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Acts 2:14, 22–23 It was impossible for Jesus to be held by death.
Psalm 16 “Lord, you will show us the path of life.”
1 Peter 1:17–21 We were saved with the precious Blood of Christ.
Luke 24:13–35 They recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread.
The Gospel reading we hear today is a familiar one. A pair of disciples
encounter the risen Lord on the road to Emmaus. Despite Jesus walking
right alongside them for miles, they fail to recognize him, distracted as
they are by the events of the past three days. As we listen to Peter’s and
Luke’s accounts of events that took place shortly after the Resurrection,
let us recognize our Lord in his word.
In the days following Jesus’ crucifixion and death the disciples were miserable. They left Jerusalem dispirited and defeated, mourning the one they hoped
“would be the one to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21). All appeared lost. It was then,
while nursing their grief, that they extended hospitality to this stranger. When
they finally realized who he was, their outlook changed immediately. Though
it was already evening, they returned at once to Jerusalem to tell the apostles
the wonderful news. In the time of their greatest need they were blessed with
the Lord’s presence.
When have you acutely realized the Lord’s presence? In the Eucharist? In listening
to scripture? When we gather in his name? In your day-to-day life?
Divine Mercy Sunday
What is Divine Mercy Sunday?
When and why did the church begin celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday?
The world was in the midst of the Great Depression in 1931 and the memories of World War I were still very much alive in the minds of Europeans when in Poland a sister of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), is said to have been personally visited by Jesus.
According to her diary, which was listed on the Index of Forbidden Books for more than 20 years, an image was revealed to her of the risen Lord, from whose heart shone two rays, one red (representing blood) and the other “pale” (symbolizing water), with the words “Jesus, I trust in you” at the bottom. Faustina wrote in her diary that Jesus told her, “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish.”
When she was canonized in 2000 under the direction of fellow countryman Pope John Paul II, he proclaimed that the Second Sunday of Easter would henceforth be known as Divine Mercy Sunday, thereby widely promoting the devotional practices associated with Faustina’s visions, already popular in many communities.
St. Faustina, a poorly educated daughter of a humble Polish family, kept a 600-page diary of the apparitions she claimed continued for years. Her entries focus on God’s mercy, the call to accept God’s mercy and to be merciful, the need for conversion, and the call to trust in Jesus. It had been Jesus’ own wish, she wrote, to establish a feast day: “I [Jesus] desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls. . . . I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy.”
Among the practices associated with the devotion are its novena, the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy (a series of prayers organized similarly to a rosary), the Hour of Great Mercy (a time of prayer traditionally celebrated at 3 p.m.), and the plenary indulgence granted to those who receive the Eucharist and celebrate reconciliation on Divine Mercy Sunday.
But the road to the universal recognition and institutionalization of the devotion was anything but smooth. Since Sister Faustina’s diary, which she claimed Jesus himself had asked her to keep, had been previously listed on the Index of Forbidden Books, it curtailed the exercise of the devotional practices. Detractors claimed that her writing contained theological errors, while her defenders attribute mistakes to a faulty translation from Polish to Italian. While the diary is no longer on the Index and her canonization has officially put away concerns regarding the orthodoxy of her writings, critics remain.
The celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday is an opportunity to reflect on the theme of how God’s mercy can overcome sin and, as the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments states, “a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind [sic] will experience in the years to come.”
This article appeared in the May 2011 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 76, No. 5, page 46).
ON THIS, THE FIRST SUNDAY after the celebration of Easter, the emphasis is on faith in the presence and power of the living Jesus in our midst. This Risen Jesus now lives on in the community which believes in him. It is endowed with the same powers that Jesus had during his life here on earth. “So many signs and wonders were worked among the people at the hands of the apostles that the sick were even taken out into the streets and laid on beds and sleeping mats in the hope that at least the shadow of Peter might fall across some of them as he went past.”Acts 5:15
To see and know Jesus in our lives is, to recognise from where he comes to us and at the same time to be ready for day-to-day opportunities when we can bring him into the lives of others. Above all, can we be true to the mission Jesus gave to his disciples to be makers of reconciliation, to be peacemakers, breaking down walls of hatred, prejudice and fear? We do this by living lives of integrity, of love and compassion, of real justice for all. When we do that, Easter is celebrated and Jesus is alive among us.
Easter Sunday the Resurrection of the Lord 2020
Belief comes to the beloved disciple, not with the presence of Jesus, an angel, or any witnesses, but in their absence. They see the displaced stone, the open tomb, and the discarded burial cloths. That Jesus has risen is beyond their understanding, but the beloved disciple believes. We identify with him, for we have also come to believe without seeing. We may not understand, but through the eyes of faith, we believe.
How can I come to a deeper and firmer belief? How can I guide others in their
Easter Vigil 2020
The death and resurrection of Jesus are both literally earth-shattering. Both
times Matthew reports that the earth shook. As Jesus died on the cross, “the earth
quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened” (Matthew 27:51–52). Now we
hear that when Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James came to the
tomb, “behold, there was a great earthquake” (28:2). As momentous as these
two events were, however, the reaction to each event was earth-shattering in
its own right: the Roman centurion immediately believed, the guards went into
shock, the women needed the reassurance of an angel. Sometimes an insight
that leads to faith can come like a bolt out of the blue.
Having renewed my commitment to the Lord and filled with joy in his victory
over death, how can I bear fruit in the world?
Good Friday 2020
The cross is at once a symbol of death and life, of suffering and redemption.
