Together

There is a lot going on in the readings of Holy Week. Today is “Spy Wednesday” with Judas busy about the his treachery and betrayal. As we move farther into the week, the story line seems to narrow from Jesus in the public square of Jerusalem to his gathering with his disciples for a last supper, a Passover meal.  And the story continues it narrows, leaving accounts of individuals all moving into isolation. Peter falls into the slumber of a long night while Jesus prays. Jesus is arrested and Peter waits, far removed, in a courtyard. When asked if he is with Jesus, he withdraws through his denial, and then he is alone. The sum of all these individual stories leaves Jesus alone. It is a brand of social distancing to another end, but social distancing nonetheless. Jesus is the contagion people wish to avoid. And so they separate themselves from being in contact with Him and, in the end, each other. The community of disciples is no longer together. Continue reading

Good and Evil

As we move closer to the events of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, a cloud of darkness that this way comes. For the past week of so we have been hearing about members of civic and religious leadership plotting to kill Jesus. The dark clouds have been on the horizon for some time. In today’s gospel, a scene from the Last Supper, the betrayal is becoming more public. Continue reading

Entry to the Heart of Holy Week

Back in the day, two friends and I started a business. The company was a good mix of skills, dispositions, and work ethic. One of the partners, Jack, was the best project manager I ever encountered. His staff loved him and the clients always wanted to know if Jack was managing their particular project. We had one client in the mid-west that made a very large contract contingent on Jack being the manager. That was fine. Jack had a demand of his own – and it was non-negotiable.  The client waivered, but Jack held firm. He was clear, convicted, and certain: no matter what, he would be attending the Summer Olympics and the World Track and field championships. That was his non-negotiable: his vacation. Continue reading

Opportunities given us

About five weeks ago, the liturgy planning committee gathered to review the details of Holy Week, the period from Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion thru Easter Sunday. The folks on the liturgy committee are talented and dedicated folks that include every aspect of the celebrations: environment/décor, lectors, altar servers, choir/music, ushers, greeters, communications, faith formation, and the celebrants – priests and our deacon. Holy Week is a wonderful week of diverse, holy and meaningful celebrations which take the community from the high of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, to the lows while hearing the reading of the Passion, to an exultant chorus – He is risen!! – on Easter Sunday. It is a rollercoaster of emotion, music, readings, and grandeur. Continue reading

A short guide to Holy Week

Every year Christians commemorate the week before Easter Sunday with special traditions and devotions that help them enter into the Passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a special time of the year, culminating in the biggest feast of the Church’s calendar – Easter. Here are the basics of what Catholics look forward to during the week that precedes Easter Sunday.

Palm Sunday. This day inaugurates Holy Week with the triumphal entrance of Jesus in Jerusalem. In the Gospels Jesus comes to the city riding upon a donkey with the people placing palm branches in front of him. At Mass on this day the congregation relives this event with a procession in the church and a solemn blessing of palm branches. The Passion narrative is also read on this day. Continue reading

Holy Week

When I was a child, I used to walk five miles to school in the snow, just to let them know that I was too sick to come to school that day.” So my father used to tell me. Hmmm…? Really – but hey, dad was really old, right? He probably grew up in the ice age and maybe the weather was very different back then. Such are the stories of our youth as parents try to teach us the lessons of life, sometimes wrapped in yarns, tall-tales, and memories of a different time and place. I still wonder how the to-and-from the store was uphill both ways. Continue reading

There is no place like home

Wiz-of-OzA few years ago, William J. O’Malley wrote about “taking the long way home.” It was a wonderful “musing” on the classic movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” We were reminded about the archetypal scene when Dorothy’s house lands on the Wicked Witch and then Glinda, the good witch, shows up and magically transfers the ruby slippers to Dorothy. As the ending of the movie makes clear, all Dorothy had to do was click her heels and proclaim, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” Why didn’t Glinda tell Dorothy that at the very beginning? Continue reading

Holy Week – have you tried it?

I have been a Catholic all my life, and yet somehow Holy Week was not part of the landscape of my Catholicism growing up. Years later as an adult I was living in Northern Virginia and worshipping at a church out in a rural town northwest of Washington D.C. The town was in the rolling hills of the Catoctin – the first ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Continue reading

The Way to Easter Morning

holyweek“When I was a child I used to walk five miles to school in the snow, just to let them know that I was too sick to come to school that day.” So my father used to tell me. Hmmm…? Really – but hey, dad was really old, right? He probably grew up in the ice age and maybe the weather was very different back then. Such are the stories of our youth as parents try to teach us the lessons of life, sometimes wrapped in yarns, tall-tales, and memories of a different time and place. I still wonder how the to-and-from the store was uphill both ways. Continue reading

A Forward to Holy Week

holyweekAs you might imagine, Holy Week is a busy time in a large, dynamic parish. This year is no different. I had always wanted to write a more detailed study of the Passion narrative for publication. Maybe next year? In the meantime, I will repost some items from 2013 (also from the Gospel of Luke) that will provide some view of the three days from the “Last Supper” to the Resurrection. A note of caution and apology is in order. As I noted three years ago

“When I began to compile I made no attempt to be careful about sourcing, copying entire passages, footnoting, or the even the modicum of appropriate credit – and so there is likely a lot of content that is not my own. My apologies to all in advance.”

“Over the years I have compiled notes, documents, and items of interest about Scripture. Mostly for my own use and in teaching Bible studies in Catholic parishes.  The idea was possible to make something that is approachable, more than “Bible 101” yet not too overwhelming, yet with notes for people who want more – and hopefully even if a person feels “stretched” by the content, it is not too much.  I have come to realize I have developed a little library – and so I thought I would share some. “