It’s Holy Week. You, know…when Catholics are invited to come to church several days–in a row–and then again on Sunday. I know!! Ever since I can remember, my family has strictly observed the Holy Week liturgies, and I have extended that to my husband and children as well. They have all come to accept as natural the idea that we will head to church on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and for the Vigil Mass on Saturday. There is a little bit of grumbling since I joined the choir this year and have to appear early each day.
In case you are sitting on the fence as to whether you want to make the effort to get to church in the evenings this week, you should know that you won’t find anything to watch on television that could justify missing out on Mass or Veneration of the Cross. Here’s the rundown of what the various networks have to offer:
- The History Channel: Thursday’s programming is the regular lineup. They do try to make things interesting on Good Friday, though. Remember that Christians observe the hours between noon and 3:00 as the time Jesus hung on the cross and died. In other words, that time slot might be worth a few moments of recollection. In that spirit, you can find a show investigating the question of whether Pope John Paul I might have been murdered at 1 pm. Then at 2:00, the network looks at the technology of the Old Testament. Things really get exciting on Saturday afternoon with shows about the Anti-Christ and books banned from the Bible. For Easter Sunday, it’s back to the regular primetime lineup of an “Ax Men” marathon.
- The National Geographic Channel: For your viewing pleasure on Holy Thursday, you can enjoy “The Secret Lives of the Apostles” followed by “The Search for the Head of John the Baptist.” From noon to 3 on Good Friday, viewers are treated to a string of “Taboo.” On Easter Sunday, it’s all about the Titanic centennial.
- ABC: Of the 3 major networks, ABC is the only one that offers anything pointing to the Easter and/or Passover season. On Saturday evening, you can watch “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston.
Am I the only one who remembers looking forward to the broadcast of Franco Zeffirelli’s “Jesus of Nazareth” miniseries on TV every year? Anne Bancroft, Ernest Borgnine, James Earl Jones, Olivia Hussey, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Anthony Quinn–all in one movie. Does it get any better than that? It was last shown on network TV in 1987. The best anyone can come up with these days is tabloid “documentaries” about Vatican murder plots or conspiracies about the books of the Bible.
Junior reminds me that The Masters golf tournament is also on this week. Sorry, Junior. To the world of professional golf, I say, “Shame on you!” The organizers really saw nothing amiss with scheduling this major tournament to conflict with both Easter and Passover?
Really. Just go to church.