29th March 2020
Today, the Fifth Sunday of Lent is also known as the First Sunday of the Passion when we veil all the crosses, statues and images in the church. As you can see from the photo below, in spite of the present situation the veiling was still done yesterday morning at St Mary’s. It’s important the liturgical life of the Church doesn’t collapse. Your homes now need to become churches. I know the idea of a home altar is really catching on. So why not now veil your crosses and statues at home? Imagine if we all now turn our homes into churches how much stronger we will be as a parish and as a Church when we all come back together again. It will be tremendous! So if you haven’t done so already, I really encourage you to set up a little altar with a cross, a candle, a statue of Our Lady or of a saint or with whatever helps you to pray, and then go there when you pray. When you read the Bible or a spiritual book, go there. When you say the Rosary or the Divine Mercy chaplet, go there. It will really change things.
But to explain the veiling: the idea of the veil is in the Letter to the Hebrews, where St Paul talks about the veil as being a type of the flesh of Christ, and so Christ veiled His glory, His divinity from the Jews. His humanity veiled His divinity. Similarly the veil of the Temple in Jerusalem hid God’s glory in the Holy of Holies. The veiling is also symbolic of Our Lord going into hiding because the Jews wanted to stone Him (John 8:59). He went into hiding because “His hour had not yet come.” When His hour did come He was crucified and poured out His Blood on the altar of the cross to redeem us. He is the true Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Then today, most importantly, was the day of rededicating England as the ‘Dowry of Mary’. Fr David joined me as I made the rededication in the church at 11am this morning before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima (which wasn’t veiled!), and I know many of you made the dedication yourselves in your homes and families with us at the same hour.
Then I celebrated Mass, and after Mass I did something I have been wanting to do for the past couple of weeks – I blessed the whole of Loughborough with the Blessed Sacrament on the steps of the entrance to the church. Ashby Road was totally silent and empty as I did so. I felt as Parish Priest of Loughborough this was something I had an obligation to do. So may God give us all His grace and protection.
Right now practically the whole world is in fear of dying of this virus. But let us not be afraid because we believe in Christ. God gave us His only Son so as we wouldn’t have to fear death. St Paul says in Thessalonians 4 we’re not like those other people who have no hope. If you’re a friend of Our Lord and His Mother you have nothing to fear. JESUS died on the cross so as death would be no more, and we are all destined to be citizens of Heaven. So let us all keep faith and trust in God and remember that we now, more than ever, are called to live in a different way from the rest of the world.
In JESUS and Mary,