In our older, Roman tradition this Fifth Sunday of Lent is called Passion Sunday. “Passiontide” begins. On this day we veil images and statues in our churches, thus beginning the process of sensory deprivation and the Church’s liturgical dying which deepens until we reach the still, silent darkness of the Vigil of Easter. Then a sudden spark brings back the light.

In the Novus Ordo this Sunday’s Collect prayer comes originally from the Mozarabic Rite: “Quaesumus, Domine Deus noster, ut in illa caritate, qua Filius tuus diligens mundum morti se tradidit, inveniamur ipsi, te opitulante, alacriter ambulantes.”

You students of the Church’s official language of prayer know that opitulor, a deponent verb, means “to bring aid; to help, aid, assist, succour”.

Current ICEL translation: “By your help, we beseech you, Lord our God, may we walk eagerly in that same charity with which, out of love for the world, your Son handed himself over to death.”

Speaking of walking, we are on a pilgrimage during Lent towards a great feast of the Church and, more importantly, towards the mysteries these feasts make present to us.

Taking a page from St Augustine of Hippo (d 430), we the baptised who are the body of the Mystical Person of Christ, the Church, are on a journey with the Lord, the Head of the Church, towards Jerusalem: the Jerusalem of our own passion and the new Jerusalem of our Resurrection. Christ made this journey so that we could make it and be saved in it.

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