Tag Archives: Holy Week

Monday of Holy Week

Lent 1
John’s gospel describes  a meal in Bethany  honoring Jesus following the resurrection of Lazarus.(John 12,1-11) It’s the last meal before the Passover supper. His gift of life leads to a sentence of death.

Faithful Martha serves the meal; Lazarus newly alive, is at the table. But the one drawing most of our attention is Mary, their sister who, sensing what’s coming, kneels before Jesus to anoint his feet with precious oil and dry them with her hair. “And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.”

The precious oil, an effusive sign of her love and gratitude, also anoints Jesus for his burial. Only in passing does the gospel mention that evil is in play here. Judas, “the one who would betray him,” complains that the anointing is a waste, but his voice is silenced. Believers are honoring the one they love.

How fitting that Holy Week begins with this gospel when, like Mary, we kneel and pour out the precious oil of our love upon him whose precious life is poured out for us.

“May the holy cross of our good Jesus be ever planted in our hearts so that our souls may be grafted onto this tree of life and by the infinite merits of the death of the Author of life we may produce worthwhile fruits of penance.” (St. Paul of the Cross,Letter 11)

Let my prayer rise up before you like incense,
The raising of my hands like an evening offering. Ps 141
Your sentence to death frees us,
Your blood is poured out for us,
We breathe the fragrance of your love.

Holy Thursday

Lent 1
“Love makes one little room an everywhere.” That’s what happened  when Jesus entered the supper room in Jerusalem the night before he died. A dark fate awaited him as powerful forces readied to take his life. His disciples, “his own who were in the world,” were arguing among themselves as they took their places at table. Jn 13,1-15

What would he do? Understandably, he might do nothing, disappointed  like the servant whom the prophet Isaiah described, “I toiled in vain; and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength…” (Is. 49).

Jesus, however, took bread and gave it to his disciples. “Take this,” he said, “this is my body.” He took the cup and gave it to them. “This is my blood, the blood of the new covenant, to be poured out in behalf of many.”

That night, without wariness or regret, he gave himself to his Father and to his disciples. As our Savior and Redeemer he gave himself unhesitatingly for the life of the world. In the supper room a love was tested and a love was displayed that reached everywhere.

Holy Thursday night. “Now is not the time to write, rather to weep. Jesus is dead to give us life. All creatures are mourning, the sun is darkened, the earth quakes, the rocks are rent, the veil of the temple is torn. Only my heart remains harder than flint. I will say no more. Join the poor mother of the dead Jesus as her companion. Ask the dear Magdalene and John where their hearts are. Let the sea of their pains flood within you. I end at the foot of the cross.” (St. Paul of the Cross,Letter 181)

How shall I make a return to the Lord
for the goodness he has shown to me.
The cup of salvation I will take up
and call on the name of the Lord. Ps 116

Tuesday of Holy Week

Lent 1
The gospels from Monday to Thursday in Holy Week take us away from the crowded temple area in Jerusalem where Jesus spoke before many of his avowed enemies. These days he eats at table with “his own.” In Bethany six days before Passover he eats with Martha , Mary and Lazarus, whom he raised from the dead. Mary anointed his feet with precious oil in a beautiful outpouring of her love.

The gospels for Tuesday and Wednesday bring us to the table in Jerusalem where he eats with the twelve who followed him. Love is poured out here too, but these gospels describe a love with great cost. “I tell you solemnly, one of you will betray me,” Jesus says to them. Friends that followed him abandon him. Judas dips his hand into the dish with him and then goes out into the night. Peter will deny him three times; the others flee. Jesus must face suffering and death alone.

Are we unlike them?

Does a troubled Jesus face us too, “his own,” to whom he gave new life in the waters of baptism and Bread at his table. Will we not betray or deny? Are we sure we will not go away? The gospels are not just about what’s past; they’re also about now.

We think the saints exaggerate when they call themselves great sinners, but they know the truth. That’s the way St. Paul of the Cross described himself in his account of his forty day retreat as a young man:

“I rejoiced that our great God should wish to use so great a sinner, and on the other hand, I knew not where to cast myself, knowing myself so wretched. Enough! I know I shall tell my beloved Jesus that all creatures shall sing of his mercies.” (Letter 2)

Almighty ever-living God,

grant us so to celebrate the mysteries of the Lord’s Passion

that we may merit to receive your pardon.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son.


