Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Why is this week Holy Week? Because everything about this week is holy! From its very beginning on Palm Sunday; through the celebration tonight of the Chrism Mass; to Holy Thursday and the Last Supper; Good Friday and the remembrance of the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus; Saturday’s Easter Vigil commemorating our baptismal commitment; and Sunday, the Day of the Resurrection, His promise fulfilled.
It is easy to see why the Church encourages us to participate in the various services provided throughout Holy Week for our congregations. What price was paid, by our Lord, the cost of our salvation. It also gives us an opportunity to understand that Christ’s suffering and death was caused by our sin.
We have all heard the various groups blamed for Christ’s suffering and death: it was the Jews, it was the Romans, etc. No, in truth it was us; it was you and me. By embracing our personal responsibility for the price paid by our redeemer, we begin to understand the need to be mindful of the teachings of Jesus and integrate them into our lives.
He came into the world to save us from the destruction of sin, yet there are many who maintain that we are all going to heaven, so there’s no need to seek forgiveness. However, if the world deludes itself into thinking there is no sin, then consequently there is no need for redemption, and no need for Jesus, our Savior.
Jesus is fulfilling the mission established by the Father. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” This is the week that fulfills that mission. The cross itself is a sign of contradiction. For the world, a sign of death and destruction. For Christians, a sign of love and hope.
We need to attend the services of Holy Week. We need it to remind us of the love that God has for us, which is demonstrated through the great sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. We need it to remind us that He remains with us in the Eucharistic celebration, through which we are given His Body and Blood. We need it in order to refocus on the cross as a sign of hope for our world. We need it to direct our love to the service of our brothers and sisters in need. We need it to establish our vision on eternal life, which is awaiting all of us who believe in Jesus and follow His command to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Note: This blog originally appeared as the April 4, 2023, "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.