or genuflection. We listen to Christ’s Passion from John’s gospel and we leave in silence just after receiving communion that is consecrated on Holy Thursday.
The Easter Vigil breaks open our hearts, as we now are ready to renew our baptism. We bless fire and the new Easter Candle. We hear many readings from our salvation story. We bless water to baptize our new adults and children. Alleluias ring out from our hearts for the first time since before Lent. It is a night of newness, beauty and miracles.
On Easter morning we celebrate our life in Christ Jesus, renewed by the Lenten season and the intense liturgies of Holy Week. Know of my prayer for all of you this week.