1. An empty Cross and an empty tomb await us this night. Five thousand years of history at last come to fulfilment in the promise of God to share with us God’s own life beyond death.
2. A young man from a wealthy family was about to graduate from high school. It was the custom in that wealthy neighbourhood for the parents to give the graduate a motor car.
3. "Bill’ and his father had spent months looking at cars, and the week before graduation, they found the perfect car. On the eve of his graduation, his father handed him a gift wrapped Bible.
4. Bill was so angry that he threw the Bible down and stormed out of the house. He and his father never saw each other again. It was the news of his father’s death that brought Bill home again.
5. As he sat one night going through his father’s possessions that he was to inherit, he come across the Bible his father had given him.
- Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Oh were you there when they crucified my Lord?
(Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble) Tremble. Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
- Pope Francis speaks of murder: “The person who gossips is a terrorist who drops a bomb, destroys, and they are outside …they destroy others.”…Yes, we were there when they crucified Our Lord.
- St James warns the community: What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! …Yes, we were there when they crucified Our Lord.
- St John warns us: Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. …Yes, we were there when they crucified Our Lord.
- St Mathew does not spare us: “You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the Day of Judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” …Yes, we were there when they crucified Our Lord.
Our chosen Mission statement for the Parish of Ladysmith states that;
WE STRIVE TO BE A UNIFIED, LOVING, FAITH-FILLED, VIBRANT COMMUNITY, ROOTED IN GOSPEL VALUES, WHICH SUPPORTS, NUTURES AND BUILDS EACH PERSON TO ENABLE US TO FULFILL OUR MISSION OF SERVING GOD AND HUMANITY"
1. The outward sign of this ‘Community’ is the active participation in the life of the Church in our Sunday Eucharist.
2. In this Eucharist we celebrate the Word of God proclaimed and the Body and Blood of Christ shared.
3. This is our Communion and union in and through the community listening to God’s Word and sharing in the one bread and the one cup.
- Today we allow the Gospel of our Lord’s Passion to speak for itself. The betrayal of Christ starts with someone from the inner circle; someone from the community; Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and asks: What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?
- Judas went to the Jewish authorities and asks; What’s in it for me! On the other hand we hear that the disciple came to Jesus and asked; what do you want us to do for you.
- Judas asked 'What will you give me?' - The disciples asked what can we do for you?
- It is Christ who is being betrayed; Christ the head of the community; Christ the head of the Church.
- How often do we also get it wrong; seeing the Church as somehow separate from Christ and separate from ourselves? It is people who betray Christ; in His community which is his body, the Church.
- Jerusalem held deep cultural and religious significance for the Jewish people. Many of their great leaders, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, reigned in Jerusalem during the days of Israel's glory. It was a place of kings and power, a symbol of the Jewish nation.
- At its’ heart stood the temple. The retaining walls around the Temple Mount were designed to hold a huge man-made platform twenty stories high that could accommodate twenty four football fields for up to a million pilgrims. When it was completed, it was the world's largest functioning religious site and until today it remains the largest man-made platform in the world.
- The Temple itself on top of this platform, was spectacular. The Holy of Holies was covered in gold; the walls and columns of the other buildings were of white marble; the floors were of carrara marble, its blue tinge giving the impression of a moving sea of water; the curtains were tapestries of blue, white, scarlet and purple thread, depicting, "the whole vista of the heavens."
- The Sanctuary had everything that could amaze either mind or eyes. Overlaid all round with plates of gold, the first rays of the sun it reflected so fierce a blaze of fire that those who endeavoured to look at it were forced to turn away as if they had looked straight at the sun.
- To strangers as they approached it seemed in the distance like a mountain covered with snow; for any part not covered with gold was dazzling white.
- Today’s Gospel is called the story as the Transfiguration. Jesus’ appearing in glory was a new phase in the journey the apostles made with him. From his first appearance in the world, Jesus was clearly visible as Saviour of all those in need of help.
- He appeared so especially to those who felt they were in some sort of need and so wanted to turn to him in their prayer for healing and forgiveness.
- The gospels often tell us about this element of Jesus’ journey. People were attracted to him for this reason alone, which is also why Jesus often withdrew from the crowd.
- Those who went looking for his healing power found it very difficult to find him (Mark 1:40). This was why it was said so frequently that all found it difficult to really recognize him; although they kept coming to him in ever greater numbers.
- This incident on the mount of Transfiguration shows us that something radical happened then. Jesus’ divinity was now linked to his lowering himself to be with the smallest of all people. He was getting down to the reality of the cross.
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news. (Mk. 1:15)
- The first command of Jesus’ public ministry is not forgive, serve, or even love - it is: Repent.
- Of all the words he could have chosen it was this word, this challenge, this command which he spoke – Repent, and then......believe in the good news.
- To think of Lent only as a time of penance in the traditional sense is to do it an injustice. While the traditional practice of "doing something" for Lent is praiseworthy, there is much more to this wonderful season than just additional practices of piety or acts of penance and mortification.
- In Lent the Church calls us to metanoia. This Greek word translated as penance denotes a change of mind and heart, altering one's mind-set toward whole new ways of thinking and acting.
- This involves taking a look at where we are and trying to see where we ought to be. It involves testing our values and discerning how they stack up against the values that Jesus offers his followers.