So, It Is Now Holy Week for Christians Around the Globe, But Will It Really Change Us? 

The world has simply become more caustic by any measure. The interactions on social media, between persons, and against the vulnerable, and those who identify as LGBTQ, and the foreigner and refugee are all more acidic and debilitating. The political rhetoric is nothing short of vile. We, as a people, have become less patient, less kind, and more demeaning. We are increasingly more self-centered and more selfish, even as a nation that proclaims to welcome the tossed to our shores. And now, into this world, the short week of Holy Week soon begins. I wonder if it will change us?

Holy Week begins by commemorating Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem; His gift of the Eucharist; and His suffering, death, and Resurrection. Holy Week is a time of final preparations and great anticipation! Our weeks of preparations, of prayers, of fasting, and of almsgiving during Lent will continue, but this week with greater intensity. 

We will journey first to Palm Sunday, our doorway into the holiest week of the Church year. The three solemn liturgies on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday (The Great Easter Vigil) are called collectively known as the Triduum, but sadly, they are the least attended of the year. I wonder, too, will you pause your life, as Jesus did for us, and attend each of these holy times to allow your life to change for the better? 

Last year, at the start of Holy Week, The Holy Father encouraged bishops and priests to make themselves the concrete expressions of mercy, as preached by the Church through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, welcoming each penitent with love, understanding, compassion, and joy. It is a reminder that goes back to the story of the father of the prodigal son where he offered offering forgiveness, reconciliation, and hope. However, that is the not only the job of clergy, it is our collective continuum if we are to be followers of the Christ; we are to mete out our love – not in small measured doses intentionally restricted to only a chosen few, but rather in reckless abundant blobs! We are to welcome all, regardless of whatever sins for which they will ask to be forgiven, we are to offer our hearts, not our aversion. In other words, we are to make the love of Jesus concrete in this life by the actions of our own hands, and feet, and most importantly, our words.

The story is told of a man who visits and asks a goldsmith in his shop how he goes through with his work in purifying gold. The goldsmith explains how he puts the gold in a container over a fire and makes sure that the metal gets melted evenly as he increases the heat, stirring the metal as it melts. Asked how he would know that the gold has been purified, his answer is simple: “When I can see my image in it.”

How will you make the love of God concrete this week? Could your words – in tenor and intent – be attributed to Jesus if the author was unknown? Are you willing to join us this Holy Week to enshrine the love and dedication of Christ in the Church and beyond, even at the expense of a few hours of you going out of your way to allow for us all to change for the better? Will others see Christ in you?

Come blessed Holy Week. Come needed change…

Monsignor +Jim

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