Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?” Matthew 21:23
On Tuesday of our Holy Week, Jesus taught the disciples about faith (Matthew 21:19-22) and was later confronted in the Temple. “By what authority”, they ask Jesus, “Who gave you this authority?”, they inquired, but they already knew. Tuesday of Holy Week, for many of us, is just the day before the Wednesday in Holy Week, and if you are not planning on participating in the Stations of the Cross on Wednesday night, it is just the day two days before Maundy Thursday.
Each Day in Holy Week holds a significant opportunity for us to draw closer to Christ. By reading, reviewing, and contemplating the events which led up to the Crucifixion we are better able to understand and experience the Via Dolorosa—the Way of the Cross.
Monday is already a thing of the past, but I include it here in case you want to split up today and dedicate a portion to Monday’s readings.
Holy Week Observance
I am just beginning to realize how much you love me. Your son, Jesus was humble and obedient.
He fulfilled your will for him by becoming human and suffering with us. I ask you for the desire to become humbler so that my own life might also bear witness to you. I want to use the small sufferings I have in this world to give you glory.
Please, Lord, guide my mind with your truth. Strengthen my life by the example of Jesus.
Help me to be with Jesus in this week as he demonstrates again his total love for me. He died so that I would no longer be separated from you. Help me to feel how close you are and to live in union with you. Amen.
The Cleansing of the Temple: Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:12-19, Luke 19:45-48.
God of love,
My prayer is simple: Your son, Jesus, suffered and died for me. I know only that I cannot have real strength unless I rely on you. I cannot feel protected from my many weaknesses until I turn to you for forgiveness and your unalterable love. Help me to share this strength, protection, and love with others. Amen.
The Fig Tree: Matthew 21:19-22
The Temple Debates: Matthew 21:23-23:39.
Also: Mark 11:27-14:2, Luke 20:1-22:2, John 12:37-50.
God of such unwavering love,
How do I "celebrate" the passion and death of Jesus? I often want to look the other way and not watch, not stay with Jesus in his suffering. Give me the strength to see his love with honesty and compassion and to feel deeply your own forgiveness and mercy for me. Help me to understand how to "celebrate" this week. I want to be able to bring my weaknesses and imperfections with me as I journey with Jesus this week, so aware of his love. Amen.
The Betrayal of Jesus: Matthew 26:6-16, Mark 14:3-11, Luke 22:3-6.
Do you invite me to share in the glory of the resurrection? Please stay with me as I struggle to see how accepting the crosses of my life will free me from the power of the one who wants only to destroy my love and trust in you. Help me to be humble and accepting like your son, Jesus. I want to turn to you with the same trust he had in your love. Save me, Lord. Only you can save me. Amen.
The Last Supper: Matthew 26:17-35
Jesus Prays: Matthew 26:36-46
Also: Mark 14:12-72, Luke 22:7-71, John 13:1-18:27.
You gather me in this upper room with your son, to be fed by your love. At that supper, Jesus told us to "love one another" and I know that is the heart of his gift, his sacrifice for me. I ask that I might find the source of my own heart, the meaning for my own life, in that Eucharist. Guide me to the fullness of your love and life. Amen.
Arrested and Crucified: Matt 27:1-61, Mark 15:1-47, Luke 23:1-56, John 18:28-19:42
Your son has suffered so much, shed so much blood. I was born with so many faults, and my nature is so full of weakness, and yet your son Jesus has died on the cross. For me. I know your grace has the power to cleanse me of my many sins and to make me more like your Son. Thank you for your goodness and love for me. I ask you, Father, to watch over me - always. Amen
The lost day: Matthew 27:62-66
My Lord, today all is silent. You have given Your precious life for the salvation of the world. You died a horrific death, poured out all Mercy from Your wounded Heart, and now You rest in peace in the tomb as the soldiers keep vigil.
Lord, may I also keep vigil with You as You sleep. I know that this day ends with Your glorious triumph, Your victory over sin and death. But for now, I sit quietly mourning Your death.
Help me, dear Lord, to enter into the sorrow and the silence of this Holy Saturday. Today no Sacraments are celebrated. Today the world waits in mourning in anticipation of the glory of new life!
As I keep vigil, awaiting the celebration of Your Resurrection, fill me with hope. Help me to look forward to the celebration of Your Resurrection, but also to look forward to the hope of my own share in the new life You won for the world. I entrust my whole being to You, dear Lord, as You lay lifeless and still. May Your rest transform the brokenness of my own soul, my weaknesses, my sin, and my frailty. You are glorious and You bring the greatest good out of Your apparent defeat. I trust in Your power to do all things and I entrust my life to You. Jesus, I trust in You.
From the Byzantine Matins of Great & Holy Saturday:
“Today the one who holds all creation in his hand
is himself held in the tomb,
a rock covers the One who covered the heavens with beauty,
Life has fallen asleep,
Hades is seized with fear,
and Adam is freed from his bonds.
Glory to your work of salvation;
through it you have accomplished the eternal Sabbath rest,
and You grant us the gift of your holy resurrection. Amen.”
The eighth word of Jesus from the Cross was YOUR name.
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Father Bill Burk†