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Reflections on Holy Week and Easter by Year 8 Students from St Luke’s Catholic College

Chastynne Callos

Easter is a very significant time in everyone’s lives. It is an event that we celebrate every year. Usually, the first thing that people think about Easter is bunnies and chocolate eggs. Christians, on the hand, celebrate Easter in memory of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. This is the time for us to realise that death isn’t the end for us. If we are able to live a good life based on Jesus’ teachings, then we will have hope for Jesus’ promise to Eternal Life.

An example of Jesus’ teachings is the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are different from the 10 Commandments. They are the 8 blessings that Jesus wants us to apply to our everyday lives. By following the Beatitudes, we are able to live a better life. By living a better life, we are more likely to be welcomed into the Kingdom of God. This also links with two other teachings of Jesus’ which are about Judgement and Eternal Life.

Eternal Life means that death isn’t the end for us. We start preparing for Eternal Life here. Preparing for Eternal Life means that we live a good life as Christians, loving our neighbors and teaching about love and acceptance. Any worldly possessions we may have, cannot compare to the treasures we will have when we inherit the Kingdom of God. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are given hope to Eternal Life.

Another thing that Jesus has taught us is Judgement. We know that the only person in the world who can judge us is Jesus and God. They are the only rightful judge over us. When we sin, Jesus has every right to judge us for our mistakes, but instead, he shows us great love and mercy. We are not in the right place to judge anyone else’s flaws and mistakes because, at the end of the day, we are all sinners. The final judgment in our lives is made when God judges whether we deserve to enter heaven and spend Eternal Life with him.

Holy Week is the time when we prepare ourselves for Easter. It starts off the with Palm Sunday where Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey. This symbolises that he is our King and our Messiah that will bring peace to the earth. The next part of Holy Week is Holy Thursday. This is also known as the Last Supper. During the last supper, he washed the feet of his disciples to show that we should always be willing to be a service to others. We should put the needs of others ahead of our own, just as Jesus did. Jesus became a servant to his disciples by doing this. This is also the time when Jesus comes to the realisation that his life was coming to an end. But he still didn’t lose hope. Instead, he took the time to go to the mountain to pray to God because he knew that he would be saved. Good Friday is the day when Jesus was sentenced to death. Although he was a good Jewish man, and he believed in the same God, his own people still judged him. They wanted him to be crucified because of the way he valued and cared for the marginalised and even built relationships with those people. Despite the fact that his people wanted him crucified, he never stopped loving them and always taught to show love to others. Easter Sunday is when Jesus rose from the dead. This was a shock to most people because they thought that death was the end. Because of Jesus’ resurrection, he gave us all hope for Eternal Life.

All of God’s teachings connect with each other in some way, and we should learn how to apply these into our own lives. We remember Easter as a time of hope for all the believers of God. Eternal life starts here and now, and we should live our lives following Jesus’ teachings such as the Beatitudes. This is because when he comes to judge us, he will be convinced that we are worthy enough to spend Eternal Life with him. If we are able to live doing what we are born to do, then we will receive greater rewards when we enter the kingdom of God.

 

Tanvi Shah

We celebrate Easter because of the hope the resurrection provides for us all. We celebrate it because it’s the time when Jesus rose back from the dead! Jesus taught us about many things that relate to Easter such as his teaching on eternal life, judgement and the Beatitudes. They all link together and all are very important Catholic beliefs as we need to follow the Beatitudes and not judge others if we want to gain eternal life.

Firstly, Jesus’ teachings on judgement were that God only judges and that we should never judge others for who they are or what they do. We should actually show love and mercy towards everyone no matter what you or other people think about them. For example, after the dreadful event of the Christchurch shooting, a group of New Zealand school boys performed the ‘Haka’ to show respect to the Muslim community. They wanted them to know that they are no different to New Zealand people and this beautiful act shows Jesus’ teachings on Judgement. If we do good in life, we will be placed on the right-hand side of God however if we do bad in life, we will be placed on the left-hand side of God.

Secondly, Jesus’ teachings on eternal life were that we prepare for eternal life here and now, meaning that the actions we take and things we speak now will affect if we gain eternal life or not, choosing God in any situation is the right choice, we do not take any worldly possessions with us when we die, there is a greater reward after death and due to Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are able to see that death is not the end!

