Holy Wednesday - March 31


Holy Wednesday
Isaiah 50:4-9a  —  Matthew 26:14-25
March 31, 2010

Scripture readings from Holy Mass:  CLICK HERE


Verse for Recollection throughout the Day:
“The Son of Man is departing… /
but woe to that man  /
by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!”
[Matthew 26:24]

Reflection:
In hearing Saint Matthew’s account of Judas’ betrayal, his role is clear.  His betrayal is indispensable to the drama of Holy Week and the accomplishment of Jesus’ Paschal Mystery.  Judas’ betrayal or “handing over” of Jesus to the chief priests is the ultimate sacrifice of darkness:  taking that which is All Holy—the only begotten Son of God—and handing Him over to priests who seek to sacrifice Him to death.

Christ’s presence in the world is all-pervasive.  Certainly for us who have been baptized, Christ is a gift given to us.  The meaning of our lives as Christians can be measured by how we use that gift.  When we consider again the words of Our Lord— “…woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!”we can easily see that we too have betrayed the Son of Man.  How often have we betrayed our baptismal promises:  those promises we are preparing ourselves to renew at Easter?

Holy Tuesday - March 30


Holy Tuesday
Isaiah 49:1-6  —  John 13:21-33, 36-38
March 30, 2010

Scripture readings from Holy Mass:  CLICK HERE

Verse for Recollection throughout the Day:
“Amen, amen,  /
I say to you,  /
one of you  /
will betray me.”
[John 13:21]

Reflection:
Today we hear the infamous promise of Saint Peter:  “Why can I not follow you now?  I will lay down my life for you!”  Our Lord knows that Peter’s promise is one that he is too weak to keep.  Yet does Jesus disown Peter?  In this we see the Lord’s love for us.  Despite the weakness of his followers, Jesus does not abandon his intention to carry out His Father’s Will.  Jesus still is willing to carry the Cross, for you in the same way as for Saint Peter, and even for Judas Iscariot.



Holy Monday - March 29


Monday of Holy Week
Isaiah 42:1-7  —  John 12:1-11
March 29, 2010

Scripture readings from Holy Mass:  CLICK HERE

Verse for Recollection throughout the Day:
“And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,  /
because many of the Jews were turning away  /
and believing in Jesus because of him.”
[John 12:10-11]
                                         

Reflection:
Having entered into Jerusalem with Jesus, we recall the testimony about Jesus in Bethany, where Lazarus is a sign that arouses the wrath of the Jews.  Lazarus probably laughed at the idea of being threatened by the Jews:  he had already experienced death, and been raised by Jesus.  How could the Jews “touch” Jesus?  They have no power over him.  We, too, must be willing to testify to the power of Our Lord over us.  We cannot fear those who threaten us in this world, for they have no power over us.  They have power only over things that God has already commanded us to forsake.

Palm Sunday - Mar. 28

Palm Sunday
Isaiah 50:4-7  —  Philippians 2:6-11  —  Luke 22:14—23:56
March 28, 2010

During the last days of His life, Jesus of Nazareth found His Name being shouted loudly.  Today, we are asked to join publicly in that shouting.  The question, though, is what we shout along with His name.  As we cry the name of Jesus Christ, are we also crying “Hosanna!”, or are we crying “Crucify Him!”?

This question is why this day has two names:  Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday.  Most of us tend to prefer the name Palm Sunday, but in the Gospel today we proclaim the events that led to Jesus’ death, and we join in them.  We join in them, just as we do every day, through our sins.  As Christians, each of us is a member of Christ’s Body.  In all that we do—and fail to do—we either bring glory to Christ’s Body, or we crucify it.  In every decision of right or wrong that we make, we are shouting to the world with whom we stand:  either the crowd along the path into Jerusalem, or the crowd along the path up to Calvary.

Of course, you know what the real problem is… The real problem is that these two crowds… were the same people.  In the year of Our Lord 30, it was the same people on one day shouting “Hosanna!”, who days later were shouting “Crucify him!”.  And in the year of Our Lord 2010, things are hardly different.

The culture that surrounds us, more and more, each and every day, is filled with shouting.  We are taught in life to shout, as if this is some sort of solution to our problems, as if this makes wrong things right.  More simply, we might ask ourselves at the beginning of this most holy week:  what are we doing to help Our Lord as He walks the path towards the top of Calvary?

