Today we celebrate the most important of all the Christian Feasts, the Resurrection. But this cannot be isolated from what has gone before. Actually the three great feasts of Holy Week are all of a piece: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday and they should not really be seen in isolation from each other.
In this solemn liturgy we celebrate the highlight of the liturgical year which is this Vigil marking the anniversary of the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
In the Catholic Church we regard Good Friday as a day of mourning. In our liturgy we recall Christ’s arrest, his trial, the scourging and his journey to Golgotha. Then we wait by the Cross identifying with Christ’s last agony and experiencing his death. As we do these things we also think about our own sorrows, especially those that may await us at the end of our life and in a salutary way we consider our own death.
There are very few occasions in the Roman Missal when the rubrics give an instruction as to what must be preached. In fact, I think Maundy Thursday is the only occasion when such an instruction is given. It says: ‘The homily should explain the principal mysteries which are commemorated in this mass: the institution of the Eucharist, the institution of the priesthood and Christ's commandment to love.’ Well if you've got all night…!
Today as we began our procession we heard the account from Mark’s Gospel of how Jesus entered Jerusalem and was proclaimed as the Messiah by his disciples and the ordinary people.
In listening to the words of today’s Gospel we see that Jesus realises he is coming very close to the cataclysmic events that were to become the hinge points of the whole of human history: his own death and resurrection.
Father Alex McAllister SDS
Parish Priest of
St Thomas à Becket