Holy Week...Holy Time!
By Hugh McNichol
This Sunday is Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion. It is the beginning of Holy Week and the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem to accomplish His Paschal Mystery. For the Catholic Church it is the week of ceremonies and rituals that recall the last days in the life of the Savior. Small changes occur in the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist...most clearly the color of the vestments: red becomes the norm on Palm Sunday and Good Friday. White becomes the standard at the celebration of the ancient Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday morning, and white again is the color at the Mass of the Lord's Supper.
The change in colors represents a transitional phase for the Church in the celebration of Holy Week. During this week we are keenly reminded of the Passion in the readings, especially when the Gospel is proclaimed and the actual events of Holy Week are recalled in the narrative reading of the Passion.
Throughout the week the theme of the suffering servant becomes all the more poignant, and the deep realization of Christ's suffering and death becomes acutely apparent. The red vestments, the starkness of the stripped Church and Altar loudly speaks through the silence and emptiness that we have lost the Messiah to the sinister triumph of darkness. However the eclipse of evil is short lived. The Father will raise Jesus from the dead, and our understanding of the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament will be consummated in new life.
This is a magnificent week of remembrance and celebration. Holy Week for the Catholic Church is a mini-theological retreat, divided by days and events that herald the Paschal Mystery. During the week our ancient roots in the Jewish faith are entwined with the events of Jesus' life. We are reminded that Our Lord gathered with his Apostles to celebrate the Passover. It is precisely here in the Passover celebration Jesus provided us with a new Passover, a new Covenant, a new Church.
Palm Sunday will mark the triumphant Jesus entering into Jerusalem. Holy Thursday evening will signal the spiraling events that lead Jesus to the Cross and Holy Saturday will prepare us for the power of the Resurrection. All of these events show us clearly how we as believers profess our faith, fall into temptation, stumble and hope for forgiveness. Easter Sunday will manifest the greatest example of the Father's love...new life. Once again our liturgical celebrations reflect our beliefs and prayer.
In a reflection of the ancient practices of the Church, Holy Thursday morning will cast off the purple of Lent and white vestments will signify celebration. The Church will renew the Sacred Oils that are used in the celebration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and the Anointing of the Sick.
Solemn celebration will accompany the blessing of the Sacred Chrism, the Olea Sancta and the Olea Infirmandi. These oils will supply the Church's sacraments throughout the next year and will convey the power of the Spirit through their applications. The Chrism Mass will witness the renewal of priestly promises, recall the institution of Holy Orders . The Mass of the Lord's Supper will recall the institution of the Holy Eucharist and recount the events that will lead to Calvary.
Throughout the entire week, the Church reminds its followers that there is a journey taking place. We are participating with Jesus in the Paschal Mystery. This participation not only recalls the historical events of Holy Week, it recounts the journey of Catholic sacramental and theological life. Our progression as a Church towards the Easter celebration, throughout the ages and ultimately union with the Father, is the destination of our journey. The stigma of the cross is transcended by resurrection and the power of the Father. It is precisely through the cross that the love of the Father manifests itself through the Resurrection.
We uniquely participate in our sacramental lives with Jesus in this mystery through the Sacraments of Initiation and Eucharist. We need to remember always that we are an Easter People...called from the darkness of sin into new light and life through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Holy Week permits us to appreciate the rich theological history of all of the signs and symbols of our faith. It allows us a "breathing-space" in which we might participate in our liturgical high holy days.
We recall our ancestry with the Children of Israel and our close relationship with them. We commemorate and celebrate our Sacraments, and we participate in a restored confidence in the power of the Father over all creation. What a week. What a journey. What an experience.
Catholics throughout the world should savor this time, use Holy Week as a means of retreat, restoration and renewal of personal faith, as well as a time to participate most fully in the Church's sacramental life.
After all, Holy Week is the manifestation of our destiny as believers; that is eternal life with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Hugh McNichol is a Catholic author that writes freelance works on topics that involve Catholicism. He writes a daily column, verbumcarofactumest.blogspot.com
TriNet Consultants Inc.
http://verbumcarofactumest.blogspot.com DE, US
Hugh McNichol - Catholic author, 302 6339348
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- 'Acid is now a fashionable weapon of choice' - Britain averages one ...
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017 HD Video
- Report claims extreme weather on DECLINE - but is someone lying?
- St. Catherine of Siena: Saint of the Day for Saturday, April 29, 2017
- It feels great to win! Here's the list of things President Trump has ...
- Pope Francis arrives in Egypt with powerful message HD Video
- Daily Readings for Saturday, April 29, 2017
- Daily Reading for Monday, May 1st, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, April 30th, 2017 HD
- Day 9 - Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD
- Day 8 - Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.