The Word of God

April 1, 2019


Reading 1 – IS 65:17-21

Thus says the LORD:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness
in what I create;
For I create Jerusalem to be a joy
and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and exult in my people.
No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there,
or the sound of crying;
No longer shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime;
He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years,
and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed.
They shall live in the houses they build,
and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 30:2 AND 4, 5-6, 11-12A AND 13B

R. (2A)  I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the nether world;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
“Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper.”
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Verse Before The Gospel – AM 5:14

Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the LORD will be with you.

Gospel – JN 4:43-54

At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee.
For Jesus himself testified
that a prophet has no honor in his native place.
When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him,
since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast;
for they themselves had gone to the feast.

Then he returned to Cana in Galilee,
where he had made the water wine.
Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum.
When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea,
he went to him and asked him to come down
and heal his son, who was near death.
Jesus said to him,
“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”
The royal official said to him,
“Sir, come down before my child dies.”
Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.”
The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.
While the man was on his way back,
his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live.
He asked them when he began to recover.
They told him,
“The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.”
The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him,
“Your son will live,”
and he and his whole household came to believe.
Now this was the second sign Jesus did
when he came to Galilee from Judea.

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This Too Shall Pass


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 1, 2019

“Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind.” One of the most deceitful and cunning tools of evil is the attempt to portray moments of misery and setback, even emotional and spiritual ones, as never-ending. Nothing could be further from the truth. The one true constant element in the universe is change and thus no matter how bad or how good a situation seems to be, just wait, change is on the way. This, of course, is the constant reminder in our lives of the greatest change for the good and mighty and wonderful at the end of our lives when there will be no change just the present glorious moment for all to enjoy forever in Heaven. 

“Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and the LORD will be with you.” Thus, in the meantime, we must always be ready and expectant of change and always cling and hold on to the great and powerful lesson of total confidence that Jesus imparts to us, especially highlighted in Holy Week. The Lord has prepared us for the ongoing miracle of new life and resurrection in this life today in the Gospel: “Jesus said to him, ‘You may go; your son will live.’”  

He says the same to all of us no matter our circumstances or the enormity of crosses we carry and bear. Life is truly good and all we must do is to remember how it all ends, in total and everlasting victory! To forget this truth, even for a brief moment, may in fact make us look like a fool! 

Ah, well, I am a great and sublime fool. But then I am God’s fool, and all His work must be contemplated with respect. Mark Twain

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April 2, 2019


Reading 1 – EZ 47:1-9, 12

The angel brought me, Ezekiel,
back to the entrance of the temple of the LORD,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the right side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the right side.
Then when he had walked off to the east
with a measuring cord in his hand,
he measured off a thousand cubits
and had me wade through the water, 
which was ankle-deep.
He measured off another thousand
and once more had me wade through the water,
which was now knee-deep.
Again he measured off a thousand and had me wade;
the water was up to my waist.
Once more he measured off a thousand,
but there was now a river through which I could not wade;
for the water had risen so high it had become a river
that could not be crossed except by swimming.
He asked me, “Have you seen this, son of man?”
Then he brought me to the bank of the river, where he had me sit.
Along the bank of the river I saw very many trees on both sides.
He said to me,
“This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh. 
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9

R. (8)  The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. 
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. 
There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. 
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. 

Verse Before The Gospel – PS 51:12A, 14A

A clean heart create for me, O God;
give me back the joy of your salvation.

Gospel – JN 5:1-16

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.
One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
“Do you want to be well?”
The sick man answered him,
“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
“It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” 
He answered them, “The man who made me well told me,
‘Take up your mat and walk.'”
They asked him,
“Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?”
The man who was healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
“Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you.”
The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a sabbath.

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Get Up And Thrive


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 2, 2019

“Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.” Beyond a doubt, we would all die without water. By extension, our souls are in grave danger without the flowing waters of baptism that make an end of sin and death and shine the bright promise of eternity with God upon our earthly lives. Healing and strength are gifts along the way which we need to keep going.  

Imagine for a second the sick man in today’s Gospel who had been fighting his disease (we are not sure what it was) for thirty-eight years! And still there he was by the pool of Bethesda hoping with all his might for a cure and a new life. That sounds a lot like you and me. Then there came that day when Jesus approached him and changed his life forever: “Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your mat, and walk.’ Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.” Sometimes we learn the hard way that we must get up first from our old ways of life and self-loathing and reach out for the loving hand of Christ. He is certainly there waiting. The great news for this Lenten Weekday is that Jesus wants us to walk with Him and live the life He wants for us. He wishes for us to thrive not just survive. 

Today I close the door to the past, open the door to the future, take a deep breath, step on through and start a new chapter in my life. Emmy van Deurzen

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April 3, 2019


Reading 1 – IS 49:8-15

Thus says the LORD:
In a time of favor I answer you,
on the day of salvation I help you;
and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people,
To restore the land
and allot the desolate heritages,
Saying to the prisoners: Come out!
To those in darkness: Show yourselves!
Along the ways they shall find pasture,
on every bare height shall their pastures be.
They shall not hunger or thirst,
nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them;
For he who pities them leads them
and guides them beside springs of water.
I will cut a road through all my mountains,
and make my highways level.
See, some shall come from afar,
others from the north and the west,
and some from the land of Syene.
Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth,
break forth into song, you mountains.
For the LORD comforts his people
and shows mercy to his afflicted.

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 145:8-9, 13CD-14, 17-18

R. (8A)  The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.

Verse Before The Gospel – JN 11:25A, 26

I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me will never die.

Gospel – JN 5:17-30

Jesus answered the Jews: 
“My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.”
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him,
because he not only broke the sabbath
but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.

Jesus answered and said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own,
but only what he sees the Father doing;
for what he does, the Son will do also.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything that he himself does,
and he will show him greater works than these,
so that you may be amazed.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life,
so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.
Nor does the Father judge anyone,
but he has given all judgment to the Son,
so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
Whoever does not honor the Son
does not honor the Father who sent him.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word
and believes in the one who sent me
has eternal life and will not come to condemnation,
but has passed from death to life.
Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here
when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God,
and those who hear will live.
For just as the Father has life in himself,
so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself.
And he gave him power to exercise judgment,
because he is the Son of Man.
Do not be amazed at this,
because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs
will hear his voice and will come out,
those who have done good deeds
to the resurrection of life,
but those who have done wicked deeds
to the resurrection of condemnation.

“I cannot do anything on my own;
I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just,
because I do not seek my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.”

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How Can I Forget You?


