Together

There is a lot going on in the readings of Holy Week. Today is “Spy Wednesday” with Judas busy about  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 gathering with his disciples for a last supper, a Passover meal.  As the story continues it narrows, it leaves 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 isolated 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 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 personal. Continue reading

Into the Heart of Holy Week

holyweekBack in the day, two friends and I started a business. We were 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 Midwest 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 insisted, 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

Endgame of Holy Week

avengers-endgameWords, catch phrases, and other strings of words, in the right context, can tell entire stories. In the United States, say the words “Oh say can you see….” and a whole story of this country’s struggle for freedom from European powers comes to mind. Such are the power of words and stories. If the title of this post made sense to you, then you are clearly a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) – and especially of the movies Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Not to worry, I won’t attempt to explain the MCU, all its characters, and the many threads and storylines. But if you are interested in an overview, start here and then “click” your way to more than you ever wanted to know…but don’t blame me for going down that rabbit hole (an expression brought to us by Lewis Carroll who introduced the term in 1865 in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland). Continue reading

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