Dear Faithful and Friends,
The distinctive tone of the Passion and the joyful strains of the Exsultet, the palms held in procession and the triumphant return of the Pascal Candle at the Easter vigil, the washing of the feet to the confection of the new baptismal water – these impres sive rites of the Holy Week liturgy mark our understanding pro foundly and invite us to a closer union with Christ crucified. The liturgy, in commemorating and re-enacting the events of the first Holy Week, puts us into contact with the real centre of the universe, Jesus Christ.
Through the liturgy, we acclaim Christ at His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Through the liturgy we witness His lesson of charity to neighbour, and accompany Him to the Garden of Olives. The liturgy places us in Lithostro tos, Pilate’s place of judgement, where we see Christ unjustly condemned by the negligence, sloth, intemperance, and malice of men. The liturgy takes us step by step to Calvary, to see the God-Man immolated on the altar of the cross for our sins, purifying the ravaged earth with the laver of His Precious Blood.
As we relive Christ’s passion and death, we should consider that each word and action of our Blessed Lord was given for our personal instruction. Christ is God, and His words do not have simply a local or temporal significance, but one which is universal and eternal. When Christ told His Apostles: “For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also,” He was speaking to each one of us. When He warned them to watch and pray so as not to enter into temptation, He was warning each one of us also.
Through His Passion and Death Christ has given us access to God the Father. In exchange for our humanity he has made as partici pants in His Divinity. In response to the malice and rejection of men He has opened the infinite treasure of His Sacred Heart of forgiveness, redemption and sanctification. This Heart has one desire – to be known, adored and loved by men.
Christ therefore asks us every day: “Could you not watch one hour with Me?” Christ calls us to this intimacy with Him regularly, daily, knowing that the one thing that can calm our restless hearts, quiet our raging passions, and sweeten our load is the solace of intimate union with Him. He calls us knowing our occupations and pursuits, our joys and our cares, our habitual faults and our aspiration of greatness and virtue. Christ calls…and how few there are who heed the call of the Master.
Christ calls when the day begins. He calls when joy or distress makes itself felt in our heart. He calls when our family is united at the end of the day. He calls when we have the opportunity to attend Holy Mass, on Sunday or on a weekday. He calls when He is present within us, but sees us still so closed to his love and His in spirations, waiting only to resume our material pursuits. “Could you not watch one hour with Me?”
So often we leave the presence of Christ without having been refreshed, thinking that we have done Him a favour by our gift of time or attention for a few moments. If only we knew the gift of God, and could see Who it is who favours us with His grace and love, we would simply ask, and the Master would give us the living water which flows unto eternal life.
May the meditation of Christ’s Passion open to us the treasury of Christ’s Sacred Heart to us again. May it teach us to seek there respite in every trial, consolation in every sorrow, courage in every battle, and constancy in every change of life. May it teach us to truly with St. Paul: “And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me. And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered himself for me.”
Many thanks for the generous support which enables us to pursue God’s work in our parish and school.
Wishing you every grace and blessing this Easter,
Father Marcel Stannus