Father Sergius Bulgakov wrote, “The beauty, the richness and the power of these services take possession of the soul and sweep it along as upon a mystic torrent” .
During Holy Week we are challenged to do our best to focus on our Lord Jesus Christ, to enter in to His life-giving mysteries which can become a source of life for us. Holy Week draws upon all our emotions, sadness, fear, contemplation and joy. Try to put aside worldly entertainments and invite some quiet and time for reflection so that you can enter deeply into Holy Week.
In a special and unique way during Holy Week, each one of us receives Christ as our personal Savior, and it is possible to make our own all the events of Christ’s life through personal experience, to whatever extent we can. Holy Week is a “now event” that occurred once in time but is always happening outside time.
At the services of Holy Week, we enter into the “today” of the events being made present again to the saving power of God’s love. Thus, we are not simply commemorating a past event for its dramatic impact or presenting something of a passion play. Rather, the Holy Spirit makes present again the event of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. We see this in the saints who knew that Easter was not a single day of the year, but an eternal reality in which they participated daily.
That means that our presence at the Holy Week services confronts us with a series of choices and decisions, as it did the original participants: to be with Christ or to be with any of those who chose to crucify Him. Will our lives reveal us as imitators of the sinful but repentant woman, or as imitators of Judas the betrayer? Do we show signs of repentance or do we betray Christ in the small events of daily living? Or, perhaps like those for whom a moment of decision was at hand, we remain apathetic bystanders whose very indecisiveness keeps us distant from the company of Christ. This is essential to bear in mind precisely because we are referring to actual, concrete historical events that occurred at a particular place in time among a particular people. As we contemplate the harsh realities of a fallen and sinful world that is even capable of putting Christ to death, we need to mourn human corruption as it even tempts us within our institutions and within our hearts today. Would any one of us have stepped forward to defend Christ when unjustly condemned, or would our own passivity and fear have left Him just as alone and isolated today as during the end of His earthly ministry? Yet, God was “working” throughout this unbearable human drama to fulfill His will for our eternal salvation. Christ was not the victim of an unjust verdict, but the Victor who was fulfilling His vocation as the Suffering Servant who would be vindicated by Easter Sunday. Just as Saint Peter was forgiven his weakness and restored to fellowship with his Lord, so are we today, by the grace of God so abundantly poured out for us this Holy Week.