Monthly Archives: March 2013

Year C – Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord – March 31, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23 (R/. 24); Colossians 3:1-4; cf. 1 Corinthians 5:7b-8a; John 20:1-9

John’s Gospel today offers no earthquake, no young men or angels dressed in white, no “He is risen,” and no appearance by Jesus.  One might find it rather disappointing when one first hears it.  All it offers is Mary Magdelane reporting that the Lord’s body has been taken, and a race between Peter and the beloved disciple to get to the tomb to find it empty.  But there is that one line, “He [the beloved disciple] saw and believed,” (John 20:8).  Saw what?  Believed what?

Some, including St. Augustine, say that he saw the empty tomb and wrappings and believed what Mary Magdelane reported.  But others hold for his believing that Jesus had been raised.  John’s Gospel is a gospel of signs:  water turned to wine, a blind man given sight, a multitude fed with a few loaves and fish, Lazarus raised, and, especially, the sign of Christ lifted on the cross, his “hour.”  All are signs of Christ as God’s Word of revelation, God’s love.  So if you put an empty tomb and folded burial clothes together, the signs are there to be read.  The beloved disciple had Easter eyes.  He could read the signs of Resurrection life.

Can you read the signs today?

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Year C – Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord – Easter Vigil in the Holy Night – March 30, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Psalm 136:1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 24-26 or Psalm 136:1, 3, 16, 21-23, 24-26; Genesis 1:1 – 2:2 or 1:1, 26-31a; Psalm 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 13-14, 24, 35 (R/. 30) or Psalm 33:4-5, 6-7, 12-13, 20-22; Genesis 22:1-18 or 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; Psalm 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11 (R/. 1); Exodus 14:15 – 15:1; Exodus 15:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 17-18; Isaiah 54:5-14; Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13; Isaiah 55:1-11; Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6; Baruch 3:9-15, 32 – 4:4; Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11 (R/. John 6:68c); Ezekiel 36:16-17a, 18-28; Psalm 42:3, 5, 43:3, 4 (R/. 42:2); Psalm 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19; Romans 6:3-11; Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Luke 24:1-12

Tonight brings us to the great climax of our paschal celebration, as we light the new fir symbolizing Christ, the light of the world and listen to the great hymn of praise and exultation.  The story of salvation begins with the account of Creation, followed by the story of Abraham’s willingness to trust God to be provider and promise-keeper.  God’s powerful delivery of Moses and his people follows.  Then, the voices of Isaiah, Baruch, and Ezekiel speak until we come to Paul’s reminder of our baptism into Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection to new life.

Finally, we hear the words of two men in dazzling garments, bringing a new world into being, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead?  He is not here, but he has been raised” (Luke 24:5-6).  This night offers a symbolic chorus proclaiming God acting to bring all creation to new life.  Each time we hear those four words, “He has been raised,” we are challenged to believe.

Do you believe?  If so, will you renew your baptismal promises?  We do this, not alone, but as a community, giving courage to each other.

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Year C – The Friday of the Passion of the Lord – Good Friday – March 29, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12; Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25 (R/. Luke 23:46); Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9; Philippians 2:8-9; John 18:1 – 19:42

Good Friday calls us to see ourselves as people of the Cross, venerating the cross that brought us salvation.  The readings shed light.  The prophet Isaiah speaks of one who suffers for the sake of the people, “pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins” (Isaiah 53:5).  The Church heard this “servant song” and thought of Jesus’ death on the cross as an offering for sin that won pardon for our offenses.  Hebrews presents Christ’s death on the cross as the sacrifice offered by our great high priest, ever obedient to the Father’s will.  Through his sufferings, he was “made perfect” and “became the source of salvation for all who obey him” (5:9).  John’s Passion presents the cross as “the hour” for which Jesus came, when God will be glorified, when the love of God will be revealed.  The cross presents Jesus being lifted up and drawing all things to himself, promising that all who look on him and believe in him will be saved.  As we reverence the cross, we take up Christ’s work bringing others to life in him.

Do you trust God to bring life out of your bearing the cross?

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Palm Sunday

A stirring video for Palm Sunday:

 

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We are soon going to share in the Passover

While I was praying the Office of Readings this morning, I came across this homily by Saint Gregory Nazianzen, bishop.  What a great way to prepare for Holy Week:

We are soon going to share in the Passover, and although we still do so only in a symbolic way, the symbolism already has more clarity than it possessed in former times because, under the law, the Passover was, if I may dare to say so, only a symbol of a symbol. Before long, however, when the Word drinks the new wine with us in the kingdom of his Father, we shall be keeping the Passover in a yet more perfect way, and with deeper understanding. He will then reveal to us and make clear what he has so far only partially disclosed. For this wine, so familiar to us now, is eternally new.

It is for us to learn what this drinking is, and for him to teach us. He has to communicate this knowledge to his disciples, because teaching is food, even for the teacher.

So let us take our part in the Passover prescribed by the law, not in a literal way, but according to the teaching of the Gospel; not in an imperfect way, but perfectly; not only for a time, but eternally. Let us regard as our home the heavenly Jerusalem, not the earthly one; the city glorified by angels, not the one laid waste by armies. We are not required to sacrifice young bulls or rams, beasts with horns and hoofs that are more dead than alive and devoid of feeling; but instead, let us join the choirs of angels in offering God upon his heavenly altar a sacrifice of praise. We must now pass through the first veil and approach the second, turning our eyes toward the Holy of Holies. I will say more: we must sacrifice ourselves to God, each day and in everything we do, accepting all that happens to us for the sake of the Word, imitating his passion by our sufferings, and honoring his blood by shedding our own. We must be ready to be crucified.

