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Love would never leave us alone.

 

Everything in Holy Week speaks of love.

The liturgies, which run from Palm Sunday on April 9 through Easter Sunday on April 16, are often long, for example, because love endures; the liturgies are sensual, because love depends on bodily intimacies (touch, smell, sight, sound); the liturgies are sorrowful, because every day love is violated; the services are mysteriously joyful, because no violation of love exhausts love’s mercy. Indeed, the Holy Week journey that recounts day by day the story of Christ’s death and so seems nothing if not tragic is, properly understood, from beginning to end the story of a wedding—everything speaks of love.

This, at least, is the conviction of one old tradition that places the image of Christ the Bridegroom at the very beginning of the most sacred week of the Christian year. Of the many titles given to God in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures (Saviour, Lord, Father), Bridegroom is arguably the most common and significant. Holy Week is a journey into the mystery of a divine desire to be ‘wed’ to our humanity not simply in its beauty and goodness, but in its deepest and most profound darkness and forsakenness. In all of the liturgies and sermons, in the music and the silence, one truth will be proclaimed over and over again: that, though the world may betray love, ‘Love,’ as Bob Marley sings, ‘would never leave us alone.’

The daily liturgies of Holy Week are animated by lengthy readings from the four Gospels (the ‘biographies’ of Jesus at the beginning of the Christian New Testament). Read more.