Here is the brief homily I preached in the Cathedral at the 1200 Mass last Sunday 10th April 2022, Palm Sunday.
Today, Palm Sunday, we begin Holy Week. This is the week in which the earthly life of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, comes to a climax as on Friday He lays down His life on the Cross for us and then on Easter Sunday rises gloriously from the tomb. All the events we’ve just heard in today’s Gospel of the Passion play out this week. Today Jesus enters Jerusalem. Tomorrow, He goes to Bethany where with costly oil Mary anoints His feet. On Tuesday, we see Jesus at supper, troubled that one of The Twelve will betray Him and another deny Him. On Wednesday, Judas seals the deal to hand Him over. And then on Thursday, we begin the Triduum, the Sacred Three Days: the Mass of the Lord’s Supper followed by the Agony on the Garden, the celebration of the Passion and Crucifixion on Good Friday, the Lord’s descent into hell on Holy Saturday and the glory of the resurrection and empty tomb at the Easter Vigil.
I’d like to encourage you to treat Holy Week as a kind of spiritual retreat. True, most of us won’t be able to create the kind of peace, quiet and prayerful solitude of a retreat house. But let’s do our best at least to get to the liturgies of this week. Try also to spend some time each day in prayer, perhaps creating a rough schedule. Study the Readings of the Mass and reflect on them. Why not come to church to make the Stations of the Cross? Look out this week for a chance to do an act of kindness, charity and advocacy for the poor and needy. Let’s bombard heaven with our petitions for an end to the war in Ukraine. And above all, while there’s an opportunity, avail yourself of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, making a good confession in preparation for Easter.
In that Second Reading, the Hymn from the Letter to the Philippians, St. Paul said God raised Him high and gave Him the Name which is above all names. In this Mass, know that the Lord loves you. He has laid down His life for you. He wants you to rise with Him from sin, suffering and sadness to happiness and eternal life. So let’s keep this Holy Week holy, like a retreat. Let’s ask Him to renew and deepen our faith.