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Holy Week notes

This is a good moment to look back at Holy Week and review and reflect…

As I stand by the Easter vigil new fire, and when I hear again the chanting of the Exsultet, I’m conscious, once again, that we, in Aotearoa New Zealand, first after the date line, set off the roll of this around the world. Fires are lit, Exsultets are sung up and down New Zealand. The resurrection-light flame is passed from person to person. Then the next time zone; the next time zone;… fire, candles, water, bread, wine… and not just around the world in space; but back through time, last year, the year before, last decade, last century, the century before that, last millennium, the millennium before that,… with all those who stand before God in earth and now in heaven, who themselves, year after year did this…

The Triduum, those three days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil together form one long service. With breaks. There is a greeting to welcome people at the start of the Maundy Thursday service and a dismissal at the end of the Easter Vigil. But there is no greeting at the start of the Good Friday rite nor a dismissal at its end. One long service across three days. Readings, prayers, water on feet, cross, flames, water, bread, wine. And people. You form a community with those who are going through the Triduum together in the simplicity, silence, watching, and dark…

And the amount of holy scripture that we get through together! Lent had been like that. As well as the daily scripture, Sunday by Sunday there had been Old Testament, psalm, New Testament, and then chapter after complete chapter of John’s Gospel. Palm Sunday the psalm, the Palm Gospel with the palm branches, and then suffering servant song from Isaiah, psalm, New Testament reading, and about two chapters from Matthew – his Passion account. The same fare on Maundy Thursday – Old Testament, psalm, New Testament, Gospel. Good Friday: another suffering servant song from Isaiah, psalm, New Testament, and two chapters from John, his Passion account. Then in the dark of the Easter Vigil we hear reading after reading after reading after reading after reading – something like seven readings interspersed with chanted psalms and prayers.

What are your reflections…

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2 thoughts on “Holy Week notes”

  1. Bosco, thanks for your thoughts and invitation to reflection. Holy Week for me? I showed up and trusted the liturgy. That is what I did each day throughout Holy Week. What more is there to do? I prayed, I carried the palms, I washed feet, I ate the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, I extolled the glory of the life-giving cross, I sat in silence and darkness at the tomb, I vigiled in darkness and rejoiced at the new fire, the new light, the new life that had been kindled in me. I allowed the liturgy to carry me through the mysteries of the week. And it was enough. It was enough to show up, to participate, and to trust the liturgy. I may not fully understand Holy Week but I absolutely know it to be true. Once again the liturgy has done its work. Christ is risen!

    Peace be with you,

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