Dear People of God from the Port Pirie Diocese,
Just a few weeks ago we began on Ash Wednesday our Lenten preparation to Easter. Time goes fast and we are now approaching our central liturgies in our Church. Maybe that could still be a bit of time to reflect about past few weeks, how have you prepared yourself to these final celebrations.
Tomorrow, in the evening liturgy of Holy Thursday we will recall Lord’s Supper which Jesus celebrated with His disciples before His passion. We call it “Last Supper” yet in reality it was a “First Supper” in which Jesus said the words which changed the history of humankind: “This is my body, this is my blood.” During this meal He commissioned his apostles and their successors to “do this in memory of me”. Jesus said: “my body, my blood, do this”. In these simple words He established the Eucharist and priesthood. That gives me a good opportunity to express sincere thanks to my brother priests.
We are living in the difficult time, experiencing devaluation of priestly ministry because of serious abuses made by those who accepted God’s call and betrayed that call. So, in this time even more I should say thanks to those who faithfully prepare the table for Lord’s Supper and wholeheartedly serve to those to whom they have been sent.
In our diocese maybe we don’t have many parishes but certainly we still have quite many churches. It means that most of our priests travel a lot in order to support different church communities. On behalf of our diocese, I would like to thank you, dear priests, for your dedication and the gift of your life which you have offered to God and His people.
If you remember my reflection from the installation ceremony about important factors to strengthen our family then you know how important is for us our common table to share our life with each other. Our celebration of the Lords Supper stands at the foundation of our common table with Jesus. He set that table over 2000 years ago and commissioned His apostles, bishops and priests to do it in His name so, He continue to set it up for us every time we celebrate Mass. To participate in the Mass of the Lord’s Supper is to be at the foundation of our common table with Christ.
What a strange name we choose for Good Friday. From the human perspective what we celebrate in Good Friday is very much dramatic and painful, when we walk with Jesus through the Station of the Cross and listen in the Gospel during afternoon liturgy about Christ passion and death. Yet, through Christ passion and death symbol of pain and suffering – the Cross became for us Christians a sign of union with God or using different words – became a sign of our home with God. Since then, every time we want to come into God’s presence, we make sign of the cross, which opens the door to our home with God. And this is good news – Christ gave us a key to enter our common home with God.
The final moment of our celebrations gathers us on Easter Vigil which outshines the darkness of Christ’s passion and death. The ceremony of the light, liturgy of the word, renewal of baptismal promises not only remind us about Christ victory over death but point us to follow Him from death to life and this is our common goal, the resurrection to the fulness of life.
Each one of us experiences these ceremonies according to own nationality, culture, stage of life and it is our personal encounter with risen Christ. Christ is risen, the tomb is empty, He is not here – these messages welcome us on the morning of the third day. This news gives us hope. Because of that we wish each other happy and joyful time for Easter.
May the solemn celebrations which you will experience during these few days strengthen your baptismal commitment to follow God in you daily life, fill your heart with hope for the fulness of life because life is stronger than death. May the message of the morning of the third day fill your heart with joy. Christ is risen!