Tag Archives: Holy Week

Holy Monday … set your sights on things above

You, then, beloved, if you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Then, as Christ rose from the dead by the glory of the Father, so you too may walk in newness of life. Then you may rejoice to pass from the secular pleasures and the consolations of the world, through the compunction and sadness that are of God to holy devotion and spiritual exultation, by the gift of the one who passed from this world to the Father and who deigns to draw us after himself, and to call us into Galilee, that he may show us himself, who is God over all, Blessed forever.

Sermons for Lent and the Easter Season
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Christians should NOT do a Seder

Lazar Berman’s essay published today on The Times of Israel, “‘Trying to undo history”: A Catholic scholar reflects on Christian Seders“.

Berman and Fr. Murray Watson discuss the reality of the Seder and illustrate why it is inappropriate for Christians to do something so out of context from the their religious experience.

I have long been opposed to Christians performing the Jewish Passover Seder. In fact, I have used the words “outrageous” to express my dismay. Christians who do so, in my considered opinion, are very presumptuous and not too educated in the theology undergirding the Seder and the difference Baptism and belief in Jesus makes for the Christian. Recall that Jesus is the NEW Passover, something rejected by Jews.

In faith, we share some important beliefs with Jews; we should respect their developed theology as they should respect ours. Theological and cultural barbarisms avoided.

If a Christian wants to experience a Seder then that person ought to do the study required to understand AND swing an invitation from a Jewish household to participate in a Passover Seder. Set time aside to sit back and thoughtfully consider educative value of the experience and see know your theology! I appreciate what Berman and Watson are saying. We ought to attend.

The week we call great and holy

We call the week great, not because it has a greater number of hours – other weeks having many more hours, after all – not because it has more days, there being the same number of days in this and the other weeks, of course. So why do we call this week great? Because in it many ineffable good things come our way: in it protracted war is concluded, death is eliminated, curses are lifted, the devil’s tyranny is relaxed, his pomps are despoiled, the reconciliation of God and man is achieved, heaven is made accessible, human beings are brought to resemble angels, those things which were at odds are united, the wall is laid low, the bar is removed, the God of peace having brought peace to things on high and things on earth. This, then, is the reason we call the week great, because in it the Lord lavished on us such a plethora of gifts. This is the reason many people intensify their fasting as well as their sacred watching and vigils, and practice almsgiving, thus showing by their behavior the regard they have for the week. After all, since the Lord in this week has regaled us with such great goods, how are we not obliged to demonstrate our reverence and regard as far as we can?”

St. John Chrysostome

Maundy Thursday

MandatumIn John 13:34-35 we read: I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

“Jesus represents the whole of his saving ministry in one symbolic act” ….It “signifies the whole of Jesus’ saving ministry”…”this humble gesture expressing the entire ministry of Jesus’ life and death…”

(J. Ratzinger, Jesus of Nazareth, p. 57, 72, 74; see “The Washing of the Feet” pp 53-75)

Spy Wednesday

Judas kisses JesusWe call today Spy Wednesday (the Wednesday of Holy Week) because it is the day on which the gospel reading for Mass (Matthew 26:14-25) is the one which speaks of Judas Iscariot acts as a spy for the Sanhedrin. The act of spying earned Judas 30 pieces of silver and thus he betrayed Jesus.

Pope Benedict once said, “Judas is neither a master of evil nor the figure of a demoniacal power of darkness but rather a sycophant who bows down before the anonymous power of changing moods and current fashion. But it is precisely this  anonymous power that crucified Jesus, for it was anonymous voices that cried, “Away with him! Crucify him!”

In another place the emeritus Pope wrote:

“His second tragedy — after the betrayal — is that he can no longer believes in forgiveness. His remorse turns into despair. Now he sees only himself and his darkness; he no longer sees the light of Jesus, which can illumine and overcome the darkness. He shows us the wrong type of remorse: the type that is unable to hope, that sees only its own darkness, the type that is destructive and in no way authentic. Genuine remorse is marked by the certainty of hope born of faith in the superior power of the light that was made flesh in Jesus.” (Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week, 69)

Let us pray as Saint Paul said: “At the name of Jesus every knee should bend…to the glory of God the Father.”

 

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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