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athgarvan

REFLECTION ON HOLY WEEK

Christians call this HOLY WEEK. It runs from Palm Sunday (today) to Easter Sunday. In Catholic tradition, the conclusion to the week is called the Easter Triduum (a space of three days that are devoted to special prayer and observance - Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday).  Holy Week commemorates and enacts the Passion and Death of Jesus through various observances and services of worship.

Is Holy Week really worth the effort? It is a time of frenetic activity, the culmination of much planning and lack of planning, and somehow—at least sometimes—inspiring. And then…? Well, a few weeks of lilies and extra “Alleluias!” and then back to business as usual. It seems that Holy Week is a lot of work for a few, an inconvenience for a few more (“How many times do I have to drag the kids to church this week?!"), and an annual irrelevance for many, if not most, Catholics.

But does it have to be that way? The key problem with Holy Week as described above is: People.  People who halfheartedly believe that they’re sinners trying to stir up sorrow for an atoning death they’re not quite convinced they need, so that a few days later they can try to stir up joy for the benefits of a resurrection they don’t quite believe in. Understood in this way, it’s not very convincing theatre, and even less is it worthy worship.

Why do we put up with it? Why does the Church ask us to put on this act year after year? That’s asking the wrong question. Better: What is divine mercy and providence offering us in Holy Week? And how can we be good stewards of what could be the last Holy Week we will ever see? Remember, not one future moment is guaranteed to anyone.



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