Holy Week: Time to Share our Life As Jesus Shares His Life With Us
By Bishop David J. Malloy
One of the great challenges of faith in Jesus Christ is to make our relationship with Him to be a personal communion with God. That is one of the great messages of the incarnation, of Jesus coming among us as one of us, in flesh and blood.
For much of the history of the human race, there has been a recognition that there must be a God. Else, where did this world come from? Why is there such order and wisdom in the observable world and even in ourselves?
However, through the ages, the search for God by men and women has been tentative, a groping in the blindness of our limitations and our sinfulness. As a result, the notion of God in various cultures has often been one of a greater being who is distant, certainly not knowing us in a personal or loving way.
We are entering once more into Holy Week this weekend. We begin with Palm Sunday and we will celebrate this most sacred time all the way to Easter Sunday. In doing so we recall once more the history of Jesus, from His entry into Jerusalem to His resurrection from the dead. But even more, we are drawn to recognize how close God has come to us, how much He loves us, and how we have been made to be in the image of Jesus Christ.
To understand how personal God’s love for each and every person is, we need, of course, to go back to Christmas when we celebrated the reality that the Son of God took on our human condition in all things but sin. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us, “[H]e had to become like His brothers in every way, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because He himself was tested through what He suffered, He is able to help those who are being tested.” (Heb 2:17-18).
We celebrate then, throughout Holy Week, the great news that Jesus shares our life. But equally, we celebrate that we are to share His life.
On Palm Sunday, we are inserted into the crowd that rejoiced in the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem before His passion. We hold palms with the people of that time, and we join them in crying out “Hosanna!”
On Holy Thursday night, we renew our faith in the reality that the Eucharist is truly the Real Presence, the Body and Blood of Christ. We affirm our belief that Jesus instituted the Mass and the priesthood given to the 12 men He personally called. How vital is this part of our faith that is either so misunderstood or so neglected in our day.
On Good Friday we walk with Christ in His suffering and crucifixion, remembering that Jesus did that especially for each and every one of us. Here is the most personal proof of God’s closeness and love as Christ dies for the sins that we have committed.
On Easter Sunday, we celebrate the faith that Jesus truly rose from the dead. The one constant threat hanging over the head of each of us, death, has been conquered. Jesus tells us that if we are faithful in our belief, our prayer and our practice, He will have a place for us for all eternity. That is a God who wants us!
Please make plans. Come to your parish church for the celebrations of Holy Week. Bring the family. If you have been hanging back because of COVID-19 or for any reason, make this the time of your return.
We celebrate how much God loves us and our love for Him in return during this most special week. May Holy Week be a time of grace for you and your family.