A number of parishioners have asked if there is a way for them to continue making contributions to the first or second collections during this (at present unlimited) time of closure.
There is a good number of ‘Gift Aid’ parishioners who pay through the credit transfer system and there are others who pay through the envelope system and there are those who pay through the collecting bags at mass.
If you normally pay through your bank by credit transfer your contributions will continue unless amended by yourself. If you normally pay by envelope or by collection at mass and would like to continue making contributions you could give instructions to your bank to make payments.
There are fixed costs and variable costs associated with running the parish and parishioners can be assured that every effort will be made to minimise the variable costs but the fixed costs will not disappear and we would very much appreciate your help in dealing with these costs during the upcoming unknown times of this virus. All contributions would be gratefully received.
If you would like to join with other parishioners in continuing their contributions please let me know of your intentions so that we can ensure that credits received are allocated to the correct accounts.
Kind regards and keep safe,
Tel. No 0141-637-3023
The Sacred Paschal Triduum
| Morning and Night Prayer |
–for use of the Faithful in their Homes–
The Liturgy of the Hours , also called the Divine Office, consecrates to God the
whole cycle of the day and the night. In the Liturgy of the Hours the Church
offers to God “from the rising of the sun to its setting” a sacrifice of praise,
uniting herself with that hymn sung throughout the ages in the halls of heaven,
and expressing the prayers and desires of all the faithful for the salvation of the
These excerpts from the Divine Office may be prayed along with other members
of one’s household, or even alone. If celebrated alone both LEADER and
OTHERS parts are recited.
—————————— 0 ——————————
Taken from The Divine Office, a translation of Liturgia Horarum, approved by the Episcopal Conferences ofAustralia, England and Wales, Ireland, Scotland.
The Divine Office, © 1974, the hierarchies of Australia, England and Wales, Scotland, Ireland.
Original English version of intercessions, concluding prayers, antiphons, short responsories, responsories © 1974, the hierarchies of Australia, England and Wales, Ireland. Used with permission.
Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible are published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers.
Text of the Psalms © 1963, The Grail (England). Used with permission of A.P. Watt Ltd. All rights reserved.
HOLY SATURDAY — MORNING OFFICE
LEADER O Lord open our lips.
ANY OTHERS PRESENT And we shall praise your name.
INVITATORY PSALM PSALM 94 (95)
Antiphon (LEADER) Christ the Lord suffered for us and was buried: come,
let us adore him.
ANY OTHERS PRESENT Christ the Lord suffered for us and was buried: come,
let us adore him
LEADER Come, ring out our joy to the Lord;
hail the God who saves us.
Let us come before him, giving thanks,
with songs let us hail the Lord.
(ANY OTHERS PRESENT repeat antiphon)
LEADER A mighty God is the Lord,
a great king above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his.
To him belongs the sea, for he made it
and the dry land shaped by his hands.
(ANY OTHERS PRESENT repeat antiphon)
LEADER Come in; let us bow and bend low;
let us kneel before the God who made us:
for he is our God and we
the people who belong to his pasture,
the flock that is led by his hand.
(ANY OTHERS PRESENT repeat antiphon)
LEADER O that today you would listen to his voice!
‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as on that day at Massah in the desert
when your fathers put me to the test;
when they tried me, though they saw my work.
(ANY OTHERS PRESENT repeat antiphon)
LEADER For forty years I was wearied of these people
and I said: “Their hearts are astray,
these people do not know my ways.”
Then I took an oath in my anger:
“Never shall they enter my rest.”’
(ANY OTHERS PRESENT repeat antiphon)
LEADER Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it
was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
(ANY OTHERS PRESENT repeat antiphon)
Suggested Tune: PRAISE MY SOUL (“Praise, my soul, the King of heaven”)
Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle,
sing the last, the dread affray;
o’er the cross, the victor’s trophy,
sound the high triumphal lay,
how, the pains of death enduring,
earth’s Redeemer won the day.
2 When at length th’appointed fullness
of the sacred time was come,
he was sent, the world’s Creator,
from the Father’s heavenly home,
and was found in human fashion,
offspring of the Virgin’s womb.
3 Now the thirty years are ended
which on earth he willed to see.
Willingly he meets his Passion,
born to set his people free:
on the cross the Lamb is lifted,
there the Sacrifice to be.
4 There the nails and spear he suffers,
vinegar and gall and reed.
