Friday, April 15, 2011

Planning for Holy Week

I've been checking all of the movie channels for anything like a good Holy Week or passover movie.  They seem to be hard to find this year.  I like to limit my viewing time during Holy Week to exclusively religious themes.  Doing so helps me to enter more fully into the essence of the week.

I'm also trying to find a traditional three hour service for good Friday.   I remember attending them as a child.  The Veneration of the Cross was always moving.  So far, no parish seems to offer this important and meaningful act of humility this year.

I know that our parish will have a beautiful Mass on Holy Thursday.  At the end of the Mass, The altar will be stripped and the Eucharist will be exposed until midnight.  The silent procession to the small chapel  always leaves me feeling bereft. That feeling will grow during Stations of the Cross and Confessions on Good Friday. I will feel that way until Easter.

There's an edginess to that feeling.  I fell exposed.  I feel Jesus is not with us.  I feel like I imagine the apostles felt, lonely, afraid, unprotected, surrounded by a world full of people without God to guide them.  I chant aloud or in my head, like a mantra, "Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom."  I imagine the battle in hell as Jesus releases the souls of the faithful.

Then Easter comes and the joy of hearing the alleluias is profound.  Heaven is open once more to us, and the Light has won.  Eternal Light seems to expand throughout the earth, and I begin to relax again into joy and hope.  Like Mary Magdalene, I run again with renewed strength.  HE IS RISEN.

Without Holy Week, we are all Judas.  Judas who betrays.  Judas who is afraid.  Judas with no request for remembrance.  Judas despairing.  Judas who never gets to the Alleluia.

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