Culture of Life
Holy Week: The Pope, Christ and You
User’s Guide to Sunday
BY Tom and April Hoopes
March 29-April 4, 2009 Issue | Posted 3/20/09 at 12:04 PM
Sunday, April 5, is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week (Year B).
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April 5, 9:30 a.m. Palm Sunday procession and Mass at St. Peter’s.
EWTN: Live Sunday at 4 a.m. Replayed 8 p.m.
April 9, 9:30 a.m. Chrism Mass for Holy Thursday at St. Peter’s.
April 9, 5:30 p.m. Mass of the Lord’s Supper at St. John Lateran.
EWTN: Live 11:30 a.m. Replayed 1 p.m.
April 10, 5 p.m. Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at St. Peter’s.
EWTN: Live, 11 a.m. Replayed at midnight.
April 10, 9:15 p.m. Way of the Cross at the Roman Colosseum.
NCRegister.com (“Resources”) provides a Holy Week Guide with additional activities. Find it also on page B2 of this issue.
• Monday. This is traditionally considered the day Christ “cleansed the Temple” in Jerusalem, driving out the money changers and overturning tables. Make a visit to a church.
• Tuesday. This is traditionally the day of Christ’s last run-in with the Pharisees and discourse about the last days. Review with the kids everything that will happen this week.
• “Spy Wednesday,” the day Judas decides to betray Christ. A Tenebrae (darkness) service is sometimes held this day, in which all the light in the sanctuary is extinguished. Start the Rosary or night prayer with several lit candles; extinguish them halfway through.
• Holy Thursday, the commemoration of the Last Supper with the foot-washing service. It’s also a day to celebrate the Eucharist. Take out pictures of everyone’s first Communion and put them on display.
• Good Friday, the day we mark the Lord’s death. In our house, there’s no music allowed today; no TV; no movies.
• Holy Saturday is a day for preparing for Easter. We dye eggs — but then put them away. We fill plastic eggs for our egg hunt — but then put them under the table.
Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalms 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24; Philippians 2:6-11; Mark 14:1 — 15:47 or 15:1-39.
Today, during the Passion reading, pay attention to the minor characters and try this examination of conscience.
Am I like the chief priests and scribes and, later, the crowds? They spare Jesus at first, and greet him with palm branches — but only out of “peer pressure.” What parts of my spiritual and moral life are done “for the crowd”? What is my relationship with Christ when I’m alone?
Am I like the woman with the jar of ointment? She doesn’t hesitate to give to Christ, not letting good intentions satisfy her.
The apostles are quick to tell Christ that they will do anything for him. Am I all talk? Do I tell God — and myself — that I am holy or pious, but then allow myself lots of indulgences in things that are unwholesome or give in to judgmental thoughts and other sins?
How important to me is the Eucharist? Do I think of it as the one thing Christ wanted to leave me before he died; the crowning achievement of his life; the way I have to meet and become one with him? Or has his dying wish for me become just routine?
The apostles fall asleep when Christ asks them to watch and pray. In what areas of my life do I “sleep” instead of staying awake and paying attention to Christ?
Fulton Sheen points out that there are three steps that led to St. Peter’s fall in this Gospel. 1. He neglects his prayer. 2. He follows Christ “at a distance.” 3. He “warmed himself by the fire,” seeking personal comforts when Christ is being tried. Am I faithful to prayer? Do I pay attention to Christ in the small things in my life? Do I prefer comforts to the challenges all around me? (On the positive side, Peter’s weeping in this Gospel — his repentance — was the first step to his rehabilitation.)
The story ends with Christ’s apparent defeat. But hints of his victory are already present: the centurion’s recognition of his greatness and the details of his burial, which will become important on Easter.
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