Mar 23, 2013

A week made holy:

Readings for Good Friday:

(Much to reflect on from the above readings)
The drama of this week unfolds:
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion,
The Easter Triduum: Holy Thursday – Good Friday – Easter Sunday

Blessed Pope John Paul II said of this week: “The celebration of Holy Week begins with the “Hosanna!” of Palm Sunday and culminates in the “Crucify Him!” of Good Friday.”

From palms and praise to tragedy and back to glory, the drama and emotions of this week run high. The lessons of this week are profound.  We hear of a triumphal entry to Jerusalem.  Certainly shades of the Messiah are on the minds of people.  Here’s the one who will set us free. Not from the Romans, however, but from the slavery of sin with the hope of eternal life. He will provide the framework of how to live by truth, beauty and goodness.   

On Holy Thursday we hear of the great command of Jesus after he had washed the feet of his Apostles during that fateful night of his Last Supper: “As I have done for you, you should also do” (Jn 13:15). It is humility, self-sacrificing love, and service to one another after the example of Jesus that will bring a transformation of hearts. If we want to know what the purpose of following Christ may be, he could not have shown us, short of the cross itself, a more noteworthy example as he slavishly washed his Apostles feet.  God washed their feet! As we read in the second reading of Palm Sunday which tells us, “He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness . . .” (Phil 2: 7).

And then the Lord gives us something to remember – his very Body and Blood in the Eucharist while he commissions his Apostles to: “Do this in remembrance of me.” Thus, the ministerial priesthood is born and the dice are cast for the tragedy about to begin that night.

So, on Good Friday, made “good” by Jesus’ own act of self-surrender “even to the point of death, death on a cross . . . (Phil 2: 8), we stand at the foot of his cross and reflect.  But, we know that all will end in the glory of Easter Sunday and the birth of new life in the Church when we welcome our new Catholic-Christians through the Easter sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.

Let this week be more than just liturgical entertainment. Put together, these Holy Week liturgies provide quite a show, actually. Yet, as one parishioner told me, “This is my Church week.”

We are invited to enter into the mystery and the profound significance of this week – which is ultimately our faith itself.  This is the week of good news indeed!