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HOLY WEEK

TODAY'S CATECHISM

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WE BEGIN OUR CATECHISM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT,

AMEN


TOPIC: HOLY WEEK

=> INTRODUCTION/DEFINITIONS

=> BRIEF HISTORY

=> HOLY WEEK

=> EASTER TRIDUUM

=> 2024 HOLY WEEK CALENDAR

=> CONCLUSION

=> REFERENCE


INTRODUCTION/DEFINITIONS

Holy Week, in the Christian church, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, observed with special solemnity as a time of devotion to the Passion of Jesus Christ.


Holy Week is most definitely a very sacred time of the year, for it is now that we will commemorate and remember the last week of Jesus' life on this earth. These are the days leading up to the great Easter Feast. Holy Week is described in Matthew chapters 21-27, Mark chapters 11-15, Luke chapters 19-23 and John chapters 12-19


BRIEF HISTORY

In the Greek and Roman liturgical books, it is called the Great Week because great deeds were done by God during this week. The name Holy Week was used in the 4th century by St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, and St. Epiphanius of Constantia. Originally, only Good Friday and Holy Saturday were observed as holy days. Later, Wednesday was added as the day on which Judas plotted to betray Jesus, and by the beginning of the 3rd century the other days of the week had been added.


The pre-Nicene church concentrated its attention on the celebration of one great feast, the Christian Passover, on the night between Saturday and Easter Sunday morning. By the later 4th century the practice had begun of separating the various events and commemorating them on the days of the week on which they occurred: Judas’s betrayal and the institution of the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday; the Passion and death of Christ on Good Friday; his burial on Saturday; and his Resurrection on Easter Sunday


The Holy Week observances in the Roman Missal were revised according to the decree Maxima Redemptoris (November 16, 1955) to restore the services to the time of day corresponding to that of the events discussed in Scripture.


HOLY WEEK

Holy Week stands at the head of our calendar, the holiest week of the entire liturgical year. Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday and continues until Easter Sunday. It celebrates the Paschal Mystery, the passion and death of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and his victorious resurrection, his triumph over sin and death and his glorification by his Father.


During Holy Week, Christians recall the events leading up to Jesus’ death by crucifixion and, according to their faith, his Resurrection.


I. Palm Sunday


On the Sunday before his death, Jesus began his trip to Jerusalem, knowing that soon he would lay down his life for our sins. Nearing the village of Bethphage, he sent two of his disciples ahead, telling them to look for a donkey and its unbroken colt. The disciples were instructed to untie the animals and bring them to him.


Then Jesus sat on the young donkey and slowly, humbly, made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, fulfilling the ancient prophecy in Zechariah 9:9:


"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

The crowds welcomed him by waving palm branches in the air and shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"


Jesus' triumphal entry is recorded in Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19.


II. Holy Monday


In Christianity, Holy Monday is the last Monday prior to Easter Sunday. It is the second day of Holy Week after Palm Sunday. Some denominations celebrate Holy Monday and some do not. The Eastern Orthodox Church observes the day, typically marking it with Bible readings and certain hymns. According to tradition, Holy Monday is the day on which Jesus cleansed the temple, was praised by local children, and cursed by the fig tree (Matthew 21:12-22). Scripture tells us, “Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ He said to them, “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” (Matthew 21:12-13).


III. Holy Tuesday


Holy Tuesday is the last Tuesday prior to Easter Sunday; it is the third day of Holy Week after Palm Sunday and Holy Monday. Depending on the denomination, this day may or may not be celebrated at all. Similar to Holy Monday, those that do observe Holy Tuesday, such as Eastern Orthodox churches, typically mark it with readings of particular passages of Scripture and the singing of relevant hymns. According to common interpretation in the Bible, Holy Tuesday is when Jesus was issued various challenges by the Pharisees and Sadducees over subjects such as marriage in heaven, paying taxes to Caesar and the source of His authority. By the same interpretation, this is the day Jesus commented on the widow’s donation (Mark 12; Luke 21) and was approached by a number of God-fearing Greeks (John 12:20-36). Tuesday would also be the day Jesus spoke to His eight ‘woes’ against the Pharisees (Matthew 23:13-26).


IV. Holy Wednesday ‘Spy Wednesday’


Have you ever heard of “Spy Wednesday”? If you haven’t, you’re not alone. An archaic and infrequently used name for the Wednesday before Easter is Spy Wednesday, named for the day on which Judas betrayed Jesus to the Sanhedrin. Because Judas thought to be sneaky, his actions conjured up the image of a spy. The synoptic gospels all include an account of the betrayal – Matthew 26:12-14, Mark 14:10-12 and Luke 22:3-6. This is how the Gospel of Luke recounts these events: “Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. So he consented and begin to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present” (Luke 22:3-6).


EASTER TRIDUUM:


Especially important for Catholics is the Easter Triduum. This is the three days just before Easter: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.


V. Holy Thursday 'Maundy Thursday'


On Holy Thursday, we reenact the Lord's Last Supper, which He shared with His apostles on the night He was betrayed and arrested. This is one of the most beautiful liturgies of the entire liturgical year. At the Mass, the priest will wash the feet of twelve men, just as Jesus did. Also on this night, priests all over the world will renew their sacred vows. This is because, at the Last Supper, Jesus not only instituted the Mass (Eucharist) but also the ministerial priesthood.


VI. Good Friday


On Good Friday, the day of the crucifixion and death of our Lord, we have the veneration of the Cross. A service is held at three o'clock in the afternoon (the hour He is believed to have died) and another later in the evening. We go forward and kiss the Cross in order to show honor and respect for Christ's sacrifice for our sake. There is no consecration of the Eucharist on this day, and the Communion we receive will be from the night before, which has been reserved in the tabernacle.


VII. Holy Saturday


Holy Saturday is a vigil. We keep watch for the expectant rising of Our Savior. This was the day He went down into the netherworld in order to bring back up with Him into heaven those who had died before His coming. Up to this time, the gates to heaven were closed and no one could go there because of the original sin of Adam. Jesus changed all that. By paying the price for our sins on the Cross, He gained for us our eternal salvation, and heaven was opened once more. Also on this night, persons who have spent months of preparation will be received through Baptism and Confirmation into the Catholic Church for the first time. It is a joyous occasion.


2024 HOLY WEEK CALENDAR

I. Palm Sunday, 24th March.

II. Holy Monday, 25th March.

III. Holy Tuesday, 26th March.

IV. Holy Wednesday, 27th March.

V. Maundy Thursday, 28th March.

VI. Good Friday, 29th March.

VII. Holy Saturday, 30th March.


CONCLUSION


Those who engage themselves wholeheartedly in living the entire paschal cycle (Lent, Triduum and Easter's Fifty Days) discover that it can change them forever. This is especially so of the Triduum which, standing at the heart of the Easter season, is an intense immersion in the fundamental mystery of what it is to be Christian. During these days, we suffer with Christ so that we might rise with Him at His glorious Resurrection. Holy Week is a time to clear our schedules of unnecessary activities. Our minds and hearts should be fixed on Jesus and what He did for us. Let us bear the Cross so that may be worthy of wearing the crown He wore.


REFERENCE


=> The Holy Bible


=> Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)





We have come to a conclusion on the topic HOLY WEEK

Thanks for your participation, support and contributions. May the God in his infinite mercy continue to be bless and grant you more understanding of his words; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen


PLEASE WE ARE ENCOURAGE TO CONTRIBUTE AND ASK QUESTIONS IN REGARDS TO THIS GREAT TOPIC.

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