Palm Sunday opens Holy Week
|Posted by Manila Mail under Making a Difference|
By Hermie Climaco
We are now entering the Holy Week. The Palm Sunday on March 16 signals the beginning of the Holy Week. As we know, we celebrate Palm Sunday in remembrance of the time that Jesus entered Jerusalem, which eventually led to his suffering and death.
The Holy Week is preceded by yet another important event in the Christian history – the 40-Day Lenten Season. The Church conduct activities during this period in preparation for Easter (Jesus? Resurrection). The Lenten Season also relives the forty day-period that Jesus, during his time, went into the desert to pray, fast and confront satan?s temptation before beginning his public ministry in Jerusalem. The Ash Wednesday celebration last February 6 signaled the beginning of the 40-Day Lenten Season.
What should our preparations be? For us, Catholics, the preparation for Easter (Jesus Resurrection) starts on the first day of Lent, which is the Ash Wednesday. During this day we had our foreheads sprinkled with ashes in the form of a cross. The ashes indicate a public marking (or display) of our sorrow for our sinfulness and a readiness to surrender our sins to Jesus as he takes them away with him through his death on Good Friday.
Ashes are Christian traditional sign of mourning, grieving and repentance. In Biblical times, people who committed serious sins wore sack cloth and cover themselves with ashes. Even King David wore sack cloth and had himself covered with ashes as he repented and mourned for the serious sin that he committed against God. In our time today, we dont wear sack cloth nor cover ourselves with ashes but we have our forehead traced with ashes in the shape of a cross every year during Ash Wednesday in humble recognition of the fact that we are sinners and that we mourn and repent for our sinfulness.
Traditionally, during the 40-Day Lenten Season we are asked to do three things: Fasting, praying and almsgiving.
Basically, we are asked to abstain from meat during Fridays right after Ash Wednesday. However, we can also give up something that is important to us. We may resolve to give up smoking, or watching TV, or playing computer games, or eating chocolates etc. This manner of fasting, of giving up something on or for Lent, helps clean our lives from whatever separates or distracts us from God and opens up a room for God in our life.
We are also asked to pray more, maybe taking our praying to a different dimension. Perhaps in a way that give our heart and soul to Jesus. As we communicate more with God through Jesus we are building our relationship with God, and God will (likewise) build us up.
Almsgiving is being mindful of the poor or needy and sharing what we have to them. Jesus spent his life on earth helping people, pouring out all of his life for others. He expects those among us who believe in him to do the same.
Going to confession before Easter Sunday is also one way of preparing ourselves and meeting the risen Christ on Easter. We can give up through confession whatever it is that prevents us from uniting fully with God. This is a good time to surrender that dark secret. Christ deserves a beautiful room in our life when we welcome him, and he re-dwells in us, on Easter Sunday.