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 3, 2019

As we move with ever greater speed and anticipation to the great mysteries of Holy Week, the words of the Scriptures that are lavished upon us are simply breath-taking. The Psalm assures us that our beautiful God is always there waiting for us and wanting for us to live in happiness and joy: “The LORD is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works. The LORD lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” Jesus can and will accomplish the greatest miracle in our lives because of the intense, powerful and loving relationship that exists in the Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: “For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed.” 

But perhaps the most tender of all morsels that have been distributed in due season to us today is the awesome image of a mother and her own child that is provided in our First Reading from the Prophet Isaiah: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” How precious! The relationship between a mother and her child is so powerful that it affects everything from health and self-esteem to all other relationships. This is what makes today a delight because what the Lord is asking from each of us is to form a most powerful bond in the world. This is why the Lord will never forget us and why we cannot afford to forget Him. 

God will never leave you empty. He will replace everything you lost. If He asks you to put something down, it is because He wants you to pick something greater. Jordan Smith

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April 4, 2019


Reading 1 – EX 32:7-14

The LORD said to Moses,
“Go down at once to your people
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
for they have become depraved.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
sacrificing to it and crying out,
‘This is your God, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’
The LORD said to Moses,
“I see how stiff-necked this people is.
Let me alone, then,
that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.
Then I will make of you a great nation.”

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying,
“Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand?
Why should the Egyptians say,
‘With evil intent he brought them out,
that he might kill them in the mountains
and exterminate them from the face of the earth’?
Let your blazing wrath die down;
relent in punishing your people. 
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel,
and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised,
I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.'”
So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

R. (4A)  Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Verse Before The Gospel – JN 3:16

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

Gospel – JN 5:31-47

Jesus said to the Jews: 
“If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John’s.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.

“I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. 
I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me. 
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?”

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Be Determined Not Stubborn


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 4, 2019

“I see how stiff-necked this people is. Let me alone, then, that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them. Then I will make of you a great nation.” For those of us who are sincerely trying to follow Jesus and live by the Gospel, we must be convinced that our behavior shapes our personality and therefore all of our moral and otherwise important decisions in life. The Scriptures clearly show the track record of those who have abandoned their own set of values and goals toward Heaven and those who never gave up even though it was tough at times to stay focused and faithful. It is all about balance and humility. Jesus wants us all in Heaven and every day we are either moving closer or further away from this awesome destiny of ours. 

“The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.” Today, let us carry Jesus deep within our souls so that we do or say nothing that would displease him. A stiff neck is not pleasant neither on the body nor on the soul. To be stubborn when it comes to growing closer to God and surrendering our pride is not a virtue. This is the challenge and fruit of being loving people who love God and our neighbor. Be determined, not stubborn. Determination is positive, feels light and will take us far with the grace of God. It is a willingness to change as needed and always keeping an open mind. Stubbornness is a heavy feeling and a refusal to budge. A negative, closed mind can never reflect the face and attitude of Christ. It is truly an exciting adventure. Pride will always be the longest distance between two people.

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April 5, 2019


Reading 1 – WIS 2:1A, 12-22

The wicked said among themselves, 
thinking not aright:
“Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the LORD.
To us he is the censure of our thoughts; 
merely to see him is a hardship for us,
Because his life is not like that of others,
and different are his ways.
He judges us debased;
he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.
He calls blest the destiny of the just
and boasts that God is his Father.
Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With revilement and torture let us put him to the test
that we may have proof of his gentleness
and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”
These were their thoughts, but they erred;
for their wickedness blinded them,
and they knew not the hidden counsels of God;
neither did they count on a recompense of holiness
nor discern the innocent souls’ reward.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 34:17-18, 19-20, 21 AND 23

R. (19A)  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just man,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him.
R. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.
He watches over all his bones;
not one of them shall be broken.
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.

Verse Before The Gospel – MT 4:4B

One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

Gospel – JN 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Jesus moved about within Galilee;
he did not wish to travel in Judea,
because the Jews were trying to kill him.
But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.

But when his brothers had gone up to the feast,
he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said,
“Is he not the one they are trying to kill?
And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him.
Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ?
But we know where he is from.
When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.”
So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said,
“You know me and also know where I am from.
Yet I did not come on my own,
but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true.
I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.”
So they tried to arrest him,
but no one laid a hand upon him,
because his hour had not yet come.

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Hour Of Power


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 5, 2019

An hour can be the twenty-fourth part of a day culminating in sixty minutes or it can be a moment in time that can change everything. “This could be your hour” is a phrase that can have deep and meaningful meaning for many people. We could say that our moment can be upon us but we must be able to recognize it without distraction or fear. This is what we can glean from the Gospel today: “So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.”

So how is it that so many miss their moment? We have a clue in our First Reading: “These were their thoughts, but they erred; for their wickedness blinded them, and they knew not the hidden counsels of God.” If you and I are distracted by the things of the world, we will not possibly be present to the moment when God opens His heart and reveals His wonderful plan for our lives. They say that opportunity only knocks once but God’s love and mercy are everlasting: “Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the LORD delivers him.” This is your hour. Take it!

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The Best, The Rest And The Greatest Easter


It must be more than twenty-five years ago now and I still remember that wonderful coffee cup given to me for Easter one year. I recall it vividly for two distinct reasons: the first is functional because the ceramic cup actually came with a lid to keep the fresh coffee hot for those of us who forget to take constant sips of the brew and are left with the insipid taste of semi-cold coffee. But the second reason was much more deep and meaningful. I can still see the cup in my mind’s eye. It had a painting of a beach scene with the simple words, “I do my best and give the rest to God.”

So where is that cup now? Oh well, it has a very sad but perhaps significant end that might help shine some light on our character as Easter people. Allow me to explain.

Not too long ago, I was leading my life at what most would call a frenetic pace. Although by any accounts there was much achieved and accomplished, but the toll on calm days and peaceful nights was evident. And you know, I can still recall that fateful morning when I was rushing to get from Point A to Point X in twelve minutes when I grabbed my favorite mug, my keys and whatever papers I was supposed to have for whatever important, critical meeting looming and made for my car. Because I was literally juggling all these things with one fell swoop I did what many of our readers might have been guilty of at least one or two times in their lives: I placed the coffee on top of my car to get it in a split second but unfortunately for the mug that split second never came and I drove off with the cup atop my vehicle.

Either I am a very steady driver or the streets around my office were pretty smooth because I actually traveled quite a distance before I realized that I had forgotten something. In the middle of traffic on a very busy street at a busy time of the day, I braked a little too suddenly only to see my windshield dripping with cold coffee and the infamous mug rolling down the back of the trunk onto the street where I could still hear a subtle but unmistakable crash of a ceramic mug hitting the pavement. I could see the broken pieces through my rear view mirror as I moved along with the flow of traffic. By the time I was able to drive to the next intersection and turn around, there was only what appeared to be ceramic powder from all the pummeling that the pieces endured. Later that afternoon, running yet another frenetic errand, I passed by the same spot and saw there was  nothing left, not even a clue.