We know that Jesus must carry that Cross.  If you walked up to Our Lord and asked Him to put the Cross down, He would not do so.  This is how much He loves you.  Jesus knows that only by carrying the Cross—that Cross that by all rights is yours—can you ever have the chance to live in peace.  Jesus knows that only by hanging upon the Cross to the point of expiration—exhaling His last breath—can you ever have the chance to breath in the Holy Spirit, and act in a way that brings glory to God.

So much of this world here below consists of people crying for our attention, telling us what a great deal that have for us.  Everywhere we hear people shouting that they’ve found something that makes life easier—that makes sense of this world.  But Christ listens to none of the shouting around Him, whether it is cries of “Hosanna!” or cries of “Crucify Him!”  Christ simply invites us to join Him this week—in silence—up to the top of Calvary.




Fri. - Lent Week V - Mar. 26


Friday of the Fifth Week in Lent
Jeremiah 20:10-13    John 10:31-42
March 26, 2010

Scripture readings from Holy Mass:  CLICK HERE


Verse for Recollection throughout the Day:
“You, a man,  /
are making yourself God.”
[John 10:33]


Reflection:
Some disagree with the saying, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” claiming that a little is better than none.  They do not see that those having the “little” often self-righteously and proudly conclude that they, in fact, “know it all.”

The Pharisees, Scripture scholars and experts in the Law of Moses, fell into this latter category.  When Christ revealed Himself to them as the Messiah, even though they had evidence of His miracles, they immediately rejected them.  They accused Him of blasphemy and prepared to stone Him.  What rendered them dangerous, even more than their intellectual presumption, was their lack of faith.  In the absence of any personal bond with the Father, they were unable to perceive spiritual truth.  Therefore not only were they blinded to His Son's identity, but they also lacked a viable conscience.  False witness and murder came easily to them.

On the other hand, it was the humble, ordinary citizens with little to lose and much more to gain who by simple faith and “common sense” accepted Jesus.  John the Baptist's witness, coupled with Christ's many signs and wonders, convinced them of the truth of Jesus’ claims.

Solemnity of the Annunciation - Mar. 25


The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10  —  Hebrews 10:4-10  —  Luke 1:26-38
March 25, 2010

Scripture readings from Holy Mass:  CLICK HERE

The book titled The Mysteries of March explores the theology of the 20th century Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar [named by Pope John Paul II to be a cardinal because of the depth of his theology].  In particular, this work explores the relationship between the two great “mysteries of March”:  the Annunciation and the Passion of Our Lord.  How are the Lord Jesus’ conception and His death related?  Are they no more than ends of a spectrum?  In fact, both are about new life.

Vigil of the Annunciation - Mar. 25



Vigil of the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10    Hebrews 10:4-10    Luke 1:26-38
March 25, 2010

Scripture readings from Holy Mass:  CLICK HERE


<<< Because the Solemnity of the Annunciation is such an important solemnity in the life of the Church, marking—on the date that falls, naturally, nine months before December 25—the beginning of Jesus’ human life, Reflections will be focusing on this liturgical feast both today and tomorrow.>>>


From a letter by Saint Leo the Great, pope

The mystery of man's reconciliation with God

Lowliness is assured by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity. To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that was incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer. Thus, in keeping with the healing that we needed, one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, was able to die in one nature, and unable to die in the other.

He who is true God was therefore born in the complete and perfect nature of a true man, whole in his own nature, whole in ours. By our nature we mean what the Creator had fashioned in us from the beginning, and took to himself in order to restore it.

For in the Savior there was no trace of what the deceiver introduced and man, being misled, allowed to enter. It does not follow that because he submitted to sharing in our human weakness he therefore shared in our sins.

Tues. - Lent Week V - Mar. 23


Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Lent
Numbers 21:4-9  —  John 8:21-30
March 23, 2010
         
Scripture readings from Holy Mass:  CLICK HERE


Verse for Recollection throughout the Day:
“When you lift up  /
the Son of Man  /
then you will realize that  /
I AM.
[John 8:28]

Reflection:
In these reflections mention has been made of “types”:  in theology, a type foreshadows some future person, thing or event.  In Catholic theology, most typology consists of Old Testament types that foreshadow Christ.  Today’s First Reading offers one of the more intriguing set of types.

