Archbishop Patrick's Message for Holy Week and Homilies

Good Friday and Easter Message of the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool.  Good Friday, 6 April 2012



In preparing for Easter this year Liverpool was one of twelve cities across Europe asked by the Vatican to undertake a pilot programme of evangelisation.  Throughout the season of Lent many hundreds of people, without exception, greatly appreciated what was offered to them including talks, reflections and early morning celebrations of Mass. It is likely that the new initiatives will become part of the pattern for Lent in future years.


On the Eve of Palm Sunday in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King there was the Way of the Cross, accompanied by the music of Franz Liszt.  Most of those able so to do actually walked the Way of the Cross and it was a unique coming together of word, music, art and demanding participation.  The Way of the Cross in the midst of a city as on the first Good Friday, when the Temple worship was at its brilliant best in Jerusalem; it was a day of enormous activity as the Passover drew near.  The real worship, though, was on a road out of the City to Calvary where just one figure with a few friends was going against the crowd.  Christians consciously make the decision on a Good Friday not to just follow the crowd but to follow someone who calls us personally to walk his way.


The secret of Easter Day is: are we willing to allow the Lord to touch that in us which is most deeply in need of healing?  The more we can allow him to, the more we can rejoice in Easter Day, because we then realise the profound truth that nothing can separate us from the love of God visible in the risen Lord.

Pictures from the Mass of Chrism celebrated in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool on Wednesday 4 April 2012.  © Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk

More pictures from the Mass




Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord 1 April 2012

Homily of the Gospel of the Procession of Palms preached by the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool at Solemn Mass of Palm Sunday.  Sunday 1 April 2012 at 11.00 am in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool.

Behold the Lamb of God: behold a King who rides not on a mighty stallion but on the colt of a donkey.  Behold the Lamb of God: daughter of Zion, that is poorest of the poor, in Jerusalem wherever your Jerusalem is: Rejoice: behold your king, poor, lowly, not overwhelming so that the sight of him will dazzle you until your eyes are blinded and despair: but: behold the Lamb of God: behold him who takes away the sins of the world.  Acclaim with the songs of children, not the din of the arrogant, proud and self-satisfied.  Unless you become like little children you cannot enter the kingdom, the space, the style of the king: you will not know the blessedness of being called to the Supper of the Lamb.


Homily preached by the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool at Solemn Mass of Palm Sunday.  Sunday 1 April 2012 at 11.00 am in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool.

Behold the Lamb of God: who invites us to his supper: ‘Take, eat, this is my body’.  Drink: ‘this is my blood which is to be poured out for many’.

Behold the fragile, helpless Lamb of God: ‘Abba, Father: take this cup away from me.  But let it be as you not I would have it.’

Behold the Lamb of God.  Pilate ordered Jesus to be scourged…they twisted thorns into a crown, spat on him.

Behold the Lamb of God.  The passers-by, the chief priests, those crucified with him jeered, mocked, taunted him.

Behold the Lamb of God.

There was darkness over the whole land: Jesus cried out: ‘Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani’, and breathed his last.

The centurion, standing in front of him said: ‘In truth this man was God’s Son’.

Behold the Lamb of God.

Monday of Holy Week 2 April 2012

Introduction to Mass and Homily preached by the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool, at Mass on the Monday of Holy Week.  Monday 2 April at 12.10 pm and 1.10 pm in the Blessed Sacrament Shrine, Liverpool.

Introduction to Mass:

Behold the Lamb of God.  We may fittingly receive these three days as one invitation: Behold the Lamb of God.  Each day we receive one of the poems from the prophet Isaiah known as the servant songs: we receive the greatest when we are summoned together at three o’clock on Good Friday: the Gospels each day prepare us to give Thursday Evening, Friday afternoon but most of all Holy Saturday night to the Lamb of God, at his supper, on his cross, in his rising.

Homily:

Behold the Lamb of God.  As Isaiah promised: he does not break the crushed reed, nor quench the wavering flame.