As I write this Easter reflection it becomes almost surreal to realize that this short but significant episode occurred over twenty years ago. Easily to say, there have been literally hundreds of coffee cups nestled in my hand with everything from happy panting dogs to cartoon figures to pithy comments about the state of life, love and all things in between, but I never forgot that one obliterated mug. I wonder why?

While the obvious reason of unforgetability (is that even a word?) lies in plain sight, the more deep and meaningful reason lies in wait. I am elated to report that leaving my coffee atop my car or anything else for that matter has never repeated itself. That would certainly be the first fruit of the experience: Lesson learned. Just the sheer image of fellow drivers all around me laughing uncontrollably and getting their phones ready to capture the moment so it can go viral is just enough to keep me from making that mistake again. We will see.

The second lesson is so much more precious and one that I pray I will never forget even if I revert to leaving things on top of my car. To discover this wonderful lesson we don’t have to go too much further than to remember what that annihilated mug actually said: “I do my best and leave the rest to God.” What does that really mean and how can we factor that message into our souls to make this the greatest Easter ever?

We can start with the very life of Jesus and the events that immediately preceded his arrest, his death on the cross and His most stupendous gift to us by rising from the dead. I believe that God truly expects us to do all we can do in any given situation so that then and only then will He accomplish what we cannot. When Jesus performed the pre-Easter miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead, He commanded those around Him, “Take the stone away!” (John 11:39) One of the obvious conclusions that we could make today is that the Lord really did not need their help to bring about this awesome moment. If the Lord had wanted, his old friend Lazarus could have as easily walked right through the huge stone itself adding to the marvel of the miracle. But you see, the people there, like us, could not have raised this man from death but they could roll the stone away which is precisely what they did. Then Jesus did the rest.

The application is simply brilliant: God is not always going to do everything for us when we can do it for ourselves. Remember what God said to Moses when he was going through a difficult time with the Israelites who would not listen to him:

“So the Lord asked him, ‘What are you holding?’” “A walking stick, ‘he answered.’” Then the Lord asked Moses to throw it on the ground and immediately it turned into a snake. It was this amazing moment that won the approval of the Israelites “that the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” had indeed appeared to Moses. (Exodus 4: 1-5)

This very enlightening point is re-echoed in the New Testament as well in the Gospel of Matthew: “Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks will receive, and anyone who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to those who knock.” (7:7-8)

In other words, we do what we can do, understandably our best effort, then leave the rest of the situation to the Lord who will then decide what to do next. And here are the real Easter challenging questions: Do we do our best? Do we leave the rest? Do we leave that portion to God or something else? And do we trust Him enough to do the rest?

Well, if it is any consolation, and believe me, it is, look what He did with the body of His Son, Jesus: Resurrection from the dead! It looks like God allows us to do what we can do and when we surrender our wills to that truth, He does the rest.

After so many cups of coffee since that rushed morning over twenty years ago, there has never been another mug that made such a lasting impression. I believe that if we embrace the mystery that was etched upon that cup, about the Lord and His great universal love for us, this could be the greatest Easter we have ever experienced.

Remember this the next time you have a cup of coffee.

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April 6, 2019


Reading 1 – JER 11:18-20

I knew their plot because the LORD informed me;
at that time you, O LORD, showed me their doings.

Yet I, like a trusting lamb led to slaughter,
had not realized that they were hatching plots against me:
“Let us destroy the tree in its vigor;
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
so that his name will be spoken no more.”

But, you, O LORD of hosts, O just Judge,
searcher of mind and heart,
Let me witness the vengeance you take on them,
for to you I have entrusted my cause!

Responsorial Psalm – PS 7:2-3, 9BC-10, 11-12

R. (2A) O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.
O LORD, my God, in you I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and rescue me,
Lest I become like the lion’s prey,
to be torn to pieces, with no one to rescue me.
R. O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.
Do me justice, O LORD, because I am just,
and because of the innocence that is mine.
Let the malice of the wicked come to an end,
but sustain the just,
O searcher of heart and soul, O just God.
R. O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.
A shield before me is God,
who saves the upright of heart;
A just judge is God,
a God who punishes day by day.
R. O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.

Verse Before The Gospel – SEE LK 8:15

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.

Gospel – JN 7:40-53

Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said,
“This is truly the Prophet.”
Others said, “This is the Christ.”
But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he?
Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family
and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”
So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.
Some of them even wanted to arrest him,
but no one laid hands on him.

So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees,
who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?”
The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”
So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived?
Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?
But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.”
Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them, 
“Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him
and finds out what he is doing?”
They answered and said to him,
“You are not from Galilee also, are you?
Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

Then each went to his own house.

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The Plot Thickens


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 6, 2019

“I knew their plot because the LORD informed me; at that time you, O LORD, showed me their doings.” Conspiracies, scheming and underhanded plots against people are as old as dirt. This is our first impression as we open the Scriptures for today beginning with the Prophet Jeremiah. This is because from before the dawn of time, Lucifer who was totally consumed with jealousy against the human race and thus feebly rallied against God in the quintessential battle in Heaven that eventually formed the rotting graveyard of Hell, lodged the ongoing plot against the human race to bring as many souls to his malicious self. And since that time, the Lord continued to unveil His great resolution to save us from that awful power and bring us all safe home: “O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.”

“So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.” No more obvious is the presence of this plot against the human race is when people are close to seeing, accepting and following the Lord Jesus. Perhaps you have seen this very drama play out in your circle of influence. Evil will stop at nothing to bring attention and commitment away from the very solution that could save us from the fires of everlasting condemnation. This is why during our Lenten practices we are made to see things much more clearly and strengthen to make the necessary changes to avoid evil and cling to Jesus while we are walking in the desert with Him. The beautiful truth is that there is an even greater plan and strategy for all of us in the suffering, death and Resurrection of Christ. He would rather die than live forever without us! 

