This weekend we move into Holy Week, the most sacred part of the Liturgical year. Though we've been preparing for Christ's death and resurrection all through Lent, our preparation becomes even more focused during this short time. There's so much that goes on during Holy Week, we thought a guide to the special traditions and liturgies would be useful.
John 13:21-33, 36-38
Jesus is deeply troubled. Night has fallen. One apostle is about to betray Jesus and another is going to deny him three times. The darkness of the coming events is palpable in this Gospel reading.
The third word is from John 19:26–27: Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother.
This is all about Mary to me. I find Mary so powerful and impactful in such a quiet and elegant way. At the Feast of Cana, she tells Jesus to perform His first miracle. She exhibits a strength and finesse that are commendable.
The sixth word is from John 19:30: It is finished.
The seventh word is from Luke 23:46: Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
Again, Jesus is talking directly to His Father. His use of the word “Father” is reminiscent of my reflection on the first word, so if you forgot what I said, just reread the first word.
The second word is from Luke 23:43: Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.
Before you get worried, let me just say that, no, I'm not suggesting we imitate Judas' behavior. Even though Judas' betrayal of Jesus played an essential role in the fulfillment of Scripture, Jesus is pretty clear in the Gospel reading at today's Mass that "it would be better for that man if he had never been born."
Holy Week marks the most important time of the Church’s year. During this week, which culminates in the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection, Catholics around the world participate in customs that have developed over the years to commemorate this most important event of salvation. Below are some of the most unique traditions of Holy Week.