If you are a Simon of Cyrene, take up your cross and follow Christ. If you are crucified beside him like one of the thieves, now, like the good thief, acknowledge your God. For your sake, and because of your sin, Christ himself was regarded as a sinner; for his sake, therefore, you must cease to sin. Worship him who was hung on the cross because of you, even if you are hanging there yourself. Derive some benefit from the very shame; purchase salvation with your death. Enter paradise with Jesus, and discover how far you have fallen. Contemplate the glories there, and leave the other scoffing thief to die outside in his blasphemy.

If you are a Joseph of Arimathea, go to the one who ordered his crucifixion, and ask for Christ’s body. Make your own the expiation for the sins of the whole world. If you are a Nicodemus, like the man who worshiped God by night, bring spices and prepare Christ’s body for burial. If you are one of the Marys, or Salome, or Joanna, weep in the early morning. Be the first to see the stone rolled back, and even the angels perhaps, and Jesus himself.

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Pope Francis: First Reactions

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A Beautiful, Ancient Ritual of the Church

What is Divine Office?

“From ancient times the Church has had the custom of celebrating each day the liturgy of the hours. In this way the Church fulfills the Lord’s precept to pray without ceasing, at once offering its praise to God the Father and interceding for the salvation of the world.”  – Office of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship.

The Ministry of Divine Office has a mission to gather assets beneficial to our community in praying the Liturgy of the Hours.  We appreciate contributions from you.  Please leave your suggestions or links as a comment and we will incorporate the most useful materials into this site.

So what is the Liturgy of the Hours?

The Liturgy of the Hours is the prayer of the whole People of God. In it, Christ himself “continues his priestly work through his Church.” His members participate according to their own place in the Church and the circumstances of their lives. The laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office either with the priests, among themselves, or individually.

The celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours demands not only harmonizing the voice with the praying heart, but also a deeper “understanding of the liturgy and of the Bible, especially of the Psalms.”

The hymns and litanies of the Liturgy of the Hours integrate the prayer of the psalms into the age of the Church, expressing the symbolism of the time of day, the liturgical season, or the feast being celebrated. Moreover, the reading from the Word of God at each Hour with the subsequent responses or troparia and readings from the Fathers and spiritual masters at certain Hours, reveal the deeper meanings of the mystery being celebrated, assist in understanding the psalms, and help one prepare for silent prayer. The lectio divina, where the Word of God is so read and meditated that it becomes prayer, is thus rooted in the liturgical celebration.

The Liturgy of the Hours, which is like an extension of the Eucharistic celebration, does not exclude but rather (in a complementary way) calls forth the various devotions of the People of God, especially adoration and worship of the Blessed Sacrament.

The worship “in Spirit and in truth” of the New Covenant is not tied exclusively to any one place. The whole earth is sacred and entrusted to the children of men. What matters above all is that, when the faithful assemble in the same place, they are the “living stones,” gathered to be “built into a spiritual house.” The Body of the risen Christ is the spiritual temple from which the source of living water emanates. Incorporated into Christ by the Holy Spirit, “we are the temple of the living God.”

Source: Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part Two, Section One, Chapter Two.

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Year C – 5th Sunday of Lent- March 17, 2013

Isaiah 43:16-21; Psalm 126: 1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6; Philippians 3:8-14; Joel 2:12-13; John 8:1-11

A stone may not feel heavy when one picks it up, but a stone is not a pebble.  Many stones can do damage, especially when hurled in self-righteous anger.  Perhaps the accusers justified it as an act of the faithful community, standing up together for the Law of Moses, bringing down God’s wrath upon an adulteress.  Then they took her to Jesus.  They had been looking for a way to trap him.  He just looked at them saying nothing.  Then he dropped down.  One cannot tell whether he was writing, drawing, or stalling for time to think of something to say.  Later, some said Jesus had tricked them.  Others were silent.  A few thought Jesus was praying.  Where else could his words have come from?  His words redirected their gaze from the woman to themselves, causing hands to drop stones and feet to move off.  His words continue to address us when we are about to cast stones of condemnation at another.  Jesus’ final words to the woman, also meant for us: Go and sin no more. 

Where do you find yourself in the story? 

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Prayer for Pope Francis

O God, the Shepherd and Ruler of all Your faithful people, mercifully look upon Your servant Francis our pope, whom You have chosen as the chief Shepherd to preside over Your Church. We beg You to help him edify, both by word and example, those over whom he has charge, that he may reach everlasting life together with the flock entrusted to him. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lord Jesus, shelter our Holy Father the Pope under the protection of Your Sacred Heart. Be his light, his strength and his consolation.

Now let us offer together the prayer our Lord Jesus Christ taught us:

Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

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The Church That the New Pope Will Govern

The Church that the new pope will govern will be much different than it has been in past centuries.  According to Sandro Magister:

It will be a Church with two thirds of the faithful in the southern hemisphere. With more Catholics in Manila than in Holland. With the West in a decline of faith. And with the United States at the center of the new geography. 

http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350460?eng=y

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