For a plot hatched in hell, don’t expect angels for witnesses. Robert Perry

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I Will Open Your Graves


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 7, 2019

“Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people!” Everyone on this planet has a purpose. There is simply no way around that. The fact that we are alive and breathing, that we are asking such deep questions about life and death and meaning clearly points to the reality that there is definitely more to life than what it seems. When you and I believe that God has a purpose for our being here, we can work through obstacles, overcome disappointments and endure many hardships and crosses. It is what Jesus showed us. The more we dig into our own experiences and plant with faith and hope, the greater the harvest, not just later in eternity but right here and now. The fact that God wants to save us from all the power and forces of death and darkness signals the great purpose for which we were created and the immeasurably joyous destiny that truly awaits us. “If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit dwelling in you.” And the Lord of Life who is the Light of the World is the only source of direction that can take us through the sometimes dark skies of night and loneliness of isolation. Imagine the darkness and solitude of the grave right before the explosive glory of Easter.

“I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord. Whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will never die.” Following Jesus does not mean that every day is going to be perfect. It means that the harder the moment the more willing he is for us to hold on to Him for dear life. Telling someone with anxiety to just calm down is like telling someone with epilepsy to just stop having a seizure. However, inviting a person to join the pain and suffering to those of the Lord will have lasting effects. This is what is meant by dying to oneself so that a great harvest can be witnessed. Dying to self does not mean giving up what may be good for us. This means letting go of what is not beneficial so that we can see and accept what is. Wouldn’t you rather suffer and die with Christ so as to live with Him forever? I know I would.

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April 7, 2019


Reading 1 – EZ 37:12-14

Thus says the Lord GOD: 
O my people, I will open your graves 
and have you rise from them, 
and bring you back to the land of Israel.
Then you shall know that I am the LORD, 
when I open your graves and have you rise from them, 
O my people!
I will put my spirit in you that you may live, 
and I will settle you upon your land; 
thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8.

R. (7) With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication. 
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered. 
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
More than sentinels wait for the dawn,
let Israel wait for the LORD.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
For with the LORD is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Reading 2 – ROM 8:8-11

Brothers and sisters:
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh; 
on the contrary, you are in the spirit, 
if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you, 
although the body is dead because of sin, 
the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, 
the one who raised Christ from the dead 
will give life to your mortal bodies also, 
through his Spirit dwelling in you.

Verse Before The Gospel – JN 11:25A, 26

I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will never die.

Gospel – JN 11:1-45

Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany, 
the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil 
and dried his feet with her hair; 
it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.

So the sisters sent word to him saying, 
“Master, the one you love is ill.”
hen Jesus heard this he said,
“This illness is not to end in death, 
but is for the glory of God, 
that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill, 
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples, 
“Let us go back to Judea.”
The disciples said to him, 
“Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, 
and you want to go back there?”
Jesus answered,
“Are there not twelve hours in a day?
If one walks during the day, he does not stumble, 
because he sees the light of this world.
But if one walks at night, he stumbles, 
because the light is not in him.” 
He said this, and then told them,
“Our friend Lazarus is asleep,
but I am going to awaken him.”
So the disciples said to him,
“Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.”
But Jesus was talking about his death, 
while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep. 
So then Jesus said to them clearly,
“Lazarus has died.
And I am glad for you that I was not there,
that you may believe. 
Let us go to him.”
So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, 
“Let us also go to die with him.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus 
had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.
And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary 
to comfort them about their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus, 
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,

“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life; 
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, 
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

When she had said this, 
she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, 
“The teacher is here and is asking for you.”
As soon as she heard this,
she rose quickly and went to him.
For Jesus had not yet come into the village, 
but was still where Martha had met him.
So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her 
saw Mary get up quickly and go out,
they followed her, 
presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, 
she fell at his feet and said to him, 
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, 
he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, 
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said, 
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man 
have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, 
“Lord, by now there will be a stench; 
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe 
you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,

“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me; 
but because of the crowd here I have said this, 
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice, 
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands, 
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

OrJN 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33B-45

The sisters of Lazarus sent word to Jesus, saying, 
“Master, the one you love is ill.”
When Jesus heard this he said,
“This illness is not to end in death, 
but is for the glory of God, 
that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill, 
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples, 
+Let us go back to Judea.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus 
had already been in the tomb for four days.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him; 
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus, 
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,

“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life; 
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, 
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

He became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, 
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said, 
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man 
have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, 
“Lord, by now there will be a stench; 
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe 
you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said, 
“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me; 
but because of the crowd here I have said this, 
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice, 
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands, 
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

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April 8, 2019


Reading 1 – DN 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62

In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim,
who married a very beautiful and God-fearing woman, Susanna,
the daughter of Hilkiah;
her pious parents had trained their daughter
according to the law of Moses.
Joakim was very rich;
he had a garden near his house,
and the Jews had recourse to him often
because he was the most respected of them all.

That year, two elders of the people were appointed judges,
of whom the Lord said, “Wickedness has come out of Babylon:
from the elders who were to govern the people as judges.”
These men, to whom all brought their cases,
frequented the house of Joakim.
When the people left at noon,
Susanna used to enter her husband’s garden for a walk.
When the old men saw her enter every day for her walk,
they began to lust for her.
They suppressed their consciences;
they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven,
and did not keep in mind just judgments.

One day, while they were waiting for the right moment,
she entered the garden as usual, with two maids only.
She decided to bathe, for the weather was warm.
Nobody else was there except the two elders,
who had hidden themselves and were watching her.
“Bring me oil and soap,” she said to the maids,
“and shut the garden doors while I bathe.”

As soon as the maids had left,
the two old men got up and hurried to her.
“Look,” they said, “the garden doors are shut, and no one can see us;
give in to our desire, and lie with us.
If you refuse, we will testify against you
that you dismissed your maids because a young man was here with you.”

“I am completely trapped,” Susanna groaned.
“If I yield, it will be my death;
if I refuse, I cannot escape your power.
Yet it is better for me to fall into your power without guilt
than to sin before the Lord.”
Then Susanna shrieked, and the old men also shouted at her,
as one of them ran to open the garden doors.
When the people in the house heard the cries from the garden,
they rushed in by the side gate to see what had happened to her.
At the accusations by the old men,
the servants felt very much ashamed,
for never had any such thing been said about Susanna.

When the people came to her husband Joakim the next day,
the two wicked elders also came,
fully determined to put Susanna to death.
Before all the people they ordered:
“Send for Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah,
the wife of Joakim.”
When she was sent for,
she came with her parents, children and all her relatives.
All her relatives and the onlookers were weeping.

In the midst of the people the two elders rose up
and laid their hands on her head.
Through tears she looked up to heaven,
for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly.
The elders made this accusation:
“As we were walking in the garden alone,
this woman entered with two girls
and shut the doors of the garden, dismissing the girls.
A young man, who was hidden there, came and lay with her.
When we, in a corner of the garden, saw this crime,
we ran toward them.
We saw them lying together,
but the man we could not hold, because he was stronger than we;
he opened the doors and ran off.
Then we seized her and asked who the young man was,
but she refused to tell us.
We testify to this.”
The assembly believed them,
since they were elders and judges of the people,
and they condemned her to death.

