Message from Fr Hugh on Friday before Palm Sunday
The joy of the crowds. Welcoming a Messiah. It was the joy, the release of tension, of an oppressed people celebrating ‘one of their own’ under the nose of the oppressors. Shouting that they had a king here, not some Emperor in distant Rome. No doubt the Romans looked on with a little concern but some amusement. ‘Not another Messiah surely?’ There always seemed to be a new one popping up to create disruption. Of course we know that the mood of the crowd changed as crowds do, easily led by powerful voices. But the atmosphere of the day was one of great celebration. The King has arrived.
Palm Sunday is paradoxically a day of great celebration for us too, because although we read the Passion and listen to the grim story of Jesus’ death, we are not downcast as the disciples were, because we know that this is not just the gateway to Jerusalem but the gateway to eternal life that is being opened to us.
Can we be joyful at this time with what is happening in the country and the world? Yes, because, not ignoring the present and the call to serve, our focus is always on the future; our life always guided by the fact that Jesus is our Way, Truth and Life, our goal, and not hemmed in only by what is happening in our world. It means that we can be joyful even in the midst of crisis, not in some escapist way that gives us the ‘drug’ to pretend it isn’t happening, always a temptation. No, for us there us the knowledge that the very passion of Christ tells us that Jesus is with us in all the suffering that is happening, and can reassure us that whatever may take place, however appalling, there still is a life of joy to be known and lived that is rooted in the promise made to us by Jesus, our brother, through his Resurrection.
Also, there are interesting things happening in this time. Many of us are learning more about our neighbours, learning new ways to keep in touch. Hopefully some of this we will carry over into post -Coronavirus life, when that arrives.
Image: CKSherrod / CC0
HOMILY FOR PALM SUNDAY by Fr Hugh
‘The earth quaked, the rocks were split; the tombs opened and the bodies of many holy men rose from the dead, and these, after the resurrection, came out of their tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to a number of people.’
Matthew’s version of Jesus’ death is full of drama. He takes Mark’s account but adds so much more, so much that is extraordinary, things out of this world are happening here.
Livestreaming of Palm Sunday Mass from the Oratory: On Sunday at 10am we will livestream the Mass from the Oratory. To watch the livestream go to Click Here for Mass / Oratory Livestream at the top of this website. (Next week we will be livestreaming the Mass from the church at 6pm Maundy Thursday, 3pm Good Friday and 10am Easter Sunday. More details will be posted to this website on Wednesday 8th.)
This Holy Week… We can so easily remember, and with great care and attention, the last days of the lives of those people we have loved. In the same way, the Passion of the Lord was treasured in the mind of the early Church. Every step along the way was remembered. The Lord’s Passion was remembered out of love. Our God loved us so much that He became one of us show His love could destroy the power of hatred in the world. He died so that we could join Him in dying to the world. He rose, so we could join Him in sharing eternal life. On Holy Thursday evening we remember the sacrifice of the Lord, made present to us in Bread and Wine, and we remember too how Our Lord renews are encourages our determination to be a people who wash the feet of others. On Good Friday we remember the death that makes life possible. On Holy Saturday we await the Lord. On Easter Day, and on each day of the Easter Octave, we celebrate with joy the Victory of Jesus Christ over sin and death. While this year we cannot celebrate and remember these great events together in church, we can unite ourselves in faith and prayer as we look forward to renewing our remembrance of the these events the very next time are reunited for the celebration of that great and wondrous mystery which remembers all these event: The Mass. Until then, we pray, the Lord keep us all safe and well. …Holy Saturday will be our time of expectancy and patient waiting!