Passion Sunday - fifth Sunday Lent
Liturgy Note (christusrex-org)
Today is Laetare Sunday: the joy at one stage of our Lenten journey accomplished and a foretaste of the joy of Easter, which springs from the Cross of Christ. Every Mass, every Sunday, even in Lent is an experience of the joys and splendor of the new Jerusalem, the Church on earth and the heavenly city. We celebrate that today, Laetare Sunday, with the rose colored vestments, the playing of the organ and the flowers on the altar, all signs of the Church's joy, alive with the Resurrection, which cannot be contained even in Lent, though we still refrain from Alleluias and the singing of the Gloria until the magnificence of the Easter Vigil. Our entrance antiphon sets the tone: "Laetare Jerusalem; Rejoice
Abbot Raymond had speaking on three occasionsthis Sunday, first for the monks in morning Chapter, for the Homily in Guesthouse, and for the Pilgrims from the Parishes who came for the Way of the Stations of the Cross in the abbey grounds. Later,by Tuesday, he has put his thoughts in writing.
The Gospel. John 12:20-33
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from
The Church’s Mission
We learn from
What was so striking to the apostle and made him record it in such detail was, not so much the fact that a couple of Greeks wanted to see Jesus, as the incredible reaction of Jesus to their request. Up to this point Jesus had jealously kept himself for his own chosen people and for no one else, except for an occasional healing of a gentile here and there. He put his position in very strong terms: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of
This explains the behaviour of Philip when these Greeks approached him. Philip knew very well what Jesus’ attitude to the gentiles was and so he was afraid to approach. So he went to ask Andrew for moral support. Andrew, we might presume, was a more senior Apostle and had been one of the very first to meet and spend time with Jesus. With him in on the act Philip felt he had a much better chance of being heard. Andrew agreed and so they went together and put the request to Jesus: “Master, there are some Greeks here who want to speak to you”
They are immediately astonished to hear Jesus, far from being offended and saying something like: “How often do I have to tell you that I was sent only to the lost sheep of
And indeed, when we think closely about it, that truly was the divine answer to the needs of the Greeks and all the Gentile world. The preaching of the Good News is of the utmost importance, of course, whether by Jesus himself or by the sending of his apostles to the ends of the earth. But Jesus by limiting his preaching to the House of Israel alone shows us that all preaching and teaching, yes even his own, is very limited by time and circumstances. The preaching and teaching mission of his Church will always be limited by the number of preachers; the resources to hand; the accessibility of the hearers and so many different factors. But, by focussing on his passion and death Jesus reveals that this is the most powerful and efficacious role of the Church’s
The saving power of this sacrifice “reaches from end to end mightily” to all men of all time past present and future. The preaching and teaching mission of the Church never has and never can reach all and every soul. There always have been and always will be those who are never touched by it. But all people of all time are touched by the blood of Christ and, even without knowing it, they can take hold of it in their lives by living with a good conscience.
This is a very encouraging thought for every one of the faithful: that every time we assist at Holy Mass, every time we join in offering up this saving sacrifice to the Father in union with Christ we are co-operating in God’s work of Redemption. The saving work of the Church’s preaching and teaching is limited to those who hear it. But the saving power of the Mass reaches to the ends of time and space. The Church, and that means all of us, is busy about the saving of all mankind every time she re-enacts that “perfect sacrifice which is offered from the rising of the sun to its setting”.