There are 52 weeks in a year, but there is only one week we call “holy”. What will you do to enter into the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus this week? Will it be a time of fruitful prayer and reflection or just another week on the calendar?
Here are a few suggestions:
Begin with Palm Sunday. Meditate on the Passion reading. Take your palm home and put it in a prominent place. On Thursday evening, we will enter into the Triduum – the three holy days leading to Easter. Holy Thursday is a commemoration of the Last Supper when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and gave His body and blood as food and drink. After this meal, our Lord would have gone into the Garden to enter into His Passion. We will commemorate this by keeping a holy silence on Thursday night. At many churches, the priest will carry the Blessed Sacrament to an altar of repose and invite the congregation to keep vigil with our Lord. Consider remaining for some time during the hours our Lord would have been in the Garden and then in prison.
Friday is the day known as “Good.” On this day Jesus died on the Cross for us. Many parishes will offer the Stations of the Cross at noon or 3:00 pm (the hour Jesus died). Later, a liturgy will commemorate the Passion according to St John. Friday is a special day of silence to stay with our Lord in the tomb.
This holy silence should carry over into Saturday. However, when the Sun sets, we will enter into the Easter Vigil! The Easter Vigil tells the story of salvation. We will also welcome our newest members into the Church. We will celebrate the Resurrection and Eternal life. By decree, the Vigil Mass may not begin until sundown. We will begin the vigil with the lighting of the Easter fire. We will move into the church for the reading of sacred Scripture. After the readings, our brothers and sisters will be Baptized, Confirmed and receive their first Holy Communion!
Easter Sunday will continue the celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord. What can you do to make the week of March 29 different and truly holy? Embrace this sacred time and realize how much God loves you and all that the Lord has done for you!
Fr. Tim McKeown is a priest for the Diocese of Savannah, GA.