As we approach the Fifth Sunday of Lent the statues in Church are shrouded in purple. The Church feels different. Since the beginning of Lent our worship has become much simpler. There has been no adornment; no flowers, no extra music, purple vestments. As we approach the great moment of our salvation, as we draw near to the foot of that cross, upon which suffered and died the Saviour of the World, we focus on him alone. There will be no distractions.
We human beings constantly flit from one thing to another. Our attention wanders. News reports and television programmes are short, so that we do not have to concentrate for very long. How many of you would bother to read the back of the bulletin if it were three or four times the length? The concentration needed in the coming weeks will be great, so that we can fully appreciate the momentous events that will take place.
This is why we veil the statues. We do not want anything to take our attention from God. Nothing should distract us. We should look at Him and Him alone, offered on the cross for us.
From this Fifth Sunday onwards Lent moves into a different phase. The end is in sight, but before that resurrection morning, we must walk with God-made-man. We must come with Him and stand in the crowd as He enters Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. We must sit with Him as he breaks bread with His disciples, washes their feet, and gives us the gift of the priesthood. We will stand in the shadows as Judas betrays Him with a kiss and be sickened by the blood on His fair skin from the lashes of the Roman whips. We will see the pain in the eyes of His mother as she follows Him on the way to the cross. And our breath will stop as He breathes His last... sighing for us, for our sins, to show us how much God loves us, to show us the consequences of our actions.
This begins now. We must prepare ourselves by prayer, fasting and almsgiving, that we may be worthy to walk in the footprints of Jesus, Our God. The journey is begun. Come, let us go to Jerusalem.
With my continued prayers for a happy and fruitful Lent