How can we make Holy Week holier again?

03-23-2024Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

This weekend, we celebrate Palm Sunday, also known as Passion Sunday. For the past five weeks, we have, I believe, engaged in many spiritual activities in order to prepare well and share fruitfully in the paschal mysteries of our Lord which we are about to celebrate in a few days time. To help us in this process, in one of my articles at the beginning of this season, I recommended a series spiritual activities to observe.

It is my hope that during this period you have heeded to my recommendations by, among other things, resolving to pray more, fast more and be more charitable in almsgiving to the poor and needy. By and large, we might have succeeded in living up to our resolutions in this regard, but we also recognize that we may have failed on many occasions.

As we approach the climax of this season beginning this Palm Sunday, our focus should now be shifted more on the spiritual gains we have made in order to make them not only permanent but also consistent features of our Christian lives. On the other hand, our failures should propel us into making this Holy Week not only holier but also to repent and make amends for our failures.

There are many spiritual opportunities and activities this week that will help us in these efforts. I encourage you dear friends to take advantage of them through your active participation in all of them. These are the Easter Triduum activities which will include: Holy Thursday, during which we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist as well as the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Orders by Jesus at the Last Super; Good Friday which commemorates the day of the Lord’s Passion and Crucifixion; and Holy Saturday which commemorates the time between the Crucifixion and Resurrection and at the Vigil Mass that evening, we shall have Baptisms, Confirmations and 1st Holy communion of our Catechumens and Candidates who have been preparing through OCIA over the past several months. We are so blessed to have 22 candidates in this category this year.

To start the week off, tomorrow, the entire Diocese will join the Bishop and your Priests for the Chrism Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Avondale. During this Mass, the Bishop will consecrate the Sacred Oils of Chrism, oil of Catechumens and oil of the Infirm, which will be used during the entire year for the celebrations of the the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination and the Anointing of the Sick. At the same Mass, the priests and deacons of the Diocese will also renew their obedience to the Bishop as the “Chief Shepherd” representing the Vicar of Christ in this Diocese and their commitment to serve God and His people. The Mass will begin at 4.00pm. I encourage those who can, to please attend this wonderful liturgy and encounter the power, strength and unity of our Catholic Church centered around our Bishop. I look forward to seeing a good representation of our Parish at this Mass.

In addition to attending this Chrism Mass and the Easter Triduum celebrations, (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday) I urge you to make this Holy Week holier by being:

Silent when you realize your words would hurt;
Patient when you are being hurt unfairly or when things do not seem to go your way;
Deaf and Mute when scandals and gossips flow around you; Thoughtful and sympathetic for another’s misfortunes by sharing whatever little you have; and,
Kind rather than being right most of the time.

In addition, I want to conclude with the reemphasizing the recommendations I proposed to you at the beginning of our Lenten season which is to:

Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
Fast from worries and have trust in God.
Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.
Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.
Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.