But Susanna cried aloud:
“O eternal God, you know what is hidden
and are aware of all things before they come to be:
you know that they have testified falsely against me. 
Here I am about to die,
though I have done none of the things
with which these wicked men have charged me.”

The Lord heard her prayer.
As she was being led to execution,
God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel,
and he cried aloud:
“I will have no part in the death of this woman.”
All the people turned and asked him, “What is this you are saying?”
He stood in their midst and continued,
“Are you such fools, O children of Israel! 
To condemn a woman of Israel without examination
and without clear evidence?
Return to court, for they have testified falsely against her.”

Then all the people returned in haste.
To Daniel the elders said,
“Come, sit with us and inform us,
since God has given you the prestige of old age.”
But he replied,
“Separate these two far from each other that I may examine them.”

After they were separated one from the other,
he called one of them and said:
“How you have grown evil with age!
Now have your past sins come to term:
passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent,
and freeing the guilty, although the Lord says,
‘The innocent and the just you shall not put to death.’
Now, then, if you were a witness,
tell me under what tree you saw them together.”
“Under a mastic tree,” he answered.
Daniel replied, “Your fine lie has cost you your head,
for the angel of God shall receive the sentence from him
and split you in two.”
Putting him to one side, he ordered the other one to be brought.
Daniel said to him,
“Offspring of Canaan, not of Judah, beauty has seduced you,
lust has subverted your conscience.
This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel,
and in their fear they yielded to you;
but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your wickedness.
Now, then, tell me under what tree you surprised them together.”
“Under an oak,” he said.
Daniel replied, “Your fine lie has cost you also your head,
for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two
so as to make an end of you both.”

The whole assembly cried aloud,
blessing God who saves those who hope in him.
They rose up against the two elders,
for by their own words Daniel had convicted them of perjury.
According to the law of Moses,
they inflicted on them
the penalty they had plotted to impose on their neighbor:
they put them to death.
Thus was innocent blood spared that day.

Or – DN 13:41C-62

The assembly condemned Susanna to death.

But Susanna cried aloud:
“O eternal God, you know what is hidden
and are aware of all things before they come to be:
you know that they have testified falsely against me.
Here I am about to die,
though I have done none of the things
with which these wicked men have charged me.”

The Lord heard her prayer.
As she was being led to execution,
God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel,
and he cried aloud:
“I will have no part in the death of this woman.”
All the people turned and asked him,
“What is this you are saying?”
He stood in their midst and continued,
“Are you such fools, O children of Israel!
To condemn a woman of Israel without examination
and without clear evidence?
Return to court, for they have testified falsely against her.”

Then all the people returned in haste.
To Daniel the elders said,
“Come, sit with us and inform us,
since God has given you the prestige of old age.”
But he replied,
“Separate these two far from each other that I may examine them.”

After they were separated one from the other,
he called one of them and said:
“How you have grown evil with age!
Now have your past sins come to term:
passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent,
and freeing the guilty, although the Lord says,
‘The innocent and the just you shall not put to death.’ 
Now, then, if you were a witness,
tell me under what tree you saw them together.”
“Under a mastic tree,” he answered.
Daniel replied, “Your fine lie has cost you your head,
for the angel of God shall receive the sentence from him
and split you in two.”
Putting him to one side, he ordered the other one to be brought. 
Daniel said to him, “Offspring of Canaan, not of Judah,
beauty has seduced you, lust has subverted your conscience.
This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel,
and in their fear they yielded to you;
but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your wickedness.
Now, then, tell me under what tree you surprised them together.”
“Under an oak,” he said.
Daniel replied, “Your fine lie has cost you also your head,”
for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two
so as to make an end of you both.”

The whole assembly cried aloud,
blessing God who saves those who hope in him.
They rose up against the two elders,
for by their own words Daniel had convicted them of perjury.
According to the law of Moses,
they inflicted on them
the penalty they had plotted to impose on their neighbor:
they put them to death.
Thus was innocent blood spared that day.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6

R. (4AB)  Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.

Verse Before The Gospel – EZ 33:11

I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord,
but rather in his conversion, that he may live.

Gospel – JN 8:12-20

Jesus spoke to them again, saying,
“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.” 
So the Pharisees said to him,
“You testify on your own behalf,
so your testimony cannot be verified.”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Even if I do testify on my own behalf, my testimony can be verified,     
because I know where I came from and where I am going.
But you do not know where I come from or where I am going.
You judge by appearances, but I do not judge anyone.
And even if I should judge, my judgment is valid,
because I am not alone,
but it is I and the Father who sent me.
Even in your law it is written
that the testimony of two men can be verified.
I testify on my behalf and so does the Father who sent me.”
So they said to him, “Where is your father?”
Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father.
If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”
He spoke these words
while teaching in the treasury in the temple area.
But no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

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Truth Is In The Garden


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 8, 2019

“As soon as the maids had left, the two old men got up and hurried to her. ‘Look,’ they said, ‘the garden doors are shut, and no one can see us; give in to our desire, and lie with us.'” Today we have an interesting pair of Scriptures to help prepare our remaining days of Lent. The first concerns the famous attempted fatal lie against Susanna on the part of two ruthless and morally bankrupt individuals who tried to frame Susanna in the garden where she innocently passed her time. Thank God for the confident, wholesome and honest voice of Daniel who exposed their treachery by asking just a couple of simple, innocent questions. Susanna’s trust in the Lord was confirmed: “Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.” Her resolve to stand with the truth and to trust in the Lord is more than just a model of behavior for us during Lent and during the duration of our time on earth, but the very pattern of existence because of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the cross and out of the grave. 

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” In the Gospel, again we hear annoyingly from the Pharisees who seem to never lose a chance to try to  either accuse Jesus of some monstrosity or attack His authority and wisdom. This is how it will be for all of us who want desperately to follow Jesus all the way to eternity. His truth was also found in the garden, the garden tomb from whence He rose and defeated death forever. We must remember these garden experiences so that when we are attacked, confused or even overly tired and anxious, we may never forget that God is love and often times, truth is found in the garden.

Truth makes all things beautiful. Edward Counsel

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April 9, 2019


Reading 1 – NM 21:4-9

From Mount Hor the children of Israel set out on the Red Sea road,
to bypass the land of Edom.
But with their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said,
“We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents away from us.”
So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,
“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live.”
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent 
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. 

