Fifth Sunday of Lent

Dear Friends in Christ

This week at Mass we hear the third of those awe-inspiring episodes in the life of Our Lord which St John records: the raising of Lazarus from the dead. There are three occasions in the Gospels when Jesus raises the dead but with the raising of Lazarus - being called forth from the very tomb after several days therein - there is the symbol of the resurrection of the body. Jesus would Himself be raised from the dead by His power as God but as with the Gospels of the previous two Sundays, this miracle points also to a deeper significance. As Lazarus is called to come back from the dead - Lazarus come out! - so the Christian soul is being called by Christ to come back from the death of sin; to experience the divine life.

This is how the Church proposes to us that we prepare for Easter, and also how the Catechumens - those preparing for the Easter Sacraments for the first time - must also prepare for that encounter. We prepare by that intimate and personal meeting with Christ in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation: Confession. By the humble articulation of our sins, we are called forth by Christ into the light and new life that is Himself. Every time we celebrate this Sacrament, as well as being assured of our own salvation, we increase the holiness of the Church too. I encourage you all to make a carefully prepared Confession during Holy Week in anticipation of Easter.  In fact, one of the precepts of the Church is that we go to Confession at least once a year around this time (between Ash Wednesday and Trinity Sunday).

As the decoration of the church is now almost completed, I thank those who, each week on Friday evening have laboured to clean-up!  We are all most grateful to you, all those who keep the church and grounds so well-presented.

Next Sunday at Mass - Palm Sunday - when we listen again to the Reading of St Matthew’s account of the Passion of Christ, let’s each reflect that it was on account of our sins that Jesus suffered it all. The merits of His Passion are experienced whenever we go to Confession and confess our faults and failings and receive the bathing which is nothing less than the Blood of Christ.  May we all begin this period of Passiontide with renewed contrition for our sins coupled with a confident trust in God’s mercy.  God bless you all!

Msgr Kevin Hale ✚ 01702 478078