We carry our own crosses in life, of illnesses and traumas, disabilities and
addictions, sorrows and tragedies, abuse and discrimination, trials and hardships. We witness others carrying their own crosses. But with Jesus’ triumph on the cross as our model we have the hope of accepting or overcoming our own crosses and assisting others in handling theirs. We know the cross is not the end, for the cross we venerate today ended not in suffering and death, but in our salvation, in new life.
What is the greatest cross I bear? What crosses do I see others carrying? How can the way I handle my own cross help me help others handle theirs?
Today we begin our celebration of the Easter Triduum—the three days that form the climax of Jesus’ life on earth. Knowing that he is about to die, Jesus takes the opportunity at the Last Supper not only to tell the disciples what to do in the future, but to show them. As we celebrate together this evening, let us reflect on how we can become better disciples by serving others, washing one another’s feet as Jesus did.
This evening’s readings describe events steeped in history and ritual. Each one is explicitly ordered to be repeated. The first Passover, in which God liberated the Chosen People from slavery, is to be celebrated as a perpetual institution. At the first Eucharist, Jesus asks his disciples to repeat this in remembrance of him. After washing his disciples’ feet, Jesus tells them that this is a model to follow. In celebrating these events tonight, we recall and renew God’s covenant, Jesus’ sacrifice, and Jesus’ call to ministry
How will I follow the model that Jesus gave us at the Last Supper? How can I give myself in service to others, even to those who have hurt me?
April 5, 2020 Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
We should be holding palm branches today, recalling Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the holy city. It is a bittersweet remembrance because we know that no sooner had he celebrated the Passover meal with his
disciples than he was arrested, tried, convicted, and put to death. But
Jerusalem is more than the site of his crucifixion. It is also the site of
his resurrection. Through his sacrifice we all hope to one day reach the
We’ve probably heard the narrative dozens of times: Jesus enters Jerusalem to cries of “Hosanna,” but just a few days later the shouts he
hears from the crowd are “Let him be crucified!” As we listen today
to Isaiah’s prophecy, Paul’s testimony, and Matthew’s account of the
Passion, let our exclamations echo those who came to believe almost
two thousand years ago: “Truly, this was the Son of God!”
For many of us, most of the time we live a very comfortable life. We are
blessed with a wonderful family, a decent job, good health, and a nice place to live. God is smiling upon us. We aren’t even conscious of our good fortune. But then a spouse leaves, or we lose our job, or we find out we have cancer, or disaster strikes. Now where is God? Isaiah, taking on the persona of the Suffering Servant, never doubts that God is right there with him. Therefore, no matter how excruciatingly difficult it is for him he is willing to face it head-on. Despite the violence he is forced to endure, he takes refuge in the knowledge that God is stronger and will save him.
How can I rely on God during my trials and hardships? How will this help?
It takes an act of will for us to make a turn. It means breaking old habits. It means admitting that we may have been wrong, and this is never easy. It means losing face. It means starting all over again. And this is always painful. It means saying I am sorry. It means recognizing that we have the ability to change. But unless we turn, we’ll be trapped forever…. Lord, help us to turn from callousness to sensitivity, from hostility to love, from pettiness to purpose, from envy to contentment, from carelessness to discipline, from fear to faith. Turn us toward each other, Lord, for in isolation, there is no life.
Gates of Repentance, a liturgy from Yom Kippur
O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them…
Sometimes we think of our faith as a matter of observances. So we go to church, celebrate religious feasts and seasons, fast at the proper times, bless ourselves and genuflect, and receive sacraments to mark the passages of life. But that’s not it.
We may also imagine that faith is a matter of believing certain things and not others. So we make public affirmations in our creeds, profess that God is a Trinity of Beings, pledge ourselves to keep commandments and precepts of the Church. But that’s not it either.
Is faith a matter of identity:taking the name Catholic or Christian or both? Is it about membership in the church? Living morally? Praying? The actual meaning of faith is “trust in God”. We enter into a journey of trust
in the one who made us, sustains us in the world, and invites us to live in the divine presence always. How far will your trust take you?
>”In God we Trust:. Who or what else recieves your trust, and how do your loyalties work together or strain apart?
“I am the resurrection and the life..Do you believe this?”
“Stench” We can sympathize, because it’s a word we seldom hear in our Church. Our imaginations focus on the terrible smell, the mummy-like Lazarus, and the weeping women. We are even stunned by the image conjured up with that shortetst of all verses:”And Jesus wept” Even Jesus cries at the loss of a friend!
But the heart and soul of this passage occurs earlier, Its that moment when Martha makes her bold confession of faith :” I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world”. I think its the most marvelous thing anyone says in the whole gospel because, Martha says it standing in the road, grieving her brothers death and mad -mad a Jesus. Amazing!
>> In times of loss, rage, or confusions -like the times we are now experiencing with this virus-what do you still believe in?
Today we celebrate Laetare Sunday, named for the first word in the
opening antiphon: “Rejoice.” Lent can seem burdensome with its emphasis on penitence and sacrifice. But today we look with anticipation
to its end in the Easter miracle. Jesus’ resurrection is the light at the
end of the tunnel. Let us give thanks for the light he gives to our lives. The intellectual laziness of the Pharisees is exposed today. Rather than take
the time to use good judgment, they immediately dismiss Jesus as a sinner. He did not keep the Sabbath! It did not matter that he cured a blind man. It wouldn’t matter if he had conquered death; keeping the law was more important. If nothing else, judging exclusively by the letter of the law made life easier for them. Illuminated by Christ’s light, we are called to make the effort to shine a light on all aspects of a person, event, or issue, so we can make a good and true judgment.
When have I judged someone unkindly without taking the time to look deeper?
What can I do to remember to allow Christ to illuminate my way?