that he had to rise from the dead. John 20:8-9
Sunday, March 31, 2013
March 31, 2013
The Resurrection of the Lord
By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ
We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. Acts 10:39-41
When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead. John 20:8-9
that he had to rise from the dead. John 20:8-9
Piety is a living faith that accepts the resurrection as a given of life. It opens our hearts to the reality of a love that is forever. The Resurrection is the number one of our Spiritual Journey. We live in the knowledge that Christ came back with a Resurrected body and the same is waiting for us It would be hard for us to realize what is waiting for us. A body no longer subject to the laws of nature awaits us. A body that can go through walls, yet sit at a table and eat a breakfast, is a resurrected body. Jesus begins the revelation of the resurrection slowly. We see the disciples looking at the empty tomb and we hear the message of angels asking why they seek the living among the dead. The empty tomb is not enough. They have to see Jesus to believe. How wonderful it is that we believe without seeing him.
Peter hears the news of the women and does not believe. He rushes to the tomb and is amazed by what has happened. He is asking himself the question we all ask in our study of the Resurrection. Is it possible that he is risen? The motive for being good is strengthened by belief in Christ coming back from the dead. The study of the resurrection events of the Scriptures pushes fear away. How can I fear the glory that comes from dying for Christ? We have to die with him that we may rise with him.
The doors are still locked because the disciples feared that what happened to Jesus would happen to them. The question can be asked if we are fleeing the resurrection. The resurrection is the promise that life is worthwhile. We see signs of the resurrection in each of us. Our hearts tell us that love is worthwhile. Love is forever. Love is never complete until the forever of love is realized. Hope springs eternal. We hope for the best from each other. We do our best to not lock people into whom we first met in them. Hope allows us to expect the best of each other. The resurrection gives us the right to dream impossible dreams. The action of the resurrection is to hope for the best in each other. Hope is the infallible sign of the resurrection. Hope allows us to rediscover love again and again.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
March 30, 2013
Holy Saturday – Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter
Our soul waits for the LORD, he is our help and shield. For in him our hearts rejoice; in his holy name we trust. Psalm 33:20-21
Jesus is silent on Saturday. The women have anointed his body and placed it in Joseph’s tomb. The cadaver of Christ is as mute as the stone which guards it. He spoke much on Friday. He will liberate the slaves of death on Sunday. But on Saturday, Jesus is silent.
So is God. He made himself heard on Friday. He tore the curtains of the temple, opened the graves of the dead, rocked the earth, blocked the sun of the sky, and sacrificed the Son of Heaven. Earth heard much of God on Friday.
Nothing on Saturday. Jesus is silent. God is silent. Saturday is silent.
(From The Silence of Saturday by Max Lucado)
As Jesus kneels to pray in the Garden on Holy Thursday, he asks his followers to watch and wait. Events take over. Arrested. Convicted. Crucified. Anointed. Buried.
Then, the Christian waiting begins anew (again). Vigil. Watch. Wait. All the real action of the Triduum takes place on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. But Holy Saturday is probably the most representative day of the Easter weekend.
Waiting is what we Christians seem to do the most. After Adam and Eve were expelled from the "God-in," we were promised a savior. The waiting began. In the Vigil Mass of Holy Saturday, we get to meditate in the darkness that began on Good Friday over the readings that trace salvation history. Readings marked with waiting.
From Genesis to Exodus. Our soul waits. We feel like God has forgotten us in darkness. From Isaiah to Baruch. Our soul waits. We feel like God has forgotten us. From Ezekiel to Romans. Our soul waits in darkness. We feel like God has forgotten us. But then, we get the gift of the light!
Just like Father does not forget Jesus in the tomb, he does not forget us no matter where we wander, no matter how we forget Him. He revels in the light and music of the proclamation that His Son will conquer all as He gives us the light of Easter morning.
