The holiness of the holy week
The holy week is the pick of the Lenten season, it begins with the Passion Sunday. The holy week as it is called suggest perfection, a week of holiness, peace and tranquillity. But when we juxtapose the name and the events of the week, we see a different thing. It is a week that is supposed to be holy and peaceful, yet it begins with the celebration of the sorrowful passion of Jesus Christ; Passion Sunday. A day palm branches are waved in honour of our Lord Jesus Christ and also the day we celebrate his welcome into Jerusalem as king that he is. The week actually starts well as the name suggests; holy week, even though we read the passion narrative. Sunday, Monday Tuesday and Wednesday of the holy week are probably truly holy and peaceful in the ordinary sense of the world. But on Thursday of the holy week, the drama begins. We see friendship and trust betrayed; one of Jesus’ apostles sells him for 30 pieces of silver coins, the other close friend of his denies ever knowing him, and while others run away from him. It is a week of abandonment, a week that sees Jesus being accused and paraded like a common criminal. It is a week he was spat upon, blindfolded and beaten. It is a week that sees Jesus carried the cross through the streets of Jerusalem to the place of The Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. And right before everybody will be crucified, a shameful death.
As “shameful” as the events of this week are, the Catholic Church, without fear or shame still confidently calls this most “awful” week a holy week. You will certainly not be blamed if you ask the question, what is holy about the holy week? Something is holy about it. The truth and the whole truth is that, even though the holy week appears awful, it is truly a holy week.
Talking about the holiness of the holy week reminds me of the serpent in the Garden of Eden. The serpent deceived Adam and Eve, and since then became a symbol of evil. But in the book of Number 21, the image of the same serpent became a symbol of healing which is still recognized even in the medical profession till today. The universally accepted medical logo is the image of a serpent raised on a pole. Just like the serpent that was considered the image of evil that later became the image of healing, so also the week that was considered the most awful became the week the sins of the world was washed away. It is the week the old rugged cross was painted red with the blood of Jesus Christ to make it a symbol of power and victory. It is the week the gift of holiness was restored to man in a more perfect way, it is the week we all were made joint-heir with Christ. The holy week is indeed holy because, it is the week we were all given the right to walk into the holy of holies.
As the holy week begins according to our cherished Catholic tradition therefor, let us truly meditate on the sorrowful passion of Jesus Christ that brought about the joy and victory the world cannot give.