A Walk Through Holy Week

We are entering the climax of our Christian existence. Palm Sunday is the first day of Holy Week.


Palm Sunday

Following in the footsteps of Jesus as He made his triumphant entry into the city, one can truly imagine the joy in the hearts of His followers. Experiencing this as a pilgrim, my eyes recorded this joyous event and I stored them deep within my heart.

Why did Jesus ask His disciples to bring Him a colt? This was done to fulfill the prophecy in Zechariah.

In Matthew 21:7-8, the people spread their cloaks over the animals because this was a tradition of the Israelite kingship to reestablish a Davidic line. It’s also important to understand that there were two groups of Jews: the Jews who joined Jesus for His triumphal entry and the Jews who lived in Jerusalem. The Jews who lived in Jerusalem knew very little if anything about Jesus; these were the ones who joined forces with the Romans to demand Jesus’ crucifixion.


On this day Jesus curses a fig tree for not bearing  fruit. What good are we if we are not bearing fruit, or if our fruit is tasteless?  As  disciples of Jesus,  we should always bear good fruit.


The chief priest, scribes and Pharisees form a pack against Jesus and attempt to entrap Him. Jesus ignores their attacks because He is sharing several parables, “The Two Sons,” “The Tenant,” and “The Wedding Feast.” He has much work to accomplish before His Crucifixion.


Jesus is anointed with an expensive jar of perfumed oil. Then He tells His disciples that this act was to prepare Him for His burial.

Holy Thursday, The First Day of Triduum

The word Triduum comes from the Latin meaning three days  in preparation for a great feast.

In the Upper Room, Jesus took on the role of a servant and washed the feet of His disciples. Washing the feet is part of the Aaronic priesthood (Ex 30:21).

While they are eating the Last Supper, Jesus announces that one of them will betray Him.

The bread and wine is the institution of the Holy Eucharist.

Good Friday Via Dolorosa

On Holy Thursday Jesus instituted the priesthood over his apostles at the Last Supper (Mt 26:26-29). This is commemorating the celebration of the first Mass. At every Mass we recall what great sacrifice Jesus did for us by dying on the Cross.

Good Friday, Second Day of Triduum

While Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas arrives with the chief priest, scribes and elders.  Judas has done his dirty deeds and received thirty pieces coins. We know that Judas hanged himself, but before that, he returned the money he received for the betrayal of Jesus to the high priest (Mt 27:3-10). This too was in fulfillment of the prophet Zechariah.

Holy Saturday, The Last Day of Triduum

The chief priest requests that a guard be placed at the tomb of Jesus. The guarded tomb is secured and sealed. This was done so that Jesus’ body could not be stolen,  allowing His disciples to later claim that He had risen from the dead. These guards were assumed to be Roman soldiers because Jews had no authority to perform an executions (Mt 27:62-66).

Holy Saturday is the great Easter Vigil, this is always an evening service. The church will be in complete darkness – representing the tomb. Fire is lit from outside of the church followed by a procession. The Paschal candle is lit – representing the light and life of Christ. This candle is used throughout the year for celebrating baptisms , First Holy Communion, Confirmation and funerals.

Easter Sunday

As the women who loved our Lord come to anoint His body, they discover an empty tomb.  Jesus entrusted the great news of His Resurrection to women! (Luke 24:1-9)  Alleluia, Christ the Lord is Risen!

My Prayer

Dear Jesus, as we walk through Holy Week with You may our hearts be filled with sorrow and gratitude for what You have done for us. May we never deny Your existence. Teach us to carry our crosses as You did with great dignity. Lord reveal to us, in the spirit of Simon of Cyrene, to help those whose crosses are to hard to bear. May we come alongside them in prayer. Thank You, Lord, for Your glorious Resurrection! Amen.

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The Prison Visit

I went to visit my nephew Mario in prison.

Preparing For The Visit

It all started in September while Mario was in Chuckawalla Prison in Blythe. I had to get the ball rolling by submitting an application to visit. Blythe is a three-and- a-half -hour drive from my home. I did not want to drive alone because by the time the visit would end, it would be nightfall. I prayed and asked Rong, another nephew, if he wanted to join me. Rong was so accommodating he agreed to take me. That meant that he needed to get government clearance as well.

I received a phone call from Mario informing me that he was being transferred to Norco. Norco is only one-half hour from where I live. Mario insisted that we wait until the transfer for the visit.

