You are hereMonday to Wednesday of Holy Week
Monday to Wednesday of Holy Week
There are no set major liturgies for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Holy Week so you might be forgiven for thinking they are insignificant but that would be a mistake.
These 3 days can be used to forge a core of people who are spending time praying together. They will form a catalyst for the bigger occasions as those joining just for Thursday or Friday will be eased into an exisitng atmosphere of prayer enabling everyone to participate more deeply. This little group give a sense of continuity linking all the great events together - much as the inner circle around Jesus must have done. So the few who gather on these days will, without knowing it, serve those who come along later in the week as they help to build the sense of momentum.
Forging the bedrock of the praying community is not the only thing going on though. It is all too easy to fix on the more dramatic episodes in the Passion accounts in the Gospels but all of them have quite a gap between Jesus arriving in Jerusalem and the Last Supper. Various discussions, some sight seeing and a lot of teaching is packed in between Palm Sunday and Holy Thursday. These three days give us some opportunity to explore the teaching of Jesus and as we hear the readings set for these days so Jesus prepares us for the events to come, just as he prepared those first disciples.
Our Eucharists at St Michael's are very simple, prayerful and meditative to allow time for the instruction from the great prophets of Israel and Jesus himself to sink in but they are not over serious. We are not some sort of strange historical re-enactment society duirng this week. Whilst we might try to think about how the stress and worries of the earliest disciples may have had their effect we do so in the knowledge that we are not in the dark about the outcome for Jesus is risen. We view all these events and hear the Gospel words from a resurrection perspective. We can empathise with the disciples out of our shared human experience, learning more about our own struggles with fidelity, loyalty and the sacrificial demands of love but at the same time we feel the new life of the Holy Spirit already flowing through our souls.
On Monday at St Michael's we celebrate a Passover Seder meal together partly to remember the great redemption story which underpins the entire Judaeo-Christian tradition and which was such a key part of Jesus' own sense of 'Tradition' and partly to give this redemptive paradigm our attention for it is the context for everything that we celebrate in the second part of the week and it is echoed or directly recalled at many points in the great liturgies of Holy Week. The Passover gives us also a vital reminder that Jesus was Jewish and that therefore there is no room for any kind of anti-Semitism in our reading or interpretation of the Gospel accounts and our Holy Week traditions. It is also true that St Michael's does not need much of an excuse for to gather over a good meal and enjoy some quality social time together.
These three days then are about not just practical but also prayerful preparation for the great 'Three Days' often referred to by their Latin title the 'Triduum' which begins on Maundy Thursday evening.
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