Holy Week is here, so-called because on the days of this week we remember and celebrate the culmination of Jesus’ mission which has won life for us.
The Triduum, the last three days of Holy Week, we celebrate with solemn ceremony, and our celebration will be even more profound if we pay attention to the whole week.
A good way to do this is to reflect on the scripture readings which recount the events of the week. Spend a little time each day reading these. There are some differences in the timeline of the days in the different gospels.
The week begins on Sunday with the entry into Jerusalem. Jesus is acclaimed as Messiah as He enters Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah (9:9). The people “joyfully began to praise God at the top of their voices for all the miracles they had seen” (Lk 19:37). Mark records that Jesus went into the temple for a short while and then went to Bethany for the night, but Matthew and Luke say that when Jesus went to the temple, He drove out the money changers and vendors. (See Mt 21:1–17; Mk 11:11; Lk 19:28–46; Jn 12:12–19)
Monday. Having spent the night in Bethany, Jesus leaves early that morning for Jerusalem where Mark records the cleansing of the temple.
On Tuesday (though Matthew seems to place it on the Monday), the hostility of the authorities is in full play as they question Jesus’ authority and try to trap Him with questions about the Resurrection, paying taxes to Caesar, and asking about the greatest commandment.
Jesus responds by telling them some very pointed parables and proclaims the commandment of loving God and neighbour. He speaks too of the coming tribulation of Jerusalem and the coming of the Son of Man, an event of which no-one knows the date. (See Mt 21:18–25, 46; Mk 11:20–13:37; Lk 20:1–21:36)
Wednesday. From the point of view of Jesus’ ministry, Wednesday was a quiet day. Some scholars suggest that Jesus rested on that day for what was to come, though Luke says that Jesus taught in the temple every day. But other activity is going on — Judas is making a deal with the chief priests. It is also possible that on this day Jesus was anointed at Bethany in Simon’s house. (See Mt 26:6–16; Mk 14:3–11; Lk 22:1–6.)
I shall not deal with rest of the days of the Week as we shall be going to the celebration of the Triduum where we shall hear of the events that took place on those days. I am quite sure it will be a fruitful celebration for us particularly if we reflect on scripture each day leading up to the Triduum.
This article is Part 6 of a series of articles for the Lenten season by Msgr Michael de Verteuil, Chair of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission. Fine them in our Features section: CLICK HERE