Meditating through Holy Week

Meditating through Holy Week

Today is Easter Sunday and this year I enjoyed meditating throughout “Holy Week” using the Lectio 365 app.

I’m from a family of protestants and I wouldn’t know what to do in a Catholic church. For this reason, I haven’t been raised thinking about “Holy Week”.

Meditating with Lectio 365

I’ve developed a habit of starting the day with the Lectio 365 morning meditations. The remainder of this post will briefly summarize each day of Holy Week and also give give a sense of what was presented in the app.


Jesus enters Jerusalem to shouts of adulation!

12The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”

John 12:12 -13 EsV

Celebrate! This is what the Jews have been waiting for! Their King has finally come and everything is going to be made right! But, even as this outpouring of joy occurs, the religious leaders are boiling with anger. They don’t like Jesus. He’s dangerous and must be stopped!

Look at the humility of Jesus. He is the King! God in the flesh. But, he is riding on a donkey and not a beautiful horse.

Am I hung up on wanting to be praised or do I want God to get the praise and credit He deserves? And, is Jesus showing up in my life differently than I’d like? I want him to ride in on horseback and he keeps showing up on a donkey.


On Monday, Jesus goes into the Temple and drives out the money changers:

45And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, 46saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”

Luke 19:45-46 ESV

The religious leaders have had it! Who does this guy think he is? Where does he get the authority to go into the Temple and cause this disturbance?

Jesus demonstrates a passionate desire for purity. And, he shows his depth of compassion toward people. He is outraged at injustice!

Now we have the Jesus we want! He’s taking charge and aggressively attacking evil. But, he’s also disrupting commerce. He’s hitting people in their pocketbook.

Am I prepared to do things God’s way, even if it means a punch in the pocket?


Jesus is having dinner with some friends. One has been healed of leprosy and the other has been raised from the dead!

6Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,a 7a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. 8And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” 10But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. 13Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

Matthew 26:6 – 13

The scent of this expensive ointment is intense. It stays with Jesus for days. Is it possible that he still has the aroma of this ointment as he hangs on the cross? Could Herod and Pilate smell the fragrance? How about the soldier that hammered the nails through Jesus’ flesh? She gave an amazing gift!

Do I heap blessings on Jesus? Do I give him the most precious parts of myself? Or, do I assume that my service to others eliminates my need to be dedicated to him?


There isn’t anything recorded for Wednesday. Maybe Judas has his conversation with the religious leaders and plans his betrayal. It is likely that Jesus rested. We know that he was not the type to burn the candle at both ends. He knows that what is coming will take all of the physical strength he can muster.

But, what about Judas. Why did he do it? Was he unhappy with Jesus? Maybe he wanted to force Jesus’ hand and make him use his power to become King. We don’t know.

What we do know is that people think that a political leader is needed in order to make things right in the world. We believe that God is important, but we’re absolutely certain that God is interested in getting someone elected in order to fix things.

Do I put my faith in Jesus, or do I put my faith in the political system?


A great deal occurs on Thursday. Jesus gathers his closest followers and shares a final meal. We call it the Last Supper.

26Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28for this is my blood of thec covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Matthew 26:26 – 29 ESV

After their meal, they head to the garden. It is in this garden that Jesus suffers in anguish as he faces his impending betrayal and death. You can read about it in the remainder of Matthew 26.

These are the dark days of Holy Week and Lectio 365 uses the music of Gregorio Allegri to emphasize that darkness. Allegri wrote a piece around 400 years ago called “Miserere Mei, Deus ” This piece was used exclusively in the Sistine Chapel during Holy Week. The music is mournful and beautiful. Take a few minutes and listen:

Meditating through Holy Week

On this Thursday, the followers of Jesus proclaim their complete commitment to him. But, when he needs them to pray with him, they fell asleep. They couldn’t stay awake for an hour. I have the same problem.

God knows we’re weak and he still loves us.


This day is known as, “Good Friday”. Jesus is arrested, beaten, convicted and crucified. Nothing about that sounds good. It isn’t difficult to find articles on the immense torture that crucifixion causes, so I won’t go into any detail here.

Having these details read to me as I listened to the, “Miserere Mei, Deus” brought me to tears. The anguish that Jesus suffered is beyond my comprehension.

All I can say is, “Thank you, Jesus”!


Jesus is buried. I was drawn to a part of the story that I hadn’t thought about before.

57When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. 58He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him

Matthew 27:57 – 58 ESV

The Lectio meditation that morning pointed out that many people approached Jesus during his life. Some people had questions, others wanted to be healed. Many wished he would free them from Roman oppression and reestablish the Jewish state.

But, what possible benefit could Joseph receive? The Romans had crucified Jesus. Approaching Pilate for the body put Joseph in the position of being associated with someone the Romans killed. And what about the Jewish leaders. They manipulated the situation that led to Jesus’ conviction. Joseph is sticking his neck out. He could be next.

He must have loved Jesus. The crazy thing is, we didn’t hear about him before this and we don’t hear about him after this. He’s just another person who loved Jesus. And he had guts!

Do I love Jesus for who he is, or do love him for what he can do for me?


Sunday is the day we all know about. Jesus is not in the grave anymore! The tomb where he was buried is empty. The Lectio 365 app celebrates the day with Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. You are encouraged to imagine what it was like to approach Jesus’ tomb that morning.

You expect to be dealing with a dead body. What you get is a risen LORD!

What a wonderful surprise!

Meditating through Holy Week with Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus

Final thoughts

My protestant background has thrown the baby out with the bath water. In our desire to correct the perceived wrongs in Catholic church doctrine, we have eliminated much of the tradition that allows us to experience the depths of a time like Holy Week.

It’s difficult, if not impossible to spend our lives immersed in the world’s chaos and then throw a switch on Sunday morning and immediately, “get it”! We need to work through the process of preparing ourselves for Easter and Christmas and … the day of Pentecost.

Lectio 365 will be focusing on the Holy Spirit as we begin focusing on the day of Pentecost! I can’t wait to benefit from these meditations. Will you join me?

For more information on Holy Week, I suggest this very helpful website.

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