It's Holy Week!

>> Saturday, March 27, 2010

It has been a while since I updated this blog. A month to be exact... I have been busy with online tasks and some contests aside from my usual routine as a Mom and as a follower of Christ. And tomorrow, it's already Palm Sunday, the beginning of what we call the Holy Week in the Catholic tradition. In some countries, like in the Philippines, and also in Germany, the Holy Week is observed and is even declared officially a national holiday, especially Thursdays (Holy Thursday), Fridays (Good Friday), Saturdays (Black Saturday) and Sundays (Easter Sunday).

This is a big celebration in the Catholic tradition because it commemorates the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

It's Palm Sunday tomorrow and our Sto. Nino Group will be celebrating a mass in English in advance today. But why do we celebrate Palm Sunday? This is to remember and reflect on the beginning of the many events that followed in Jesus' life to fulfill the scriptures and the prophecy.

In between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, we are given the time to remember and reflect on the details of the Passion of Jesus. One can say that the last week of Jesus' life was "crammed" with events: it started with his glorious entry into Jerusalem and ended with his death on Good Friday. In between those, Jesus preached and taught, presided over the Passover meal, stood trial and was condemned to death.

If you have been praying the Rosary, you'd be familiar with most of the events but way before the Agony of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, there is the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in which he rode a colt. This is to fulfill the prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9. "The people greeted him by placing palm leaves on the path the he passed, as though he were an earthly king; they were sure He would end the Roman occupation and Jerusalem would again be a Jewish city. They shouted, "Hosanna," which means "save us," and comes from Psalm 118: 26."

During the Holy Week, there are Passion Plays, Reading of the Seven Last Words, the Way of the Cross (which most pilgrims perform on Good Friday). This is to remember his passion and death and reflect on our lives. And we fast during the Lenten season. It is not only about not eating meat and drinking alcoholic drinks, it is mostly about depriving oneself of the material pleasures of the earth. If one loves to go shopping, one sacrifices and lets a week pass without going on a shopping spree. Or if one loves to dress up, one opts to dress simply and modestly instead. Or if one is addicted to Facebook or the Internet, one opts to do other worthy tasks like reading the Bible and taking time to reflect. It's all about depriving oneself of the things that gives him material satisfaction and earthly pleasures. These are just very small things (and so much a part of our daily life) in comparison to what Jesus had to sacrifice, HIS LIFE, so why don't we all give it a try?

If you can avail and go on a Holy Week Retreat, join one! If being physically present in a retreat is made impossible by a number of circumstances, there is a an ONLINE JESUIT RETREAT that you can attend. It is conducted by Fr. Johnny Go, SJ and is called "MEETING PLACES". It is a three day retreat, which starts on Maundy Thursday, April 1.

To quote Fr. Go's words in his blog:
I've called it "MEETING PLACES" because I think the mysteries of Holy Week unfold in three Lenten places: the Garden (Holy Thursday), the Hill (Good Friday), and the Tomb (Black Saturday). If we spend some time in those virtual meeting places, we may encounter the Lord in a special way.
Interested in joining? An essential part of this retreat is to prepare yourself because it is more importantly an opportunity to pray about your own life. You can start preparing by clicking here.

Let me leave you with a beautiful Jesuit song: How Lovely Is Your Dwelling Place. I hope that this Holy Week, you will find that your heart and soul is God's dwelling place.

I wish everyone a blessed and meaningful Holy Week! May God bless us all...

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