Holy Week Reflections

Mar 20, 2024
Holy Week 2024

This week’s portion of our Lenten journey begins with Palm Sunday and ends with the joy of Easter. Holy Week is also a solemn time as we remember our Lord’s passion and death.

Below are reflections, shared by Newman University community members, based on Mass readings for the final days of Lent and Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. May you walk closely with God during this holiest of weeks and may he bless you and your family.

You can visit newmanu.edu/lent to read today’s reflection.

Palm Sunday Reflection

March 24 – Palm Sunday

Isaiah 50:4-7; Philippians 2:5-11; Mark 14 – 15:1-47

Sister JoAnn Mark, ASC

Today we experience a range of emotions: the joy of waving palms and greeting Jesus and the reading of the passion with the pain and loss of the way of the cross and Jesus’ crucifixion. This is typical of our lives: joy and sadness. I sometimes ask myself why Jesus would choose to become human with all our pain — and knowing what he would experience being betrayed by one of his own.

Jesus asked the apostles to watch with him but, when he returned from praying, he found them asleep. Could they not watch one hour with him? Can we not watch with him without going to sleep? It seems easy to move from centering prayer to sleep as we are relaxed. I believe God accepts sleep as part of our prayer. We read that “Peter broke down and wept.” This is a sign for all of us. No matter how strong we think we are, there is a time when our strength is present in our tears.

We take a palm today to remind us of the range of emotions and the variety of actions put before us. May we remember and reflect often on today’s readings as they relate to our lives.

Lenten Reflection March 25, 2024

March 25 – Monday of Holy Week

Isaiah 42:1-7; John 12:1-11

David Munn, parent of a Newman student

God tells us in Isiah that He loves us so much that He is sending his chosen, Jesus, to bring justice and light. The light will show us our faults, but it also shows us the way and helps cleanse us of the injustice in our hearts. What are our faults that keep us from growing closer to God?

In John’s gospel today, we hear about Mary anointing Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume, yet she poured it lavishly. What is our expensive perfume that we can use to anoint Jesus? Possibly giving our time in prayer, fasting and helping those in need with the gifts God has given us?

Lenten Reflection for March 26, 2024

March 26 – Tuesday of Holy Week

Isaiah 49:1-6; John 13:21-33, 36-38

Juan Cordova, student

The readings call us to recognize and embrace the purpose for our lives, reminding us that, despite moments of doubt, we are in God’s care. The two biblical texts have a similarity. Both Isaiah and Peter wanted everything to be done in their own time, acting as mere human beings destroying God’s plan, Jesus replied that it will be done in his time. Transcribing these passages to our daily life teaches us that our simple human foolishness leads us to make a thousand and one mistakes. As any good father, God teaches us and yet, along the way, we forget what he taught us. When we are lost and without compass, we raise our hands in search of God who, with his infinite mercy, welcomes us.

Newman University Lenten Reflection March 27, 2024

March 27 – Wednesday of Holy Week

Isaiah 50:4-9; Matthew 26:14-2

Ian Lecki ’22, ‘23, director of Resident Life

Reading the passage from Isaiah had me thinking that there are times of suffering and times in which I ask myself “why me?” Why do bad things happen to me, my family, my friends but others seem to live very fortunate lives?

I am reminded that God doesn’t give me anything I can’t handle, and I must trust that God will walk alongside me in my times of hardship and struggle. I trust in his protection and that I won’t be humiliated by my enemies. I am not one to issue judgment on those who have hurt me as God is the only one who can do that. Through Isaiah, I realized that, while my earthly struggles may be difficult, I am rich in what is to welcome me after my time here on earth when God welcomes me to his eternal family.

Holy Thursday Reflection 2024

March 28 – Holy Thursday

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14; l Cor 11:23-26; John 18:1-15

Lori Steiner, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences

“Everything God does is love — even when we do not understand him.” – Basilea Schlink

My twin grandbabies were born this week. I never tire of witnessing the selfless love of a parent towards their child. A parent’s love is humble. The parent acts solely for the good of the child, disregarding their own worries and insecurities. The baby knows a parent’s embrace, warmth and tenderness, but can’t possibly fully understand the depth of the parent’s love.

And so it must be for us as children of God. How can we fully understand God’s love for us? Jesus demonstrates love for his disciples through the humbling act of washing their feet. He knows the betrayal to come from his friends and the suffering and death he will endure, yet he humbles himself to serve those he loves. He asks his disciples, “Do you know what I have done to you?” How could they? Christ will be the paschal lamb, offering himself as the ultimate sacrifice so that we may inherit everlasting life.

A parent provides for their child through nourishment, guidance and sacrifice so that the child will flourish. God wants us, his children, to flourish. He gifts us through his church with the sacrament of the Eucharist so that by consuming his body and blood at the Lord’s table, we may continue to be nourished and strengthened with his love.

Good Friday 2024 Reflection

March 29 – Good Friday

Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9; John 18:1- 19:42

Josh Papsdorf, dean of the School of Catholic Studies

As a theologian, one of my jobs is to study the creeds and definitions of the faith. Good Friday is striking in that regard. There’s a whole range of official teachings on the Trinity, incarnation and sacraments, but very little about the cross. And as I get older, the wisdom of that becomes clearer.

So often attempts to explain evil, suffering, and death are empty at best and offensive at worst. What today’s readings give us is not an explanation or justification; instead, we learn that God has chosen to share in the darkest aspects of our existence. Jesus sorrows and grieves (Is 53:3). He sends up loud cries and tears to heaven (Heb 5:7). And he dies (John 19:30).

Good Friday doesn’t offer explanations for suffering and death, but it assures us we are not alone. God has chosen to enter into our suffering. He understands what we go through in the darkest hours of our lives because he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows (Is 53:4). On Good Friday, we reflect on that fact and trust that there is more to come in the story of Jesus, and for us.

Holy Saturday Reflection

March 30 – Easter Vigil

Isaiah 55:1-11; Romans 6:3-11; Mark 16:1-8

Austin Fullerton, student

Romans 6:3-4 says, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

Last year I was baptized into the Catholic Church on the Feast of Christ the King. Since then, I have received abounding grace from the sacraments. Despite my sin being crucified by baptism, I continue to live in the flesh and commit evil. As a member in Christ’s church, I am not only called to die to my old self, but to rise up and unite my entire being with Jesus in the resurrection. With the help of Christ, we learn to despise our sin and live according to the confidence that we have in the resurrection. This is the only way to find peace. We are not called to a comfortable life; we are called to pick up our cross and follow Jesus.

Easter 2024

March 31 – Easter

Acts 10:34, 37-43; Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-9

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed; let us then feast with joy in the Lord. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!