From his sacred body piercèd
blood and water both proceed:
precious flood, which all creation
from the stain of sin hath freed.
Antiphon (LEADER): Now I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once.
LEADER When I call, answer me, O God of justice;
from anguish you released me, have mercy and hear me!
OTHERS O men, how long will your hearts be closed,
will you love what is futile and seek what is false?
LEADER It is the Lord who grants favours to those whom he loves;
the Lord hears me whenever I call him.
OTHERS Fear him; do not sin: ponder on your bed and be still
Make justice your sacrifice, and trust in the Lord.
LEADER ‘What can bring us happiness?’ many say.
Lift up the light of your face on us, O Lord.
OTHERS You have put into my heart a greater joy
than they have from abundance of corn and new wine.
LEADER I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
OTHERS Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit.
LEADER As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.
ALL Now I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once.
PSALM 15 (16)
Antiphon (LEADER) My body shall rest in hope.
LEADER Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.
I say to the Lord: ‘You are my God.
My happiness lies in you alone.’
OTHERS He has put into my heart a marvellous love
for the faithful ones who dwell in his land.
Those who choose other gods increase their sorrows.
Never will I offer their offerings of blood.
Never will I take their name upon my lips.
LEADER O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
it is you yourself who are my prize.
The lot marked out for me is my delight:
welcome indeed the heritage that falls to me!
OTHERS I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel,
who even at night directs my heart.
I keep the Lord ever in my sight:
since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm.
LEADER And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;
even my body shall rest in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead,
nor let your beloved know decay.
OTHERS You will show me the path of life,
the fullness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand happiness for ever.
LEADER Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
OTHERS As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.
ALL My body shall rest in hope.
LEADER: Judge my case and redeem me.
OTHERS : Give me life according to your promises.
First Reading (LEADER) Hebrews 4:1-13
A Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews
Be careful: the promise of reaching the place of rest he had for them still holds
good, and none of you must think that he has come too late for it. We received
the Good News exactly as they did; but hearing the message did them no good
because they did not share the faith of those who listened. We, however, who
have faith, shall reach a place of rest, as in the text: And so, in anger, I swore that
not one would reach the place of rest I had for them. God’s work was
undoubtedly all finished at the beginning of the world; as one text says, referring
to the seventh day: After all his work God rested on the seventh day. The text we
are considering says: They shall not reach the place of rest I had for them. It is
established, then, that there would be some people who would reach it, and since
those who first heard the Good News failed to reach it through their
disobedience, God fixed another day when, much later, he said ‘today’ through
David in the text already quoted: If only you would listen to him today; do not
harden your hearts. If Joshua had led them into this place of rest, God would not
later on have spoken so much of another day. There must still be, therefore, a
place of rest reserved for God’s people, the seventh-day rest, since to reach the
place of rest is to rest after your work, as God did after his. We must therefore do
everything we can to reach this place of rest , or some of you might copy this
example of disobedience and be lost.
The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts like any double-edged
sword but more finely: it can slip through the place where the soul is divided
from the spirit, or joints from the marrow; it can judge the secret emotions and
thoughts. No created thing can hide from Him; everything is uncovered and
open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves.
[A PERIOD OF SILENCE MAY BE OBSERVED]
LEADER They buried the Lord, made the tomb secure and rolled a stone across
the entrance, * and they placed soldiers there to guard the body. The chief priests
went to Pilate and asked for a guard, *
OTHERS and they placed soldiers there to guard the body.
Second Reading (LEADER) The Lord’s descent into the Underworld
From an ancient homily for Holy Saturday
Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great
silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.
The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he
has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the
flesh and hell trembles with fear.
He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to
visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free
from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve.
The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the
victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast
in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered
him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying:
“Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you
and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held
in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are
sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held
a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work
of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for
you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot
be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the
form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and
beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man
without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was
betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once
breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to
refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the
scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back.
See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out
your hand to a tree.
I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise
and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My
sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will
not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you
the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one
with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I
make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its
bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the
eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie
open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.
[A PERIOD OF SILENCE MAY BE OBSERVED]
LEADER Our shepherd, the source of living water, has departed. At his passing
the sun was darkened, for he who held the first man captive is now taken captive
himself. * Today the Saviour has shattered the bars and burst the gates of death.
He has torn down the barricades of hell and overthrown the power of Satan. *
OTHERS Today the Saviour has shattered the bars and burst the gates of death.
