Mon. – 3rd Wk. of Easter

Monday of the Third Week of Easter
Acts 6:8-15  +  John 6:22-29
May 1, 2017

“‘…believe in the one He sent.’”

In today’s Gospel passage from John, we hear the crowd ask Jesus two questions.  The first question they ask is, “Rabbi [meaning, “Teacher”], when did you get here?”  Jesus doesn’t answer their question, but He confronts them with the fact that they are only concerning themselves about their physical hunger.  He shifts attention from the physical hunger He satisfied through the miracle offered them shortly before, to the spiritual hunger He will meet through the Sacrifice of His Body and Blood which He will offer them later. Continue reading

The Third Sunday of Easter [A]

The Third Sunday of Easter [A]
Acts 2:14, 22-28  +  1 Pt 1:17-21  +  Lk 24:13-35
April 30, 2017

“That very day, the first day of the week….”  St. Luke the Evangelist tells us that today’s Gospel passage is set on Easter Sunday, the very day of Jesus’ Resurrection.  Though we are living two weeks after Easter Sunday, the Church continues to meditate on that Day which is “the heart” of the Easter Season.

On that original Easter Sunday, “two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus….”  These two disciples are us:  all of us who are disciples of Jesus.  At times we wander away from God.  These two particular disciples are walking away from Jerusalem, away from the scene of Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection.  They are moving on with their lives.  Though they have heard some rumor that Jesus was still alive, these two obviously haven’t put much faith in the story.  After all, they’re walking away from Jerusalem, away from any chance of seeing this Jesus who supposedly had risen from the dead.

How fitting that these two disciples represent all of us.  How often are we, like these two, lukewarm in our faith.  Rather than holding fast to our faith and making it the center of our lives, we walk away from opportunities to meet Jesus face-to-face.  We hear that these two were “conversing and debating… about all the things that had occurred”, but nonetheless, they are walking away from the city where Jesus rose from the dead. Continue reading

The 3rd Sunday of Easter [A]

The Third Sunday of Easter [A]
Acts 2:14,22-33  +  1 Pt 1:17-21  +  Lk 24:13-35
April 30, 2017

Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how He was made known to them in the breaking of bread.”

The purpose of the Mass is to help us hear Jesus, see Jesus, receive Jesus, and serve Jesus.  This description isn’t exhaustive, of course.  For one thing, it leaves out the Holy Spirit and God the Father.  But if we grant that this description would eventually need to be expanded, we can use it to reflect on today’s Gospel passage.

Following the Introductory Rites, the first chief part of Holy Mass is the Liturgy of the Word.  As the Word of God speaks through His Scriptures, He teaches us about God, about us as sinners, and about how we might become united with God.  This teaching takes many different forms over the course of three years, which is the length of time it takes our Sunday Scriptures to repeat themselves.

On a given Sunday, through the course of the four Sunday Scripture readings (including the Responsorial), we make an ascent.  This ascent reaches its climax when the Gospel passage is proclaimed:  this is why we stand for the proclamation of the Gospel.  We hear about the words and works of the Word of God in the Flesh.  We profess exactly who this divine Person is when we stand after the homily and proclaim in the Creed that “[f]or us men and for our salvation [this Word of God] came down from Heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.” Continue reading

Sat. – 2nd Wk. of Easter

St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin & Doctor of the Church
Acts 6:1-7  +  John 6:16-21
April 29, 2017

“‘It is I.  Do not be afraid.’”

How can the presence of Jesus cause fear in people?  Contrast today’s Gospel passage with the scene of the Annunciation.

Jesus says to the apostles in today’s Gospel passage what the Archangel Gabriel says to Mary:  “Do not be afraid!”  Is it odd that God’s Presence—or even the news of His desire to come and be present—so often causes fear? Continue reading

Fri. – 2nd Wk. of Easter

Friday of the Second Week of Easter
Acts 5:34-42  +  John 6:1-15
April 28, 2017

“…He withdrew again to the mountain alone.”

For more than a week, beginning today, our Gospel passage at weekday Mass will come from the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel account.  Read this chapter every day next week.

In the first fifteen verses of John 6, Jesus shows his fellow Israelites that the Law of Moses is not enough, cannot fulfill the human person, and cannot offer eternal life.  The people in the crowd who witness this new miracle of Jesus multiplying the loaves are attracted all the more to Jesus.  They recognize Jesus as the Prophet, one even greater than Moses, who can be their king in this world. Continue reading

Thurs. – 2nd Wk. of Easter

Thursday of the Second Week of Easter
Acts 5:27-33  +  John 3:31-36
April 27, 2017

“‘We must obey God rather than men!’”

How does the Church need the Gift of the Holy Spirit today?  Baptism is not a private experience.  It washes away not only one’s own personal sins, but also the sin of Adam and Eve.  That original sin has been shared among all members of the human race (except two) through all generations.  And just as this washing away of death is both personal and communal, so is the bringing of new life.  The individual finds his salvation through his membership in the Body of Christ. Continue reading

Wed. – 2nd Wk. of Easter

Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter
Acts 5:17-26  +  John 3:16-21
April 26, 2017

“But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.”

What is the meaning of a single act done by a Christian?  This might seem so simple a question as to be dismissed, but it’s really at the heart of living as a Christian.  A short yet true answer might be that the “Christian act” is “done in God”, within the Mystical Body of Christ.  In fact, it is done by Christ through the Christian. Continue reading

St. Mark the Evangelist

St. Mark the Evangelist
1 Peter 5:5-14  +  Mark 16:15-20
April 25, 2017

“But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them….”

Saint Mark the Evangelist, like St. Luke, was not an apostle, as were the evangelists Matthew and John.  Yet various prayers and Scriptures in the Sacred Liturgy are taken today from those set aside for the apostles.  Why is this?  Is the Church just too lazy to compose prayers specifically for the evangelists?  Of course not.

The entire New Testament is apostolic in origin.  Out of the 27 books of the New Testament, only two were not composed by apostles: the Gospel accounts of Mark and Luke.  Yet even these two books are apostolic in origin, for St. Mark was a disciple of St. Peter, and St. Luke of St. Paul. Continue reading

Divine Mercy Sunday [A]

Divine Mercy Sunday [A]
Acts 4:42-47  +  1 Pt 1:3-9  +  Jn 20:19-31
April 23, 2017

St. John Paul II died on April 2, 2005.  That date was a Saturday, and he died in the evening.  The vigil of the Lord’s Day had already begun, and in the year 2005, that particular Sunday was the Sunday following Easter Sunday.  When I was growing up, that Sunday was simply called “The Second Sunday of Easter”.  Today, that Sunday is called “Divine Mercy Sunday”.

The Sunday after Easter came to be called “Divine Mercy Sunday” because of St. John Paul II.  When he was a young man, Karol Wojtyla—that’s the birth name of St. John Paul—learned of the devotion spread by his fellow Pole, Sister Faustina.  She died in the year 1938, when Karol was just 18 years old.  She died just 31 miles from where Karol Wojtyla was born.

He grew in devotion to Divine Mercy as he served as a priest, then a bishop, then a cardinal, and finally as the Good Shepherd of Jesus’ Church on this earth.  He shepherded the Church in deciding to institute the Second Sunday of Easter as the Feast of Divine Mercy.  In the year 2000, when Pope John Paul canonized Sister Faustina, he established for the universal Church that the Sunday following Easter would be known and celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday. Continue reading