On this Palm Sunday “We place before Jesus the people of Ukraine, their agony,” says Cardinal in moving homily

The Archbishop of Westminster has made a moving plea to us all to “walk together” in Jesus’ name as we move into Holy Week.

Delivering his homily at Westminster Cathedral this morning, HE Cardinal Vincent Nichols said that love for Our Blessed Lord makes us return year after year to make the Easter journey.

His Eminence also commended the people of Ukraine, and all the sick and dying, to the protection and love of Our Lord, as we follow in his footsteps through unimaginable pain and suffering to our eternal reward.

“Where we go, he goes too. Where he goes, so do we,” said Cardinal Nichols.

“Our calling now is to walk together, to accompany one another, in his name, in his love, so that we may truly be his people, his Church.”

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FULL TEXT OF THE CARDINAL’S HOMILY:

Given on Palm Sunday, 10th April 2022, at Westminster Cathedral

This morning we cross the threshold of Holy Week. Now we begin to journey with our Blessed Lord in the final days of his earthly life. Now we follow him, step by step, through all the events put before us by St Luke in the narrative of the passion and death of our Saviour.

Step by step. We can recognise the different moments: a moment of triumph as he is publicly accepted by the crowd as the hero they had been waiting for, to free them from the yoke of oppression. Then a moment of intimacy, gathered round with his closest companions for the much-loved Passover meal. Yet here he has a task to do. He must slowly open their eyes to a deeper reality in which they are taking part. He is, indeed, the one who fulfils the promises of old, a promised ‘Suffering Servant’ of God who will suffer rejection, rather than adulation, condemnation rather than applause. He is the one in whom the words of Isaiah that we heard will be fulfilled, for in the suffering to come ‘The Lord will come to my help’ and the shame shall give way to glory. The next step we take with him is into the garden of his agony, the struggle to accept reality rather than avoid it, and then to bear the unfolding of suffering and death. We stand with him in that agony, fully aware that he is the victim of utter injustice.

Why are we here? Why do you want to accompany our Blessed Lord? Why do we return, year after year, to make this journey with him?

The simplest answer is because here is love.

We know, in faith, that he makes this journey out of love for us. He accepts this rejection on our behalf, to show us that no matter what we do, we will never be rejected by him. He embraces the fate of the victim, so that every victim may know, in their isolation and pain, they are not be alone but enfolded in his embrace. He gives his body to be broken in death so that the time of our own death may be transformed by knowing that he has been there before us and now is with us as we enter into that dark valley.

Out of love he journeys with us, in our struggles and joys, in our pain and frustrations, in our living and dying. Out of love, we make this journey with him, coming close to him not solely here in church, but in our hearts, in every quiet moment of this week as we raise our minds and hearts to him. In this way we make these days truly a Holy Week.

Today we bring ourselves to him. We bring the burden of our failure and sin. We place before Jesus the people of Ukraine, their agony. We bring to him our sick and dying. And he carries these burdens with us, indeed for us, for such is his love, made evident in his Cross. Where we go, he goes too. Where he goes, so do we. He accompanies us always for he has bound himself to us in the flesh of his body and in the love of his heart.

He accompanies us. In him we recognise ‘our own humanity’ and our final destiny. Our calling now is to walk together, to accompany one another, in his name, in his love, so that we may truly be his people, his Church.

✠ Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster

 

Story courtesy Diocese of Westminster: https://rcdow.org.uk

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