Singing Matins and Vespers for Holy Monday we offer this verse:
As th Ge Lord was coming to his voluntary passion,
he said to his Apostles on the road,
‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem,
and the Son of man will be betrayed,
as it is written of him’.
Come then, let us too, with minds made pure,
journey with him,
and let us be crucified with him,
and for his sake become dead
to the pleasures of life,
that we may live with him
and hear him as he cries,
‘I am no longer going up
to the earthly Jerusalem to suffer,
but to my Father and your Father,
and to my God and your God.
And I shall raise you up with me
to the Jerusalem above,
in the kingdom of heaven’.
(Lauds of Monday & again during “Lord I Call” at Vespers)
That’s when it dawns on me that Holy Week is not primarily about a commemoration of the Passion and Death of the Messiah. Besides we have that event every time we break bread together in his name. Holy week is, at heart, an initiatory rite. It is about making us ready to die, in our selves, in order to be ready to participate in his Resurrection. Naturally this is so: it is the time for baptisms. But it is not only the newly illuminated that participate in Holy Week, it is all of us.
And like Confession is a little refresher in on the Baptism, Holy Week is a reminder of the death of self-will, the sacrifice of ego, the end of self-love that is required to really love God and our Neighbor. Only when the ego dies can we realize the Neighbor is us. And God.