Leigh Hatts  

Holy Week begins tonight

Life-size image of Christ on a donkey has been part of Palm Sunday processions in Germany

‘Holy Week … is the peculiar privilege of Christians and should be their delight, their share in the sacred act of theatre, their most important week of all the year,’ wrote Observer journalist Patrick O’Donovan.

Holy Week, which begins tonight with Christ arriving at Bethany, enables us to live with Christ his final week on earth.

We can enter Jerusalem with Christ (Palm Sunday procession), be present at the Last Supper (Maundy Thursday evening Mass), kneel in the garden of Gethsemane (Thursday evening watch), walk with Christ as He carries the Cross and then watch at the foot of the Cross (Three Hours Service on Good Friday) and rejoice at his rising from the dead very early on Easter morning (Easter Vigil).

It is a week- long pilgrimage not of re-enactment but liturgical participation in Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection.

This year we can follow much of the liturgy on the internet with useful service sheets available here.

But at home we can also delve into the events of week by reading the accounts in the Bible.

On which day did Jesus overturn the tables in The Temple? Was it on his arrival on Palm Sunday when he had been given such a warm welcome or was it on Monday morning?

Also, the incident with the ointment, if not Saturday night, then maybe this happened on Tuesday or Wednesday night.

With lockdown and restricted entry to many churches this will be a different Holy Week but it could, using our rare time to read, be a deeper and rewarding one.