Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
The coming 5th Sunday of Lent coincides with the 1st Sunday of the ancient season of Passion-tide. Before 1962, our present 5th Sunday was called Passion Sunday (the week that followed was called Passion Week) and the subsequent Sunday was called Palm Sunday (which flowed into Holy Week). With the revised calendar, both Passion Sunday and Palm Sunday were brought together as the Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. However, what has remained of the ancient season of Passion-tide is an option to mark the change of pace that began with the 5th Sunday. At the end of the Gospel of Passion Sunday (that is, following the old liturgy), the line goes like this: Jesus hid Himself and left the temple (John 8:59, also cf Jn 12:36b). Hence, the tradition is to veil our statues inside and outside the Church. This veiling is to remind us of the Redeemer’s humiliation so as to imprint the image of the crucified Christ more deeply on our hearts. It is also a form of fasting of the eyes. As Jesus hid His divinity to undergo the Passion, we deprive ourselves of His glory until we experience it at the Resurrection of Easter Vigil.
The veiling this year is particularly meaningful for us. Whilst we are fasting from God’s glory, and deprived of public Masses, the veiling is also symbolic of God’s silence. We are facing a health crisis that threatens every fibre and fabric of our social existence. Hence the veiling reminds us, both individuals and society, to turn back to God and to beseech Him to deliver us from the scourge of this pestilence. Only God can protect and save us.
As we endure the MCO, let us wait on the Lord by continuing with our daily rosary marathon. We beseech God that He may heed our prayers.