29th March - Palm Sunday of The Passion of The Lord (B)
Sunday Mass Readings
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Please try to take a full part in the services. Holy Week is at the heart of the Church’s year and should be at the heart of our lives as Catholic Christians
Canon Luke writes . . .
As we enter the most solemn week of the Church’s year we cannot remain mere bystanders; the liturgy of Holy Week desires to engage and transform our hearts, indeed if we allow ourselves to truly be touched by the great events of our salvation we can never simply remain the same. Today the Passion is proclaimed in dramatic form, dispelling the indifference and apathy that can so easily ensnare us, and moves us to respond with faith and loving devotion.
As we hear St Mark’s Passion and imagine our Lord, scourged, beaten, ridiculed and spat upon, crowned with thorns, and nailed to the cross; at every moment we should remind ourselves that He suffered this cruelty and violence, for us. He is the Suffering Servant foretold by Isaiah in today’s first reading. His passion is the agony described in the psalm; he dies with the opening words of that psalm on His lips (Psalm 22:1). This psalm resounds throughout the passion reading we hear today: Jesus is beaten, His hands and feet are pierced; His enemies gamble for His clothes, they wag their heads, mocking His faith in God’s love; but the psalm (and the first and second readings), like the Lord’s passion, ends with vindication and victory; faith and sacrifice end in deliverance exaltation!
Where are we in the passion? Do we place ourselves in the hands of the Lord with wholehearted trust or are we more like our Lord’s tormenters? How often in reality do we deny the fact that as true king He has dominion over us? How often do we fail to obey His commandment to love Him and one another? In this sense we render Him mock tribute, pay Him lip-service with half-hearted devotions and promises? Harsh thoughts may be, but it is true that in some way each of us is responsible for Christ’s passion and death.
Christ’s love is not half-hearted or resentful of giving of himself; freely offered he wishes to enfold each of us in God’s love. In that dark hour of the Lord’s death on Calvary, the veil of the temple was ‘torn in two from top to bottom’; the Holy of Holies is laid bare because the ‘Holy One of God’ is now exposed for all to see on the cross. This is a most powerful sign; our Lord by His death has destroyed forever the barrier separating us from the presence of God.
Despite our repeated failures and often half-hearted devotion, Christ still humbles Himself to come to us, offering us the fruits of his cross and resurrection in the sacrament of His body and blood. Christ’s kingship is neither worldly or of this world (John 18:36), the point his executioners failed to see and which we sometimes still fail to accept. Christ wishes to write His law, on our hearts and minds; His dominion is one of love not of prestige and power.
Today we hold up our blessed palms as a sign of Christ’s kingship over us; as the prayer of blessing expresses: ‘that we, who follow Christ the King in exultation may reach the eternal Jerusalem through him’. So, let us once more resolve to give Him dominion in our lives and confess with all our hearts, minds, and strength, that truly this is the Son of God in whom we find the true value of our lives.
This is not the time to stand on the side-lines but to enter the fray!
"...JESUS CHRIST, THE BEGINNING AND THE END...
ALL TIME BELONGS TO HIM... AND ALL THE AGES..."
These words on the doors of the Church porch express perfectly the purpose of our parish. We are
a community centred round the Lord Jesus.
Saint Francis' Parish in the heart of Maidstone was founded in 1859 and since then has been the heart of the Catholic community in the Maidstone area. From it was founded the parishes of Saint Thomas More, West Malling; Holy Family, Park Wood; and Saint Peter's Bearsted. In addition to the mother church there are Mass Centres at St Luke's, Preston Hall, and at St Mary's Anglican Church at Nettlestead.
Today the faith which inspired its foundation almost 150 years ago continues to find its expression in a lively community bringing together people of many races all united by their love of God. It is this love which calls us all to work together to build up our community and to care for all in need.
I would like to welcome all who visit our website and hope you share something of our vision for the future of the church and parish.
Canon Luke - Parish Priest
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