Responsorial Psalm – PS 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21

R. (2)  O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
O LORD, hear my prayer,
and let my cry come to you.
Hide not your face from me
in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;    
in the day when I call, answer me speedily.
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.

Verse Before The Gospel

The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.

Gospel – JN 8:21-30

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come.”
So the Jews said,
“He is not going to kill himself, is he,
because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?”
He said to them, “You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.
For if you do not believe that I AM,
you will die in your sins.”
So they said to him, “Who are you?”
Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation.
But the one who sent me is true,
and what I heard from him I tell the world.”
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said to them,
“When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me. 
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him.”
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

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Look Up And Be Saved


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 9, 2019

“Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent  looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” Our First Reading makes an inspiring case for the deep relationship between our sins, our pain, our incessant desire for healing, and the free offer of forgiveness of the sins that cause us so much pain and guilt. Moses dealt with the criticism and pessimistic reaction on the part of the Israelites for all that the Lord had done for them and in response, they were bitten by horribly attacking snakes which must have been quite a sight! Their unending complaints were answered by sheer harshness and fear. What is beautifully clear today is the Lord truly wants us to be safe, happy and holy. Our own sins and failings often stand in the way and present an enormous stumbling block to achieving all that God has intended for us, including acknowledging and receiving His healing forgiveness to a greater healthier spiritual life. Moses was commanded to construct a bronze serpent so that anyone who would look up it would be cured and saved. That must have taken an immense act of faith and well, well worth it. 

“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me.” It is, however, in the Gospel where the real truth to unlock the mystery of true inner freedom that is characteristic of a true believer and those who desperately want to get to Heaven. It is to take seriously the innocence, total trust and openness to look up at the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, lifted up on the cross so that all may be cured and saved. Jesus made this more than crystal clear in the Gospel: Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.”

When you are suffering or worried or anxious, look up at the cross to see your Jesus there wanting everything that is good for you. Accept this in faith and never look back. It would also help not to complain so much, either.

When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it. All else is madness. Eckhart Tolle

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April 10, 2019


Reading 1 – DN 3:14-20, 91-92, 95

King Nebuchadnezzar said:
“Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
that you will not serve my god,
or worship the golden statue that I set up?
Be ready now to fall down and worship the statue I had made,
whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet,
flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe,
and all the other musical instruments;
otherwise, you shall be instantly cast into the white-hot furnace;
and who is the God who can deliver you out of my hands?”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar,
“There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you
in this matter.
If our God, whom we serve,
can save us from the white-hot furnace
and from your hands, O king, may he save us!
But even if he will not, know, O king,
that we will not serve your god
or worship the golden statue that you set up.”

King Nebuchadnezzar’s face became livid with utter rage
against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual
and had some of the strongest men in his army
bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
and cast them into the white-hot furnace.

Nebuchadnezzar rose in haste and asked his nobles,
“Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?”
“Assuredly, O king,” they answered.
“But,” he replied, “I see four men unfettered and unhurt,
walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God.” 
Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed,
“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in him;
they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies
rather than serve or worship any god
except their own God.”

Responsorial Psalm – DANIEL 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56

R. (52B)  Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you who look into the depths
from your throne upon the cherubim;
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,
praiseworthy and glorious forever.”
R. Glory and praise for ever!

Verse Before The Gospel – SEE LK 8:15

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.

Gospel – JN 8:31-42

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him,
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham
and have never been enslaved to anyone. 
How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
A slave does not remain in a household forever,
but a son always remains. 
So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.
I know that you are descendants of Abraham.
But you are trying to kill me,
because my word has no room among you. 
I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence;
then do what you have heard from the Father.”

They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.” 
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children,
you would be doing the works of Abraham. 
But now you are trying to kill me,
a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God;
Abraham did not do this.
You are doing the works of your father!”
So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication. 
We have one Father, God.” 
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me,
for I came from God and am here;
I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”

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Out Of The Fire


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 10, 2019

By now there are many of us who could agree with the marvelous assessment of those deep within the fire bravely and accurately uttered by the three young men hurled into the hottest of all possible flames in today’s First Reading: “If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us!” Our specific take on this observation would need to be tweaked just a little: If our beautiful and merciful Lord preserved us during these days of Lent then He can do even greater things! This much is certainly true and we have only a couple of more weeks, until the fulfillment of the Easter promise of Resurrection will be ours in abundance. We just need to hold on to this truth in our lives. 

“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” And this is the truth: God loves us so much that He even wants us to be better with every passing day, especially the passing days of our Lenting this year. The Lord has been, is today and will always be at our side assisting us in our daily struggle to become more like Jesus in every way possible. This is the bright promise of Easter made during the somewhat dark, at least purple, days of Lent. If we accept this truth, the consequences are literally out of this world. 

The difference between a good life and a bad life is how well you walk through the fire. C. G. Jung

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April 11, 2019


Reading 1 – GN 17:3-9

When Abram prostrated himself, God spoke to him:
“My covenant with you is this:
you are to become the father of a host of nations.
No longer shall you be called Abram;
your name shall be Abraham,
for I am making you the father of a host of nations.
I will render you exceedingly fertile;
I will make nations of you;
kings shall stem from you.
I will maintain my covenant with you
and your descendants after you
throughout the ages as an everlasting pact,
to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
I will give to you
and to your descendants after you
the land in which you are now staying,
the whole land of Canaan, as a permanent possession;
and I will be their God.”

God also said to Abraham:
“On your part, you and your descendants after you
must keep my covenant throughout the ages.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 105:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8A)  The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations –
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Verse Before The Gospel – PS 95:8

If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

Gospel – JN 8:51-59

Jesus said to the Jews:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death.” 
So the Jews said to him,
“Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say,
‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? 
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?” 
Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’
You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word. 
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad.” 
So the Jews said to him,
“You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.

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Name Changer


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 11, 2019

“On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.” If there is such a thing as a science of belonging it would most certainly have to include behavior as an essential element of what it means to be part of something much larger than life itself. Today in the Scriptures, this belonging has to do with the Family of God in faith and acting in certain modes of belief that causes an entire group of people to stand apart from the rest. This is what is actually meant by “holy.” This is precisely where our modern-day understanding and practice of fasting and other Lenten practices have originated, especially the actual marking of ashes on the forehead. This clearly sets us apart as a group of people with the same or similar mindset and definitely the same goal: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.”   

