YES, we have to be eager to go through the Holy Week, not because it is fun time with the family and friends in the beach and other resorts, but because it is the holiest of weeks.
It is THE week, the mother of all weeks, the most important week in the liturgical year, when we end the long penitential preparation of Lent and celebrate nothing less than the climax of Christ’s redemptive work with his passion, death and resurrection.
When we say “celebrate,” we are referring to a liturgical celebration where the events celebrated are not simply remembered, but are actually made present. This is the essence of liturgy.
In the liturgy we become contemporaries of Christ and direct witnesses of the events. That’s how the reality portrayed by our faith is. It is a reality that, of course, goes far beyond what our senses can capture and what our intelligence can grasp. That is why we have to work out our faith. Otherwise, we would be hanging in the air.
It’s important that we don’t lose our spiritual bearing as we go through the Holy Week. Now we have to make some special effort to achieve this ideal, since the environment today is so paganised that many people prefer to be in the beaches than in churches during Holy Week.
If we go by our faith, it’s the week when we practice the most rigorous of our spirit of penance and sacrifice to match with the very passion and death of Christ on the Cross. That’s simply because we are meant to unite our whole life with the offering sacrifice of Christ’s life to his Father. That way, we would enjoy the consequence of Christ’s redemptive work.
We have to remember that we can only resurrect with Christ if we also suffer and die with him. St. Paul describes it this way in his Letter to the Romans: “If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” (6,5)
The darkest and the brightest moments of our life are acted out in the Holy Week. The ugliest of our malice and the fairest of the love of God which is offered to us to live out is dramatized and sacramentally presented to us in Holy Week.
We need to meditate on the Passion of Christ to get a glimpse of the victory of the resurrection that awaits us. We should train our mind and heart to capture this wonderful reality, presented to us by our Christian faith, and to react accordingly, that is, to enter into the very dynamics of authentic loving.
In the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ, we see in action those very consoling words of Christ: “Greater love than this no man has, that a man lays down his life for his friends.” (Jn 15,13)
What actually takes place there is Christ, being sinless, assuming all our sins and dying to them so that we may have a way to resurrect from them through his own Resurrection. This is the ultimate of love!
This much the Letter to the Hebrews affirms: “Christ offers himself only once to take the faults of many on himself, and when he appears a second time, it will not be to deal with sin but to reward with salvation those who are waiting for him.” (9,28)
This is what supreme love is all about. It is not contented with wishing others well or sharing things with others. It will go to the extent of suffering for the others, making as one’s own the burdens of the others, even if the others would not correspond. It is a love that is fully given and completely gratuitous!