We are living through an unprecedented moment in our lives. This pandemic we are facing has confined over half of the world’s population to their homes. There is so much personal suffering, so many deaths, so much grief – it is almost as if the world as we know it is disintegrating before our eyes.
In the midst of all this, the Lord Jesus Christ calls us to journey with Him through this Holy Week which begins today with Palm Sunday. This is the hour for which he came into the world – a time which is at once both dark and glorious.
Even though we cannot gather together in our churches to do so, we can still answer the Lord’s call to us, by taking part in the services of Holy Week at home. We can do that either through the live streaming of services which has been set up in many parishes across the diocese or by praying through the liturgy using our missals. If none of that is possible I would ask you to pray and think on the Passion of the Lord each day and then perhaps pray the rosary.
For it is through the Liturgy that the Church helps us to faithfully follow Our Lord’s every footstep from the acclamations of his triumphal entry into Jerusalem – to the upper room in Jerusalem where his sacred hands break bread and pour wine: this is my Body and my Blood – this is my life – this is your life now – we follow him to the garden of Gethsemane and keep watch with him as he prays before his Passion – we follow him to the jeers and mockery of Calvary where he is abandoned by all those for whom he gives his life, except his Mother, John and Mary Magdalene.
The services of this week open the doors on tragedy and triumph. With God everything is possible. And so phoenix-like from darkness and despair and hopelessness, God brings light and purpose. From desolation and death, he brings humankind to life in his Kingdom. Suffering and death become a gateway to the fullness of life.
In the Gospel account of the Lord’s Passion, everything happens quickly and disintegrates. Yet even in the midst of disintegration, on the Cross Jesus, with outstretched arms gathers to himself each one of us and all His creation.
When all seems lost, all is about to begin. And so on Saturday night we shall proclaim and celebrate our faith that the Lord is risen – and that we are risen to new life with Him through our Baptism and Confirmation – and that heaven is already in us now before ever we are in heaven!
Remember : Do not be afraid – for with God, everything is possible!
Pictured above is Bishop Alan celebrating the Palm Sunday Mass at St John’s Cathedral today.