This week, Christians celebrate the Holy Week. We here at iSTORYA.NET would like to take you into a day-to-day journey of articles of this practice so as to shed light on what this is all about. This is based on the various research that we have, starting today, Spy Wednesday.
All About Holy Week
Holy Week is the last Lenten week before Easter (Jesus risen from the dead), which begins on Palm Sunday and ends on a Black Saturday. This week commemorates Jesus’ final moments. The final three days (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Black Saturday) are part of the Church’s Paschal Triduum.
This series of commemoration of Jesus’ final days probably started in the 4th century of Jerusalem, beginning with St. Cyril. Christians from all over the world would take pilgrimages to the Holy Land and the Jerusalem Church then provided worship and rites that are dedicated to the final days of Jesus’ life.
The first ever accounted work of such rites is the diary of the pilgrimage of Egeria to Jerusalem around AD 381. Gradually, these customs and holy days spread to the rest of the Christian world.
Liturgical Color(s): Violet (Purple); various
Type of Holiday: Fast
Time of Year: The Last Week of Lent Before Easter Sunday
Duration: Palm Sunday to Black Saturday
Celebrates/Symbolizes: Various Final Events of Jesus' Life
Alternate Names: hebdomada major
Scriptural References: Matthew 21, 26-27; Mark 11, 14-15; Luke 19, 22-23; John 13, 16-19
Last Sunday, we celebrated Palm Sunday. Blessed palms or “lukay” in Bisaya, are displayed at most Christian Homes. This commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem. Palm leaves are blessed as part of worship services including a procession after the Holy Mass. The liturgical color for this day is RED.
Today, we commemorate Judas’ agreement to betray his Lord, friend and master, Jesus Christ (see Matthew 26:3-5, 14-16). Spy Wednesday is an old and uncommon name, mostly we just use Holy Wednesday.
One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot,
went to the chief priests and said,
"What are you willing to give me
if I hand him over to you?"
They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
the disciples approached Jesus and said,
"Where do you want us to prepare
for you to eat the Passover?"
"Go into the city to a certain man and tell him,
'The teacher says, "My appointed time draws near;
in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples."'"
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered,
and prepared the Passover.
When it was evening,
he reclined at table with the Twelve.
And while they were eating, he said,
"Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me."
Deeply distressed at this,
they began to say to him one after another,
"Surely it is not I, Lord?"
He said in reply,
"He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me
is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born."
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,
"Surely it is not I, Rabbi?"
He answered, "You have said so."
Sometimes, living the life that Jesus has intended for us is a daily struggle between good and evil. Sometimes, when we are questioned about our offenses, the answer, “It’s not me”. Such is the kindness of Jesus that when Judas betrayed Him, He didn’t provide a discourse to the Twelve Apostles, He even shared a meal with them, and offered his betrayer, a piece of bread. Back in the days, this means a deeply-rooted close relationship between friends, if you share meals together.
In our lives, we often “offer food and share food” with those we love; We feign intimacy and even deceive one another. And the worst part of betrayal is, when you decide to deceive your own self and believe the deceit that you have made instead of facing the truth. These deceptions and betrayals are seen by God, no matter how much we deny them, no matter how good we are at masking them.
God recognizes them and offers new hope to Judas and us. Jesus offering a morsel of food is an offering of friendship and love. Judas does not partake of the meal with Jesus, but he was invited just the same. Jesus, even though He was aware of the betrayal, did not admonish or chastise him, but He permits Judas to engage in this struggle and reveal the implication of his actions and betrayal (www.catholic.org)
If we believe in the power of love and goodness, today, Spy Wednesday, should provide a period of reflection and introspection. Like Judas, Jesus sees right through our betrayal and yet, He also offers hope. Hope for conversion. Hope for grace. Hope for acceptance.
Let today be a celebration and reflection of Hope, not betrayal. We share with the whole Christian community to follow the path of light and life instead of pursuing darkness and evil. Let Judas’ experience motivate us not to reject Jesus’ offer of friendship and love or to commit suicide in the end, but accepting instead the promise of new life, and new changes.
**This reflection is created on a personal point of view by a Catholic. There is no intent of promulgating religion, faith or conversion.