Your Guide to Holy Week

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Praying Holy Week 

Holy Week is an invitation to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, the centerpoint of the Christian faith. We are also invited to reflect on the ways in which we have lived the Paschal Mystery in our own lives. What follows is a guide to celebrating Holy Week in the midst of the pandemic. 

Way to Celebrate: 

Ways to Watch:

  • Watch The Passion of the Christ or another movie about the life of Jesus. Simply Google “Jesus movies,” and a number of options will come up. 

Ways to Give:

  • Serve your family – help out with chores around the house, spend time with your siblings, cook a meal, etc. 
  • Serve your friends – call/text/video with friends
  • Serve your relatives – call/text/video a relative that may be isolated and lonely right now. 
  • Donate to a charity

Ways to Fast:

  • Good Friday: abstain from meat all day; eat only one large meal and two smaller meals; do not eat between meals. 

Ways to Pray:

Ways to Reflect: 

  • A Holy Week Reflection Guide 
  1. Palm Sunday – Jesus’ triumphant procession into Jerusalem; however, the reading of the Passion foreshadows the passion and death that we will celebrate later in the week.
    1. Emotions – the Passion is a great drama filled with all kinds of emotions, i.e. betrayal, envy, disloyalty, mocking, embarrassment, regret, abuse, forsaken, abandonment, fear, etc. 
      1. Question for Reflection: What emotions have you been experiencing during this time of pandemic and staying home? 
        1. Take an Emotion Quiz: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSevW9CvZnyxSqa_U7S4QaSh-tZaP17aXOJdqQXvGe7qVB_XQA/viewform
  1. Holy Thursday – The Celebration of the Last Supper and the Washing of the Feet
    1. Service – Jesus takes the bread and wine as says, “Take and eat/drink, this is my body/blood, given up for you. Do this in remembrance of me”(Mt 26:26-28). In other words, he is a man of true generosity, giving completely of himself. Then, in an act of the utmost humility, he takes on the role of a servant and washes his disciples’ feet. 
      1. Question for Reflection: Who has been washing your feet lately? Who has been serving you during this time of pandemic? Have you thanked them?
      2. Question for Reflection: Whose feet have you been washing lately? Who are you serving during this time of pandemic? Whose feet have you failed to wash? How can you make amends? 
  1. Good Friday – The Passion, Death and Burial of Jesus Christ
    1. Crosses – We all have crosses to bear (obstacles to overcome) and they often fall into two categories:
      1. Obstacles from outside: Illness of self or others, divorce, death of a parent or loved one, weight of expectations, parents letting us down, etc. 
      2. Obstacles from our choices: actions, habits, attitude, inaction, masks, that prevent fullness of life, i.e. being our best self, being happy, being holy. 
    2. Questions for Reflection: What are the crosses (re: sins, hardships, flaws) in your life? Which crosses have you chosen? Which have been thrust upon you (like Simon of Cyrene)? 
    3. Carrying our Crosses: 
      1. Wrestle with it (Gethsemane) Is this a cross that I must carry or am I taking up a cross that is not mine to bear? 
      2. Bear it with courage (Trial) – Once accepted, bear your cross knowing you are called to allow it to shape and transform you. 
      3. Share the load (Simon of Cyrene) – When you carry your cross, Christ carries it with you. But also in carrying your cross, you carry Christ’s cross.  
      4. Be redeemed (Resurrection) – Christ promises that if we take up our cross(es) for his sake, we will find life. – “Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
  1. Holy Saturday – We celebrate that Jesus has died and remains in the tomb.
    1. Waiting in the tomb – We all have moments in our lives where we are waiting for resurrection. We all have moments when we have suffered and/or are suffering, but the suffering has not yet given way to redemption, resurrection and new life. 
      1. Question for Reflection: In what area of our life, are you waiting in the tomb? What is a struggle that you have not yet overcome? What is a hardship that God has not yet redeemed in your life? 
    2. Waiting in the tomb of stay-at-home orders – Right now, as we are forced to stay at home, we are very much waiting in a tomb. We don’t have answers or control over the situation. We realize how vulnerable we are and how connected we all are to one another. And yet, as people of faith, we are called to wait in the tomb with hope, knowing that God will bring an end to this, and that we are called to use this time to know, love, and serve Him and one another. 
      1. Question for Reflection: As we wait in the tomb right now, what is giving you hope? What is inspiring you? What is lifting your spirits? 
      2. Question for Reflection: How can you use this time to better yourself and better the lives of others? What have you always wanted to learn? What activity do you want to try? What hobby do you want to pick up? 
  1. Easter Vigil – At this liturgy, we celebrate the story of salvation history and welcome new members into the Church through the Sacraments. 
    1. Question for Reflection: What is your personal salvation history? How has God saved (helped, comforted, protected, forgiven) you? When has God shown up in a big way in and through the events and people in your life?
  1. Easter – The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
    1. Resurrection – We all have moments in your lives, where we experience the resurrection. These are moments where we experience God’s presence in our lives. They are moments of great joy where we recognize how good life is and can be. They can be moments of great personal or communal triumph or success.
      1. Question for Reflection: When have you experienced God’s presence in your life? When have you experienced great joy or peace in your life? 
      2. Question for Reflection: What is one of the greatest moments of your life? When have you experienced personal or communal triumph or success? 
    2. Hope – The resurrection should fill us with hope as we remember: 
      1. God is good; God does not want bad things to happen to us or anyone else. 
      2. God is with us, especially those who suffer (diagnosed with Covid-19) and those who serve (first-responders, health care professionals). 
      3. God will redeem this:
        1. God will slow and end this virus.
        2. God will heal the sick
        3. God will comfort the aggrieved. 
        4. God is working through and in us at this time to form and transform us. 
        5. God brings good out of anything and everything.