Today we begin the holiest week in the Church Year. This is a special week to remember all that Jesus did to save us. This year, because of the COVID 19 (Coronavirus), the week is very different and more solemn than usual. The week begins with Jesus’ humble entrance into the holy city of Jerusalem. We remember how the people shouted, “Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” The palms we normally receive help us remember the victorious entrance into Jerusalem and to invite Jesus to enter more deeply into our lives. I invite you to cut branches (palm or other greenery) to remember this part of the story. Our long gospel during today’s liturgy assists our remembering the sad days of Jesus betrayal and death.
Holy Thursday is a special night to remember the Lord’s Supper and His humble act of service when He washed His apostle’s feet. We also remember the institution of the Holy Eucharist, our special celebration of the Lord’s presence with us always. This day, whenever we wash our hands, let us remember the model of service Jesus emphasized in the ritual of the washing of the feet. As we celebrate remotely, let us also remember the great gift we have as Catholics in the sacrament of the Eucharist, when Jesus becomes present with us in a very personal and physical way.
Typically we would then journey from the Church to another location in order to spend time with Jesus, remembering how He said to his apostles, “Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.” This place of repose, which represents the garden of Gethsemane, is a time and place of intimate connection with Jesus. Perhaps you can spend some intimate time with Jesus this solemn night in the privacy of your own home..
On Good Friday we remember the death of Jesus and honor the instrument of our salvation when we reverence the holy cross. This is a solemn day, and its sadness is only relieved by the assurance of Easter. I invite you to place a crucifix in a prominent place this day, and reverence it with a bow and prayer throughout the day.
On Holy Saturday we normally celebrate the Easter Vigil, the supreme Mass of the Church year. At this Mass and all Easter Sunday Masses, we remember and celebrate Jesus’ victory over sin and death. As we remember the events of this week and celebrate them in a very different form, may we as the Domestic Church intimately unite ourselves with Jesus our savior and the one who wants an intimate union with each of us. Peace and have a very holy week.