We enter Holy Week in a way we have never done before. To help us along the journey of this week, short reflections and prayers for every day are provided below. During this week you might like to have some small place in your home where you can put the suggested symbol for each day — a sacred space which can act as a visual reminder of the importance of this precious week.

You might like to pray this prayer every day:

Thanks be to you, my Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits you have given me,
for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.
O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,
may I know you more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
and follow you more nearly, day by day.
Amen.

(St Richard of Chichester)


Palm Sunday

Every year on this Sunday we have two Gospel readings. One is the account of the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem; shouts of joy and happiness everywhere. We usually hear this in our hall and then process to church where, a short while later, we hear the long reading of the Passion with its shouts of hatred and destruction. These opposites, light and dark, joy and sorrow are especially clear this year. This pandemic is destructive and has the potential to lead us into the dark in so many ways. On the other hand, it is bringing out the best in people. Stories of selflessness, of communities finding ways to overcome the isolation, and individual acts of kindness are everywhere.

To consider: The people of Jerusalem shouted, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”. Today, in the midst of so much uncertainty, think of one thing you are grateful for and say (or even sing!) your own hosanna to the Lord. (Take your time over this).

To do: Find a sprig of greenery and put it in a special place in your home. (Don’t be tempted to throw it away as it wilts — just leave there for the week.) You may also like to put a sprig in your window for today.

Pray that God will help you to see the good things around you and always to be grateful for them.

Pray for all those key workers hard at work today.

Prayer for the day

You might like to say the prayer for the week above.


Monday

Today we find Jesus at the home of his good friends Martha, Mary and Lazarus. (You can find the story in John 12 verses 1-11). They are having a meal together when Mary comes in and begins anointing Jesus’s feet with expensive and very perfumed ointment. Mary is not bothered what others will say about what she is doing. Her attention is not on what others will think of her but on the one she is doing this for, Jesus. Hers is a reckless action of love, of sheer generosity and one which Jesus accepts. Indeed, he speaks of how necessary it is.

To consider: Imagine Jesus was in your house. What would be the “ointment”, the precious gift you would offer to him? (Take your time over this).

Pray: for a spirit of reckless love for the Lord

Pray: for all scientists working hard to find ways of combatting Covid-19, that God will guide them and give them wisdom.

To do: Find a bottle of perfume, or aftershave or room fragrance and add it to your “sacred space”

Prayer for the day

You might like to say the prayer for the week above.


Tuesday

The Gospel for today (John 13) takes us to the room where Jesus is at supper with his disciples. Here he declares that one of them will betray him. They can’t believe it and Peter asks who would do such a terrible thing. As Judas leaves to go to the chief priests (about which we will hear more tomorrow), the events which will lead to the Cross are set in motion. John tells us this in one short sentence: as Judas goes out we read, “night had fallen.” The word “night” in this Gospel is a sort of codeword. It stands for all that is against Jesus, for disbelief and all that cuts us off from the light and love of the Lord. Perhaps you are aware of some darkness within you at this time.

To consider: when have you gone into “the night” recently? Ask for the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness. (Take your time over this).

To do: Put a torch on your sacred space as a reminder that the night, whatever is dark in us, can be overcome by light.

Pray for all those whose actions or attitudes cut them off from the light of God.

Pray for those who will be working this night to care for those suffering from Covid-19 and all those who feel alone.

Prayer for the day

You might like to say the prayer for the week above.


Wednesday

We have a slightly different account of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas in the Gospel today. This one comes from the Gospel of Matthew. (Chapter 26 verses14-25). In this account Judas has already spoken with the chief priests and agreed that they would pay him to deliver Jesus into their hands. What was it that motivated Judas? Why did he do it? It is a good question to ask ourselves. What is it that motivates us? You might like to think what it is in you that drives you to be generous and loving and what makes you sometimes to be selfish and less than generous?

To consider: Jesus said that “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”. Where is your treasure? (Take your time over this).

To do: put a few coins on your sacred space — alternatively something that reminds you of your own true treasure, something that represents where your heart is.

Pray: For strength to love the Lord with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul and all your strength.

Pray for our politicians and those having to make crucial decisions during this pandemic.

Prayer for the day

You might like to say the prayer for the week above.


Maundy Thursday

 

Today is a day full of symbolism and rich with meaning for us. The Gospel is about Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. (John 13 verses 1-15). Today we also remember the institution of the Eucharist and all that that means for us on our own faith journey — and what it is like to be deprived of it at this time. We also recall Jesus’s time in Gethsemane. So, there is a lot to ponder on. Here is just one idea for meditating on each of these episodes. You can spend time with each or perhaps one will stick out for you. If that is the case, spend more time with that one and listen to what the Lord is saying to you through it. (Take your time over these).

  1. “He (Jesus) began to wash the disciples’ feet”. Close your eyes. Imagine yourself in the upper room. Jesus is coming to wash your feet? How do you react? What do you say?
  2. “Take, eat, this is my body”? What does this sacrament really mean to you, especially at this time? What do you feel about not being able to receive the Lord at Mass. Ask the Lord to come to you now.
  3. “He (Jesus) fell on his face and prayed, Father if it is possible, take this cup away from me. But not my will but yours be done”. Watch with Jesus in Gethsemane.

To do: place a bowl of water and towel on your sacred space, or a goblet and plate — or both!

Pray that you may be especially close to the Lord during these three days and journey with him.

Pray for all priests and all those who minister the gospel.

Pray for those going through their own Gethsemane tonight.

Prayer for the day

You might like to say the prayer for the week above.


Good Friday

To do: place a crucifix on your sacred space. You may like to reverence it in some way.

If you can read the passion story. (John chapters 18 and 19 up to verse 42).

To consider: Today is a day for looking. Contemplate the cross. Look at what sin, hatred and destruction can do. It can take the loveliest life that was ever lived and smash it to bits on a cross. But look also at what love can do. On this cross, God, in Jesus, stretches out his arms in love to embrace us. The cross tells us that, no matter what happens to us, God is with us and will always be with us. Our God is not remote, our God enters into our suffering and suffers with us. Because of this cross the door to God is always open to those who turn to him.

Pray in whatever way the Lord leads you as you contemplate his cross. (Take your time over this).

Pray for the dying, especially those whose lives are cut short by Covid-19

Prayer for the day

You might like to say the prayer for the week above.


Holy Saturday

It is over. Jesus has died and his body is in the tomb. Today is a day of waiting. Nothing is happening. For the only day in the year we have no Gospel to hear. There is no Mass. Often waiting can be very hard. We want to get on with things. As individuals and as a community we are in a waiting time now, waiting for this virus to pass; waiting for life to get back to normal. And yet waiting is never a total waste of time if we approach it in the right way. It can be irksome and trying but it can also provide us with the chance to hear the Lord speaking to us in surprising ways.

To consider: Waiting is a great Christian virtue because it allows the Lord to do what he wants and not what we want. How do you cope with waiting? Is the Lord asking you approach waiting in a different way?

Pray for balance in your life.

Pray for those who wait at home for news of loved ones in hospital

Prayer for the day

You might like to say the prayer for the week above.

 

 

 

 

Holy Week
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