Palm Sunday

Lent 1
(Please read further for Spanish and Swahili)
Matthew’s story of the passion of Jesus (Matthew 26-27) is the first of the four gospels read in Holy Week. Why four? Because this story can’t be expressed easily; each of the evangelists has something to say.
It’s a story that begins when Jesus rises from the dead.

Appearing to his disciples at Jerusalem that day “Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.” ( John 20,19-21 ) To the disciples on the way to Emmaus that same day, Jesus said: “‘Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24,26-27) The gospel narratives grew from these appearances of the Risen Christ and the scriptures he interpreted.

The Passion of Jesus is an Easter story that brings hope. He did not hide his wounds; he showed them to his disciples. He doesn’t dismiss his sufferings and death as an embarrassing setback; the power of God appeared in them. As Jesus revealed his experience, he made the hearts of his followers burn with rejoicing. As the story is told to us, we respond with a simple response of love.

“One loving word can keep your soul in prayer for a long time. For example, you are ready to meditate on Jesus Crucified and find yourself blank and unable. Make an act of love, like this: “O my Jesus Crucified, why are you on the cross?” Then, if you can go no further and your soul is a peace in the silence of love, lost in God, just continue that way. What a great prayer this is!”

May the Passion of Christ be always in our hearts!
Lent 1

Domingo de Ramos – Año A
Mateo 26, 14-75 y 27, 1-66

La historia de Mateo sobre la Pasión de Jesús (Mateo 26-27) es el primero de los cuatro Evangelios que se leen en la Semana Santa. ¿Por qué cuatro? Es que este relato no se puede expresar facilmente; cada uno de los evangelistas tiene algo que decir.

Este relato es contado inicialmente por Jesús Cristo después de resucitar de entre los muertos. Apareciendocele a sus discípulos en Jerusalén ese día, “Jesús entró y, poniéndose en medio de ellos les dijo, ‘Paz a ustedes.’ Cuando él había dicho esto, les mostró las manos y su costado.” (Juán 20,19-21) A los discípulos en el camino a Emaús ese mismo día Jesús les dijo, ” ‘¿A caso no tenía que sufrir el Mesías estas cosas antes de ser glorificado?’ Y comenzando con Moisés y todos los profetas él se puso a explicarles todos los pasajes de las escrituras que hablaban de él.” (Lucas 24,26-27) Estos narrativos del Evangelio provinieron de las apariciones del Cristo Resucitado y las escrituras que él interpretó para ellos.

La Pasión de Jesús es un relato de Pascua que trae esperanza. Él no escondió sus heridas; él se las enseñó a sus discípulos. Él no descarta sus sufrimientos y muerte como si solo hayan sido unas molestosas contrariedades; el poder de Diós se manifestó por ellas. Cuando Jesús revelaba su experiencia, él causaba que los corazones de sus seguidores ardieran con regocijo. Cuando nosotros escuchamos este relato, respondemos con la sencilla respuesta del amor.

San Pablo de la Cruz nos dice; ” Una palabra de amor puede mantener tu alma en oración por un largo rato. Por ejemplo, estás preparado para meditar sobre Jesús Crucificado y te encuentras incapaz, con la mente en blanco. Haz un acto de amor, como este: ‘O mi Jesús Crucificado, ¿por qué estás en esa cruz?’ Entonces, si no puedes proceder más allá y tu alma se siente en un estado de paz en el silencio del amor, perdido en Diós, pués continua de esa manera. Qué gran oración es esta! ”

Qué la Pasión de Cristo siga siempre en nuestros corazones!

Sikukuu Ya Matawi

Hadithi ya Matayo juu ya mateso ya Yesu ni ya kwanza kwenye injili nne

zinazosomwa wakati wa wiki takatifu. Kwa nini nne? Kwa sababu hii hadithi

haiwezi kuelezewa kwa urahisi; kila mwinjili ana jambo la kusema.