While Easter is about all that happens, Holy Saturday is about all that has happened and all that will happen. Wait in peace. Don't forget what tomorrow will bring.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
March 29, 2013
Friday of the Passion of the Lord
By Melanie Rigney
Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him. He was spurned and avoided by people, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, one of those from whom people hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem. Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, while we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:1-4)
In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice rescue me. Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, O Lord, O faithful God. (Psalms 31:2, 6)
In the days when Christ was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. (Hebrews 5:7)
Aware that everything was now finished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. (John 19:28-30)
O Sacred Head, surrounded by crown of piercing thorn! O bleeding Head so wounded, reviled and put to scorn! Our sins have marred the glory of Thy most Holy Face, yet angel hosts adore Thee and tremble as they gaze. (Traditional hymn; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XppXi_jZKWk)
He was left almost friendless, with only his mother, his aunt, Mary of Magdala and the apostle John there at the end. Who would have believed what had happened, that the man who had had a huge entourage with him through much of his three-year ministry had been all but abandoned.
But as Paul tells us in today’s reading from Hebrews, he was heard by the One who mattered above all others, the One who had sent him. And when his suffering was complete, so was his time in earthly form.
On this most solemn of days, we contemplate the cross he carried for us… and the crosses we refuse to let him carry for us: Hatred. Prejudice. Fear. Envy. Lust. Greed. Insecurity. Perhaps it’s time to hand them over as well and commend our earthly spirits anew, confident enough to ask for salvation and the grace of starting over.
Jesus’ last words before his earthly death were, “It is finished.” Talk with family members or friends about what his handing over of the spirit means to each of you as Christians, and ways in which you might live your lives more grateful to God.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
March 28, 2013
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, To announce a year of favor from the LORD and a day of vindication by our God, to comfort all who mourn. Isaiah 61:1-2
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:20-21
Father, how can I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me? Jesus, can I take up the cup you lifted for the salvation of the many? Holy Spirit, come upon me and give me the strength to call upon the name of the LORD. Amen.
From the beginning of his public ministry until the very end, Jesus preached, healed, prayed, taught, and proclaimed because the spirit of the Lord was upon him. The joy of the readings from the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday morning will be followed with the example of Jesus washing the feet of those he served…providing a model for us to follow. By tomorrow afternoon, this joy will pass as Jesus bows his head on the cross and hands over his Spirit back to the Father.
Our Little Lenten Instruction Manual will end with this lesson in total humility, total service and total emptying of self for the sake of others. As Joseph and Nicodemus bury the empty body, we will complete our fasting, alms-giving and prayer that we may imitate the life of Jesus and obtain the promises of the cross.
Jesus makes a simple request of us on Holy Thursday. "Do this." As we remember his final act of sacrifice, can we take his Spirit upon us and do what Jesus did when he was sent to serve?
March 27, 2013
Wednesday of Holy Week
By Colleen O'Sullivan
I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. (Isaiah 50:6)
Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak, I looked for sympathy, but there was none; For consolers, not one could I find. (Psalm 69:21)
One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over… When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” (Matthew 26:14-16, 20-22)
O Lord, Lover of our souls, you ask only that we remain faithful, that we keep you company while you pray, that we stand by you in your hours of pain and death. Yet, that proves too much for us. Forgive us our weakness, our cowardice, and our betrayals of your love for us.
Why did Judas do it? What possessed him to sell out his friend to the chief priests? Was he angry at Jesus for some imagined slight? Was it really for the 30 pieces of silver? Was he that greedy for money? Or did he perhaps hope to get on the good side of the religious establishment?
Why do we do it? Because this isn’t just about Judas; this is a story about each of us. The disciples knew that. When Jesus told them that one of them would betray him, every last one of them wondered if Jesus was referring to him. Were we sitting at the table at that last meal with our friend and Savior, we’d be wondering the very same thing, squirming in our seats with thoughts of our personal acts of betrayal assailing us.
We promise to follow Jesus, but we have trouble keeping our word. Like the prodigal son, some of us wander far off the path and get caught up in things we shouldn’t. Like his older brother, others of us fail to be grateful for the everyday blessings that are ours from God. Unlike the father in the parable, however, we aren’t always overflowing with love. God may be waiting for us with open arms, even running to meet us, but we don’t always forgive each other with such loving generosity.
It was to save us from all of our betrayals that Jesus died on the Cross. As we move through Holy Week, search your hearts. Root out the things that are not of God. Pray for forgiveness as you place them at the foot of the Cross.