As we make our journey through Holy Week, I will like to share with you a modified summary of my reflection to our College Students at Lyke House – The Catholic Center at Atlanta University Center in preparation for Holy Week and the Celebration of Easter. Reflecting on the theme: Spirituality of Holy Week- Walking in the Light.
What is Holy Week? And Why is it called Holy Week?
Holy Week is a term that refers to the week beginning with Palm Sunday (Passion Sunday) and ending with “Holy Saturday.” It includes the last days of Lent and moves beyond Lent into the Easter Triduum. As we know Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday just before the Mass of the Lords Supper.
On Palm Sunday, the Church recalls the triumphant entry of Christ our Lord into Jerusalem to accomplish His Paschal Mystery. The Palm Sunday Liturgy begins the Christian journey of Holy Week- meditating on the sacred journey of our Lord last days on earth to fulfill the mission and purpose of His Incarnation. The liturgy of Palm Sunday gives us a prelude of what will take place during Holy Week especially the Easter Triduum up to the death and burial of Christ.
The Easter Triduum refers to the great three days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. It is the Quintessential celebration of our Faith in Jesus Christ, that highlights the Paschal Mystery of Christ, that is His Suffering, Death, and Resurrection. The Triduum begins on Holy Thursday with the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, in which Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist, the Priesthood, and the Mandatum Novum da nobis (I give you a new commandment) “love one another as I have loved you”. On Good Friday, the second day of the Triduum, we have the passion of Christ, His suffering and death. The Third day of the Triduum begins at sunset on Holy Saturday with the vigil of Easter ( Easter Vigil) which is the most holiest night of the year, leading in to the day of days, the feast of feasts. This is the vigil of the resurrection, when Christ destroyed death by rising to new life. This third day of the Triduum continues into Easter Sunday and concludes with Evening Prayer of Easter Sunday.
During this time of our spiritual journey, we are invited to walk in the Light and not in darkness. The imagery of light versus darkness is used in the Gospel of John to make a distinction between those who are living a life in Christ-The Light of the World, by being honest, loving, kind and merciful, as opposed to those who are walking in the darkness of living a life of lies, hatred, evil and wickedness. The Gospel of John uses the image of Judas -one of the twelve- to teach us that it is possible to be with the Light (Christ) yet choose to walk in darkness. “After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him”. ….. “he immediately went out. And it was night.” John 13:27-30
This text teaches us that temptation is real, and good people, church people, children of God can be tempted. Therefore, as children of God and people of the Light, we do not want to follow the path of Judas who was with the Light, yet walked in darkness.
As we prepare for Easter, the question is how do we walk in the Light?
We walk in the light by been in constant fellowship with God and each other.
Fellowship with God means that we must not walk in the darkness. For we walk in darkness when we ignore our sins, deny our sins, controlled by greed, raged by anger, consumed by jealousy or envy. Fellowship with God during this time of Holy Week means that we walk humbly with Christ, and desire to be in His presence through prayer, kindness to others and act of mercy. We are to put God first in all that we do. That means seeing things the way God sees them by speaking the truth, being honest and practicing the virtues. This is a time to make use of the sacrament of reconciliation, confess our sins and receive God’s forgiveness so that we too can dispense His mercy. Holiness becomes our close walk with God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Allow the gifts of God’s Spirit to shine in you during these days by doing good each day and walk in the Light. May God bless you on your journey!