By Ben Smith, Director of the Family & Life Office, Diocese of Parramatta
Posted on 18 March 2016
The Diocese of Parramatta’s Family & Life Office has developed Cleanse our Hearts with Your Mercy, a Family Lenten/Easter Program for parishes and schools.
This program has been designed for families to use at home, particularly those families with primary school aged children. The program also provides additional resources for celebrating the season of Easter. To download a copy of the program, click here
Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, 20 March 2016
Blessings on the King who comes, in the name of the Lord!
This program so far has been focussed on being close to Jesus in the poorest of our community, our focus will now shift as we travel back in time to 33AD in the land of Israel.
As Jesus enters the holy city of Jerusalem, our journey through Lent in preparation for Easter is now reaching its most intense period. Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem is quickly followed by the tragedy of Good Friday.
But this tragedy is short lived as death does not get the final say. This week culminates in the great joy of Easter Sunday in which Jesus’ resurrection destroys death and gives us hope for the transformation of our hearts and also our own resurrection on the last day.
To enter more deeply into Holy Week we need to stay close to Jesus by leading the donkey, preparing the Upper Room, shouldering the Cross, watching Him die, enter the tomb and rise with Him on Easter Sunday morning.
Work with your children to prepare some food for a donkey. Take a food tray and prepare a bowl of oats, a carrot and a container of water to place on the tray. Place some rope on the tray as well. You could add to the tray some paper or cardboard horse shoes that have been coloured in.
Remind your children that donkeys have played an important role in our salvation. A donkey carried a heavily pregnant Mary to Bethlehem and now a donkey carries our Saviour Jesus into Jerusalem to experience His Passion, Death and Resurrection.
God can use the most humble of animals to do great things. God can also work through each of us to do amazing things.
Gospel Reflections for Married Couples in the Jubilee of Mercy
This week marks the beginning of Holy Week. In this week’s Gospel, we begin our reflection on Christ’s passion and death and, once again, we are called to enter into the mystery.
Take some time today to plan how you can participate in this year’s Easter celebrations together as a couple. This week, reflect on Christ’s great sacrifice; making of Himself a gift for our salvation. Think about how we are called to make a gift of ourselves for our spouse in marriage.
(Reflection by Karen and Derek Boylen)
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