This week we continue offering more opportunities for the Sacrament of Confession. I urge all our parishioners to receive this Sacrament of Mercy before our Easter celebration! In February, 2014, Pope Francis said that we should “be courageous, and go to confession!” Make plans today to receive our good Lord’s mercy in this beautiful Sacrament before Easter!
This week I offer an inspiring sermon from St. Andrew of Crete (b.c. 650 – d. July 4, 712 or 726 or 740). He was born in Damascus, Syria. He became a monk and served for a time in the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Later he was ordained a bishop and served as an archbishop on the island of Crete until his death. Here is a sermon St. Andrew of Crete gave during Lent during his life many centuries ago and it still speaks to us today: “Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today He returns from Bethany and proceeds of His own free will toward His holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation. He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with Himself, we are told in Scripture, above every sovereignty, authority, and power, and every other name that can be named, now comes of His own free will to make His journey to Jerusalem. He comes without pomp or ostentation. As the psalmist says: He will not dispute or raise His voice to make it heard in the streets. He will be meek and humble, and He will make His entry in simplicity.
Let us run to accompany Him as He hastens toward Jerusalem, and imitate those who met Him then, not by covering His path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before Him by being humble and by trying to live as He would wish. Then we shall be able to receive theWord at His coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us.
In His humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and He is glad that He became so humble for our sake, glad that He came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order to raise us up again to Himself. And even though we are told that He has now ascended above the highest heavens—the proof, surely, of His power and godhead - His love for man will never rest until He has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with His own in heaven.
So let us spread before His feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in Him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before Him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of His victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children’s holy song: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.”
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Sorrows, St. Joseph, St. Michael and St. Paul, may good Lord Jesus have mercy on us and on the whole world!