Gaudete Sunday, December 13, 2015
Dec. 13, 2015
Gaudete Sunday, December 13, 2015
The ceremony was officiated over by Bishop John Rodrigues, Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay
The faithful, in anticipation, raised their voices in song, ‘As we gather may your Spirit work within us; as we gather may we glorify your name; knowing well that as our hearts begin to worship, we’ll be blessed because we came!’ And the gathering listened with devout and joyful hearts as His Lordship, Bishop John Rodrigues, intoned the opening prayer, “The mercy of the Father, the peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” Praise, hope and trust were then expressed in the response to the Psalm, ‘Your mercy endures forever’.
The Bishop exhorted us to keep in mind the purpose of the Extraordinary Jubilee inaugurated by the Holy Father, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception: the door to God’s mercy is open to all men and women. This day marked, in our Archdiocese of Bombay, the solemn beginning of the Holy Year in communion with the Universal Church.
A reading from the Gospel of Luke 15: 1 - 7, followed, reminding us of the shepherd who goes after the lost sheep until he finds it. Christ is the shepherd and also the Lamb of God, the author of true freedom, the path of profound reconciliation for every creature on earth and we rejoice in this love. In this time of mercy and forgiveness, we – the Church - must shine out to all as a beacon of salvation.
The opening text of the Holy Father’s Bull of Indiction was read, “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith…..we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become an effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives…”
Called to ‘go forth in the name of Christ’ the Bishop – preceded by the thurifier, the bearer of the cross, the candle bearers and the Deacon bearing the Book of the Gospels - led the procession to the Holy Door at the Cathedral of the Holy Name, the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of Bombay, as the children’s choir rang out with joyful voice, ‘I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever’ and ‘I rejoiced when I heard the people saying, ‘Let’s go to the temple of the Lord’’.
The Book of the Gospels held aloft at the head of the procession indicates to us that we are pilgrim followers of Christ – the Word of God – who is in our midst and leads us to the gates of heaven.
When the people had gathered outside the Holy Door, the Bishop intoned, ‘Open the gates of justice, we shall enter and give thanks to the Lord!’ As the doors opened, there was a joyful surge as people made their way in and filled the Cathedral. The symbolic pushing open of the Holy Door reminds us of God’s compassionate love and mercy which is always open and available to us in abundance. All we need is the courage to enter the door!
The blessing of water followed, a reminder of our Baptism and our commitment to share God’s message of mercy and reconciliation. Again, the Cathedral resounded to the children’s beautiful harmonization of ‘Rejoice in the Lord always’ as the congregation were sprinkled with the water just blessed.
The ceremony concluded with the prayer: ‘We now turn our thoughts to Mary, the Mother of Mercy. May her merciful gaze be upon us throughout this Holy Year so that all of us may rediscover the joy of God’s tenderness.’
Surely God’s goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days, as we journey together as one community through the year of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy declared by Pope Francis.
: December 13, 2015
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