The Unnamed Days of Holy Week
As we near the end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week we can easily get caught up in the mix of Easter holiday plans, Easter baskets, Chocolates and Hot Cross Buns, which for some reason seem to appear on shelves before we’ve put away the Christmas decorations. For many of us, we can lose focus on the true meaning of this time and before we know it, Holy Thursday is here and there’s little time to prepare spiritually.
In a recent endeavour to better prepare for Holy Week, I came across a video by Fr. Mike Schmitz, a priest from the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, which puts a new perspective on the week. He suggests a different reflection for every day. This brings Holy Week to life for me and hopefully for you too.
‘Jesus commits to doing God’s will, knowing what is to happen to him’
This approach, from the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, begins with daily readings, starting with the Saturday before Palm Sunday, known by the Sisters as Commitment Saturday; where Jesus commits to doing God’s will, knowing what is to happen to him.
What stood out to me is the Wednesday before Holy Thursday, known to the Sisters as Wednesday of Aloneness.
In the first reading for Wednesday we hear about a man who, though anointed and commissioned by God, is being attacked and yet with God’s Grace he is able to continue on in his ministry. It is easy to draw many comparisons between this passage and what Jesus is going to encounter in the days to come.
It is a good point in time to imagine how our Lord must have felt being the only one who could fully know what was going to happen. It is during this time that we can walk with the Lord in isolation, knowing that He would offer Himself for us and reflect on how Jesus is calling us to walk with him in our daily lives.
‘Not my will, but Thine be done’
In the Gospel, we hear Jesus embracing his mission, telling the disciples “My appointed time draws near,” We also hear Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. In taking the thirty pieces of silver from the chief priests, Judas isolates himself from the other disciples. From this, we can reflect on our own brokenness, shortcomings, and aloneness, meditating on how our sins cause us to experience isolation from God. It’s on this Wednesday of aloneness before God that we, with Jesus, are preparing to say “Not my will, but Thine be done.”
On Wednesday 17 April join me and the Sisters of St Francis of the Eucharist in observing the aloneness that Judas experienced, and walking with the Lord as he prepares to embrace the cross. Reflecting on each day during Holy Week, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of Jesus’ commitment to God’s will, as well as God’s love for us. It is only through the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection that God’s plan for our salvation is fully realized.
If you would like to watch Fr. Mike’s video where he covers each day of Holy Week, click on this link: Praying Through Holy Week
Jose Segarra is an Administration Officer at the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations.