During these weeks of Lent, we’ve been preparing ourselves through fasting, prayer, and almsgiving so that we might open ourselves more fully to God’s presence in our lives. This has been a journey. So here we are now on Palm Sunday, hearing the story of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, his passion and his death. It’s a story we’ve heard many times before. We know how it begins and how it ends. But I invite you to consider experiencing Jesus’ journey, passion, death, and resurrection this Holy Week.
Today, like the crowds of Jesus’ time, we carry palms and praise him but during the Passion we are reminded that we are all sinners in need of God’s salvation. Today put your palms in a place that will be a constant reminder of your journey from the darkness of sin to God’s eternal light.
In Monday’s gospel, we hear the story of Jesus’ meal with Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. Judas the Iscariot criticizes Jesus for allowing Mary to use a costly perfumed oil to anoint his feet when it could have been sold “for three hundred days wages and given to the poor.” Jesus responds, “You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” This is our reminder that we will never lack opportunities to give ourselves in imitation of Jesus to serve the poor. This week share more of your God-given gifts to help those in need.
In John’s account of the Last Supper in Tuesday’s gospel, Jesus announces that one of his disciples will betray him, leaving them all asking, “Is it I?” We know how the story goes: Judas betrays Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. But, really, haven’t we all betrayed Jesus at one time or another in our lives? Today, identify and resolve to overcome those behaviors that betray God.
In Wednesday’s gospel, Jesus instructs his disciples to prepare a place for the Passover meal, his Last Supper. Today is a good day to reflect on how this Lenten journey has helped us prepare a room for Jesus in our lives. Identify what worked and how you can continue that practice beyond Easter.
On Holy Thursday we celebrate the Last Supper, the institution of the Eucharist, the sacrament in which we receive his body and blood, and the priesthood through the washing of the disciples’ feet. This evening we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper (7:00pm), a beautiful liturgy that reminds us of our call to be Jesus’ disciples, washing the feet of others in service and receiving the life giving food that sustains us in that service. This evening is a good opportunity to renew or commit to being a true disciple of Jesus.
Our Holy Week journey continues to Good Friday, the day Jesus suffered and died. Make a commitment to experience the Lord’s passion by attending one of our Good Friday liturgies (12:00 or 7:00pm) and the Living Stations of the Cross (1:45pm). Reflect today on how you have grown closer to God through your experience of physical or emotional suffering.
Holy Saturday is the night in which God turned death to life. Appropriately, at the Easter Vigil, we baptize new Christians and accept them into full communion with the church. Through the waters of baptism, they “die” to their old life and joyfully join themselves to Christ, to new life. If you’ve never been to an Easter Vigil, I invite you next Saturday (7:30pm). This night discern what needs to die in your life so that you may be joined more fully with Christ.
By experiencing Holy Week and allowing ourselves to enter into Jesus’ suffering, we can truly experience the joy of Easter Sunday when resurrected life begins, when love and light triumph over sin and darkness. At our Easter morning liturgy, the “Alleluia” will never sound so good or be more profound in our hearts.
Faith Life Minister