Dear Brothers & Sisters,
Here we are in the most Holy Week of the year!!! I hope you had a great Lent, preparing your souls for this moment. I would like to reflect briefly with you each day of this upcoming week.
We begin holy week with the celebration of Palm Sunday this weekend. The Technical name for this Sunday is “Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion.” If you recollect, we proclaim two Gospels, one of the triumphant entry of Jesus in Jerusalem at the beginning of mass, and another, at the regular time, is the passion according to one of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, or Luke). These two passages are important as they point us towards Easter. It helps us to meditate on the events of Holy Thursday and Good Friday with our minds desiring the Resurrection of Christ.
On Thursday, as we begin the Triduum, we have the celebration of the Lord’s Last Supper. Although often it is associated with the washing of feet, there are two other elements that are also very important. The washing of feet symbolizes fraternal love, where Christ loves/serves his disciples as his “friends.” On the last supper, we also celebrate the institution of the priesthood, and the institution of the Eucharist. Not too long ago, during Covid we all missed terribly receiving communion. So we have this moment in which Jesus leaves us his Body and Blood, as a way to help us. During Covid, we had to suspend the distribution of the Blood of Christ, but now we are allowed to reinstate it. And what better day than the very day in which Jesus did himself? I urge and encourage you to receive the Blood of Christ as not only desired by him, but as the Church took so long to realize during the Second Vatican Council that everyone should receive it! Then at the end of the celebration, we will have a procession to the Hall where we are invited to keep vigil with Christ until 12am.
Lastly, on Good Friday, when we don’t celebrate mass on that day, we are called to the “Celebration of the Lord’s Passion.” This is the service in which we listen to the passion once again and then we can venerate the Cross of Jesus and also our own Cross. Jesus calls us to pick up our own cross if we want to follow him, but it’s not easy at times. On Friday we remember that Christ comes to help us to carry our cross.
I hope this helps you, brothers and sisters, to enter even more deeply into this Holy Week. During the week you can also read meditating on each of the events leading to the Death and Resurrection of Jesus.
Father Steven Clemence