“in the hour of his Passover meal, Jesus believes everything has to begin again, but altogether differently, so that human freedom may really come to pass. Had he ever in his life wished anything else than that people would stop talking about God “as it is written” outside themselves, on tablets or parchments, learning the words by heart & quoting them generation after generation, separating people into groups; the good & the bad; the insider & the lost; those perfected & those to be finished off. [ sheep & goats; swaledale & herdwick; rock & sand. ] When would God be interior to people, someone they can feel in their hearts, no longer a God of terror who has to impress people with lightning & thunder, but a voice of a sheer silence in the human heart, most powerful when most insignificant, most strongly felt & never greater than when one human being bows down before the greatness of another? Talking about freedom is one thing; living it is something else. Talking about God is simple; but really approaching God is a shattering experience, with no security underfoot & it is a confidence & comfort that needs no security. People always say they are free but when they meet someone who is really free, they set up defences against that person & try to protect themselves. All of us, more or less, think we are happy & content, but when we meet someone really happy, who feels no need to protect themself with hatred struggle & competition, & is simply able to be selflessly good, we think less of ourselves. We are supposedly all so happy & in hidden ways, we are all suffering, & our inclination is to make others suffer too. We do not need a Passover meal anymore. What we need is, finally, to be serious about our real choices; humanity or death; hatred or love; terror or freedom. We need to put our talk to the test. There is no way out of the upper room, where the Passover was celebrated that does not lead to the Mount of Olives & to Golgotha. Whenever, since that night, we celebrate a meal together, it should be done according to the mind of Jesus; that no guilt remains unforgiven, that no separation between us is final, & that the division that parts us from God, from our own selves, & from other people is taken away. A meal that anticipates the reign of God, a community of all people that shows that God is mightier than all fear & greater than all might. For nothing is stronger than love.” [the Open Tomb; Eugen Drewermann]
With the return home of our young disciples from University, & the emergence of some of you who have been live streaming Mass at home since last August, for the entry into Holy Week, we had two full Churches on Palm Sunday; 44 at 10am at OL&SB, 26 at 4pm at OL&HA. For our Triduum Services between Maundy Thursday & Easter Day, our Good Friday 3pm Liturgy & our 10am Mass on Easter Day are fully booked. There is still room at our Maundy Thursday 7.30pm Mass, our Stations of the Cross at OL&HA on Good Friday at 7pm, our Sat Easter Vigil at 9pm, & our Easter Day 4pm Mass at OL&HA. If you would like to come to any of these, do be in touch with me very soon. Due to covid restrictions, the Triduum Services will be different this year; however, it is a blessing, after the full lockdown of our Churches last Holy Week, to be back where we will always belong this year, with special remembrance for all who have died in the pandemic, the bereaved, those recovering, & for the stalwarts in the NHS & in care homes who have worked tirelessly & miraculously on behalf of us all.
Last week, in advance of Holy Week whilst St Benedict’s RC PS were still in session, we celebrated the key moments of Our Lords journey to the Cross, all outside so we could gather as a School family & maintain social distance between class bubbles. Thursday we walked round the Village praying seven Stations of the Cross, pausing to pray outside the Surgery, in St Hilda’s Churchyard  round by the Shop, into St Benedict’s graveyard, where we tolled the Church bell to announce that the School was on pilgrimage, & back onto the playground. It was an amazing experience as two children in Class 4 took it in turns to carry the substantial Cross; it was a profoundly prayerful experience, uplifting to see our children at such a young age experiencing the essence of prayer & reflection. We are grateful to Mrs Lally & all the staff for their work & prayer in it all. We will celebrate Easter in the week they return.
Easter People “we are the Easter people & our song is Alleluia !” [Pope John Paul II] “never forget you are Easter people called to become witnesses of his Resurrection.”
“what are you glad you gave up? [ for Lent ] asked the boy “trying to please everyone” said the horse With my love & prayers. Fr Bede