Holy Week is the most important week in the Church's year. In this week, the Church throughout the world recalls the final days of Our Lord's earthly life and celebrates the saving love of God that saw Jesus go willingly to the Cross to win the gift of salvation and eternal life for all, by rising triumphant from the grave on the first Easter morning.
Such is the significance of this week, that we should all make every effort to be in church day by day to walk the Way of the Cross with Jesus.
On Maundy Thursday we will gather to commemorate the Last Supper: the final meal Jesus shared with his closest friends, in which he gave them (and us) the command to ‘do this in memory of me’. It was on this night that the sacrament of the Mass was given to us. And just as Jesus did, so 12 people will have their feet washed in remembrance that Jesus came among us as a servant and commanded those who would follow him to do the same. As the Mass ends, we will keep the 'Watch of the Passion', a vigil of prayer until midnight, in obedience to the Lord's request that his friends should 'watch and pray' with him.
On Holy Saturday in the darkness of the night, we will rejoice as we light the Paschal (Easter) Candle and proclaim the earth-shattering truth that the Light of Christ has come into the world; that Jesus is risen from the tomb. We will hear the scriptures unfolding the narrative of salvation and we will renew our Baptismal Promises, for it is only through baptism that we may come to share in the joys of eternal life granted on this night. The Easter Vigil reaches its climax as we celebrate the Mass together for the first time since the Lord’s Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper.
On Palm Sunday we will recall Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when the crowds welcomed him with joy and ripped branches from the trees to carpet the road ahead of him. In our celebration, we too will process through the local streets with our palm branches, in an act of witness to our Saviour. And we will be reminded just how fickle is human nature.
On Good Friday, a day of the greatest solemnity, our Liturgy will focus on Christ's saving work on the Cross. We will hear an account of the crucifixion and we will Venerate the Cross, worshipping the sacrifice of Jesus and recalling that through our sharing in communion, we are united with him and his whole Church in his suffering.
On Easter Day we will rejoice with the Church around the world as we proclaim the great truth at the centre of our faith:
Alleluia! Christ is Risen!