Bishop Joseph E. Strickland: The Holiest of Weeks

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By Bishop Joseph E. Strickland, Texas East Catholic, March 28, 2021

I was pleased to be invited to reflect on Holy Week, the week of weeks for us as Catholics. Beginning with Passion, or Palm, Sunday, and continuing until the Lord’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, these days are truly sacred to us in the Roman Catholic Tradition. It is important to note that, as with the season of Lent, Holy Week is a liturgical practice which grows out of the witness of Sacred Scripture. As Catholics, it is important to underscore the connections between Scripture and our liturgical celebrations. Lent is forty days because Our Lord Jesus Christ spent forty days in the desert as recorded in the Gospels. This also harkens back to the Israelites’ forty years in the desert recorded in the Book of Exodus. Holy Week as the culmination of the Lent is fittingly the last week of Our Lord’s life, the last week of his public ministry before his resurrection appearances.

Holy Week also resonates with the Catholic idea of sacred time. From her earliest times the Church has noted certain days, certain moments in time, as sacred. Once again, this flows organically out of the traditions of the people of Israel. Long before the Son of God was incarnate among us, the people of Israel had celebrations and feasts on specific days. The Feast of Passover itself is one of those sacred days highlighted in the Hebrew Scriptures, and it is deeply embedded in the meaning of Holy Week. This liturgical focus reminds us that time significantly demarcates our human journey. God is timeless but he acts in our time and so affects our history. The Incarnation of God’s Divine Son which occurs as he is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary at a specific moment in time is a prime example of divine action in time. God intervened in human history and sent us his only begotten Son as our redeemer. Human time, human history, was forever changed when God entered into time.  …

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