Antiphon (LEADER) Save us, Saviour of the world. By your cross and the
shedding of your blood you have redeemed us. Come to our help, Lord, our
(All STAND and make the Sign of the Cross)
LEADER Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel!
He has visited his people and redeemed them.
OTHERS He has raised up for us a mighty saviour
in the house of David his servant,
as he promised by the lips of holy men,
those who were his prophets from of old.
LEADER A saviour who would free us from our foes,
from the hands of all who hate us.
So his love for our fathers is fulfilled
and his holy covenant remembered.
OTHERS He swore to Abraham our father to grant us,
that free from fear, and saved from the hands of our foes,
we might serve him in holiness and justice
all the days of our life in his presence.
LEADER As for you little child,
you shall be called a prophet of God, the Most High.
You shall go ahead of the Lord
to prepare his ways before him.
OTHERS To make known to his people their salvation
through forgiveness of all their sins,
the loving-kindness of the heart of our God
who visits us like the dawn from on high.
LEADER He will give light to those in darkness,
those who dwell in the shadow of death,
and guide us into the way of peace.
OTHERS Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit.
LEADER As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.
ALL Save us, Saviour of the world. By your cross and the shedding of your
blood you have redeemed us. Come to our help, Lord, our God.
LEADER Let us pray to our Redeemer, who suffered for us, was buried, and rose
from the dead. R Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, our Lord, you saw your Mother standing by the cross;
may we share your saving Passion in our time of suffering. R
Christ, our Saviour, you died like a grain of wheat falling into the ground;
gather us to yourself in the harvest of redemption. R
Christ, our shepherd, lying in the tomb you were hidden from men;
teach us to love our real life, which is hidden with you in God. R
Christ, the new Adam, you went down into the world of the dead to free the just;
may those who are dead in sin hear your voice and live. R
Son of the living God, we were buried with you in baptism;
let us rise with you, alive to God for ever. R
LEADER Our Father…
OTHERS …who art in heaven…
Concluding Prayer and Blessing
Almighty, ever-living God,
whose Only-Begotten Son descended to the realm of the dead,
and rose from there to glory,
grant that your faithful people,
who were buried with him in Baptism
may, by his Resurrection, obtain eternal life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever.
LEADER The Lord bless us, and keep us from all evil, and bring us to
Holy Saturday – Easter Sunday
The Crucifixion had taken place at Golgotha, which was effectively at the edge of a kind of quarry which John dignifies as a “garden” (John 19:41-2) The Emperor Hadrian had the quarry filled in around 135 AD to offer a level site for a church to be built.
As Jesus was taken down from the Cross. His dead body was laid out on “The Stone of Unction” on which His body was anointed before it was laid in the tomb. (John 19:38 -40). This is the first site in the Basilica of The Holy Sepulchre. The aedicule (shrine within a church) which now surrounds the Tomb of Jesus is surprisingly close to Golgotha – hardly 50 metres away. On any normal day there are lines of pilgrims waiting to enter the Tomb. Inside the tomb is now an altar stone dating from the early 19th century. What would have been a catacomb was really destroyed by Hakim in 1009.
Again our interest should not be with the archaeology or history but with the events after Jesus was laid in the tomb:
“It was very early on the first day of the week and it was still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,’ she said, ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’ ….. Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead.”(John 20: 1 -3, 9)
When they saw the tomb was empty, Mary Magdalene stayed there and wept. The other disciples returned home. This may have been the very moment when the world changed for all of us. From this point onwards the descriptions are not of this world but of Jesus joined with His Father. All we are left with is the empty tomb.
The spirituality of the empty tomb is such an important part of the Christian faith. What if the body was still there? All would have been in vain… But there was no body, and the scripture are fulfilled. “”If there is no Resurrection of the dead, then Christ cannot have been raised, then our preaching is without substance, and so is our faith.” (1 Cor 15;13 -14)
Of course many doubted that He was Risen. Mary had to hear her name before she believed; Thomas needed to place his hand in the side of Jesus; the friends on the road to Emmaus discussing where He was; and so the list goes on.
Always Jesus is gentle with doubt.
