Drawing Closer to Holy Week: Sunday V of Lent

Spring may have only just begun, and tomorrow we shall celebrate the transferred Solemnity of St Benedict (his Transitus, or birthday into heaven), but there is still a chill about today having nothing to do with temperature or mood. If we have not been serious about Lent before, we are now. Holy Week is on the horizon, and the liturgy is insistent in its call to conversion, suffering and death. 

Bleak? In one way, yes. Most of us find the prospect of suffering and death easier to contemplate in the abstract than reality. The fact that both are unavoidable and bound up with our eternal salvation is scant comfort. We know we must allow the Lord to inscribe his law on our hearts and enter into a new covenant with him. We know we must learn to obey. Most important of all, we know we must begin to turn towards the cross as sentence is passed on this world. (cf today’s Mass readings: Jeremiah 31.31-34; Hebrews 5. 7-9;  John 12. 20-33.) But no-one is denying how hard it can be, nor the reluctance some of us may feel.

Many will say, isn’t that what we have been trying to do all our lives? Indeed, but this week before Holy Week seems to me pivotal. There is an unavoidable urgency about it. Until now, we’ve been doing our best, trying to focus on the Lord rather than how well or otherwise we are doing. It’s been a joyful and refreshing simplification of our everyday lives. In the desert of our hearts, love of the Lord has ben rekindled as the prophet Hosea promised. But now it is that distant view of Calvary which takes centre stage and we know that we must either take our stand with Christ or not stand at all. The moment of choice will soon be upon us, and we must make ourselves ready. Already the cross is calling. If we find that prospect daunting, we should remember that we do not face it alone but in union with every generation, with our Saviour himself.

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2 thoughts on “Drawing Closer to Holy Week: Sunday V of Lent”

  1. The cross is calling. A slowing down, where Lent becomes not so much about us as individuals, practising abstinence, avoiding chocolate and treats.It becomes about the loosing of the ego. Death of the ego in the face of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Kneeling with others. Witnessing and feeling it, on Good Friday.
    We sing a hymn on Good Friday, one verse says, bringing tears with it for me;
    Were the whole realm of nature mine, ‘twas a gift far too small. Such sacrifice deserves my heart, my life my all.

  2. My apologies on my recall of the words of Isaac Watts words to him hymn;

    When I survey the wondrous cross
    On which the Prince of Glory died
    My richest gain I count but loss
    And pour contempt on all my pride
    Forbid it Lord that I should boast
    Save in the death of Christ my Lord
    All the vain things that charm me most
    I sacrifice them to His blood
    See from His head His hands His feet
    Sorrow and love flow mingled down
    Did ever such love and sorrow meet
    Or thorns compose so rich a crown
    Were the whole realm of nature mine
    That were an offering far too small
    Love so amazing so divine
    Demands my soul my life my all

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