Forty days of Lent are over – the time of preparation for celebrating the greatest week of our year. Pope Francis has been our guide through these days of Lent, with his message of the mercy of God, the joy of the Gospel to be shared with all people.
This Holy Week we have relived, as we do every year, the events that form the basis of our faith: Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and giving himself to them in the form of bread and wine at the Last Supper; his willing suffering of betrayal, torture, death and burial; and his bursting forth from the tomb, victorious over sin and death.
The renewal of our baptismal promises reminds us that, as we have died with Christ in the waters of baptism, so we will be raised to new life with him. Whatever is going on in our lives or in our world, we believe the power of his victory over the forces of darkness means that good will always triumph over evil and the Father’s plan for us and for the world will be fulfilled.
Now we are ready for fifty days of rejoicing – the season of Easter, celebrating Christ’s victory over sin and death, goes on until Pentecost Sunday, the 8th of June. That day we will have the first of our three celebrations of Confirmation and Eucharist with the families who have been preparing with their children since September. The theme of our preparation has been With You Always: just as Jesus promised to be with his followers always, to the end of time, we promise to be with these children and their families, as they journey into a closer relationship with Jesus.
In the midst of our rejoicing, we will also be reflecting on our Lenten Journey and thinking about our next steps. On Thursday 8th May, in our Parish Centre, we will listen to the experience of our Lenten Groups and the practical suggestions they have raised. On Saturday 10th May, representatives of our parish will be joining volunteers from the other churches in our area to plan how we will gather the stories of those who are suffering from poverty in our community and find ways of taking action to combat poverty.
The Risen Lord is alive among us, opening our eyes to the needs of our sisters and brothers and inspiring us to serve them, so that his Church may stand as a living witness to truth and freedom, to peace and justice, so that all people may be raised up to a new hope.