This will be a strange Holy Week. I’m feeling it, and no doubt you are, too. It will be strange in the sense of the unfamiliar. For the first time in memory, there will be no Holy Week services in our churches. It will be strange and it will feel strange. But the strangeness need not ruin the meaningfulness of the holy time that is upon us. It’s how you deal with the strangeness that counts.
As we enter Holy Week, there are three things you should keep in mind.
- Jesus suffered and died for your sins. Nothing can or will change that fact. Your Redemer came, and he came for you so that you would be able to enter the gates of heaven. The Passion and Crucifixion is a reality that you can cling to. It cannot in any way be lessened or altered by any crisis or hardship. Not even by a world crisis.
- Jesus rose from the dead. He conquered death and sin and in fact, he has conquered the world. The battle already has been won – for you. No COVID-19 pandemic, no canceling of church services and sacraments, can put our Lord back into the grave and keep him there. His Resurrection is a sure thing that you can depend on. Our Lord is more powerful than coronavirus, shortages, economic crisis, quarantine, isolation, fear, or loneliness. He proved that by rising from the dead after three days in the Tomb.
- There is a reason for JOY. Perhaps it seems as though the world is crumbling around you and you may not feel happy about it. That’s perfectly understandable. I’m not happy about the fact that it can seem as though the world is crumbling around me, either. Even with that, you still can have joy. Why? Because real joy comes from the grace of God and despite your present difficulties, God’s grace is available to you. It is present in your life whether you’re aware of it or not. All you need do is ask for it and it will be there – for you, and for all those who you care about. You can have joy in knowing that Christ is your Savior, that God loves you, and that his Mother Mary loves and cares for you as well. She accompanied her Son on his way to Calvary, and she is accompanying you now in your suffering.
While we may not be gathering in churches this week, you can participate online in Holy Week services. You can find a wide array of Masses and services at this link.
You also might wish to spend time with the Scriptures for the week by either meditating on them alone or reading them together as a family. You’ll find all the readings for this week on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website. Read through the passages slowly and think about what they mean to you here, now, in this present time. Jesus will speak to you through Scripture if you ask him to.
As we enter Holy Week, please keep these three things in mind, and urge others to keep them in mind, too. First, nothing can change the fact that Jesus died for your sins. Second, Jesus is more powerful than the coronavirus pandemic or any of its ensuing complications. His Resurrection proves that. Finally, there is reason for JOY and God will instill joy in your heart with his grace if only you ask him to. Enter Holy Week not with fear and unhappiness, but with confidence in our Almighty, All-knowing, All-Loving, All-Merciful God. Indeed, he has conquered the world.
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