Saint Josemaria
Quotations from Saint Josemaria

What is Holy Week?

Tags: Love of God, Contemplation, Cross, Jesus Christ, Holy Week
Holy Week (Latin: Hebdomas Sancta or Hebdomas Maior, "Greater Week"; Greek: Μεγάλη Ἑβδομάς, Megale Hebdomas) in Christianity is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter. It includes the religious holidays of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) and Good Friday, and lasts from Palm Sunday until, but not including, Easter Sunday, as Easter Sunday is the first day of the new season of The Great Fifty Days. It commemorates the last week of the earthly life of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels.

The tragedy of the passion brings to fulfilment our own life and the whole of human history. We can't let Holy Week be just a kind of commemoration. It means contemplating the mystery of Jesus Christ as something which continues to work in our souls. The Christian is obliged to be alter Christus, ipse Christus: another Christ, Christ himself.

Everything we do
Through baptism all of us have been made priests of our lives, "to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." Everything we do can be an expression of our obedience to God's will and so perpetuate the mission of the Godman.

Once we realize this, we are immediately reminded of our wretchedness and our personal failings. But they should not dishearten us; we should not become pessimistic and put our ideals aside. Our Lord is calling us, in our present state, to share his life and make an effort to be holy. I know holiness can sound like an empty word. Too many people think it is unattainable, something to do with ascetical theology — but not a real goal for them, a living reality. The first Christians didn't think that way. They often used the word "saints" to describe each other in a very natural manner: "greetings to all the saints"; "my greetings to every one of the saints in Jesus Christ."

A chance
Take a look now at Calvary. Jesus has died and there is as yet no sign of his glorious triumph. It is a good time to examine how much we really want to live as Christians, to be holy. Here is our chance to react against our weaknesses with an act of faith. We can trust in God and resolve to put love into the things we do each day. The experience of sin should lead us to sorrow. We should make a more mature and deeper decision to be faithful and truly identify ourselves with Christ, persevering, no matter what it costs, in the priestly mission that he has given every single one of his disciples. That mission should spur us on to be the salt and light of the world.
Christ is Passing By, 96

Symbol of the Redemption
Let us not forget that in all human activities there must be men and women who, in their lives and work, raise Christ's Cross aloft for all to see, as an act of reparation. It is a symbol of peace and of joy, a symbol of the Redemption and of the unity of the human race. It is a symbol of the love that the Most Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit had, and continues to have, for mankind.
Furrow, 985

Thinking about Christ's death
So, in thinking about Christ's death, we find ourselves invited to take a good hard look at our everyday activities and to be serious about the faith we profess. Holy Week cannot be a kind of "religious interlude"; time taken out from a life which is completely caught up in human affairs. It must be an opportunity to understand more profoundly the love of God, so that we'll be able to show that love to other people through what we do and say. ...
That's the key. Jesus says we must also hate our life, our very soul — that is what our Lord is asking of us. If we are superficial, if the only thing we care about is our own personal well-being, if we try to make other people, and even the world, revolve around our own little self, we have no right to call ourselves Christians or think we are disciples of Christ. We have to give ourselves really, not just in word but in deed and truth. Love for God invites us to take up the cross and feel on our own shoulders the weight of humanity. It leads us to fulfil the clear and loving plans of the Father's will in all the circumstances of our work and life. In the passage we've just read Jesus goes on to say: "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:27)
Let us accept God's will and be firmly resolved to build all our life in accordance with what our faith teaches and demands. We can be sure this involves struggle and suffering and pain, but if we really keep faith we will never feel we have lost God's favour. In the midst of sorrow and even calumny, we will experience a happiness which moves us to love others, to help them share in our supernatural joy.
Christ is Passing By, 97