Holy Week begins with Palm/Passion Sunday and concludes with the Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil/Easter Sunday. The Lenten Seasons ends with the beginning of the Holy Thursday evening service.
One way of praying your way through the liturgical celebrations of Holy Week is to use your imagination and place yourself in the scenes unfolding on the various days. On Palm/Passion Sunday, imagine yourself as part of the crowd welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem. Can you feel the excitement of the crowd as they cry out: “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Yet you know that in a few short days, the crowd will be calling for Jesus’ death.
On Holy Thursday, place yourself at the Last Supper with Jesus and his apostles. Feel Jesus washing your feet as he washed the feet of the others present. Hear Jesus speaking to you: “I have given you an example; as I have done so you also must do.” This does not mean washing another’s feet. Rather, it means that you, all of us, must be concerned about brothers or sisters who may have material or spiritual needs for which you may in some be able to offer assistance. Thank Jesus for giving you the Sacraments of the priesthood and the Holy Eucharist.
On Good Friday imagine yourself as part of the crowd gathered at Calvary. Can you hear the bitter words of hatred and anger of those calling for Jesus’ death? Can you empathize with Mary, Jesus’ mother, as she stands beneath the cross watching the suffering of her innocent Son. Can you imagine the horrible suffering of Jesus? Can you believe that His suffering and death were undertaking for your salvation and for the salvation of all of His followers?
If you attend the Easter Vigil Service, place yourself in the various reading that you hear. Listen to the story of God’s plan of salvation as it unfolds through the Old Testament readings. If there are people receiving the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist or if others are being received into the Church feel their excitement and pray for them. Thank God for these new members of the Catholic Community.
During Mass on Easter Sunday, sing the Alleluia (Praise the Lord!) with joy and energy. Renew your baptismal promises with heartfelt joy and see this renewal as a call to live more deeply the Christian life as a believer in and follower of Jesus, the Lord. Feel the joy that comes from believing that Jesus suffered and died but was raised to new life by God the Father. Thank Jesus for the salvation He won for you.
May the Lord bless you and your loved ones this Holy Week and throughout the Easter Season. “Today is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad!”