3-Step Holy Week!
We have entered the holiest week for Christians, when we recall and relive the events culminating in the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus. These events are located at the heart of our faith – and it requires faith to fully grasp and accept what the Church proposes to us in these days.
Faith, according to the Letter to the Hebrews, is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). The letter then goes on to name great figures of faith, from Abel through Noah through Abraham through Moses through David – all of whom were given a glimpse of the promise fulfilled in Christ, yet believed and suffered for that belief because they knew that God is good and faithful to his promises.
Here is a good assignment for Holy Week: Read Chapter 11 of Hebrews and reflect on the amazing and courageous faith that these biblical figures embraced, and marvel at the fact that their witness has not converted the whole world to God. Why, today, are we said to live in a “post-Christian” world? Why do so few in our family attend Mass? Why are we not ready to give our own lives in witness to the great truths that have been fully revealed through Jesus Christ – that will be displayed before our eyes this very week?
What will we do to make this a Holy Week that will truly change our lives? Here is a three-step plan:
1. Go to Confession, to cleanse my soul of even the smallest venial sin, so I will be well-disposed to receiving the grace that God wants to lavish upon me this week.
2. Read Hebrews Chapter 11, with my wife, and perhaps with my children if that would be appropriate for their age. Reflect on the strength or weakness of my faith, and how the inspiring witness of the figures in Hebrews can lift my faith and my spirits.
3. Take full part in the sacred Triduum, from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday. Take to heart the betrayal of Jesus, as though I were responsible, and witness the pain of his crucifixion as though my own flesh suffered. Spend the “long loneliness” of Holy Saturday, with the Lord in the tomb, and hear the Easter proclamation – “He is risen!” – as though for the first time.
All our hopes, and the very meaning of our lives, are contained in these next few days. Let us pass through with open hearts and minds, and be a new person come Easter Sunday. God calls us.