“No longer shall you be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham, for I am making you the father of a host of nations.” Such an acceptance of so universal an invitation makes a definite and indelible change within the individual and the whole people. Such was the case with Abram who became Abraham. The same happened to Saul who became Paul and Simon who became Peter. All had their name changed because their entire destiny and future had undergone a magnificent and overwhelming overhaul. Lent is the same for us. Hopefully, by now, we can sense these deep-rooted changes to our hope and our direction toward Heaven. We are so close to our goal this year!

Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays. Soren Kierkegaard

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April 12, 2019


Reading 1 – JER 20:10-13

I hear the whisperings of many:
“Terror on every side!
Denounce! let us denounce him!”
All those who were my friends
are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
“Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail,
and take our vengeance on him.”
But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion:
my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.
In their failure they will be put to utter shame,
to lasting, unforgettable confusion.
O LORD of hosts, you who test the just,
who probe mind and heart,
Let me witness the vengeance you take on them,
for to you I have entrusted my cause.
Sing to the LORD,
praise the LORD,
For he has rescued the life of the poor
from the power of the wicked!

Responsorial Psalm – PS 18:2-3A, 3BC-4, 5-6, 7

R. (see 7)  In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
I love you, O LORD, my strength,
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
My God, my rock of refuge,
my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim,
and I am safe from my enemies.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
The breakers of death surged round about me,
the destroying floods overwhelmed me;
The cords of the nether world enmeshed me,
the snares of death overtook me.
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
In my distress I called upon the LORD
and cried out to my God;
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears. 
R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.

Verse Before The Gospel – SEE JN 6:63C, 68C

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

Gospel – JN 10:31-42

The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.
Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?”
The Jews answered him,
“We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God.”
Jesus answered them,
“Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, ‘You are gods”‘? 
If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came,
and Scripture cannot be set aside,
can you say that the one
whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world
blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 
If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me;
but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may realize and understand
that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
Then they tried again to arrest him;
but he escaped from their power.

He went back across the Jordan
to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained. 
Many came to him and said,
“John performed no sign,
but everything John said about this man was true.”
And many there began to believe in him.

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Distress Call


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 12, 2019

“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.” In some dictionary excerpts, distress is defined as extreme anxiety, sorrow or pain. Human life encounters distress all throughout the experience that we engage while on earth and the Lord knows that we must be ready and fully equipped to face whatever we must to grow and become a new creation in Christ. 

“Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?’” There are, however, not a small number of people who do not accept the call of grace to see things in life with the eyes of faith and then in turn blame God for every ill and problem under the sun. Because of spiritual blindness and a faithless approach to reality, they seem to actually attack God as Jesus was in the Gospel today. Our stance, especially throughout these days of Lenten Journey must be entirely different: “Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD, For he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!” Imagine singing to God when life is hard and burdensome. Yet, that is exactly the remedy! 

Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.    Paulo Coelho

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April 13, 2019


Reading 1 – EZ 37:21-28

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will take the children of Israel from among the nations
to which they have come,
and gather them from all sides to bring them back to their land.
I will make them one nation upon the land,
in the mountains of Israel,
and there shall be one prince for them all. 
Never again shall they be two nations,
and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms.

No longer shall they defile themselves with their idols,
their abominations, and all their transgressions. 
I will deliver them from all their sins of apostasy,
and cleanse them so that they may be my people
and I may be their God.
My servant David shall be prince over them,
and there shall be one shepherd for them all;
they shall live by my statutes and carefully observe my decrees.
They shall live on the land that I gave to my servant Jacob,
the land where their fathers lived;
they shall live on it forever,
they, and their children, and their children’s children,
with my servant David their prince forever.
I will make with them a covenant of peace;
it shall be an everlasting covenant with them,
and I will multiply them, and put my sanctuary among them forever.
My dwelling shall be with them;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Thus the nations shall know that it is I, the LORD,
who make Israel holy,
when my sanctuary shall be set up among them forever.

Responsorial Psalm – JEREMIAH 31:10, 11-12ABCD, 13

R. (see 10d)  The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.
Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
proclaim it on distant isles, and say:
He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together,
he guards them as a shepherd his flock.
R. The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.
The LORD shall ransom Jacob,
he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror.
Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion,
they shall come streaming to the LORD’s blessings:
The grain, the wine, and the oil,
the sheep and the oxen.
R. The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.
Then the virgins shall make merry and dance,
and young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will console and gladden them after their sorrows.
R. The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.

Verse Before The Gospel – EZ 18:31

Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD,
and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.

Gospel – JN 11:45-56

Many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him.
But some of them went to the Pharisees
and told them what Jesus had done. 
So the chief priests and the Pharisees
convened the Sanhedrin and said,
“What are we going to do? 
This man is performing many signs.
If we leave him alone, all will believe in him,
and the Romans will come
and take away both our land and our nation.”
But one of them, Caiaphas,
who was high priest that year, said to them,
“You know nothing,
nor do you consider that it is better for you
that one man should die instead of the people,
so that the whole nation may not perish.”
He did not say this on his own,
but since he was high priest for that year,
he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,
and not only for the nation,
but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.
So from that day on they planned to kill him.

So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews,
but he left for the region near the desert,
to a town called Ephraim,
and there he remained with his disciples.

Now the Passover of the Jews was near,
and many went up from the country to Jerusalem
before Passover to purify themselves.
They looked for Jesus and said to one another
as they were in the temple area, “What do you think?
That he will not come to the feast?”

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The Needs Of The Many


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 13, 2019

“I will deliver them from all their sins of apostasy, and cleanse them so that they may be my people and I may be their God.” When we look and study all the moments of the life of Jesus, we realize that the Lord does not introduce anything new in terms of human experiences but rather elevates and imbues tremendous meaning and purpose into them. When evil and the demons of our lives approach, we realize first-hand that we truly need faith in the one who can handle and defeat them. These present themselves as conflicts which call us to make choices: 

Conflicts: Every last one of us must face conflicts practically every day of our lives, even if they surface from with us. Therefore, it is not an indication or measurement of how much we are loved when we have issues or problems, but rather what we are going to do with them. 

Choices: When Jesus calls a person to follow Him, it necessarily involves the fundamental option whether to accept him or to reject him; and the world is always divided into those who have accepted Christ and those who have not. Everyone makes choices every day. This choice, however, affects eternity and forever is a very, very long time.

A Cross: The original audience of Jesus experienced tremendous suffering and loss. They knew very well what a cross was. The Jewish historian Josephus mentions the swift and cruel action of Publius Quinctilius Varus, a Roman General under the Emperor Augustus who crushed a revolt in Judea in 4 BC. After occupying Jerusalem, he crucified two thousand Jewish rebels and placed the crosses by the wayside along the roads to Galilee. This is why Jesus had and has tremendous compassion for His people, then and now: “Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.”

