Holy Week: Jesus' Week

Author: Fr. Peter Rocca, C.S.C.

View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

With Palm Sunday today, we have entered into the holiest of holy weeks for us followers of Christ.  To help us enter into this week through our blog, we have lined up homilies from our Holy Cross apostolates as they celebrate the Liturgies of this Holy Week.  Setting the stage for the week for us is Fr. Peter Rocca, C.S.C., the Rector of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame.  He gave the following homily this morning at the Basilica, reminding us that Jesus’ journey is our journey.

We are beginning the most spiritually moving and powerful week of the Church Year.  To me, this week has always felt different.  During the rest of the year, we are fully engaged, of course, in the Christian message.  But this week, I feel that, as we walk with Jesus, we discover anew that His journey is our journey as well.
I am conscious that this is not our week; it is Jesus’ week.  This is not our work; it is His.  But we are drawn into these days as never before.  We come to see that we are like those crowds, like those religious and political figures, like those apostles and disciples of Jesus.
Like Judas and Peter who eat and drink at the Lord’s table, yet betray Him, we too eat at his table yet deny Him at times because of fear of witnessing to Him before others.  Like those fickle crowds who sing “Hosanna!”, yet days later cry out, “Crucify him,” we too profess our faith in Jesus yet experience at times a lack of faith and trust in Him as our Messiah and Lord.

Palm Sunday at the University of Portland

Like Pontius Pilate who finds Jesus innocent, we find ourselves at times washing our hands of this man’s fate for fear of what others may think or say.  We too are like those criminals hanging on either side of Jesus, one who places his faith in Him; the other who, because of His lack of trust and hope, looks away from Jesus.
Like those soldiers who cause Jesus to suffer and experience pain and anguish, we too cause Jesus to know hurt and pain when we fail to recognize Him in our midst, especially in those who suffer or who are in need.  Like the lone centurion who confesses Jesus’ innocence, we too to confess Jesus as Lord and the Son of God, though not as boldly at times as we should.

Palm Sunday at St

Yes, as we walk with Jesus this week, we discover anew that His journey is our journey, a journey of dying and rising.  Dying and rising—to isolate one from the other would be to distort the central mystery we celebrate this week.  For crucifixion on Good Friday and resurrection on Easter go hand-in-hand.  This week we celebrate the one event of our redemption, won for us by Christ’s death and resurrection—together.

Site of the Crucifixion, Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Let us walk this weeklong journey well.  Let us walk it prayerfully, acknowledging our own part in Jesus’ crucifixion, acknowledging as well our desire to follow Him more faithfully, and so come to share in His resurrection.

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