Dear Friends in Christ
The high-point of Lent and of the entire liturgical year is Holy Week. Together, with Our Lord, we accompany Him through the final days and hours of His Passion. It’s good to recall that, at every stage of this Passion, He suffered it for love of us. God could have chosen to save us by any number of means but, as St Paul says, he chose to pay the price of our redemption in full. Let us then be generous in the time we give to God; this means being present at all of the liturgical ceremonies this Week. The Paschal Triduum begins on Thursday evening with the Mass of The Lord’s Supper at 8pm. This recalls the institution of the two Sacraments of the Blessed Eucharist and the Priesthood, which makes the Sacraments possible. During Mass the Mandatum takes place when the Priest washes the feet of twelve who represent the first priests. This year six of them will be candidates for Confirmation and six for Reception into the Church at Easter; it reminds us of the moment Jesus instituted the Priesthood of the New Testament through an act of abasement. Other candidates for the Sacraments will present the Holy Oil from the Chrism Mass in the Cathedral on Wednesday and the offering for the Mass. Pray especially for your Priests on this Day.
Good Friday commemorates the Passion and Death of Christ with great solemnity; the Day on which when we solemnly move towards the Cross and venerate that wood upon which our salvation was assured. It is a Day of penance and prayer. Holy Saturday is also a time of sombre waiting and prayer as the Church keeps vigil at the tomb of our Saviour.
The Easter Vigil - which is the most important liturgy of the entire year, is the moment of the joyful Resurrection of The Lord. Seven new members will be Received into the Church at the Vigil and this Easter joy overflows into the seventy days of Easter that follow. As we listen to the reading of St Matthew’s Passion this weekend, remember that Jesus endured all of this for love of us; and indeed it was the thought of us and our salvation that helped Him to go through with it. May God bless and reward our efforts this Lent and, in the words of the hymn bring us to a glorious Eastertide!
Msgr Kevin Hale