Holy Week 2016

This past Sunday was Palm Sunday also known as Passion Sunday. Palm Sunday commemorates when Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly and was praised by the people including little children. His triumphal entry into Jerusalem fulfilled the Old Testament scriptures about the Messiah.

Excerpt from the Palm Sunday Mass readings

Jesus proceeded on His journey up to Jerusalem.
… As He rode along,
the people were spreading their cloaks on the road;
and now as He was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of His disciples
began to praise God aloud with joy
for all the mighty deeds they had seen.
They proclaimed:
“Blessed is the king who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven
and glory in the highest.”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him,
‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples.’
He said in reply,
‘I tell you, if they keep silent,
the stones will cry out!’ “~Luke 19: 28-40

Holy week is the week preceding Easter which begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Holy Saturday. During Holy Week, the Church commemorates the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, commemorates His crucifixion and death, and eagerly awaits His Resurrection to be celebrated on Easter Sunday.

Holy Thursday and The Triduum

 

Holy Thursday

On Holy Thursday, we recall the Last Supper during which Jesus offered the first Mass. During the Last Supper, Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Holy Orders (the priesthood).

26 Now as they were eating,[d] Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the[e] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”~Matthew 26:26-28

After recalling the first Mass (the institution of the Holy Eucharist), we recall Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, His betrayal by Judas, and all that happened the day before Jesus was crucified. Jesus institution of the Holy Eucharist on Holy Thursday is connected with His crucifixion and death on Good Friday.

The three days following Holy Thursday are: Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. These three days are referred to as the Triduum.

Good Friday

On Good Friday, we recall Jesus’ Crucifixion and death especially from 12 noon- 3pm. Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins in order to reconcile humanity with God.

“Yet it was our infirmities that He bore, our sufferings that He endured, While we thought of Him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. But He was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon Him was the chastisement that makes us whole by His stripes we were healed.” ~Isaiah 53:4-5

Furthermore, through each Holy Mass, Jesus offers His same sacrifice of death on the cross to God the Father. Jesus’ sacrifice of death on the cross is made present during every Mass. For this reason the Mass as also referred to as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Holy Saturday

Then like the first apostles, we await Easter Sunday on which we will celebrate His glorious Resurrection!

We should pray (i.e. Rosary, Stations of the Cross) in preparation for the Holy Triduum. It is also important to go to Confession to purify our souls and resolve to amend our lives. It is also important to make time to take part in the Church services during the Holy Triduum.

“We adore you O Christ and we bless You, for by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world.”

May you all have a blessed Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday!

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