As you have followed this journey until the time of the Resurrection you would normally join the crowds who gather at the Tomb on Holy Saturday evening to witness “The Miracle of The Holy Fire.” A tradition for the last 1,200 years is that on Holy Saturday evening the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem enters the Tomb alone. Outside crowds are pushing and chanting “Kyrie Eleison” … and everyone has an unlit candle. After some time the Patriarch emerges with a lit “fire” and the tradition is that it has come from God. (There is even a check to make sure there has not been a light hidden in the Tomb beforehand.) That “Holy Fire” is then used to light all the other candles in the Basilica, and fights break out to see who can be first to receive the fire. Very importantly it is carried to all the towns and villages in The Holy Land. Cars are ready with outriders to see how quickly the Holy Fire can be taken. People stand on the routes to be close to the cars as they race to the towns and villages. Christian churches are packed waiting for The Holy Fire to arrive and be the sign that indeed “He is Risen.”. It is also alleged that the flames of The Holy Fire will not burn, although I, personally, cannot vouch for that!
Today… another empty site in Jerusalem and a break in tradition because of the Covid-19 virus. The Holy Fire will appear, but not with the crowds present.
As for the disciples …Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matt 28 16- 20)
Might we have doubts? … Certainly; it is human.
In this world we might think we are indeed left with the empty tomb. This is the tomb of materialism, discord, pain and suffering. It is where the mortal remains of Jesus was laid. We have been on this journey to Easter so that we might live and be confident that Jesus is love and it is that which brings us light and hope. About that we should have no doubts.
As the final thought remember,
“I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
HE IS RISEN
Dear friends, good evening!
This evening I have the chance to enter your homes in a different way than usual. If you allow me, I would like to have a conversation with you for a few moments, in this time of difficulty and of suffering. I can imagine you in your families, living an unusual life to avoid contagion. I am thinking of the liveliness of children and young people, who cannot go out, attend school, live their lives. I have in my heart all the families, especially those who have a loved one who is sick or who have unfortunately experienced mourning due to the coronavirus or other causes. These days I often think about people who are alone, and for whom it is more difficult to face these moments. Above all I think of the elderly, who are very dear to me.
I cannot forget those who are sick with coronavirus, people who are in hospital. I am aware of the generosity of those who put themselves at risk for the treatment of this pandemic or to guarantee the essential services to society. So many heroes, every day, at every hour! I also remember how many are in financial straits and are worried about work and the future. A thought also goes out to prison inmates, whose pain is compounded by fear of the epidemic, for themselves and their loved ones; I think ofthe homeless, who do not have a home to protect them.
It is a difficult time for everyone. For many, very difficult. The Pope knows this and, with these words, he wants to tell everyone of his closeness and affection. Let us try, if we can, to make the best use of this time: let us be generous; let us help those in need in our neighbourhood; let us look out for the loneliest people, perhaps by telephone or social networks; let us pray to the Lord for those who are in difficulty in Italy and in the world. Even if we are isolated, thought and spirit can go far with the creativity of love. This is what we need today: the creativity of love. This is what is needed today: the creativity of love.
We will celebrate Holy Week in a truly unusual way, which manifests and sums up the message of the Gospel, that of God’s boundless love. And in the silence of our cities, the Easter Gospel will resound. The Apostle Paul says: “And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him Who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor 5:15). In the risen Jesus, life conquered death. This Paschal faith nourishes our hope. I would like to share it with you this evening. It is the hope of a better time, in which we can be better, finally freed from evil and from this pandemic. It is a hope: hope does not disappoint; it is not an illusion, it is a hope.
Beside each other, in love and patience, we can prepare a better time in these days. Thank you for allowing me into your homes. Make a gesture of tenderness towards those who suffer, towards children, and towards the elderly. Tell them that the Pope is close and pray, that the Lord will soon deliver us all from evil. And you, pray for me. Have a good dinner. See you soon!
…. And so to Jerusalem……Palm Sunday
As we approach Palm Sunday, for many this is the entry into Easter.
At Taybeh Jesus had chosen to isolate himself, so that He might prepare Himself so that He might save others. That was a choice He made in preparation for the next stage of His journey into Jerusalem.
“When they drew near to Bethphage, the the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples saying to them, “ Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you should say, “The Lord has need of them” and he will send them immediately” This took place to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet, saying, “Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold your king is coming to you, humble and mounted on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass…..And when He entered Jerusalem all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matt 21: 1-5;10-11)
So Palm Sunday is intended to help us remember that triumphant entry of Jesus on an ass and a colt into Jerusalem. This Easter journey should be ramping up to a period of excitement and busyness – in Jerusalem and in our inner selves. Jesus went to Jerusalem by way of Bethphage, which was near Bethany where his friend Lazarus lived with Martha and Mary.
