Until recently Easter was a time of vacation and relaxation in some countries, today the scenario has changed. The threat of being infected with the COVID-19 virus makes us protect ourselves at home without being able to comply with religious traditions. Despite the quarantine, many parishioners have chosen to meditate and rejoice with their loved ones in the best possible way to celebrate the Holy Week. A Christian-Catholic tradition that commemorates the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
For those who are unaware of this ritual, it did not begin immediately after the resurrection of Jesus was known, nor during the time when Christianity was persecuted (AD 33). It was then in 325 AD, when the process of consolidation of the Catholic Church began, that is, in the Middle Ages. “At that time the faithful were already free to meet publicly, the creed was ratified and it was established that Easter would be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon in spring,” according to the Catholic website Semana. This Wednesday, April 8 there is a full moon.
But, it was in 1955 when the Holy Week liturgy was officiated with the papal decree Máxima Redeptionis, promulgated by Pope Pius XII.
Palm Sunday: Holy Week starts
On April 5, Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem was celebrated. He is represented with the image of him riding on a donkey entering the town in the middle of a street where many honor him with spikes, tree branches and palms and they called him king, son of David, since they believed in him, his words, and his miracles.
That is why the representations of the branches that the faithful take to the churches are blessed to walk the path that Jesus and his apostles made from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem.
Holy Monday. After having been received in praise on Palm Sunday, Jesus retired to Bethany where he was welcomed by Lazarus, Martha and Mary. Mary Magdalene, who had joined the procession, perfumes the feet of Jesus.
The site Semana reported “2 quite popular anecdotes of the life of Christ are remembered: the recognition of the widow’s offering in the Temple and the expulsion of the merchants from the house of God.”
Holy Tuesday. In the Gospel of Holy Tuesday, Jesus anticipates to his disciples the betrayal of Judas and the Denials of Saint Peter. It was the day that the Sanhedrin (assembly of sages and rabbis) met to organize the capture of the Nazarene, where they offered Judas Iscariot 30 silver coins in exchange for his collaboration to catch the Messiah. Jesus privately warned his apostles of Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denials.
Holy Wednesday. This day the processions are usually organized. The end of Lent and the beginning of Easter are decreed. That day Judas is said to have met with the Sanhedrin and the “business” of the Messiah’s delivery was settled.
Currently the Vatican on its official page announced that parishioners will be able to attend live morning masses (Vatican time) through its Spanish-language YouTube channel. At the end of this article you can see the masses at the corresponding times.
No Latin American country will be able to see representations of the Passion of Christ this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The paschal triduum
On Maundy Thursday, at 11 in the morning you can enter the YouTube channel to attend the Holy Mass at the Lord’s Supper. This day the foot washing is commemorated and three great mysteries are celebrated: the institution of the Eucharist, the creation of the priesthood and the sacrament of charity. On the day of the Jewish Passover (celebration of the liberation of the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt), Jesus shared the Last Supper with his apostles, reports the portal Semana.
“In the middle of the party, Jesus again pointed out that one of the 12 would betray him. He washed their feet, humbling himself to instill in them the commandment of love thy neighbor. Then, he founded the Eucharist by dividing the bread (his body) and distributing the wine (his blood), this being the first mass celebrated in history ”, highlights the portal.
Finally, he went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, where he would be arrested some time later. It is what is known as the agony on the Mount of Olives.
That day it is known that the parishioners visit 7 temples and pray in each of them. For this tradition, the suggestion is to meditate at home, make a minute of silence for people who died from COVID-19 and other diseases. In addition to all the countries that are fighting the pandemic.
Good Friday is the day of the passion and death of Jesus. The Vatican will officiate two Masses, one at 11 in the morning (The Passion of the Lord) and the other at 2 in the afternoon (Via Crucis) on the official YouTube channel. Both hours correspond to Omaha.
This day is remembered the arrest of Jesus at dawn and was presented before several courts led by Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod. The only one who found him innocent was Pilate, “but due to popular pressure, he decided to subject him to democracy and the people decided to release Barabbas, a thief, and have Jesus crucified,” Semana published.
Peter’s denial of knowing his Master was carried out (3 times) and Judas, upon hearing the sentence, repented, and after returning the coins, hanged himself.
Holy Saturday, Easter vigil. This day, the Virgin Mary is honored, in order to unite in her pain for the loss of her Son. The Vatican will officiate the mass at 2 in the afternoon. At the Easter vigil the resurrection of Jesus Christ is expected.
Resurrection Sunday: Holy Week ends
“When going to look for the body of Jesus in the grave, 3 women found that it was no longer there. As he had said, Christ returned from death and appeared to his followers. And, after sharing with them, he ascended to heaven in front of their eyes ”, reviewed the Semana portal.
The celebration revolves around the fact that Christ is still alive. The procession takes place with the risen Jesus in the midst of great rejoicing. That is why the masses will be celebrated at 11 in the morning and the blessing and message to the world (Urbi et Orbi, the second this year) at 12 noon, Vatican time (3 and 4 of the Omaha morning). We suggest our readers to see the recording on the portal of the sacred place.
You can watch the Mass here: