Breaking Open the Multiple Passion Narratives of Holy Week

Whether you’re relatively new to Holy Week [aka Great Week], or you’ve marked this week for decades, the double passion narratives often make us all stop, and say wait, what was different?

If you attend Sunday Mass (for Palm/Passion Sunday) and Good Friday Service, it means that you’ll hear two different Gospel narratives describing the events like Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, trial, and drama surrounding Jesus’ road to crucifixion on calvary. Now, if you’ve ever taken any Biblical studies courses in college or maybe in adult faith formation at your parish, you know that what scholars love to do is analyze the differences between the Gospel writers. And that’s interesting, to a degree.

But, the key for evangelization and discipleship, is translating those scholarly observations into avenues for ordinary people to truly connect with the text. To feel the Gospel on different levels. To experience being swept away by what the author is trying to convey. When we can accomplish this–through preaching, formation, small groups, or one-on-one mentorship–Scripture reading shifts from a duty or academic pursuit, to a powerful form of prayer.

This interview with New Testament scholar, Fr. Donald Senior, C.P., is approachable, easy-to-read, and provides some great starting points for entering into this coming week’s Gospel passion narratives. It would be a great start for a faith formation talk, a Bible study or small group, or even a parish retreat of a few hours.

Wishing you a fruitful and holy week ahead.

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