On Palm Sunday in the Old City of Jerusalem normally the streets are thronging with Christians processing, singing, praying and demonstrating a solidarity with each other and with The Lord. Christians from all over The Holy Land try to get to Jerusalem for the celebrations and the procession. Normally buses are crammed and there is a great feeling of anticipation. Pilgrims come from all parts of the world to celebrate the Easter season. In recent years this has been somewhat muted by the checkpoints that Israelis have introduced from the West Bank into Israel. Restrictions are now more severe because of the curfew imposed by the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government to control the coronavirus.
So on this Palm Sunday 2020 the streets of Old Jerusalem are eerily empty. There is a curfew, and all people who have to be out are asked to maintain “a social distance.” This is the first time in living memory that such restrictions have emptied the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem on a day of high drama for the Christian community there.
So we can only join in that isolation of the Christians in Jerusalem. They are not at church today and the holy sites lie quiet, closed and empty. These are sights never before seen in Jerusalem.
The tens of thousands of pilgrims who normally come to celebrate Easter are not in The Holy Land. So the festivities and ceremonies are muted or non-existent. They are taking place behind closed doors or virtually on screens of many different kinds. The economic impact of this is devastating for the Christian communities of Jerusalem and The West Bank.
In Jerusalem – which is the holy city for the three main Abrahamic faiths, Christianity, Islam and Judaism – we remember that our Jewish brothers and sisters will be celebrating Passover in a few short weeks when they remember the Exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. Also our Muslim friends will also soon be starting the holy month of Ramadan which is a time for them to be closer to God; it is a time to think of the poor and a time of giving. They too will struggle at this time this year, since they often put much emphasis on “place,” and the places are closed this year.
In our parish we would normally have a procession into church at the beginning of Mass, holding high the palms to be blessed. Today the churches are closed and we have to dig into our memories.
This year we have to live our faith from within our hearts and minds. We shall not be active participants in groups and in churches. We have to find our faith in our hearts and even in our personal imagination. Think of:
2000 years ago the triumphant entry of Jesus on an ass and colt.
A year ago the traditional celebrations in the crowded streets in the maze of the Old City of Jerusalem.
Today the reality of empty streets …
This emptiness might foreshadow the full Passion of Jesus – leaving us with the empty tomb. That emptiness might not just be an absence – but an opportunity for a new beginning; a beginning of a closer understanding of God.
Can we see our isolation as a blessing? It is a blessing for the good of others, and not a personal burden. It is the chance to think about a world order based on better relationships and doing good for others. Take time to reflect on this, and how each of us does it.
We can find plenty of “virtual celebrations” on websites such as Vatican News, EWTN, and our Archdiocesan links. All of these are developed that we might come closer to The Lord who will suffer and die for us in the coming week.
And so we move on with this journey…..an inner journey of hope and faith.
To Holy Thursday……
Reflection by Bart McGettrick, as part of “The Journey Towards Easter”.
It is a pleasure to offer these few brief “Reflections on an Easter Journey – Today”.
These reflections will try to describe what life is like today in the land where Jesus travelled to give His life that we might live. The Holy Land is a rapidly changing area, and now has only 1.2% of its population is Christian. Emigration is constant and the pressures on Christians is severe.
As in this country there is currently significant restrictions on movement of people in Palestine. The Coronavirus has had the impact of virtually shutting off much of Palestinian land. On 6 March the Palestinian Authority declared a “lockdown” of mobility and social meeting in the area. This has kept the number of cases with Coronavirus low, currently around 100, and few deaths. The impact on the economy has been devastating since much is dependent on tourism. That has simply collapsed.
As so often happens there are unknown consequences of crises. In The Holy Land there is a resurgence of the spiritual life of Christians. There is an awareness that humanity is not saved by material wealth and celebrities, but by faith and good works. So not all is disaster and gloom.
Jesus went to Jerusalem not only to die – but that He would rise for us and be Our Saviour. Keep that in mind through the darker days that cover us. Journey to Easter with that hope.
Beginning The Journey
We shall begin this journey after the miracle of “The Raising of Lazarus” (John 11: 1-45) and what took place after that. Indeed it was this miracle which seems to have been a factor in provoking the Pharisees to begin the actions that would lead to the Crucifixion. John says, “Since that day on, they (the Pharisees) made the decision to kill him. Jesus did not walk in public among the Jews anymore. He went away to a region near the desert, to a city called Ephraim, and it was there that he and his disciples dwelt” (John 11: 53–54).
