This last week during a homily I heard Holy Week referred to as "the greatest week in the history of the world", that is quite a claim, but I think it's hard to argue with. No matter how much time a person spends each week or day, I don't know if we could actually be prepared to enter this week of mystery, wonder, and absolute awe.
To try and prepare for this week I've done a couple of things. One of the things I've done is something I may do leading into Holy Week for the rest of my life. That is to study the Jewish roots of the Eucharist, the Last Supper, and the 4th Cup. I came across this website, 4th Cup. It summarizes the first Passover and Moses leading the people out of Egypt and shows how the time in the desert points to the Last Supper, Jesus, and the Eucharist. I know that before last year, during 25 years as a Catholic, I heard that Jesus establishes a new covenant and fulfills Judaism, but I don't know if I've ever fully understood or realized how He did that in the events leading to His crucifixion. This website as well as books and articles written by Scott Hahn and Brant Pitre show how literally and specifically Jesus leaves no doubt that by His words and actions He establishes something new and gives to us for the rest of time.
One other thing I've done this last week is to try and live more simply and silently. There were a few reasons other than Holy Week I decided to do this. One reason was some information that a friend shared with me, statistics about our obsession/addiction with social media and smart phones. I started using an I Phone this past July and I know since then I have been more active on Facebook and Twitter. I would hate to know the number of hours I've spent scrolling on Twitter or Facebook on my phone or computer. So much time that I could have spent differently and won't get back. Another reason was thinking about Pope Francis and St. Joseph whose feast day was the 19th last week. Both of these men are incredible examples of simplicity and silence. Joseph, who is very highly respected throughout the history of Christianity does not speak 1 word in the Bible, yet we admire him greatly. Pope Francis who most of the world has only known of for a few weeks has captured our curiosity and our hearts... mostly because of his simple living and how he has embraced poverty in so many ways. Since this past Wednesday I've decided to go without social media and using my phone other than text messages or phone calls until next Sunday so that I may try to emulate the simplicity and silence of St. Joseph and Pope Francis as I enter the greatest week in the history of the world.
May we all have a deep and radical encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ this week and choose to embrace His simple and profound love in a way that propels us to love others in the same way.