This is Holy Week

One of the great phrases found in the writings of the Second Vatican Council is the “universal call to holiness”. We are all called to holiness in the Church, not just the clergy and religious or the people we regard to be saints. So …. do YOU want to be holy?

Not all of us will give an instant and resounding ‘YES’ in answer to that question because we either associate holiness with some form of excessive piety or religiosity; or we think holiness as boring and unattractive. Perhaps we think given our circumstances in life we think we can never attain holiness. But do you want to be holy?

Today we begin our journey through the holiest week in the Church’s calendar. We walk with our Lord on his final journey to Jerusalem culminating with his final glorification in the Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday). Today Jesus rides in triumph in Jerusalem with people waving palm branches and declaring their “Hosannas” but the week will end with the cry of “Crucify him” and his burial in the tomb. And then a silence descends and in the quiet darkness the glory of the Resurrection will shine through.

This week Jesus gives us a model this week of true holiness through prophetic action. True holiness, is found in humility. When we turn our gaze from ourselves and look outwards we learn to love. In Baptism each of us was given a great gift, a partaking in the life of the Divine. In Holy Communion, instituted that first Maundy Thursday, Jesus gives us himself not so we might become Saviour of the World, but to be the Saviour’s vessels, His instruments of His saving act for others. And finally, in Confirmation he gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit as a constant companion on the road of holiness so that when we come to crossroads and have to make decisions we have the power to say no to self and yes to God.

As we accept Jesus’ gift by progressing on the path of holiness, we must turn to others and humble ourselves before them. We must help them to see our love and their worth, their dignity in the eyes of God. We must serve them with humility and put them first. This then enables us to invite them to imitate us as we imitate Christ. Thus, our humble imitation of Jesus becomes a means by which Jesus invites others to follow Him. Put simply, this is MISSION.

This week Jesus gives us everything, so we must give everything to others. There is nothing boring or unattractive about holiness because it is freeing and brings us to ultimate fulfilment. To achieve holiness in the modern world is difficult but not impossible. But then, Jesus having been arrested, flogged, beaten and bleeding profusely then had to carry a cross up a hill to be pinned to it and say “Father forgive them …. It is accomplished” to enter into his glory! So here are some questions to reflect on this Holy Week:

  • How do I use my strengths and talents as a gift from Christ to serve with humility and help others see their worth in the eyes of God?
  • How do I seek seeking the Father’s will in all things, the glory of God and the good of our neighbour and not just my own needs and wants?
  • How do I use my personal gifts and fulfil my duties in the spirit of faith working through love?
  • Do I receive all things with faith from the hand of the heavenly Father?

Let’s make this a great Holy Week of encounter with Jesus and enter into it whole heartedly and unreservedly.

A Prayer for Holy Week

Jesus my Lord, let me strengthen my courage by taking on the courage of all those people who have been “centurions” for me. Many have faced disasters and hard times with great constancy. The upper hand of evil never turned them against you. They kept going. Let me be like them, Lord. No matter what the cross, let me never stop declaring you to be “truly the Son of God, the source of my hope, the reason why I will never quit on life. Amen.