The bronze serpent is Christ.  That might seem a strange analogy (or typology, to be more accurate), but as with all good theology, consider the context.  The pole is the Cross.  Moses is those who, believing they follow the Law, put Christ on the Cross (“When you lift up the Son of Man…”).*  The mounting of the serpent on the pole is the Crucifixion.

Now we begin to see that the First Reading’s typology illustrates what Saint Paul describes through abstract—though nonetheless real—ideas:  For our sake [the Father] made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  These two forms of theology—using typology, and using abstract ideas—are not in conflict, but illuminate each other.

Mon. - Lent Week V - Mar. 22


Monday of the Fifth Week in Lent
Daniel 13:41c-62  —  John 8:12-20
March 22, 2010

Scripture readings from Holy Mass:  CLICK HERE


Verse for Recollection throughout the Day:
“I am  /
the light  /
of the world.
[John 8:12]

Reflection:
Reflect on two aspects of what Jesus tells us in these seven simple words.  The Incarnate Word says to us, “I am the light of the world.”  He tells us this for our own sake.

First, consider God the Son as “light”.  This image metaphorically describes the essence of God, even apart from the Son choosing to become human.  From all eternity, God is “light”.  What does this metaphor reveal to us?  One of the ways to explore its meaning is to consider how, in the world of nature, light always seems to have a source.  Whether from an electric bulb, or a star, or a campfire, light cannot help but radiate outwards from its source.  Because of this “radiation”, we can always trace light backwards to the source.  This metaphor helps us consider the supernatural light of God.

5th Sunday in Lent - all resources


Fifth Sunday in Lent [C]
Isaiah 43:16-21  ―  Philippians 3:8-14  ―  John 8:1-11
March 21, 2010



To read the Scriptures from Holy Mass, CLICK HERE.




CATENA AUREA (“GOLDEN CHAIN”)
OF PASSAGES FROM
THE CHURCH FATHERS
ABOUT JOHN 8:1-11

For more information about St. Thomas Aquinas’
compilation of the Catena AureaCLICK HERE

1.  Jesus went to the mount of Olives.
2.  And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3.  And the Scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4.  They say to him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5.  Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what say you?
6.  This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7.  So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8.  And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9.  And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even to the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10.  When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said to her, Woman, where are those your accusers? has no man condemned you?
11.  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more.


Solemnity of St. Joseph - Mar. 19


Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
II Sam 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16  ―  Rom 4:13, 16-18, 22  ―  Mt 1:16, 18-21, 24a
March 19, 2010

Scripture readings from Holy Mass:  CLICK HERE

Guest Reflection!
In honor of this important solemnity, today we have a guest author.  Miss Rachel Lauer teaches elementary school music, in addition to serving as music director for St. Paul Parish, the Newman Center at Wichita State University.  Miss Lauer also writes on her blog, Women Reclaiming Beauty, which to visit please CLICK HERE.


Reflection:
This reflection will look at the man Joseph,
and through him, reflect on the male role
that all men are called to fill in their lives.
This is offered from a woman’s point of view.

I think all the children in the world look up to their fathers with a bit of awe.  This is probably no coincidence, since God Himself wants us to view Him as a Father, and even asks us to call Him “Daddy,” Abba.

“And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father.”  Galatians 4:6

We all know the infancy narratives of Jesus.  Matthew calls Joseph “a righteous man.”  How should this compel the men striving for holiness to act?  As an “upright” and “righteous” man Joseph would have instructed his foster-child in the laws and practices of his Jewish faith.  He also would have led his family in prayer.  So often in our society the woman is expected to be the “religious educator,” if religion and prayer are talked about in the family at all.  There is something lacking in this.  There is something strong that is absent unless the father humbly leads his family to prayer. 

Men can embrace this facet of their masculinity whether called to Holy Matrimony or Holy Orders.  They can stand as men and call their family to prayer.  It is so invigorating and refreshing as a woman, for me to be called to prayer by the man/men I love!  How often do men meditate on and explore their ability to be humble leaders?  This God-given role as Spiritual Leader gives them such a beautiful opportunity to authentically use their spiritual gifts.