Behold the Lamb of God who by making the darkness of our sins his own, opens our hearts to the light and sets us free from the darkness of the dungeon of slavery to sin.

Behold the Lamb: behold him who takes away the sins of the world.  Mary of Bethany recognises the extravagance of his love and seeks to return him extravagant love for extravagant love.

We will be like her, not calculating in the way we will give Thursday evening, Friday all day, Saturday’s vigil, keeping watch to greet the Lamb of God rising from the tomb and calling us to his Supper: to know the Risen Lord in the breaking of the bread.

Tuesday of Holy Week 3 April

Introduction to Mass and Homily preached by the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool, at Mass on the Tuesday of Holy Week.  Tuesday 3 April at 12.10 pm and 1.10 pm in the Blessed Sacrament Shrine, Liverpool.
 
Introduction to Mass:
 
Behold the Lamb of God: behold him who takes away the sins of the world.

That is the invitation we are accepting day by day in this first part of Holy Week so that we shall generously give Maundy Thursday evening, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil to our Lord.

Homily:

Behold the Lamb of God:  behold him who takes away the sins of the world: and in the garden, his disciples asleep in cowardice and fear, Judas the most astute even now on his way with armed hard men to betray him he must have felt as the servant in Isaiah’s poem lamented: ‘I have looked in vain, I have exhausted myself for nothing’.

But he did take away the sins of the world: made the light of the nations, so that salvation reached the ends of the earth.

In this place by itself many nations come to adore him: across the city scores of nations adore him: to the ends of the earth they come to the Supper of the Lamb.

Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world: at the very moment when Judas goes out for his greedy hard-hearted deed and night has fallen he declares: now the Son of Man has been glorified: now you will see the depths of his love, mercy, patience, forgiveness.

Wednesday of Holy Week 4 April

Introduction to Mass and Homily preached by the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool, at Mass on the Wednesday of Holy Week.  Wednesday 4 April at 12.10 pm and 1.10 pm in the Blessed Sacrament Shrine, Liverpool.

Introduction to Mass:

Behold the Lamb of God.  We will see that even more than the last two days, the word of God has one purpose, the same purpose as the whole of Lent: to bring us to devote ourselves entirely to the supper, the dying, and above all to keep watch in the Easter Vigil for our rising Lord.

Homily:

Behold the Lamb of God: behold him who offers his back to the scourger, who does not need force and weapons to deal with those who insult and hurl spittle at him.  Behold the Lamb of God soon to be tried by unjust judges acting out of envy of this Son of God, who is the real temple where God’s blessing descends to us and through and with and in him from now on all prayer and praise shall emerge from his broken, pierced heart alone.

So today’s Gospel is not much more than a list of others involved in the events of the coming days: Judas: chief priests: so and so in the city: the twelve: so that from now on all our attention is the Mass tonight in the Cathedral, of Chrism: the oils that weave our life into him: tomorrow night his supper: Friday his and his alone: and Saturday night the Vigil: the keeping watch for the greatest Lord’s Day in the year.  And how much more wholesome, wiser, just, we would be if before it is utterly too late every Sunday could be reclaimed as his and his alone.

Mass of Chrism 4 April

Introduction to Mass and Homily preached by the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool, at the Mass of Chrism.  Wednesday 4 April 2012 at 7.30 pm in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool.

Introduction to Mass:

Behold the Lamb of God.  He is the one who gathers us, teaches us, challenges us, feeds us at his Supper tonight.  Lowly in heart he reaches out and invites us to reach out to those oppressed by sickness, frailty, the frustration of advancing years.  Behold the Lamb of God: pierced hands and feet and side: he will share with us wisdom that is love: love for those who aimlessly exist, living and partly living.  Behold the Lamb of God: he will share with us and challenge us to be anointed as he was; to have the strength of mercy and the beauty of selflessness: and so today fulfil the promise of release from every captivity, freedom from all that oppresses, light for weary eyes, space to move and discover and breathe the exhilarating air who is the Holy Spirit.

