This week is HOLY WEEK. It is the holiest of all weeks. I am suggesting 7 ways to keep it HOLY!
1) Read, Reflect, and Pray the daily scripture readings for each day. Today through Easter… do not miss a single day. You may find the readings at www.usccb.org. You may also find excellent daily reflections on www.itemissaest.org. These readings and reflection will keep us focused on Jesus instead of on ourselves and how we think the world should be.
2) Think of what happened to Jesus as Your Story. The events of Holy Week are not just about what happened to Jesus. Christ’s sufferings were actually ours, his pain was really ours and his cross could have been our destiny. Those for whom Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday makes sense are those for whom the story of Jesus and their story has become ONE.
3) This point follows from the first two points. Imagine that you are a character in the story of Jesus. You may pick any character you want to be… Peter, Mary, Magdalene, John, Simon of Cyrene, even not very positive characters like Pilate or Herod. Be this character for the entire week. Imaginative prayer and lead you to imagine yourself in the story. Pick one of the accounts of the passion of Jesus from any of the gospels you would like. Who are you? Where were you that week? What were you doing that week? It can lead to a closeness to the story of Jesus like you would not imagine.
4) Try to Think, Talk and Act like Jesus. Those who think that religion equals Jesus Christ are mistaken. Jesus Christ is bigger than religion. His thoughts, words and actions changed the course of human history because he taught us a different way of living in the world and relating to God. This week, whether you are religious person or not, try to imitate Christ. It will change us. And WE are the biggest change the world needs.
5) Take Up Your Cross. Everybody admires Christ for taking up the cross. His cross was not just the wooden cross. His cross was the patience, the faith, the love, the forgiveness, the faithfulness and compassion he showed… and all this in the midst of hatred, unfaithfulness, cruelty, betrayal, cunning, deception, intrigue and lies! Christ invites us the carry our own crosses like he did. This Holy Week, let us carry our own cross.
6) Participate in the Holy Week Services. Wherever you find yourself, participate in the Holy Week Services on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. As Catholics we do not merely recall the story of Jesus but actually re-live it in the Holy Week celebrations. Even if you are an non-believer, the story of Christ relived in all Catholic Churches is still the story of Jesus.
7) Detract from activities that can take your focus away frorm Christ. Overindulgence, selfish motives, bigotry, prejudice and lack of compassion are contrary to the spirit of the Jesus story. This week do not judge others. Let Christ speak to you about how he can use his story to affect YOU.
If you have any other ways to suggest... please add to the comments. Have a blessed HOLY WEEK!