No. 809 Diocese of Marbel, Philippines 09 March 2015
REFLECTIONS ON HOLY WEEK
This week starts with Palm Sunday and ends on Easter. This week celebrates Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, his last meal, followed by his arrest, torture and death by crucifixion. It culminates with Christ’s resurrection.
This week is holy because it is different from the other 52 weeks of the year. It commemorates the major mysteries of our salvation history: passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- PALM SUNDAY
Jesus presents himself as the Messiah through signs that fulfill Zechariah’s prophecy: “Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion! Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem! See now, your King comes to you, he is victorious, he is triumphant, humble and riding on a donkey”. (9:9)
“Hosanna”. Ps. 118: 26. Means “Hallel” or “Praise God.” Characteristically the conqueror’s psalm (Barclay). These verses were sung and shouted by the Jerusalem crowd when they welcome back Simon Maccabeus after he had conquered Accra and wrested it from Syrian dominion (Barclay). The crowd looked on Jesus as the conqueror, God’s anointed, Messiah.
Palm – symbol of prosperity, beauty, victory. Solomon’s temple used palm as motif. (1 Kings 6: 29, 32; 7: 36)
- LAST SUPPER (Jh. Chapters 13, 15, 17; Mt. 26: 26-29; 1 Cor. 11: 25).
- Jesus washes his disciples’ feet (verses 1 – 11)
- The new commandment, “Mandatum”. “I give you a new commandment, love one another; just as I have loved you, you also must love one another” (Jh. 13: 34). Basis for loving others is Christ’s love for us: sacrificial, universal, merciful and forgiving.
- Jesus, the Vine: “I am the vine, you are the branches, whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.” (Jh. 15: 5)
- The Institution of the Eucharist. “Jesus took some bread…said the blessing he broke it and gave it to the disciples:” …”this is my body” …then he took a cup of wine …”this is my blood.”
- Institution of the priesthood “Do this as a memorial of me” (1 Cor. 11: 25).
- Christ’s prayer for unity. “Holy Father, keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one like us.” (Jh. 17: 11). “Father may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.” (Jh. 17: 21).
“The quintessence (pure essence) of the Maundy Thursday spirit, then, is the spirit of unity” (Clifford Howell, S.J., Preparing for Easter, p. 83).
- GOOD FRIDAY
This Friday is good because it celebrates Christ’s death. By his death, Christ reconciled us to God. “Felix culpa” – O happy fault! Christ’s death however, leads to his resurrection (cf. Phil. 2: 6-11).
Liturgy is unique. No mass. Three parts: (1) service of instruction and prayer; (2) service of veneration of the cross; (3) communion service.
Main reading is the Passion according to John. Christ suffered willingly for our sakes, “remembering that each of us, by his sins, has been a contributory cause of it” (Howell). “I lay it down of any own free will, and as it is in my powers to lay it down, so it is in my power to take it up again: and this is the command I have been given by my Father.” (Jh. 10: 18)
The cross is the instrument of our salvation from sin and the devil and our reconciliation with God. Only Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man could fully pay for our sins. We say, thank you, Lord.
- EASTER VIGIL/RESURRECTION
- Darkness and Light. Before Christ there was darkness. Christ came – the Light of these world. “Lumen Christi”.
- “Exultet” – Easter proclamation – a song of praise and thanks.
- Readings – salvation history – especially “Exodus” – departure from Egypt where the Israelites lived as slaves to Canaan – the Promised Land – freedom and prosperity.
“The overall purpose of the prophecies is to remind the Christian Community of the wonderful manner in which God created the human race, and then prepared it, after the Fall, for the coming of Christ.” (Howell)
In the Cathedral, the Bishop uses the 3rd, 5th and 7th readings from the Old Testament: 3rd – about “Exodus”; 5th (Isaiah – better covenant to come); 7th (Ezekiel – “new heart, new spirit”).
Gloria – bells are rung. Flowers decorate the altar. Festive atmosphere: Christ is risen! Alleluia!
NOTE: MASS OF THE CHRISM
It is usually celebrated on Thursday morning. But in the Diocese of Marbel it has been celebrated on Tuesday morning to allow priests from distant parishes to concelebrate. Chrism mass is a sign of the unity between the priests and the Bishop. Bishop consecrates the chrism and blesses the oil of the sick and oil of catechumen (optional).
Renewal of commitment to priestly service.
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