Homily:

Soon the oils whose blessing gather us as one family this evening will be entrusted to our priests.  800 years ago Saint Thomas Aquinas taught us priests: when it comes to the gift of the Lord’s Body and Blood we must first knowingly, with ever deeper appreciation, receive before we give to others: we must recognise and be changed by the statement: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb’: see it is a blessing, that is a challenge, a call onward, forward, beyond, to allow our whole being, and way of life, to be formed by the Body broken, given in selflessness: to drink his chalice of sacrifice for forgiveness to beat in our heart and course through our veins to determine, direct hand and feet and action and priority.

And the same is true of the oils: if we would fittingly anoint the sick, the frail, the elderly we must first know how to be at peace with our own limitation: at peace with no access to free, unfettered flight: at peace with the limited resources of talent, time, adrenalin bestowed on us by God in his wisdom and love.

We would anoint with the oil of catechumen those on the verge of the enlightenment which is Initiation into Christ, the light of the world in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  We shall resolutely seek to be wise: and this is the mark of one who is wise: give them an opportunity and they will grow in wisdom.

And we will be entrusted with the oil of oils, Chrism which means oil: oil for strength and beauty: but the beauty which shines, is radiant in Christ crucified: revealed as the Lamb of God who bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.  To be custodians and agents of this oil we your priests are renewed this day in the admonition we took to heart when we received bread and wine to become by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit the Lord’s Body given for us, His Blood poured out for the forgiveness of sins: the Bishops said to us: ‘Receive from the Holy People of God the gifts to be offered to him: Be aware of what you handle: imitate the action entrusted to you’.  Model your life on the cross of Christ.

Mass of the Lord's Supper 5 April

Introduction to Mass and Homily preached by the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool, at the Mass of the Lord's Supper.  Thursday 5 April 2012 at 7.30 pm in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool.


Introduction to Mass:

Blessed are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb.  This is the night of the Passover Feast of the Lamb of God.  This is the night when the Lamb of God took hold of the coming day of a crucified Body, Blood poured out and embraced it as his own freely, completely, resolutely.  This is the night when the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world washes feet.


Homily:

Behold the Lamb of God.  You must take not a stallion or a bull or a ram: but a one year old lamb: and in its weakness it shall overwhelm the gods of Egypt, of power, of slave-fuelled prosperity, of unjust trade and violent conquest.  A lamb shall set free: and this day shall be a day of festival for ever.

Behold the Lamb of God.  For, Saint Paul can say: the Lord handed on to me that on the night he was handed over handed over himself revealed in bread and wine: his sign not exotic food, vintage wine, but the unleavened bread, hastily prepared, bland, every day, and the wine of the household.

And so it has been handed on for nearly 2,000 years: a lowly sign: an all but silent presence: a very daily bread.

Behold the Lamb of God: ‘He had loved his own who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was…He got up from table, removed his outer garment and began to wash his disciples’ feet’.  Behold the Lamb of God. ‘I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you: Do this in memory of me’.

Disciples: those who are with the Master and watch and listen and learn.  Our Lord’s mission was not to teach but to make disciples of all nations.  Tonight his disciples are invited to watch and learn from him how to be gentle and lowly in heart.  It is good that it is teachers of Religious Education in our High Schools who experience tonight the washing of feet.  They receive a copy, an example for them to follow and hand on in faithfulness to the Lamb of God.

Celebration of the Lord's Passion 6 April

Homily preached by the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool, at the Celebration of the Lord's Passion.  Good Friday 6 April 2012 at 3.00 pm in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool.


Behold the Lamb of God.

Behold my servant: we had all gone astray like sheep, each taking his own way, and the Lord burdened him with the sins of all of us.

Behold him who takes away the sins of the world: like a Lamb dumb before its shearers, never opening its mouth.

Behold the Lamb of God.  For it is not as if we had a high priest who was incapable of feeling our weaknesses but, who offered up prayer aloud and in silent tears.

Behold the Lamb of God.  Not one of his bones shall be broken.

And they shall look on him whom they have pierced.