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The final week of Lent, Holy Week is the most important week in the Church year! the week before Easter Sunday, beginning seven days before with Palm Sunday. 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. The final week of Lent, Holy Week, begins with Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord and concludes with the Triduum.
---------◊----------◊-------- 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.
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. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. On this day, we celebrate the triumphant entry of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, into Jerusalem, riding a donkey. On that day, the people laid palms before Him, a gesture reserved for triumphant leaders. We celebrate this at Mass by distributing palms to the faithful who may keep them for a time for use as devotional objects. The palms are blessed at Mass. The faithful sometimes craft portions of palm fronds into crosses. Eventually, these palms are returned to the Church where they are burned. Traditionally, their ashes are saved and distributed at next year's Ash Wednesday services.
Later, when Jesus entered the Temple, he angrily drove out the money changers who had turned the Temple court into a place of business instead of devotion. Once the court was cleared, Jesus began teaching the masses. Meanwhile, His enemies drew plans to kill Him.
No greater love was shown 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?
-------◊----------◊------- Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper --------◊----------◊--------
The next major event in Holy Week is Holy Thursday. On this day, Jesus celebrated the Passover feast with the disciples. We know this feast as the Last Supper. This is the night He was betrayed by Judas and arrested. The Last Supper is celebrated at every Mass, and especially on Holy Thursday.
After supper, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives and prayed. From this event comes inspiration for our practice of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, where we are invited to spend one hour in prayer with Jesus, truly present in the Eucharist; Body, Blood, and Divinity.
Jesus was arrested on the night of Holy Thursday.
Tonight's first reading describes the Passover meal. In the second reading, the institution of 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 next day is Good Friday, and on this day, we commemorate the trial, punishment, and crucifixion of Our Lord. On that morning, Jesus was brought before Annas, a powerful Jewish cleric who condemned Jesus for blasphemy. From there, Jesus was presented to Pilate for trial. Although Pilate found no guilt in Jesus, he agreed to have him crucified to appease the crowd of people and prevent a riot.
Christ was stripped, flogged, and crowned with thorns. He was then forced to carry His Cross to the place of His execution. There, He was nailed to the Cross between two thieves who were likewise crucified. Late that afternoon, seeking to ensure Christ's death, a Roman guard stabbed him in his side with a spear. When Jesus died, an earthquake is said to have occurred as well as a great darkness which covered the land. Suddenly, many people knew Jesus was the Son of God.
Jesus was taken and laid quickly in a borrowed tomb, in accord with Jewish law, which required the dead be buried by sundown before the Sabbath.
In our churches, the Tabernacle is left empty, to show that Christ is departed.
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 to you?
---------◊----------◊------------ Holy Saturday ---------◊----------◊------------
On Holy Saturday, there is no Mass. Parishes may hold services, but there is no distribution of Communion. On Holy Saturday, we remember that Jesus was descended into hell where He preached the Gospel to those who died before and opened the way to heaven for all those who were worthy.
Easter Vigil Holy Saturday
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.
Holy Saturday concludes Holy Week of the Triduum. The following day is Easter Sunday, the day on which it was discovered the Tomb was empty, and our Lord was resurrected, triumphing over death once and for all time.
"Triduum” comes from two Latin words - tres and dies - that mean "a space of three days," But since we have four days with special names - Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday - the "three" may be confusing to some. They are however, one liturgical celebration. Easter is not part of Holy Week, but rather the beginning of the Easter season of the Liturgical year.
The confusion is cleared up when we understand how the days are reckoned. On all high festival days the Church counts a day in the same way as Jews count days and festivals: that is, from sundown to sundown. Thus the Triduum consists of three twenty-four periods that stretch over four calendar days.
Therefore, the Easter Triduum begins at sundown on Holy Thursday with the Mass of the Lord's Supper, continues with Good Friday and concludes with Easter evening prayer at sundown on Easter Sunday: its high point is the celebration of the Easter Vigil. During the Triduum we celebrate the core mystery of our Christian faith: we ritualize Jesus' transition from life to death to risen life, and our own participation in that timeless mystery.
If is so easy this time of year to celebrate these days as a historical commemoration. But we are doing it for more than recalling historical facts. What Jesus did for us has consequences for all people at all times. His life, death, and resurrection happened to him, but they also happen to all of us who claim to be his followers These days, then, are a reminder and celebration of who we ourselves are and what our own lives are about.
As we celebrate the mystery of Jesus' passing, we actually celebrate the same passing over in our own lives. Jesus' self-sacrifice opened the way for us to share in new life. But this does require our own cooperation in God's divine plan of salvation. We must pass over our lives into God's hands and imitate the self-giving of God's Son. This is the way to life. "It is the Passover of the lord".
** Lent ends with the Triduum:, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Liturgies. **
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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.
Courtesy: olm-parish.com/Triduum.htm & https://www.catholic.org/lent/holyweek.php