Thu. - Week Lent IV - Mar. 18


Thursday of the Fourth Week in Lent
Exodus 32:7-14    John 5:31-47
March 18, 2010
                          
Scripture readings from Holy Mass:  CLICK HERE
                      

Verse for Recollection throughout the Day:
“…for a while you were content  /
to rejoice in his light.  /
But I have testimony greater than John’s.
[John 5:35-36]

Reflection:
Jesus’ words to us in today’s Gospel passage are very moving.  They are all about “testimony”.  That may not seem like a moving word:  it might, at first hearing, suggest a courtroom trial.  So would a nearly synonymous word:  witness”.  Yet maybe we need to reach down and recover the religious meaning at the root of these words…

Jesus mentions a number of “witnesses” that He has:  John the Baptizer; the works that the Father gave Him; “the Father who sent me”; and the Scriptures.  And what do these witness to about Jesus:  that He ran a red light?  that’s He’s a nice guy?  that He’s the son of Mary?  Jesus elaborates for us, in speaking about the witness of His works:  these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.  Here is one of the themes that John stresses over and over again in his account of the gospel:  the divinity of Jesus, which (of course) is based on His relationship to God the Father.

Wed. - Lent Week IV - Mar. 17


Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Lent
Commemoration of Saint Patrick, bishop
Isaiah 49:8-15  —  John 5:17-30
March 17, 2010

Scripture readings from Holy Mass:  CLICK HERE


Verse for Recollection throughout the Day:
“My Father is at work until now,  /
so I am at work.”
[John 5:17]

Reflection:
A little background before our reflection:

During this second half of Lent, our weekday Gospel passages come from John (with the exceptions of the two solemnities that fall within Lent, on March 19 & 25).  More specifically, they come from the first half of John, most of which is called the “Book of Signs” (technically, John 1:19—12:50).  Here is a graphic that illustrates the content of the four Gospel accounts.  The numbers are chapters.  The colors indicate the type of content of each chapter (roughly).


Click on the graphic below to see it enlarged.

Tues. - Lent Week IV - Mar. 16


Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Lent
Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12  —  John 5:1-16
March 16, 2010

Scripture readings from Holy Mass:  CLICK HERE


Verse for Recollection throughout the Day:
“Then he brought me  /
to the bank of the river,  /
where he had me sit.”
[Ezekiel 47:6]

Reflection:
Today’s Gospel passage narrates the “third sign” of John’s account.  Each of these seven signs (from John 2-12) bring us closer to Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection.

This third sign is like the second in that Jesus demonstrates the immediacy of His divine power.  The ill man explains that he has not been cured because he cannot reach the healing waters.  But Jesus does not help the man into the waters.  He does not even explain that the waters are unnecessary for the man’s healing.  Jesus simply says, Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”

One of the unique marks of this third sign is that it is a turning point in John’s gospel account.  The last sentence of the passage ominously tells us that it was because of this sign that the Jews began to persecute Jesus[,] because he did this on a sabbath.”

Mon. - Lent Week IV - Mar. 15


Monday of the Fourth Week in Lent
Isaiah 65:17-21  —  John 4:43-54
March 15, 2010

Scripture readings from Holy Mass:  CLICK HERE


Verse for Recollection throughout the Day:
“Lo, I am about to create  /
new heavens  /
and a new earth….”
[Isaiah 65:17]

Reflection:
Following the Church’s celebration yesterday of Laetare Sunday, we enter unofficially into the second half of Lent.  Our focus intensifies on the “what” and “how” of Lent, both of which are rooted in the person of Jesus Christ.  “What did Jesus do for us?” & “Why did He do so?"

Our Verse for Recollection is from the First Reading.  The prophet Isaiah speaks the Word of the Lord, reminding us that what we are getting ready for is something unprecedented.  Lent is a preparation for the final days of Holy Week, called the “Sacred Triduum”.  The word triduum simply means “three days”.  Within the space of these three days, the Lord’s words in our Verse for Recollection come to fulfillment.  The Lord creates a new heavens and a new earth.

The parish I serve

<b>The parish I serve</b>
St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Colwich, Kansas (Diocese of Wichita)