Visiting  Rules

Mario suggested that we not make an appointment,  that it would be easier if we showed up around 9:30 a.m. for the 10 a.m. visit. This was our first time at this facility; since  we were not certain of the protocols we got in line. Of course it was the wrong line. By the time we figured out what to do we were one of the last ones in.

Miss Know-It-All

I suffer from know-it-all syndrome. Although I read through the dress regulations and was confident of what to wear, I got it wrong. As Rong and I sat, we witnessed a woman being turned away because she was wearing green. In a low voice I told Rong, “She has double green, her undershirt is green too!” Poor thing! She was sent back to a small building to change into proper attire that is provided by the facility .

When it was our turn, the officer looked at me and said, “You can only wear one bracelet. You need to take one off.” I did, and Rong had to lock it in his car. Then it was time for the second inspection, where they wave the wand and check the clear plastic bag we use to bring money.

I had a total of $54, twenty dollars in quarters and the rest in dollar bills, but I also had a five-dollar bill. An officer in a tightly wound-up bun looked at me sternly and said, “You can’t wear blue, you need to change!” I responded, “Change? I have no other clothes.” She pointed to the same building that the green sweater lady went to.

Poor Rong, I was holding up everything! We walked in and I explained that my stylish mock navy blue turtleneck was the wrong color. This lady looked at me and said  what I was wearing was an acceptable color. I did not have time for a tit for tat conversation, so I asked the lady for an appropriate top.

I was getting upset because we were holding up Mario as well. The lady brought out a dingy black t-shirt along with a gray one. I changed into the black one and walked back for the final inspection. Again, the same woman officer opened my plastic bag of money, found the five-dollar bill and said, “You can’t take five-dollar bills in!” So Rong had to make another run to the car to drop it off.

The Visit

Mario had mentioned that if weather permitted we could sit outside on some picnic tables. With only two options, Rong and I decided to sit outside. As I was handing my driver’s license along with personal information, I asked the lady officer if we could sit outside, but if  it got too cold, could we come inside? “No! Once you pick you stay for the entire visit.” Her authoritarian voice made me realize that this is not an ordinary visit.

The Food

While other inmates and their families were settling in, Rong and I noticed the various food choices. Rong, a novice visitor, had only brought $20 in quarters.

We were assigned table 47.  I brought $20 in quarters, and the rest in dollar bills.  Literally, I was Miss Money Bags with all the dollar bills and quarters totaling  a whopping $49. We were set.


I told Rong to purchase fried chicken. That took all his money! Remember the Snapple drink? You don’t see it  advertised or displayed on the shelves of grocery stores any longer. Not to worry because this was the main drink available to us. We ate fried chicken, munched on Doritos, and for dessert Mario had Hostess chocolate-covered donuts and cheese cake. It was a sweet picnic!


Rong asked, “Can we hug him?” I was not sure either, because at some facilities that is not permitted.

We watched as other inmates arrived.  They were warmly greeted with loving arms, so we did the same. Mario stands over six-feet tall; he is handsome with a beautiful shade of brown skin to match the deep hue of brown in his eyes. I love how he sometimes covers his mouth when laughing.  It had been a while since our last visit, so we were all in a state of rejoicing,

The Bible Study

Yes, that was the plan! So when I went into the building to ask for a Bible, another inmate helped me find the “Good News Bible.” I asked for a piece of paper and pen to take notes. I  also asked, “Can I take the notes with me?” “Not really,” he answered. But what I heard was, “Yes, be careful.”

The Apostle Paul

We read from the Book of Acts the transition of Paul. Mario was familiar with this story and added that St. Paul was many times in prison, and how he wrote many of his epistles while in jail. We also read about how God used St. Paul until the very end of his life. The Holy Spirit encompassed our little area as we continued to discuss godly matters.

Mario’s Plan

Mario talked about the last time he was released and found a job at the Staples warehouse. He worked  for three weeks, but after a background check he was fired. Without work and no real direction he fell back into his old lifestyle.

With the piece of paper in hand, I told him that he needed a plan when he gets out. “Give me five things you want to accomplish when you get out.”

  1. Praying that I should go to a transition home;
  2. Enrolll in DUI classes (this has been on his record for over 15 years);
  3. Get a driver’s license;
  4. Find a job; and
  5. Get off parole and live a normal, simple life.
my notes

I believe that this time Mario will accomplish these hurdles and that he will live a normal, simple life with a great story to tell.