Thirdly, the Beatitudes are the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus teaches us that living following the Beatitudes will result in living a happy Christian life. The Beatitudes inspire us to adapt a certain mindset rather than providing specific directions like on the Ten Commandments. We must be peace-loving, merciful, clean of heart and meek in order to be happy. Living the Beatitudes is hard but not impossible as it turns upside-down the values of the world. One way we can develop the Beatitudes into our own life is by being open in mind, body and spirit.

Now, Holy Week is when Easter takes place. Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday. This is when Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey and the crowd is waving palm branches at him saying “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Then comes, Holy Monday. This is when Jesus came to a temple and found corrupt money changers. He began overturning their tables and clearing the Temple, saying, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves” (Luke 19:46). On Holy Tuesday, Jesus goes to the Mount of Olives. Now, the Bible doesn’t say what happened on Holy Wednesday but scholars hypothesise that after two exhausting days in Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples spent this day resting in Bethany in anticipation of the Passover. On Holy Thursday, the evening after sunset, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as they prepared to share in the Passover. The Last Supper also happened this day where Jesus fulfilled the meaning of Passover by giving his body to be broken and his blood to be shed in sacrifice, freeing us from sin and death.

Later on, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane where he prayed in agony to God the Father. Late that evening in Gethsemane, Jesus was betrayed with a kiss by Judas and arrested by the Sanhedrin. Meanwhile, in the early morning, as Jesus’ trial was getting underway, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times before the rooster crowed. Then on Good Friday, before Christ was led away, soldiers spit on him, tormented and mocked him, and pierced him with a crown of thorns. Then Jesus carried his own cross to Calvary where, again, he was insulted as Roman soldiers nailed him to the cross. Then at about the ninth hour, Jesus died. By 6pm, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body down from the cross and lay it in a tomb. On Holy Saturday, Jesus lay in the tomb. Lastly, Easter Sunday also known as Easter is when Jesus rose from the dead! This is what Easter is all about! Now, I’m not a Catholic but I still celebrate Easter and believe it is a great celebration and a message to everyone no matter what religion, that eternal life is true and it gives hope for us to live!

In conclusion, Easter is not about the Easter bunny and all the yummy chocolate Easter eggs we get. The bunny and eggs are just there to represent Easter as a new beginning but the true meaning behind why we celebrate Easter is because of the hope resurrection provides for us all. Just like Jesus resurrected! Jesus was a great man who always did justice and never judged others. We need to take Jesus as our role model and follow in his footsteps in order to gain eternal life, it is difficult but not impossible!

 

Reese Nunez

Easter Sunday is a significant day in the Catholic community because it was the time in which Jesus resurrected from the dead. This was very important because of how it gave hope for eternal life to many people and taught us that death wasn’t the end. No matter what faith you believe in, eternal life is believed in many faiths around the world and is a major event in the Catholic calendar. The true meaning of Easter is found in the bible showing the symbolic meaning of it, telling us about how Jesus sacrificed his life to give us justice and then resurrected from the dead to symbolise new life which is what Easter is known for. After death, Jesus made us believe that it wasn’t the end when he rose. Easter is part of Holy Week, Holy week involves many things about the week of Jesus’ death.

The first part of Holy week is Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday was when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey in which people placed palm branches for him on the ground. Jesus didn’t think of himself as anymore than Holy Thursday was very important as it was the day that Jesus shared his last meal with his disciples. What made this day significant was that it was the day the body and blood of Christ that we receive during Mass was introduced to the world. Jesus also washed his disciples’ feet as a sign of service to teach the disciples to serve others just as he had done for them. That night he went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray to our heavenly father. Good Friday was the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. On this day Jesus was hung on a cross and placed in his tomb.Easter Sunday, the final day of Holy Week, it was the day that gave hope to many of those who believed. Mary Magdalene  went to go visit Jesus in his tomb but soon realised that Jesus had disappeared. An angel then appeared to her and had told her that Jesus had risen. On this day Jesus, resurrected from the dead and spoke to his disciples.