Ni hadithi iliyoanza baada ya Yesu kufufuka kutoka katika wafu.

Kuwatokea wanafunzi wake, siku ile kule Yerusalem “Yesu alikuja na kusimama

kati yao na kusema, ‘Amani iwe nanyi’. Baada ya kusema hayo, aliwaonyesha

mikono yake na ubavu (Yohana 20:19-20)”. Kwa wanafunzi wake waliokuwa

safarini kuelekea Emmaus siku ile ile, Yesu alisema: “ ‘Haikumpasa Kristo ateswe

mambo haya na kuingia katika utukufu wake?’ Aliwatafsiria maandiko matakatifu

na yale yote yaliyomhusu yeye mwenyewe, kuanzia kwa Musa na manabii. Luka

24:26-27.Simulizi la injili ya leo limekuwa kutoka katika kuonekana kwa Kristo

Mfufuka na maandiko matakatifu aliyoyaeleza/aliyoyafafanua.

Mataso ya Kristu ni hadithi ya pasaka yenye kuleta matumaini. Hakuficha vidonda

vyake; aliwaonyesha wanafunzi wake. Hatupilii mbali mateso na kifo chake

kwamba ni kitu cha aibu; nguvu ya mungu ilijionyesha ndani yao. Jinsi Yesu

alivyojifunua, alifanya mioyo ya wafuasi wake ichomwe kwa furaha. Nasi kadri

hadithi hii iliyvoelezwa kwetu, tunaitikia na mwitiko rahisi wa upendo.

Mtakatifu Paulo wa Msalaba

“Neno moja la upendo linaweza kuuweka moyo wako katika hali ya kusali kwa

mda mrefu. Kwa Mfano, uko tayari kutafakari juu ya kusulibiwa kwa Yesu na

unajikuta umetawanyika kimawazo na kushindwa kusali. Fanya tendo la upendo,

kama hili: “ O Yesu wangu uliyesulibiwa, kwa nini uko msalabani?” Alafu, kama

hauwezi kuendelea na moyo wako uko katika amani katika ukimya wa upendo,

umezama katika Mungu, basi endelea namna hii. Hii ni sala kubwa namna gani!”

Basi mateso ya Kristo na yawe daima ndani ya mioyo yetu.

Palm Sunday

We call this week “Holy Week,” because it’s the week the church follows Jesus closely to his death and resurrection. Today we go with him into Jerusalem where people clapped their hands and shouted out his name and sang his praises; a few days afterwards they put him to death by crucifixion.

This is a week to ask “Who is this?” and “Why did this happen to him?” We ask these questions because they answer the great questions of life. “Who are we?” and “Why are we here?”

Jesus Christ came upon earth, not just to teach us but through his death to take away the death we all face, and through his resurrection to give us the promise of life, eternal life.

The first few days of Holy Week, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the gospel readings follow Jesus as he prepares to die. He stays away from the temple area in Jerusalem where he spoke previously to mostly hostile listeners. In these first days of Holy Week he looks for the company of “his own,” his friends in Bethany and the disciples who have followed him up from Galilee.

On Thursday of Holy Week Jesus goes with his disciples into the city, to an upper room near the temple, and at that meal he offers himself to his Father as a new sacrifice for the life of the world.

On Good Friday he faces death on a cross in a drama that has never been equaled and has hardly been understood.

Holy Saturday is a day when the world is silent. Like the disciples of Jesus before us, we wait with the little faith and hope we have for the light that will come from the empty tomb.

Easter Sunday Jesus Christ rises from the dead.

This week at Immaculate Conception Parish in Melbourne Beach, Florida, I’m preaching a mission for the first three days of Holy Week. My reflections will be mostly from the Gospel of Mark, but they will include the other scriptures that speak of the mysteries of Holy Week.

On Monday, I’ll speak about the supper at Bethany and the Last Supper in Jerusalem.

On Tuesday I’ll speak about the Passion narrative of Mark from the arrest of Jesus in the Garden to his burial in the tomb.

On Wednesday, I’ll speak about his Resurrection from the dead as the scriptures describe it.