Saying Good-bye

It’s never easy to leave, especially when the visiting hours were scheduled for a 3 o’clock departure. But because we are in a controlled environment, the call for us to exit was at 2 o’clock instead.

We could hear the tiny, loud voices of children saying, “We love you, Daddy! See you soon!”  As we waved our last good-bye to Mario, a few yards away we could see and hear the Little League baseball game that was taking place at the sports complex. It was a paradoxical experience.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, I pray for Mario and all the other incarcerated individuals who need another chance in life. Lord, You created Mario for a purpose, and with dignity. Please help Mario accomplish his plan. Speak to him through Your Word, and, when he is discouraged, appear to him in his dreams. Amen.

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Laetare (Joyful) Sunday

The fourth week of Lent is referred to as Laetare Sunday.


The Latin meaning of the word laetare is “rejoice.” This word taken from Isaiah 66:10:

For me, giving up bread and dessert has been a great sacrifice. I could honesty live on bread alone. Sweets have always been my biggest downfall, but this Lent has given me a deeper spiritual connection.  As a result, the temptation for what I have given up is second nature. My prayer life has improved, and exercising daily has helped clear my once-cluttered mind.


We can clear our minds through prayer. If we open the door to the Spirit of God and welcome His presence, the Holy Spirit will take over. On my long walks I pray the rosary and listen to the Hallow app.  Hallow has been a great instrument in my Lenten journey. I praise God for the collaborated work on Hallow. We all recognize the famous names attached to this app like Mark Walhberg and Jonathan Roumie.  But there are so many others, ordinary people like myself, whose contributions have caused me to look deeper into my relationship with God. We grow closer to our Lord when we allow our minds to receive the truth. God is our light, and He teaches us how to be the light to others.

The Light

Sometimes my husband Mike goes to bed before me. To avoid  disturbing his sleep, I do not turn on the light. When the moon is hidden from the earth there is no natural light, so I stumble and sometimes bump my head or trip.  Darkness can only be dispelled by light. Part of today’s readings were from John 3:16-21, where you can find the renowned verse John 3:16.

Evil In The World
There will always be evil in this world. Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia,  is a perfect example of evil. Anyone who attempts to shed light in his dark world will be assassinated. This evil dictator, before the world’s audience, has blatantly murdered those who do not agree with him. That is how Satan operates: when you are filled with evil, you will never see the light. There are people who  prefer darkness to light who live among us. We need to switch on the light for them by expressing God’s love. For a reprobate mind this is the only remedy.
Giving a godly opinion never works for those who choose to live in the dark, because their minds are closed to the truth. It is not our responsibility to win others to Christ, but it is our duty as Christians to continue to love them. Love truly conquers all!
Encountering people who do not believe the Word of God and the truth it stands for is part of our daily cross. But one thing is sure: if you are in daily prayer the task becomes less burdensome. Together as Christians we must always defend the Word of God, not twist it to make it conform to our own beliefs. If you are guilty of this behavior, your core beliefs will lack truth and your growth in Christ will be delayed.
One God
We are all made from the same fiber, we belong to the family of God. As long as we follow God’s light we will have peace. Anger overtakes those who want so desperately be heard. They want to change the truth into their beliefs in order to make their sinful behaviors acceptable. You can pass bills, legislate and manipulate laws to make your worldview legal.  But in the eyes of God, making sin legal does not change the moral standards of the Bible.
Last Monday our parish had ten priests hearing confessions. I took one of my grandsons with me. As we waited, my grandson was not sure what he was supposed to do or how to recite the opening prayer. I told him not to worry, because the priest would guide him.
What a beautiful witness to see so many hundreds of people waiting to confess their sins. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is an important part of our Catholic faith. Lent is a period of time where we are to reflect on our lives and to rid ourselves of any unwanted bad behaviors. Nothing is more rewarding than being absolved of your sins. I imagine that choirs of angels are rejoicing in heaven when we confess our sins.
My Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, we are a divided nation and the Enemy is rejoicing. Lord, open the hearts of those who are in the valley of decision. Pour Your loving Spirit upon their hearts. May we, Your people, kneel before Your crucified body and weep for our sins. Cleanse us of all our transgressions so that we may celebrate Your Glorious Resurrection. Amen!


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