HOLY CROSS CHURCH
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, As we begin the Holy Week, we ask you to bless us that we too accompany you on your journey towards the Resurrection. May I be the donkey that carried you. May I carry you and your values through my words and deeds. May I be one among the people of Jerusalem to spread their garments on the road and be the children of the Hebrews who sang “Hosanna!” May I always sing your praises remembering your wonders and love in my life. May I be one with your Apostles who shared your last supper with you. And may I be with you, lying close to you, to listen to your new commandment. May I too go with you and with Peter, James and John to Gethsemane. May I not sleep but keep watch with you and hear your words, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done”. On the day of your passion, may I be with your Mother Mary to follow your salvific journey to Calvary. May I carry your cross like Simon of Cyrene. May I be like Veronica to comfort you when you greatly need it. May I stand near the Holy Cross with your Mother, Mary of Magdala and Mary wife of Clopas. May I hear your voice of great sacrifice giving your Mother to me and to humanity saying, “Woman, this is your Son”, and “This is your Mother”. May I always follow Her to follow You and cherish her Motherly love and care. May I witness the completion of the mission of your incarnation as you say “It is accomplished”. And, I on the day of joy, may I be with your Disciples to witness your Resurrection. Amen
Next week is Palm Sunday. Last year, on this day, I was visiting your homes bringing the blessed Palms. It was the first lockdown and I was not allowed to enter your homes. When I was visiting you on your doorsteps, I was amazed to see how you decorated your homes with the branches of your garden remembering the glorious welcoming of Jesus by the people of Jerusalem with olive branches. Though we could not come to church in person, we could connect ourselves to one another in spirit. This year the palms will be distributed as you leave the church.In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells us: “I tell you, most solemnly, unless a wheat of grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest” [John 12:14]. As we approach Holy Week, this reading gives us the wisdom to understand the life-giving death of our Lord Jesus Christ.We, who have been called to be His by Baptism, have within us the life of Christ as a grain of wheat has within itself a germ of life. We can become abundantly fruitful, when our lives resemble His likeness. May we set our faces as a flint towards the goal of our calling. We also ask our Lord for the grace to mirror the attitude of the Lord Jesus, as we die to self and live for Christ - so that by God's grace, we may become a grain of wheat or fruitful branch of our heavenly Vine.
I hope that you have been cherishing a blessed Season of Lent. Yes, it is a Season to taste and experience God’s self-emptying/scarifying love [Kenosis]. Through the acts of prayer, penance and almsgiving, we can feel the power of His kenotic love. In our parish we have a number of opportunities for us to spiritually prepare ourselves to make this Season a really blessed one. In today’s Gospel reading, we find the cleansing of the Temple. The Jerusalem Temple, that should have been a place of prayer and worship, a place of experiencing and promoting not only God’s mercy and compassion but also His justice and truth, became a place of business and injustice. The cleansing of the Temple invites us to make an introspection of our own intentions and ways of worship. The Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy [no 2, Sacrosanctum Concilium] invites us to understand our liturgy and inspires us to outreach to the “scattered children of God”: “For the liturgy, through which the work of our redemption is accomplished, most of all in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, is the outstanding means whereby the faithful may express in their lives, and manifest to others, the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church. It is of the essence of the Church that she be both human and divine, visible and yet invisibly equipped, eager to act and yet intent on contemplation, present in this world and yet not at home in it; and she is all these things in such wise that in her the human is directed and subordinated to the divine, the visible likewise to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, which we seek. While the liturgy daily builds up those who are within into a holy temple of the Lord, into a dwelling place for God in the Spirit, to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ, at the same time it marvellously strengthens their power to preach Christ, and thus shows forth the Church to those who are outside as a sign lifted up among the nations under which the scattered children of God may be gathered together, until there is one sheepfold and one shepherd.” May you have a blessed third week of Lent.
Last Sunday we had the reflections on the Temptation in the Desert. We entered into the desert with Jesus Christ to be with him and to encounter him more closely and dearly. This week’s Gospel reading takes us to the mountain with Jesus along with Peter, James and John. Mountain in the Bible is always a place that brings us close to God and to know His ways. It is an ascending experience. Jesus takes us up to reveal His glory. Whenever we are in prayer, we have this mountain experience. There we desire to remain in that blessed state like the disciples who said: “it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah”. But the Lord God also gave them a descending experience, leading them towards the mount of Calvary. As we rejoice to be with God in prayer in this season of Lent, we also ask our Lord for the grace that we may have the ‘descending’ experience, i.e., in our context, to have an empathy with the suffering people of the world, and to journey towards Good Friday so as to celebrate Easter in a worthy way. Fr Antony
We have started the Lent in this year, in spite of the Pandemic, in a meaningful way. On the Shrove Tuesday , more than 40 families have gathered via zoom and spent the evening in prayer, singing chants and eating pancakes. Please find a few photos of our people’ pancake and its preparation. On Ash Wednesday, we were able to see many people in the church and we had to send many families back due to lack of space in the church. in the coming weeks, we may have similar situations. Please come on time, wear face mask, sanitize your hands and keep always sufficient distance between people. The church will be very cold at times because on the opened windows and doors. Please wear enough warm clothes when coming to the church. In this Season of Lent I pray that the Lord God “give us a new heart and put a new spirit in us” [cf. Eze 36:26]. Fr Antony