Holy Week

Good Friday – Veneration of the Cross

A short video clip from our veneration of the Cross during the Commemoration of Our Lord’s Passion today.

Daffodils

As I wandered round our garden, a few days ago, looking sadly at our “hosts of golden daffodils” which had given us so much joy and delight in recent weeks, but now were withering and dying in the bitter April winds that were sweeping across the lawns, Isaiah chapter 53 came spontaneously to mind :
“See my Servant……

as the crowds were appalled on seeing him, so disfigured did he look that he seemed no longer human…

Like a sapling he grew up in front of us, like a root in arid ground.

No look to attract our eyes,

without beauty, without majesty we saw him….

a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering.”
There, in the dying daffodils, I could visualise Jesus writhing in pain, being bent to the ground, buffeted by the wind – his skin drying up…. many flowers had already fallen – rejected – no longer any use to decorate our altars or tables. Yes, there he was, crushed for our sins, symbolically portrayed by the dying flowers. And as I looked around and saw all the other rows of daffodils – another line of Scripture came to mind, this time from Matthew 9 :

“And when he saw the crowds, he felt sorry for them, because they were harassed and dejected like sheep without a shepherd.”

 
So many sad and broken people in our country, in our world – hungry – yes, for food, but deeper still a hunger and yearning for – they know not what.
They have never heard or, having heard, rejected him – the One who died for us all, only to rise again after three days in the tomb, in a glorious resurrection giving radiant life to his little children.
Yes, the daffodils too will […]

Reflection on the Readings for Palm Sunday

The First Reading for Palm Sunday is taken from Isaiah (50:4-9) – which seems a very good start to the week ahead. Worth thinking about and contemplating … ‘Each morning he wakes me to hear: to listen, like a disciple …’ St Dominic is said to have carried with him wherever he walked (and he certainly walked, … and walked … and walked ….) the Gospel according to St Matthew. He is a good model for us who profess to be Dominicans, and Isaiah too has very appropriate advice for us, I think. We cannot begin to understand what the Lord has done for us, unless we listen to what is happening and said in all the events of Holy Week; we need to be people whose ears are attuned to God, so that we may the more sincerely open ourselves to receive all He wants to give us … and to remember that He has died for this very reason. May the Blessed Mother of God and our St Dominic be with us to accompany us in our journey through the week; and intercede for us and for all those around the world who will not have the joy or the freedom to share in the Liturgy; for those who have not the faith to know how they are loved; for those who do not know the wonder of the gift of life.

Holy Week

The following is the text of Pope Benedict’s homily yesterday on Palm Sunday as published by Zenith news. Many young people participated in the celebration, which also marked this year’s World Youth Day, held on a diocesan level worldwide.”The Cross Is Part of the Ascent toward the Height of Jesus Christ”Dear Brothers and Sisters,Dear Young People!The Gospel for the blessing of the palms that we have listened to together here in St. Peter’s Square begins with the phrase: “Jesus went ahead of everyone going up to Jerusalem” (Luke 19:28). Immediately at the beginning of the liturgy this day, the Church anticipates her response to the Gospel, saying, “Let us follow the Lord.” With that the theme of Palm Sunday is clearly expressed. It is about following. Being Christian means seeing the way of Jesus Christ as the right way of being human — as that way that leads to the goal, to a humanity that is fully realized and authentic. In a special way, I would like to repeat to all the young men and women, on this 25th World Youth Day: that being Christian is a journey, or better: It is a pilgrimage, it is a going with Jesus Christ. A going in that direction that he has pointed out to us and is pointing out to us. But what direction are we talking about? How do we find it? The line from our Gospel offers two indications in this connection. In the first place it says that it is a matter of an ascent. This has in the first place a very literal meaning. Jericho, where the last stage of Jesus’ pilgrimage began, is 250 meters below sea-level while Jerusalem — […]

Palm Sunday

Apogies for the long silence during the past month – not entirely our fault. For most of last week our internet connection failed – some external problem.Earlier in the month the Lord called home our Sister Mary Louis aged 93, having spend 75 years in our community. Although in failing health in recent years, sister continued to participate, as much as her strenght allowed, in community life. She especially loved to be present at the liturgy and Eucharistic Adoration. She had a great memory and a wonderful sense of humour. She passed away very peacefully, fully conscious to the last moments – May she now enjoy her eternal reward. She had told us that she would not go to heaven to rest but to be an intercessor – so we are keeping her at her word!! We commend her to your prayers.Today the Lord provided us with a beautiful Spring morning – sunshine, birds singing etc – so we were able to have our Palm Sunday procession out of doors. As we enter into Holy Week and ponder on our Saviour’s sufferings and more importantly the love with which He suffered such cruel torture and injustice we are united with the whole Church througout the world but in particular we carry in our hearts the pain which we are experiencing in our Irish Church in recent weeks.

Holy Saturday – Silent Hope

The following quote from Pope Benedict’s Angelus message during the week expresses very well the mystery we celebrate these days.Every year, placing ourselves in silence before Jesus nailed to the wood of the cross, we realize how full of love were the words he pronounced on the eve, in the course of the Last Supper. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mark 14:24). Jesus willed to offer his life in sacrifice for the remission of humanity’s sins. Just as before the Eucharist, so before the Passion and Death of Jesus on the cross, the mystery is unfathomable to reason. We are placed before something that humanly might seem absurd: a God who not only is made man, with all man’s needs, not only suffers to save man, burdening himself with all the tragedy of humanity, but dies for man. Christ’s death recalls the accumulation of sorrows and evils that beset humanity of all times: the crushing weight of our dying, the hatred and violence that again today bloody the earth. The Lord’s Passion continues in the suffering of men. As Blaise Pascal correctly writes, “Jesus will be in agony until the end of the world; one must not sleep during this time” (Pensées, 553). If Good Friday is a day full of sadness, and hence at the same time, all the more propitious a day to reawaken our faith, to strengthen our hope and courage so that each one of us will carry his cross with humility, trust and abandonment in God, certain of his support and victory. The liturgy of this day sings: “O Crux, ave, spes unica” (Hail, O cross, our only hope).”This hope is […]

Watch and Pray

This week in his Wednesday Angelus address Pope Benedict focused on the importance of Holy Week for us Christians: “Holy Week, which for us Christians is the most important week of the year, offers us the opportunity to be immersed in the central events of Redemption, to relive the Paschal Mystery, the great mystery of the faith. Beginning tomorrow afternoon, with the Mass “In Coena Domini,” the solemn liturgical rites will help us to meditate in a more lively manner on the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord in the days of the Holy Paschal Triduum, fulcrum of the entire liturgical year. May divine grace open our hearts to comprehend the inestimable gift that salvation is, obtained for us by Christ’s sacrifice.”While we celebrate these days as a Church and in union with the whole Church throughout the world, yet as we read and reflect on the Gospels Jesus has a personal message for each of us if we open our hearts to listen to His word of love addressed to each of us. Above all it is an invitation to watch and pray with him – the same invitation extended to the apostles in the garden: “wait here and stay awake” and “stay awake and pray not to be put to the test” (Mt 26). This is the heart of our Dominican contemplative vocation – to watch and pray – always seeking the glory of God and the salvation of all our brothers and sisters.The following quotation from Jean Corbon challenged me when I first read it:“The Cross of his Son is the place from which God seems most absent but in which He in fact gives Himself most completely. […]