Jesus had every right to judge when he was crucified but he showed love and mercy. As shown in the bible, you mustn’t judge others for when you come face to face with the Lord, he will judge us. We shouldn’t judge others and ourselves because only God and Jesus are the true judges of us. Throughout Jesus’ time on earth, he made sure to serve others. His actions in doing this tell us that we should serve and put others before ourselves to spread the love Jesus wanted throughout the world. The Beatitudes are teachings from the bible that God has given us to live our life. They give us instructions/guides that we can follow to live the life that God would want us to live. These are ways that we can be inspired to live our best lives. The Beatitudes teach us how to be a good person with a pure heart; they are eight blessings that Jesus gave to us to help with the way we live. We as followers of Christ can use the beatitudes as a guide to living a better life, following in Jesus’s footsteps.

The meaning of Easter isn’t about the Easter bunny and eggs, the true meaning of it is when Jesus showed us that there was eternal life after death which gave people hope believing that death isn’t the end. Easter/Holy week is the reason why eternal life, judgement and the beatitudes are linked all of these elements were shown and symbolised during the spiritual events of Holy Week.

 

Lena Regin

Easter is a time where we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, in hope for our eternal life. Before Jesus resurrected, people believed that there was no life after death, therefore, the resurrection of Jesus gave all Christians hope for eternal life. The teachings of Jesus we learnt about such as the Beatitudes, eternal life and judgment all link to Easter and help us to live a good Christian life. Jesus’ resurrection gave all his followers hope that there is life after death. This can be clearly seen in the scripture passage John 11:25-26. 25 Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” This scripture passage furthermore supports that if you believe in God and do good works of mercy on earth, you will receive eternal life.

The Beatitudes are guidelines set by God and told by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, which Christians follow. These Beatitudes help to keep our hearts merciful, clean of evil and peaceful. We should demonstrate the Beatitudes in our lives as they are teachings of God that help us to enter heaven. Jesus teaches us to keep our heart pure, we can do this by interpreting the Beatitudes and living them in our lives. There are eight Beatitudes in total which reflects the act of being humble, repentant, loving your enemies, seeking God, suffers for God, loves like God and being accommodating.

Jesus taught us that we have no authority to judge others. We were all made with the image and likeness of God, therefore, we shall never consider judging ourselves or anyone. God will decide whether we go to heaven or hell at our last judgment. Jesus came on earth with a purpose, performed miracles, healed the sick, spread the good news and is now seated at the right hand of the Father. After death, we can reunite with our loved ones and receive eternal life in heaven. To receive eternal life we are to be pure of heart. Christians believe that their souls go to purgatory when they die and are being purified, cleansed from sin and prepared to enter the Kingdom of God. With the guidance of God, we are to follow the right path in life and be a humble heart.

During the events of the Holy Week, Jesus taught us many good qualities of a Christian that we now look up to and follow to obtain eternal life. On Palm Sunday, Jesus has a triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, this story can be seen in Mathew 21:1-9. Jesus was ready to tell the disciples and his people that He was the Messiah. The fact that Jesus came on a donkey shows his humble quality. On Holy Thursday, at the Last Supper Jesus washed the disciple’s feet, seen in John13:1–17. This event furthermore teaches us that Jesus is humble and puts everyone else before him, as washing people’s feet back then would have been a slave’s job or someone in a lower class. This shows that Jesus is not portraying power over anyone even though he is the Son of God. On Good Friday, Jesus was put to death by the judgment of the Jewish people, seen in John 19:1-16. Jesus was crucified as he had relationships and dealt with the poor and prostitutes as he saw everyone equal, however, the Jewish would not talk to them as they were from a lower class. He also was crucified for saying he was the Son of God, performing wonders and miracles of God which became a threat to the Jewish people. Until Easter Sunday, people thought there was no life after death, but on that day when Jesus rose from the dead, there was hope of eternal life to those who believed. All the events of the Holy week are written in all the canonical Gospels of the New Testament as Easter is the most important celebration in the Christian calendar.

Every Easter, I reflect on my actions and try to be a humble person through the teachings of the church. Fasting is also a main practice I part take in, this year I gave up on ice cream and during Holy Week my family and I give up on all meat. In addition to that, along with my family, I donate money food and clothes. Doing this helps us to spread love and mercy to the world. I help out my parents and do simple acts of mercy around my house or school community. This practice helps me to avoid temptations and to control myself just as Jesus did from Satan.

