Holy Week is upon us. The question for us is how will we keep this week holy? I hope you will take some added time to pray this week. Our church offers beautiful liturgies through the period we call the Triduum (the three days leading up to Easter). I hope you will take time to participate in these liturgies. Another way our parish tries to keep this week holy is by not scheduling meetings as usual. This is a time to prepare for the celebration of the Triduum and Easter. It is a time to spend time in prayer and fasting. What will you do differently in your home that will speak of the holiness of this week to you?
Below is an excerpt of the reflection that Patricia Sanchez has in Celebration for Holy Week.
There is a story of an elderly man who meditated every morning under a big tree on the bank of the Ganges River. One morning, after he had finished praying, the man opened his eyes and saw a scorpion floating helplessly in the water. As the scorpion washed nearer to the tree, the man quickly stretched himself out on one of the long roots that extended over the river and reached out to save the drowning creature. As soon as he touched it, the scorpion stung him. Instinctively, the man withdrew his hand. A few moments later, when he had regained his balance, he stretched himself again on the tree roots to save the foundering scorpion. Again, the scorpion stung him. This time the sting was so severe that the man’s hand became swollen and bloody and his face contorted with pain.
At that very moment, a passerby saw the old man stretched out on the tree root, still struggling with the uncooperative scorpion. He shouted, “Hey, stupid old man, what’s the matter with you? Only a fool would risk his life for the sake of an ugly, evil creature! Don’t you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?”
At that, the old man turned and, looking directly into his detractor’s eyes, calmly replied, “My friend, just because it is in the scorpion’s nature to sting, that does not change the fact that it is in my nature to save.”
With this old tale in mind, we turn to the sacred texts of this most holy week in order to remember and celebrate that it is in God’s nature to love, to forgive, to heal, protect and save. Even when human beings do what is wrong or selfish or downright evil, God’s nature does not change…
In Matthew’s Passion account we are told of Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial. The disciples fall asleep when Jesus needs their support. Lies are told about Jesus and people mock him…Then, in the most horrifying but sacred moment when Jesus gives up his spirit on the cross, the evils of humankind, grave though they are, will be eclipsed by a love that is at once intense and pure…This loving nature of God was reflected in Jesus’ gentle way with sinners, in his willingness to welcome children, in his outreach to foreigners and outcasts. God’s loving nature was evident each time Jesus healed the sick and forgave sinners. This love was revealed most eloquently at the last supper Jesus shared with his friends where he gave himself as food…
As we celebrate these most holy days, let us remember, as we break open the bread of the word and share the bread of life, that God’s nature continues to be revealed to us. May we also live in such a way that God’s nature is revealed through us.
May your week be holy.