PALM SUNDAY 2020: ‘To heal is to draw ourselves to the mystery of salvation’

08 Apr 2020

By Theresia Titus

Archbishop of Perth Timothy Costelloe SDB celebrated Palm Sunday Mass on 5 April, streamed live at St Mary’s Cathedral with concelebrants Auxilliary Bishop Donald Sproxton and Cathedral Dean Fr Sean Fernandez. Photo: Sourced.

Thousands of Catholics from across the Archdiocese of Perth have virtually attended this year’s Palm Sunday Mass online on 5 April, streamed live from St Mary’s Cathedral.
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB celebrated the Mass with Auxiliary Bishop of Perth Donald Sproxton as concelebrant, and Cathedral Dean Fr Sean Fernandez also present to assist the Mass.

In his homily, Archbishop Costelloe reminded Perth Catholics to draw near to the Cross amid the crisis and sufferings caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In his homily, Archbishop Costelloe reminded Perth Catholics to draw near to the Cross in this challenging period the world is facing. Photo: Sourced.

“It is at the very heart of our faith that Jesus died to save us from our sins. We are reminded of this every time we prepare ourselves to welcome the Lord into our lives in Holy Communion,” he stated.

“I pray and hope that the enforced fasting from the bread of life which so many of you are enduring at this time might deepen your sense of unworthiness and your need for healing and your hunger for him.”

Archbishop Costelloe explained that in the Catholic tradition, being saved “is deeply connected” with being healed of the sickness and spiritual brokenness.

“Not all illness is sin; indeed most illnesses are nothing to do with our sin and everything to do with the frailty of our human, imperfect and finite lives and our beautiful but imperfect world.

“But if not all illness is sin, all sin is a kind of illness, a malady which drags us down, closes us in on ourselves and blinds us to the love and presence of God in us and around us,” he added.

“To be healed of this sickness is to enter into the mystery of salvation; and to be saved is to be healed, freed from all that is stopping us from living and loving as God intends us to do.”

Archbishop Costelloe blesses the palm leaves at the beginning of the Mass. Photo: Sourced.

Reflecting on the Lord’s Passion, Archbishop Costelloe emphasised the choices Jesus has presented in front of us, the same way He had over 2000 years ago.

“Jesus died the way he died because he lived the way he lived; self-righteous stubborn cold-hearted people could no more tolerate this kind of pure goodness 2000 years ago then they can today,” he continued.

“Embarrassed shamed and frightened by the goodness of Jesus such people decided that they had to destroy him because they were not prepared to let him destroy in them what was so dear to them and yet so destructive for them.

“Jesus puts before us the same choice today, perhaps in our present difficulties more starkly than ever. Will we entrust ourselves to him and allow him to form within us generous, self-sacrificing, compassionate and loving hearts? Or will we seek in one way or another to banish him from our lives, or at least keep him at a safe distance, so that we protect ourselves from the radical challenge he presents to us, all summed up in the words: ‘Love one another as I have loved you (Jn 13:34)’?”.

Archbishop Costelloe hopes the enforced fasting from the bread of life which so many are enduring at this time might deepen the sense of unworthiness and need for healing and hunger for the Lord. Photo: Sourced.

Reflecting on the words of Pope Francis, Archbishop Costelloe believed that the darkness resulted from the coronavirus crisis and the sufferings it brings can be dispelled when fear, uncertainty and discomfort of the present situation fail “to turn us in on ourselves”.

“Instead, with God’s grace, we will recognise that now more than ever we have a chance to ‘love one another as he has loved us’,” the Archbishop of Perth stated.

“The coronavirus, and the suffering it is bringing to so many, provides us with a chance to be large-hearted in our generosity, in our compassion, in our patience and our trusting faith in God. And this, perhaps, is the precious gift hidden in the crisis we are facing.

“But if we are to unearth this gift and recognise it for what it is, we will need to allow ourselves to be drawn to the one who was lifted on the Cross, who was lifted in blessing on the world by Pope Francis, and who wants to rise in our hearts if only we would let him,” he concluded.

Watch Archbishop Costelloe’s Easter Homily by Clicking Here

Read Archbishop Costelloe’s Easter Homily by Clicking Here