I celebrate Easter because it brings me back to a period of time where I can focus and improve on my faith. It is the time of year to reflect on my actions and prepare myself spiritually for the year. Easter is also a reminder that the resurrection of Jesus was a sign of hope for our own eternal life. I celebrate Easter to remind myself that God is with me, I reflect on the teachings of Jesus as it will help me to lead a faithful Christian life and obtain eternal life in heaven. Easter isn’t all about decorations, the Easter bunny or Easter eggs but is about the hope of eternal life and that God sent his only begotten Son down on earth for the forgiveness of our sins.

 

Anjelo Bueno

We celebrate Easter to commemorate the death and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. I believe that the eggs during Easter do not just mean chocolate but it represents hope, life and rebirth in which Jesus was brought back to life. This relates to his teachings on Eternal Life as this proves that there is life after death. Easter Sunday lies at the end of Holy Week, this is where Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Good Friday were taken place. Before when Jesus was resurrected, not many people believed in his teachings or miracles which is what brought him to be crucified on the cross. Due to the resurrection of Jesus, our sins were freed from our souls and some of those who did not believe in him started to believe, following in his footsteps.

Eternal life according to Jesus’ teachings is life after death. Because we are Catholic, we believe in what Jesus says, so we also believe that eternal life means that when we die, our souls live on and enter Heaven. Catholics believe that whoever have lived good, spiritual lives, will be rewarded into Heaven. It is a paradise where we will be reunited with our family and other loved ones. In Matthew 19:16-25, a man follows Jesus and asks him what he should do to achieve Eternal Life. Jesus said that he should sell everything he has to be rewarded Eternal Life and live another life in Heaven.

An example of a sin that Jesus died for is his teaching on judgement, this tells us not to go judge one another so easily, but to understand, show love and have mercy. In Matthew 7:1-5 it said, “3 Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your neighbour, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye?” When Jesus said this, I believe he means that we have no right to judge one another, as we do not see our own mistakes and wrong doings. We often look at someone without looking at ourselves first, we have no right to judge, only God has the right to do so.

The Beatitudes that Jesus taught us were created for us to follow so that we may live a good, happy Christian life. Unlike the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes teaches us to maintain a certain mindset that will lead us into living healthy, christian lives God wants us to live as. It tells us to be peace-loving, merciful, clean of heart and meek. Although the world makes wealth the most important thing, Jesus says that it isn’t and looks up to the poor. We should always put our trust in God and Jesus, follow in their ways and live a good life by following the Beatitudes. We can always pray to God for His guidance and keep that good mindset in our minds.

During Lent, we also celebrate Holy Week, this was Jesus’ final week before he was crucified on the cross. The first day of Holy Week is Palm Sunday, Jesus rode to Jerusalem on a donkey and palms were placed under their footpath. Some priests did not take a liking to him so they asked Judas who was a disciple of Jesus to betray him and they will reward him. On Holy Thursday, Jesus had his Last Supper with his disciples, where he broke the bread and knew that Judas was going to betray him. Next, on Good Friday, Jesus was chosen to be crucified on the cross under Pontius Pilate, although Jesus was put through all that suffering he asked God to have mercy on them and forgive them of their sins. The third day after that is Easter Sunday where Jesus arose from the dead and released from the tomb.

The message we get from Easter is to have hope. Hope is important as it helps us to try solve something with a positive mindset allowing you to keep on going. This message is relevant for our lives as tt tells us to never give up, there is always a way. Hope in christian belief means that we are confident to believe that what we wish for will be true because of God. This means that hope is God’s promise to us, Jesus’ resurrection was promised to us by God, making His son’s resurrection our hope.

In conclusion, Easter is about celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, not just about the Easter bunny or the chocolate easter eggs. As christian catholics, this is a very important day for us to pray to God and sacrifice something in our lives. Those 40 days of Lent in which we fast for represent the 40 days where Jesus sacrificed food or drinks to set a good example for us and Holy Week was Jesus’ last week before he was crucified on the cross. The message we get from this is to be hopeful and believe that God is always there to guide us and make what we hope for become true.

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