In our recent spring newsletter, the Prior Provincial, Fr Kevin Alban has suggested how we might understand the gospel for each of the five Sundays of Lent, and how we might pray them. Each Friday, we'll add these reflections to our blog so you can read them and prepare for the Gospel before Sunday: Fifth Sunday of Lent 18 March – Jesus will be lifted up (John 12: 20-33)
This Sunday’s gospel takes up again the theme of the Cross. For John, this object is not only an instrument of torture and death, but paradoxically it is the means by which God is glorified. What is this glory? That God is revealed as the giver of new life in Jesus. That Jesus is revealed as the Beloved Son. That the group of disciples gathered around the Mother of Jesus is the new community of believers in this world. That this community is born out of the blood and water that come from Jesus’ side pierced by the lance. What is our relationship with the Cross? Just a superficial one, or can we see to the depths of God’s love?
I hope that Lent proves to be a fruitful time for you. One way of deepening our appreciation of this season might be to read the Sunday gospel during the preceding week so that when we hear it again at Mass we are really familiar with it.
The Catholic Church keeps the 19 March as the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, the Husband of Mary and Foster Father of Jesus Christ each year. The scriptures refers to St Joseph being upright and honourable. Certainly his sensitivity towards Mary and his care for both Mary and Jesus shows him as a person of action and care.
The Carmelite Order has had a particular devotion to Saint Joseph for many centuries, venerating him with the title "Principal Protector of the Carmelite Order". Since Joseph cared for Mary and Christ in a particular way, we believe that he also cares for the Carmelite Order which is devoted to Mary and Christ. St Teresa of Avila had great devotion to St Joseph and saw him as a protector of her new foundations.
Our novena to Saint Joseph is below and can be prayed over the next nine days from 11 March 2018. You can pray the novena in private, with your friends or family, or in a group:
God our Father, creator and ruler of the universe, in every age you call humanity to develop and use our gifts for the good of others.
With Saint Joseph as our example and guide, help us to do the work you have asked and come to the life you have promised.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Our Fathers' Mass takes place at the Shrine on Monday 19 March at 9.30am. All welcome. More information, here.