Fr David's newsletter for April 2013
I want first to express my deep gratitude to all those who contributed to the observance of Holy Week and Easter. It cannot be stressed enough how much time, energy, skill and humour a relatively small group of people invest to ensure that the whole congregation is able to enter into the mysteries at the heart of our faith. By attention to the enhancement of the environment in which we worship, by preparations and prayers and by talents and enthusiasm, so much is done that we can appreciate, but equally much is done that would only be noticed if it were not done. There is always room for others to participate!
Holy Week is not the prequel to Christ’s Resurrection. It is in entering the liturgical re-presentation of the passion and death of Christ that we are made to confront him whose redemptive work was and is for each one of us. He lives having conquered sin and death, but he lives in the suffering and death that we recall. In our reflections on S John’s passion during Holy Week, we considered that it is we who are on trial. Our response to the love revealed in Christ cannot be an affective archaeology. In other words, we are not trying to conjure up the past in order to prove what we believe. The suffering, death and Resurrection of Christ are the historical but eternal activities of God’s searching for us. God’s life is waiting to burst in on present but is so often obscured by our attempts to put off until a more convenient time or to contain at a comfortable distance the demands of what we encounter in Jesus Christ. At every stage in the journey from Palm Sunday to Easter Day and beyond, he is centre stage but his gaze is on each one of us, as on Peter, as on Pilate, as on Mary and the Beloved Disciple, as on Mary Magdalene, seeking to elicit recognition and response, but above all seeking to convey forgiveness, acceptance and love.
Both Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin have signalled that the next progression in the Church’s life, the freshest expression of the Church’s mission, is to have regard for those who are poorest. At a material level, there is much that we can do, and already do, to support development and enrichment. But as we are confronted by love, displayed on the cross, suggested in the empty tomb, masked by ordinariness, conveyed in words of peace and forgiveness and revealed in sacrifice and sacrament, we must also acknowledge the poverty in ourselves and others that can only be enriched by the embrace of the crucified and risen Christ.
May he grant us to know the riches of his love.
A very happy and blessed Easter.