Dear friends in Christ
With the Fifth Sunday of Lent we begin the final stage of the Lenten pilgrimage: the emphasis moves from self-examination and repentance to a consideration of the suffering and death of Our Lord; this is Passiontide. The purple drapery in our churches tells us that something solemn and sad is occurring. Only when those drapes are removed at Easter will we behold the beautiful face of Christ again; for now It, and the images of the Saints, are removed from view so as to encourage us to contemplate the realities of things hidden from our eyes.
Next Sunday - Palm Sunday - we shall listen to St Luke’s account of the Passion (you are free to be seated if you need to during this!) and it is helpful if we can think of ourselves as the protagonists in this sacred drama. Except that it isn’t a drama but the very act by which we are saved and the hope of Heaven is given to us. We never take this for granted and throughout the entire Holy Week too, try to imagine ourselves as participants in those events. In the liturgy - especially at Mass - all of those events are made present again; they aren’t simply re-enacted as in a Passion Play but by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church, the Body of Christ, we are able to be at those events. May God help us all to participate profoundly in soul and mind throughout the next two weeks.
Msgr Kevin Hale