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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 19th March 2023 Posted on Saturday 18 March 2023

Fourth Sunday of Lent

We offer our best wishes to all Mothers on this Mothering Sunday. This Sunday the Cathedral Girls Choir will perform the Stabat Mater by Pergolesi at 3pm. It is sung in honour of Our Lady of sorrows as a devotional prayer reflecting on all that Mary had to suffer in witnessing her sons suffering and death on the cross. By reflecting on Our Lady’s life in this way it points to the joys and sometimes the sorrows that all mothers have to face in caring for those they love. Pergolesi who was a highly influential Italian composer of 18th century had a very short adult life, he died at the age of 26 and he is best known for this religious devotional composition.

 Lenten Reflection: This is the Fourth Sunday in Lent. Traditionally, this day is known as Laetare Sunday, from the Latin word for the command “rejoice,” the first word in the introductory antiphon for today’s Liturgy, (based on the words of Isaiah).  The antiphon and the readings both express the Church’s joy in anticipation of the Resurrection. Today’s readings both remind us that it is God who gives us proper vision in body as well as in soul, and instruct us that we should be constantly on our guard against spiritual blindness. By describing the anointing of David as the second king of Israel, the first reading, from the book of Samuel, illustrates how blind we are in our judgments and how much we need God’s help. In the second reading, Paul reminds Christians of their new responsibility as children of light: “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of the light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.” Jesus’ giving of sight to a blind man, reported in today’s Gospel, teaches us the necessity of opening the eyes of the mind by faith and warns us that   those who pretend to  see the truth are often blind, while those who acknowledge their blindness are given clear vision. In this episode, the most unlikely person, namely the blind man, receives the light of faith in Jesus, while the religion-oriented, law-educated Pharisees remain spiritually blind.  “There are none so blind, as those who will not see.”  To live as a Christian is to see, to have clear vision about God, about ourselves and about others.  Today’s Gospel reminds us that we are to live as children of the light, seeking what is good and right and true.  Our Lenten prayers and sacrifices should serve to heal our blindness so that we can look into the hearts of others and love them as children of God, our own brothers and sisters.

This week we celebrate the feast of St Joseph on Monday (transferred from Sunday) and the Feast of the Annunciation next Saturday 25th March. There is a Secondary School Choir of the Year Competition in the Crypt on Tuesday and a Postgraduate Study Fair on Wednesday which will mean that 12.15-pm mass will be transferred to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel on Wednesday and Thursday.  Next Saturday morning there is our Annual Marriage Preparation Day for those who will be getting married at the Cathedral this year. Also there is a Joint Faith Universities Choir Concert in the Cathedral on Saturday evening at 7pm.

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean