Upon completion of the LentDuring Holy Week we commemorate the crucifixion, death and resurrection of the Lord. All of salvation history revolves around these holy days. They are days to accompany Jesus with prayer and penance. All leading up to Easter where Christ with his resurrection confirms that he has conquered death and that his heart longs to enjoy man for all eternity. In this article we review how to live Holy Week.
To live Holy Week well, we have to put God at the center of our lives, accompanying Him in each of the celebrations of this liturgical season that begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Easter Sunday.
"This threshold of Holy Week, so close already to the moment when the Redemption of all humanity was consummated on Calvary, seems to me a particularly appropriate time for you and me to consider by what ways Jesus our Lord has saved us; for us to contemplate that love of his - truly ineffable - for poor creatures, formed from the clay of the earth." - How to live Holy Week. St. Josemaría, Friends of God, no. 110.
The Palm Sunday We remember the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in which all the people praise him as king with songs and palms. The branches remind us of the covenant between God and his people, confirmed in Christ.
In the liturgy of this day we read these words of profound joy: "the sons of the Hebrews, bearing olive branches, went out to meet the Lord, crying out and saying: Glory in the highest".
"Our Lord Jesus Christ, as if all the other proofs of his mercy were still not enough, institutes the Eucharist so that we can always have him near us and - as far as we can understand - because, moved by his love, who needs nothing, he does not want to do without us. The Trinity has fallen in love with man." How to live Holy Week - St. Josemaría, Christ Is Passing By, no. 84.
The Easter Triduum begins with the Holy Mass of the Lord's Supper. The common thread of the whole celebration is the Paschal Mystery of Christ. The supper in which Jesus, before giving himself up to death, entrusted to the Church the testament of his love and instituted the Eucharist and the priesthood. When Jesus finished, he went to pray in the Garden of Olives where he was later arrested.
In the morning, the bishops gather with the priests of their dioceses and bless the holy oils. The washing of the feet takes place during the Mass of the Lord's Supper.
"In admiring and truly loving the Most Holy Humanity of Jesus, we will discover one by one his wounds (...). We will need to enter into each of those most holy wounds: to purify ourselves, to rejoice in that redeeming blood, to strengthen ourselves. We will go like the doves who, according to Scripture, take shelter in the holes of the rocks at the hour of the storm. We hide in that shelter, to find the intimacy of Christ." How to live Holy Week - St. Josemaría, Friends of God, no. 302.
On Good Friday we reach the culminating moment of Love, a Love that wants to embrace everyone, excluding no one, with absolute self-giving. On that day we accompany Christ remembering the Passion: from the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Olives to the scourging, the crowning with thorns and death on the Cross. We commemorate it with a solemn Stations of the Cross and the ceremony of the Adoration of the Cross.
The liturgy teaches us how to live Holy Week on Good Friday. It begins with the prostration of the priestsinstead of the usual initial kiss. It is a gesture of special veneration for the altar, which is naked, exempt from everything, evoking the Crucified One at the hour of the Passion. The silence is broken by a tender prayer in which the priest appeals to the mercy of God: "Reminiscere miserationum tuarum, Domine", and asks the Father for the eternal protection that the Son has won for us with his blood.
"The work of our redemption has been accomplished. We are now children of God, because Jesus has died for us and his death has redeemed us". How to live Holy Week - St. Josemaría, Way of the Cross, XIV Station.
How to live Holy Week on Holy Saturday? It is a day of silence in the Church: Christ lies in the tomb and the Church meditates, in admiration, on what the Lord has done for us. However, it is not a sad day. The Lord has conquered the devil and sin, and in a few hours he will also conquer death with his glorious Resurrection. "In a little while you will no longer see me, and in a little while you will see me again" Jn 16:16. On this day, love does not hesitate, like Mary, it keeps silent and waits. Love waits trusting in the word of the Lord until Christ rises resplendent on Easter Day.
The celebration of the Easter Vigil on the night of Holy Saturday is the most important of all the celebrations of Holy Week, because it commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The passage from darkness to light is expressed with different elements: fire, candle, water, incense, music and bells.
The light of the candle is a sign of Christ, the light of the world, which radiates and floods everything. The fire is the Holy Spirit, kindled by Christ in the hearts of the faithful. The water signifies the passage to new life in Christ, the source of life. The Easter Alleluia is the hymn of the pilgrimage toward the Jerusalem of heaven. The bread and wine of the Eucharist are a pledge of the heavenly banquet.
As we participate in the Easter Vigil, we recognize that time is a new time, open to the definitive today of the glorious Christ. This is the new day inaugurated by the Lord, the day "that knows no sunset" (Roman Missal, Easter Vigil, Easter Proclamation).
"The Easter season is a time of joy, a joy that is not limited to that time of the liturgical year, but is always present in the heart of the Christian. Because Christ lives: Christ is not a figure who passed away, who existed at one time and then went away, leaving us a wonderful memory and example". How to live Holy Week St. Josemaría, Homily Christ present in Christians.
This is the most important and most joyful day for Catholics, Jesus has conquered death and has given us Life. Christ gives us the opportunity to be saved, to enter Heaven and live in the company of God. Easter is the passage from death to life. Resurrection Sunday marks the end of the Easter Triduum and Holy Week and inaugurates the liturgical period of 50 days called the Easter Season, which ends with Easter Sunday. Pentecost.
How to live Holy Week? Let us ask God that this week that is about to begin may fill us with renewed hope and unshakable faith. May it transform us into God's messengers to proclaim once again that Christ, the Divine Redeemer, gives himself for his people on a cross out of love.
"To live Holy Week is to enter more and more into the logic of God, into the logic of the Cross, which is not first of all that of pain and death, but that of love and life-giving self-giving. It is to enter into the logic of the Gospel".
Pope Francis, March 27, 2013.