This year’s Holy Week is interesting for me because it begins on the last day of a series of several retreats I have preached during Lent. There is nothing new to this, as many priests preach retreats during Lent, and many people attend retreats during this time as well. Awesome. What was a little different for me this Lent was the repetition of several Biblical passages that have struck me in a new way. Perhaps the strongest striking came from the beginning of Jesus’ public mission, as recorded by St. Mark: “…Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:14-15).
Repent and believe… In a way, these three words summarize what Holy week is all about. The successive order of repentance and faith seem to me intentional on Jesus’ part. Maybe we have troubles in our lives of faith because we haven’t repented yet of some bad habit, or are slow to admit that we really need to change. Or maybe we’re too busy, I don’t know. I do know that whenever I step out of confession I realize not only that I’m forgiven, but also experience a renewal of my faith in Jesus and the Church he set up.
Holy Week, which for most Christians begins today with Palm Sunday and culminates at the Easter Vigil early Sunday, when once again we discover Jesus is the Living God who has saved us from sin and death. Today is a great moment as we enter this greatest of mysteries with a new desire to repent and believe. For Catholics, let’s seek out an opportunity to make a good confession to receive this Good News with a renewed life ready to proclaim it with conviction.
Have a truly blessed Holy Week 2022!