Palm Sunday, 9 Apr 2017

From the Dean’s Desk

Dear Friends,

With this Sunday’s liturgy we enter into the most sacred and solemn week of the Church’s year. It is begun amid the ‘Hosannas’ of Palm Sunday and ends with the ‘Alleluias’ of Easter. In between, we are invited to journey with Jesus to Jerusalem, and more especially to Calvary and to the Empty Tomb and the Upper Room.

It becomes an invitation for us to see how we have progressed during this time of Lent. On Ash Wednesday we were marked with the ashes on our foreheads while the minister challenged us to ‘Repent and turn to the Gospel’. As we come to a conclusion of the Lenten period this coming Wednesday, we need to ask ourselves what place has repentance had in these last forty days? Have I grown closer to the Gospels during this time, using them in my prayer and spiritual reading? If we have repented of our sins and grown closer to God through his word, then Lent has been a successful journey for us. We are in the right frame of mind to celebrate the mysteries of Easter.

Over these last five Sundays of Lent we have been presented with many scenes from the life and ministry of Jesus – his Temptation in the desert, his Transfiguration, the encounter with the Samaritan woman, the healing of the man born blind and the raising of Lazarus. These episodes – especially the last three have challenged us at the very heart of our faith as we have been invited to see in Jesus the source of living water, the light of the world and the Resurrection and the Life.

I invite you to allow yourselves to be drawn into the profound mysteries celebrated during the Holy Triduum (Holy Thursday through to the Easter Vigil). Allow yourselves to be with Jesus in the upper room on Thursday night as he calls us to service and ministry through the washing of the feet, the institution of the Eucharist and Priesthood; to sense some of his desolation and abandonment at the Garden of Gethsemane and on the road to Calvary; to experience the disillusionment of the disciples as they feel the death of Jesus, and then to relive the joy of their encounter with the Risen Lord and the power, commitment and challenge that comes from that encounter. We have the added grace of having the Replica of the Shroud of Turin on exhibition in the Cathedral Hall and then in the Cathedral Chapel (till April 18th). Mediating on this great relic reminds us of the events we are celebrating this coming week.

Emeritus Pope Benedict reminded us in his 2011 Lenten letter that in ‘the Lenten journey…we are invited to contemplate the Mystery of the Cross’, as means of reproducing within us the pattern of his death (Phil 3:10). Calvary is truly the greatest moment of God’s love for us. As we contemplate the events of Calvary and the victory over death on Easter we can recall with great solace the words of Pope Francis’ Lenten letter this year: ‘God’s mercy is greater than any sin we may have committed.’ If sin still has a hold on us, may we take the steps these coming days to repent, move towards saving words of the Gospel and celebrate these sacred days in purity of heart. May these coming days be sacred, solemn, holy and challenging for you.

Fr Robert Bossini
Dean and Parish Priest