So this journey takes us to Ephraim, today known as Taybeh. This town is 12 miles or so from Jerusalem with a population of around 2,500 people and is now best known for the production of Taybeh Beer! It remains a quiet town with a relatively high proportion of Christians (around 30%; the rest being Moslem). It was the last all-Christian town in Palestine. There is still an active Christian community here, with a vibrant Catholic parish and school. Today there is also a Nursing Home, Beit Afram, run by the Catholic Church. This is an important service for the elderly and the frail people of that area and an example of the importance of the Catholic Church in The Holy Land.
As with all towns in The Holy Land it is on top of a hill – away from the dangerous valleys that can flood in winter, and for the cool breezes in the hot summers. So Jesus would have stayed in and around this rocky area, preparing Himself for His travel to Jerusalem.
So Jesus left his friends – Lazarus, Martha and Mary – and went to the solitude in the hill country around Taybeh. There He and His disciples fortified themselves spiritually through quiet prayer knowing what he would face when He went to Jerusalem.
As we isolate ourselves these days, we might think that there are some people afraid because of ailing health and an uncertain future. We keep especially in our prayers – our families; the elderly; neighbours; those living alone; and those with illness; and those who are afraid.
Yes, Jesus was afraid of facing the end of His life, and we might think of others in that situation.
Can we this week offer some practical help? You can be at home and comfort others. Our faith is expressed not just in words but in good works.
This week can we stay at home and lift the phone to, say two people who may be alone or suffering?
Can we email someone whom we have neglected?
Can we simply offer a prayer…?
Be with Jesus on His final journey… and so to Jerusalem …
Pray as You Go Jesuit Missionaries
www.prayasyougo.org.uk App available for smart phones
Pray As You Go is a short daily prayer session lasting approximately ten to twelve minutes. The format includes a piece of music, a reading from the readings of the day and a short prayerful reflection based on the chosen reading.
It particularly appeals to me because it’s related to one of the readings of the day, it allows me to experience different types of spiritual music and I like the idea that I’m connected to others who are meditating on the same reflection. However, the Jesuit site also offers a number of other resources including reflections on the rosary, lectio divina and personal retreats.
In response to our current period of uncertainty Pray as You Stay was launched on Monday 23rd March as a prayer support for us during these very difficult and challenging times.
To access other Jesuit resources including ‘United in prayer – be near Jesus at home,’ copy this link into your search engine: https://www.pathwaystogod.org/
Lenten Reflections from John’s gospel Redemptorist Publications
Father Denis McBride is described as ‘a renowned priest, lecturer and author.’ You may be familiar with his books already as we have a number of them in the prayer group library. We also used pictures from his book ‘Stations of the Cross then and now,’ for our Lenten Reflection Evening in 2018.
The Lenten reflections include an introductory video which compares John’s narrative to the other three gospels. The three Lenten Narratives reflect on:
- The Woman of Samaria
- The Man Born Blind
- The Raising of Lazarus
How to access: www.rpbooks.co.uk or google: Redemptorist Publications
Click on the red rectangle which says
Scroll down to the heading: Three Lenten Narratives from the Gospel of John. Clicking on the picture of Father Denis will take you to all of the videos or click on the ‘watch now’ box to watch straight away.
Mass on line
I know many of you have already accessed mass and other online services via the Archdiocese of Glasgow website: www.rcag.org.uk
Vatican Services can be accessed via Vatican’s YouTube channel
I chose to watch Sunday mass and exposition there this week. I found the service very intimate and was left with the feeling that I personally had attended mass with Pope Francis and a very small group of others. The translator was excellent and led exposition beautifully, in my opinion.
Redemptorist Publications are also providing access to Father Denis McBride’s Sunday mass from Saturday noon. www.rpbooks.co.uk
National Novena to Our Lady of Knock www.knockshrine.ie or google Knock
Parish Church Live Stream
Knock is conducting a National Novena to Our Lady of Knock from 17-25 March. Novena intentions: Praying for a swift end to the Coronavirus, the protection of all people against it, all who are ill at this time and all medical and civil authorities.
Two sessions daily: 12 noon: Angelus, Mass and
7.30pm: Mass and Novena prayers followed by Eucharistic blessing
Apparition Chapel Live Stream
The Apparition Chapel, the site of the apparition at Knock in 1879 is also accessible on livestream and provides access to the ‘sacred silence of the site.’ It creates a still, tranquil and prayerful atmosphere.
