Clergy Notes — Fifth Sunday of Lent, March 17, 2024

This Sunday Passiontide begins. The liturgical mood changes, the crucifixes and images of the saints in church are veiled, our readings and hymns dwell more upon the self-giving of Jesus on the cross. As did the disciples then, so now we too turn with Jesus towards Jerusalem where his mission will be fulfilled. These coming days move us slowly but surely towards Palm Sunday of the Passion and Holy Week.

The liturgies of Palm Sunday and the Triduum (the Great Three Days) – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Eve – are the most powerful of the church’s year. They lead us through a whole gamut of highs and lows, joys and sorrows, as we share in the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus, his death and burial, the waiting, and then the joy of the resurrection.

  • Next Sunday we shall celebrate with John our Bishop the joyful entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and then hear the dramatic reading of the Passion according to St. Mark, which takes us through the whole story up to the death and burial of Jesus.
  • On Maundy Thursday we focus on Jesus, the one who serves, as he washes the disciples’ feet at his last supper with them, and institutes the Eucharist, ‘this is my body, this is my blood’. With the disciples we go with Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane; there, where he will be betrayed, we are invited to watch with him in prayer.
  • On Good Friday we celebrate with sorrow and love the Passion of the Lord. We hear tell of God’s suffering servant in Isaiah and listen this time to the sombre chant of the Passion according to St. John. We offer solemn prayers for the church, the world, and those in need. As we ponder the overflowing depth of God’s love for us revealed in Christ, we respond with our love, coming forward to touch or kiss the crucifix.
  • In the dark of Easter Eve we gather to keep vigil, to light the new fire and the Paschal Candle, the symbol of the Risen Christ. The great Easter hymn of praise, Exultet, proclaims the Resurrection. We hear again the story of salvation, and then renew our baptismal covenant in the triumphant First Mass of Easter. This year we shall have the joy of celebrating the sacrament of Baptism at the Vigil and on Easter Morning.

I invite you to share in as much of this week’s observance as you are able.

In preparation for this great Feast, the church also encourages us to consider the sacrament of reconciliation, sacramental confession. Your priests are here to serve you: please reach out to one of us if you would like to have spiritual conversation and/or make your confession.

With every blessing at this holy time,
Fr Kevin

Download the Liturgy at Home booklet for Sunday, March 17, 2024.