Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the most solemn week of the Church’s liturgical year. Here is a brief guide to the week from Palm Sunday through the Easter Triduum.
SUNDAY, APRIL 5
PALM SUNDAY OF THE LORD’S PASSION
The truth behind the tradition of bearing palms today goes to the story of Palm Sunday, when the people heard that Christ was coming and “they took out palm branches and went out to meet him and cried out ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, [even] the king of Israel’” (John 12:13). It was a tradition to spread palms before a king as he processed into his city. It was a way to welcome him, to show him glory and homage. Thus, Christ, the true King, was welcomed into Jerusalem. But one short week later, they crucified him.
We celebrate this feast and carry palm branches home with us to commemorate the great humility of Christ, who loved us so much that he chose the cross for our salvation.
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
Matthew 26:14—27:66 or 27:11-54
“The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road.” — Matthew 21:8
How do you show your enthusiasm for Jesus? How do you embrace the cross?
MONDAY, APRIL 6
MONDAY OF HOLY WEEK
Psalm 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14
“Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.” — John 12:3
How do you prioritize Jesus in your life?
TUESDAY, APRIL 7
TUESDAY OF HOLY WEEK
Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15 and 17
John 13:21-33, 36-38
“Peter said to him, ‘Master, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ Jesus answered, ‘Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.’” — John 13:37-38
There are times when we fail to do the right thing, when we fall short as Christian disciples. If you haven’t already this Lenten season, take advantage of the sacrament of reconciliation. It’s an opportunity to examine your conscience and reflect on areas of your life in which you could to do better. Seeking and receiving God’s forgiveness through this sacrament of mercy helps us to change our lives for the better.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8
WEDNESDAY OF HOLY WEEK
Psalm 69:8-10, 21-22, 31 and 33-34
“The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.” — Isaiah 50:4
Who in my life needs to hear a word of encouragement, kindness or affirmation?
THURSDAY, APRIL 9
HOLY THURSDAY – MASS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
“Washing the feet. At that time, feet were washed by slaves: it was a slave’s task. People traveled by road. There was no asphalt. There were no cobblestones. At that time the roads were dusty and people’s feet got dirty. So at the entrance to the house there were slaves who washed one’s feet. It was slaves’ work. But it was a service: a service carried out by slaves. And Jesus wanted to offer this service, to set us an example of how we should serve one another.” (Pope Francis, March 29, 2018)
Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
“You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I
am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”— John 13:13-15
In what ways can you be a servant leader in your family, workplace, school or community?
FRIDAY, APRIL 10
GOOD FRIDAY OF THE LORD’S PASSION
“This is a great mystery, Jesus. You love us by dying, by suffering abandonment, by bestowing your spirit, by doing the Father’s will, by withdrawing. You remain on the cross, and that is all. You do not try to explain the mystery of death, the destruction of all things. You do more: you cross over it completely in body and spirit. A great mystery. One that continues to question us and to unsettle us. It challenges us and it invites us to open our eyes and to see your love even in death, indeed even starting from death itself. It is there that you loved us as we really are, truly and inevitably. It is there that we grasp, however imperfectly, your living and authentic presence. We will always thirst for this: for your closeness, for your being God-with-us.” (Meditation on the 12th Station of the Cross during the Way of the Cross led by Pope Francis on Good Friday, 2018. Meditations for each of the stations were written by young people between the ages of 16 and 27.)
Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
“When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.” — John 19:30
How have you experienced Jesus’ presence in times of suffering in your own life?
SATURDAY, APRIL 11
EASTER VIGIL IN THE HOLY NIGHT OF EASTER
“Easter is the feast of tombstones taken away, rocks rolled aside. God takes away even the hardest stones against which our hopes and expectations crash: death, sin, fear, worldliness. Human history does not end before a tombstone, because today it encounters the ‘living stone’ (cf. 1 Peter 2:4), the risen Jesus. We, as Church, are built on him, and, even when we grow disheartened and tempted to judge everything in the light of our failures, he comes to make all things new, to overturn our every disappointment. Each of us is called tonight to rediscover in the Risen Christ the one who rolls back from our heart the heaviest of stones.” (Pope Francis, at his 2019 Easter Vigil homily)
Baruch 3:9-15, 32-4:4
Ezekiel 36:16-17a, 18-28
“I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.” — Matthew 28:5-6
SUNDAY, APRIL 12
EASTER SUNDAY – THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD
Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” — Colossians 3:1
How has your Lenten and Holy Week observance helped you to be a better follower of the Risen Lord?
Sources: Catholic Current, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Vatican