One of the most beautiful sights during Holy Week is at the Easter Vigil Mass. After the Easter fire is blessed, the Paschal candle is lit and brought into the dark church. Slowly the light spreads as candles are lit and, by the time the Gloria is sung, there is no more darkness. It is a wonderful visual for us to consider. As we enter into the mystery of Holy Week, recalling the passion and death of Christ, we realize that out of this darkness comes incredible light in the Resurrection. As members of Generation Life, Holy Week offers us unbelievable hope and strength as we strive to build the culture of life.
Fidelity of the Women on Good Friday
In Mary and the other women who accompanied Jesus on the road to Calvary, we have wonderful role models for our pro-life action. Understandably, they were in anguish, seeing someone they loved in such pain. They were likely confused: this was not what they expected salvation to look like.
Despite all of these thought and emotions, they trusted in God’s promise that He would save His people. They believed that what God had spoken through the ages was true. They remained faithful to Christ, even when it was most difficult. While so many of his other disciples fled from the ugliness of what was happening on Good Friday, these women stayed with Jesus.
Our Blessed Mother stayed by her Son’s side throughout his agony. How difficult it must have been for her to watch Jesus be ridiculed, humiliated, tortured, and killed! That day must have seemed so dark to her. Despite her pain, she will not leave Him to die alone.
As another example, consider Veronica. She approaches Christ, who is undoubtedly greatly disfigured by this point. He must have looked quite awful with blood and sweat pouring down his face, dirt embedded from when he fell, hair disheveled. Yet, Veronica is still able to see past all of that to comfort Jesus.
Witnesses of Hope, Bearers of Light
I have always thought that it was interesting that it is to those who remained with Him through His death that Jesus first reveals His resurrection on Easter Sunday. They who witnessed the agony of His passion also witness the hope of His resurrection. Because of their fidelity to Christ in the difficult times, they are able to see God’s promise fulfilled.
As witnesses of the resurrection, they didn’t keep it as a secret for themselves. They ran out and told others about it. That’s the thing with hope: it breeds a type of happiness that can’t be contained. Much like the light of the Paschal candle at the Easter Vigil, it peacefully obliterates the darkness.
Reflecting on Holy Week
Holy Week offers us a chance to pause and consider the sufferings of Christ on Good Friday and how those sufferings brought forth the great joy of Easter Sunday. Using the model of the women who faithfully followed Jesus on Good Friday and witnessed His resurrection on Easter Sunday, consider these questions:
- Do I trust that God has truly given each and every human being an inherent dignity? Do I believe what God has told us when it comes to protecting and defending human life?
- Am I able to see the face of Christ in others? When is it difficult for me to do that? Are there people I choose not to see Christ in?
- Are there people in my life who are suffering right now? How can I be more like Mary and Veronica to these people?
- In what ways is Jesus asking me to bring light into the darkness? Am I willing to actually do what He is asking of me, even if it is not popular or easy?
May this Holy Week strengthen you in courage and fidelity so that you may go into the cultural darkness to be the light of hope to those who need it the most.