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For Each Day of Holy Week

Veery Huleatt

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Here are some articles, art, poetry, and readings for the celebration of Holy Week, the days from Palm Sunday to Holy Saturday, and for Easter Sunday – as we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the last supper, Gethsemane, his suffering and death on the cross, and finally the joy of the resurrection.

Palm Sunday:

Ride On! Ride On in Majesty – a hymn by Henry Hart Milman

With Palm Sunday, Holy Week begins with a mixture of rejoicing and foreboding; the triumphal procession is the beginning of the final journey to the cross. The feeling of the day was captured well by Henry Hart Milman in a hymn written in 1820.

Holy Monday:

After his triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, Jesus went into the temple and overturned the tables of the money changers and merchants, telling them, “‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers.”

Merchandising Truth – Meister Eckhart

In this reflection, Meister Eckhart reminds us that our souls are the temple that must be kept pure for God, and warns us not to bargain with God.

Tuesday

On the Tuesday of Holy Week, the Eastern Orthodox remembers the Parable of the Ten Virgins. It’s theme of expectant preparedness hints at Jesus’ request to his disciples to stay awake with him in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The Coming Light – a hymn by Saint Ephrem the Syrian

This beautiful hymn, by fourth century church father Saint Ephrem, uses the words of the wise virgins: “Let us light our lamps and go forth to meet Him.”

Holy Wednesday

Two Sinners of Holy Wednesday – Johann Ernst von Holst
It’s hard to imagine a greater contrast between these two sinners: Judas Iscariot and Mary Magdalene. While Mary wept for her sins, and then lavished Jesus with her love, Judas complained of her extravagance, and then went to betray his Lord.

The Last Supper:

On Thursday, we remember the last supper that Jesus shared with his disciples.

The Mystery of the Poor – Dorothy Day

Dorothy Day writes that she is reminded of the Last Supper, “every time I sit down at Chrystie Street or Peter Maurin Farm and look around at the tables filled with the unutterably poor who are going through their long-continuing crucifixion.”

The Sacrament of the Last Supper – Salvador Dalí

Dalí’s painting, “The Sacrament of the Last Supper,” can be jarring, even shocking, to both Christian and secular viewers. That is precisely the point. An empty place at the table invites you to share in the sacrament. But only on your knees.

The Garden of Gethsemane

Christ on the Mount of Olives – Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven’s oratorio “Christ on the Mount of Olives” tells the story of Jesus’ final night in the Garden of Gethsemane. The music describes his anguish and prayers; then the angry crowd with “swords and clubs” to arrest him, and Jesus’ decision to surrender to the will of the Father.

Good Friday:

St. Matthew Passion – Johann Sebastian Bach

Listen to the opening chorus of Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion.” “Come ye daughters, share my anguish,” the daughters of Jerusalem lament; over their voices a choir of “faithful souls” sings in praise of the Lamb of God.

Käthe Kollwitz’s Pietà – photography by Walter Mason

German artist and sculptor Kathe Kollwitz lost her own son in the trenches of World War I. Almost twenty years later, she created this Pietà, drawing on her own experience of loss and mourning.

Encountering the Cross – J. Heinrich Arnold
“We cannot encounter Jesus without encountering the cross,” writes J. Heinrich Arnold. “His person emanates the way of suffering. Through his sacrifice his great love for all people floods our hearts and becomes in us an urge to go out to save those who are in the grip of darkness.”

Holy Saturday:

The Church is not Made of Cathedrals – Cécile Massie

Like those first disciples, there are many Christians today who have suffered much, and lost those they love. This photo essay shows Middle Eastern Christians celebrating Holy Week in exile. Take time, on Holy Saturday, to pray that they are comforted, and that their hope lives on.

Easter Sunday

An Invitation – Joyce Hollyday

“To love Jesus with a perfect love and to believe in the power of his Resurrection,” writes Joyce Hollyday of the women who found the empty tomb. “Certainly they grieved and experienced their hope flagging during the dark moments surrounding Jesus’ death. But they never lost their faith.”

Seven Stanzas at Easter – John Updike

“Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.”

Go Forth in His Victory! – Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

“Christ’s resurrection is not just something that happened in the past. There is resurrection today just as much as there was back then, after Christ’s death.” A rousing Easter sermon from Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt.

grass-grown stone stairs with stone walls on either side
Contributed By Veery Huleatt Veery Huleatt

Veery Huleatt is the online editor for Plough Publishing House. She studied classics at Siena College and worked as a Junior Fellow at First Things magazine in New York City.

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