Spiritual Resources for Holy Week
Dear SMMS Families,
We are entering into the last week of Lent and the holiest time of the year for us as Catholics. It is during the events of Holy Week that Jesus gave us the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Holy Orders. It is during the events of Holy Week that Jesus taught us the true meaning of love. It is during the events of Holy Week that Jesus’ seemingly defeat becomes the triumph of God. God Is Love and His Love will Triumph!
Below you will find beautiful explanations of the events of Holy Week. A special thank you to the Our Lady of the Meadows Catholic Church in Pueblo, Colorado for these beautiful summaries of the celebrations of Holy Week. You will also find links to videos for the kids to watch and to experience the sacredness of this week.
May God bless all of you abundantly during this Season of Grace. May Mary, our Mother, continue to wrap us in her mantle of love and keep us all safe.
Holy Week is the most important week in the Church year! It is a time when we celebrate in a special way the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We remember his actions, reflect on his messages, and recommit to living as his disciples in the world today.
Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
Jesus was welcomed by the people with cheers and palms – a symbol of victory and sign that “all is well”. Palm-bearing date trees were valued for their dignity, beauty and shade and were used at special occasions to welcome heroes and royalty.
No greater love was shown to us than Jesus’ love for his Father and us, for he gave his life because of his faithfulness to that love. One of Jesus’ closest disciples was Peter. Peter loved Jesus, but he didn’t always understand what real love required. How very much like Peter we all are! Peter failed Jesus, but Jesus’ love for Peter restored their relationship and empowered Peter to learn to love. That should give us all hope.
As you listen to the Passion on this day, place yourself in the story. What does it feel like to be part of the crowd or to be a disciple? What does it feel like to be in Jesus’ place during the passion? What would you do if you were Jesus’ best friend?
Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Tonight’s first reading describes the Passover meal. In the second reading, the institution of the Eucharist is shared, “this is my Body, which is for you.” In the Gospel, Jesus washes the feet of the disciples. This is the service and love of Jesus, which we are asked to share in our lives.
We are reminded tonight that God always nourishes his people. Jesus fed his followers by multiplying loaves and fishes. Then he fed his apostles at the Last Supper. The good news is that God hasn’t stopped nourishing us. We can feast on his Word and on the Eucharist. They are great sources of spiritual energy, great in times of need and excellent for our daily diet. Don’t starve yourself, but feed daily on God’s gifts.
On Holy Thursday, we experience the washing of the feet: Put yourself in the place of the foot-washer: How do you feel washing the feet of others? Put yourself in the place of the disciples: How does it feel to have someone, who means so much to you, wash your feet?
Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion
The first and second readings, from Isaiah and Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, describe the mystery of the cross – the Paschal Mystery – suffering turned into victory. The gospel is the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The word passion can also mean strong feelings of love. Jesus’ passion is the time from the Last Supper to his death on the cross, during which he shows his great love for us. Jesus warned Peter that he would deny him. When that happened Jesus looked at him, probably with pity and certainly with love. God’s love and mercy cannot save us from our own folly and its consequences: after all, Peter had to live with his denial of Jesus. That is why he wept.
The veneration of the cross is a time when a large cross is brought forward. We touch or kiss the cross to show our love and thankfulness for God’s love.
If you stood at the cross on which Jesus hung, what would you say to him? How does it feel to touch or kiss the cross? What does this mean?
The blessing of the Easter fire begins this celebration. From that fire, the Paschal Candle is lit. After the readings, the liturgy of Baptism begins. While the new members of the community are baptized, the whole community joins in renewing our promises and as the whole community is sprinkled with water, we remember our baptism. The Paschal candle symbolizes Jesus as light of the world. It is from this candle that baptism candles are lit throughout the year, that we celebrate the life of faith of the newly departed and that we celebrate the commitment of faith in the sacrament of Confirmation. It stands as a symbol of our faith and our desire to be light to the world as Jesus is for us.
Jesus always speaks about hope; a hope that is not based on chances that things will get better—or at least not any worse. His hope is built upon the promise that, whatever happens, God will stay with us at all times, in all places. God is the God of Life!
How would you feel if you were being baptized tonight? What does it mean for you to celebrate the joy of Jesus’ resurrection?
The Triduum concludes with the Easter Sunday celebrations of the Resurrection.
We continue this celebration for the next seven weeks of the Easter Season concluding with Pentecost.