Tag Archives: Holy Week

Holy Saturday: something strange is happening as we contemplate the Lord’s death

harrowing of hell.jpgOn Great and Holy Saturday the Church contemplates the mystery of the Lord’s descent into Hades, the place of the dead. Death, our ultimate enemy, is defeated from within. “He (Christ) gave Himself as a ransom to death in which we were held captive, sold under sin. Descending into Hades through the Cross … He loosed the bonds of death” (Liturgy of Saint Basil).


From an ancient homily for Holy Saturday


Something strange is happening—
there is a great silence on earth today,
a great silence and stillness.
The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.
The earth trembled and is still
because God has fallen asleep in the flesh
and He has raised up all who have slept
ever since the world began.
God has died in the flesh, and hell trembles with fear.

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Holy Thursday: a “constant examination of conscience,” Pope says

Pope Benedict washes feet 2010.jpg“…God has shown himself, because he, infinite and beyond the grasp of our reason, is the God who is close to us, who loves us, and whom we can know and love.


Jesus prays for the Church to be one and apostolic. This prayer, then, is properly speaking an act which founds the Church. The Lord prays to the Father for the Church. She is born of the prayer of Jesus and through the preaching of the Apostles, who make known God’s name and introduce men and women into the fellowship of love with God. Jesus thus prays that the preaching of the disciples will continue for all time, that it will gather together men and women who know God and the one he has sent, his Son Jesus Christ. He prays that men and women may be led to faith and, through faith, to love. He asks the Father that these believers “be in us” (v. 21); that they will live, in other words, in interior communion with God and Jesus Christ, and that this inward being in communion with God may give rise to visible unity. Twice the Lord says that this unity should make the world believe in the mission of Jesus. It must thus be a unity which can be seen – a unity which so transcends ordinary human possibilities as to become a sign before the world and to authenticate the mission of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ prayer gives us the assurance that the preaching of the Apostles will never fail throughout history; that it will always awaken faith and gather men and women into unity – into a unity which becomes a testimony to the mission of Jesus Christ. But this prayer also challenges us to a constant examination of conscience. At this hour the Lord is asking us: are you living, through faith, in fellowship with me and thus in fellowship with God? Or are you rather living for yourself, and thus apart from faith? And are you not thus guilty of the inconsistency which obscures my mission in the world and prevents men and women from encountering God’s love? It was part of the historical Passion of Jesus, and remains part of his ongoing Passion throughout history, that he saw, and even now continues to see, all that threatens and destroys unity. As we meditate on the Passion of the Lord, let us also feel Jesus’ pain at the way that we contradict his prayer, that we resist his love, that we oppose the unity which should bear witness before the world to his mission.


Pope Benedict XVI

Holy Thursday 2010, excerpt of homily

“Spy” Wednesday

Spy Wednesday.jpgThe Church as often called today “spy Wednesday”  because of the betrayal of Christ one hears made by Judas. The name Judas is forever linked with the concept of betrayal. In Dante’s Inferno (Canto XXXIV) we see Judas in the lowest circle of Hell being eternally consumed by a three-faced winged devil. Imagine the affective hurt of being betrayed by a friend!

The Church prays

O God, who willed Your Son to undergo on our behalf the gibbet of the Cross so that You might drive away from us the power of the enemy, grant to us Your servants, that we may obtain the grace of the resurrection.

Palm Sunday 2010

Palm Sunday.jpg

Covering statues, images & crucifixes in Passiontide

My friend George asked me the other day about the
tradition of covering the statues, images and crucifixes (sacred images) -but
not the Stations of the Cross–before Holy Week. He told me that the nuns told
him that the Church covered sacred items because Christ went into hiding before
his arrest. Well, that’s true but incomplete. The tradition of veiling finds
its source in John 8:46-59 where the Jews attempt to stone Jesus because of his
claims of being the Son of God, but he hides from view. As point of comparison,
you will notice in Mark’s gospel our focus is on the Lord’s crucifixion because
it is there that we learn the true identity of Jesus as being man and divine.
The covering of sacred images, therefore, is to illustrate the increasing
tension we find ourselves in the Liturgy as we move toward of the Lord’s own
Paschal Mystery. The veiling actually reinforces the verifiable fact of the

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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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