Will this be our last Holy Week?

Is Holy Week really worth the effort? If you talk to pastors, liturgists, choir directors, leaders of RCIA, etc., Holy Week is a time of frenetic activity, the culmination of much planning and lack of planning, and somehow—at least sometimes—inspiring.

And then…? Well, a few weeks of lilies and extra “Alleluias!” and then back to business as usual. (E.g., First Confessions and Communions in May, a spate of weddings in June, etc.)

It seems that Holy Week is a lot of work for a few, an inconvenience for a few more (“How many times do I have to drag the kids to church this week?!?”), and an annual irrelevance for many, if not most Catholics. But does it have to be that way?

Here’s the key problem with Holy Week as described above: People who halfheartedly believe that they’re sinners try to stir up sorrow for an atoning death they’re not quite convinced they need, so that a few days later they can try to stir up joy for the benefits of a resurrection they don’t quite understand or believe in.

So understood, it’s not very convincing theater, and even less is it worthy worship.

Why do we put up with it? Why does the Church ask us to put on this act year after year? That’s asking the wrong question. Better: What is divine mercy and providence offering us in Holy Week?

And how can we be good stewards of what could be the last Holy Week we will ever see? (Remember that not one future moment is guaranteed to anyone.)

We’re created in the image and likeness of God. Our souls, which we surrendered to the dominion of Satan by our sin, are worth fighting for.

Jesus, Son of God and son of Mary, ransomed our souls with his own blood. If you were given one week before your death to contemplate that truly shocking fact—how would you spend it? Continue reading

  • Father Robert McTeigue, SJ, is a member of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus.
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