Light a Candle
Candles can be purchased online (suggested donation 2 Euros). Candles will be lighted and placed at the apparition site on your behalf.
—————————————————————————————————————-Resources for Catholics
The Tablet Catholic Newsweekly
The Tablet has constructed a very long list of resources which are available on line at this time. www.thetablet.co.uk/ or google: The Tablet
Scroll down and click on the heading under the picture of Pope Francis. ‘Isolated but not alone: resources for Catholics.’
Pray as You Go provides artist and album information for all of their music. I’ve found it a good resource for exploring new music. While I’ve downloaded the specific songs and tunes I’ve wanted from iTunes, I’d assume they’ll also be available through Spotify or the details provided should help you to purchase an album.
Artists whose music I’ve shared at our prayer ministry and reflection evenings include:
Eric Nordhoff Soaking – Your Great Name and Quietime
Salt of the Sound And on Earth Peace, Dwell Among Us, In Prayer, Lent Vol 1, Waiting for the Dawn
Karen Money Secret Things
Noirin Ni Riain Vox De Nube (The Beatitudes)
Taize Laudete Omnes Genti, Laudate: Music of Taize
I know many of us already read Father Ronald Rolheiser’s column in the Scottish Catholic Observer. His weekly column, as well as archived columns, may be accessed at www.ronrolheiser.com or google: Father Ronald Rolheiser
He has provided an excellent column this week reflecting on how we may grow through this time. You can also sign up for a twice weekly e-newsletter to twice weekly receive a reflection from his archives.
There are many books we could consider recommending just now. If I had to choose just one, my recommendation would be the late Father Daniel O’Leary’s ‘Travelling Light.’ I think this book requires dedicated time to read and reflect on the daily two page ‘breather’ before participating in the suggested reflection. Perhaps we have the time for this just now.
This poem was penned by a Capuchin Franciscan brother in Ireland. If you are unable to access it using the above link, google: Youtube Radio London, Yes, there is fear.
Worth a listen to if you haven’t heard it already!
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace. (Numbers 6:24-27)
My dear brothers and sisters,
You will by now have heard the news that public Masses will not be celebrated in the Archdiocese of Glasgow for an indefinite period after today, the Feast of St Joseph, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
St Joseph is the Patron of the Universal Church and we ask for his prayers at this time.
The decision to suspend Masses was for me most distressing. Heartbreaking, I would say. In the end, however, I could not avoid it. I know that you will be very sad. It is really hard to contemplate weeks and months without Mass.
I said in my homily last Sunday that, whatever happened, the Church would not abandon you. I repeat that pledge to you now. So here are some ways in which you can sustain your life in Christ and in the Church.
• During this time without Mass, every parish Church is unfortunately closed
• If you want Confession ask the priest .
• Again, if you need the Anointing of the Sick, just phone your priest.
• You can say the Rosary at any time and call on the intercession of the Blessed Mother.
• Mass is streamed live from St Andrew’s Cathedral every day. Some parish churches have the same facility.
• Try to follow Holy Week and the Passion of Jesus from your home. I know it’s almost unthinkable that we cannot kiss the Cross on Good Friday and go to Mass on Easter Sunday, but we can still celebrate the Sacred Triduum and Easter in our homes by following Mass on television or live screening. We may also be able to see the Holy Father give us his blessing on Easter Sunday.
• Keep in touch with us through consulting the Archdiocese of Glasgow website and Facebook pages. There will be regular updates on our response to the pandemic. We would really love to hear from you there too.
During Lent we are called to follow Jesus more faithfully. We never imagined that our Lenten penance would be that we would have to do without Mass. We never imagined that Our Lenten fast would be a fast from the bread of life in the Holy Eucharist. So our Lent will continue into Easter as we wait with patience until we can be satisfied once more with Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
I do not know how long this pandemic is going to last. I do not know how long we will have to be without public Mass. Soon we will be at Easter. “Christ is truly risen, Alleluia”, is the acclamation. We continue to put our trust in Jesus as we confront these strange and unprecedented days.
I give you my word that I will reinstate public Masses as soon as we are told it is safe to do so. In the meantime, let us pray for each other. Keep safe. Keep well.
May God bless you all.
Yours devotedly in Christ
Archbishop of Glasgow
Feast of St Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church