Our daily dose of the Word leads us to understand and fully engage the conflicts, choices and crosses in our lives. When we are worried, it is because we are trying to do things ourselves. When we are at peace it is because we remember that God is in control. “Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.” 

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April 14, 2019


Palm Sunday

At The Procession With Palms – Gospel – LK 19:28-40

Jesus proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.
As he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany 
at the place called the Mount of Olives, 
he sent two of his disciples.
He said, “Go into the village opposite you, 
and as you enter it you will find a colt tethered 
on which no one has ever sat.
Untie it and bring it here.
And if anyone should ask you,
‘Why are you untying it?’ 
you will answer,
‘The Master has need of it.'”
So those who had been sent went off 
and found everything just as he had told them.
And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, 
“Why are you untying this colt?”
They answered,
“The Master has need of it.”
So they brought it to Jesus,
threw their cloaks over the colt, 
and helped Jesus to mount.
As he rode along,
the people were spreading their cloaks on the road; 
and now as he was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives, 
the whole multitude of his disciples
began to praise God aloud with joy
for all the mighty deeds they had seen.
They proclaimed:
“Blessed is the king who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven
and glory in the highest.”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him,
“Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”
He said in reply,
“I tell you, if they keep silent,
the stones will cry out!”

At The Mass – Reading I – IS 50:4-7

The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
that I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
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.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24.

R. (2A)  My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
All who see me scoff at me;
they mock me with parted lips, they wag their heads:
“He relied on the LORD; let him deliver him,
let him rescue him, if he loves him.”
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Indeed, many dogs surround me,
a pack of evildoers closes in upon me;
They have pierced my hands and my feet;
I can count all my bones.
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
They divide my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.
But you, O LORD, be not far from me;
O my help, hasten to aid me.
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
I will proclaim your name to my brethren;
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you:
“You who fear the LORD, praise him;
all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to him;
 revere him, all you descendants of Israel!”
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Reading 2 – PHIL 2:6-11

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Verse Before The Gospel – PHIL 2:8-9

Christ became obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.

Gospel – LK 22:14—23:56

When the hour came,
Jesus took his place at table with the apostles.
He said to them, 
“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,
for, I tell you, I shall not eat it again 
until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said, 
“Take this and share it among yourselves; 
for I tell you that from this time on 
I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine 
until the kingdom of God comes.”
Then he took the bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 
“This is my body, which will be given for you; 
do this in memory of me.”
And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, 
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
which will be shed for you.

“And yet behold, the hand of the one who is to betray me
is with me on the table; 
for the Son of Man indeed goes as it has been determined;
but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.”
And they began to debate among themselves 
who among them would do such a deed.

Then an argument broke out among them
about which of them should be regarded as the greatest.
He said to them,
“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them 
and those in authority over them are addressed as ‘Benefactors’; 
but among you it shall not be so.
Rather, let the greatest among you be as the youngest, 
and the leader as the servant.
For who is greater: 
the one seated at table or the one who serves?
Is it not the one seated at table?
I am among you as the one who serves.
It is you who have stood by me in my trials;
and I confer a kingdom on you, 
just as my Father has conferred one on me, 
that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; 
and you will sit on thrones
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

“Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded
to sift all of you like wheat,
but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; 
and once you have turned back,
you must strengthen your brothers.”
He said to him,
“Lord, I am prepared to go to prison and to die with you.”
But he replied,
“I tell you, Peter, before the cock crows this day,
you will deny three times that you know me.”

He said to them,
“When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals,
were you in need of anything?”
“No, nothing, ” they replied.
He said to them,
“But now one who has a money bag should take it,
and likewise a sack, 
and one who does not have a sword
should sell his cloak and buy one.
For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me,
namely, He was counted among the wicked;
and indeed what is written about me is coming to fulfillment.”
Then they said,
“Lord, look, there are two swords here.”
But he replied, “It is enough!”

Then going out, he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives,
and the disciples followed him.
When he arrived at the place he said to them, 
“Pray that you may not undergo the test.”
After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling,
he prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, 
take this cup away from me; 
still, not my will but yours be done.”
And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him.
He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently 
that his sweat became like drops of blood
falling on the ground.
When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples, 
he found them sleeping from grief.
He said to them, “Why are you sleeping?
Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.”

While he was still speaking, a crowd approached 
and in front was one of the Twelve, a man named Judas.
He went up to Jesus to kiss him.
Jesus said to him, 
“Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
His disciples realized what was about to happen, and they asked, 
“Lord, shall we strike with a sword?”
And one of them struck the high priest’s servant
and cut off his right ear.
But Jesus said in reply,
“Stop, no more of this!”
Then he touched the servant’s ear and healed him.
And Jesus said to the chief priests and temple guards 
and elders who had come for him, 
“Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs?
Day after day I was with you in the temple area,
and you did not seize me;
but this is your hour, the time for the power of darkness.”

After arresting him they led him away 
and took him into the house of the high priest; 
Peter was following at a distance.
They lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it,
and Peter sat down with them.
When a maid saw him seated in the light, 
she looked intently at him and said,
“This man too was with him.”
But he denied it saying,
“Woman, I do not know him.”
A short while later someone else saw him and said, 
“You too are one of them”; 
but Peter answered, “My friend, I am not.”
About an hour later, still another insisted, 
“Assuredly, this man too was with him,
for he also is a Galilean.”
But Peter said,
“My friend, I do not know what you are talking about.”
Just as he was saying this, the cock crowed,
and the Lord turned and looked at Peter; 
and Peter remembered the word of the Lord,
how he had said to him,
“Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.”
He went out and began to weep bitterly.
The men who held Jesus in custody were ridiculing and beating him.
They blindfolded him and questioned him, saying, 
“Prophesy!  Who is it that struck you?”
And they reviled him in saying many other things against him.

When day came the council of elders of the people met, 
both chief priests and scribes, 
and they brought him before their Sanhedrin.
They said, “If you are the Christ, tell us, ” 
but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, 
and if I question, you will not respond.
But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated 
at the right hand of the power of God.”
They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?”
He replied to them, “You say that I am.”
Then they said, “What further need have we for testimony?
We have heard it from his own mouth.”

Then the whole assembly of them arose and brought him before Pilate.
They brought charges against him, saying, 
“We found this man misleading our people; 
he opposes the payment of taxes to Caesar 
and maintains that he is the Christ, a king.”
Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
He said to him in reply, “You say so.”
Pilate then addressed the chief priests and the crowds, 
“I find this man not guilty.”
But they were adamant and said, 
“He is inciting the people with his teaching throughout all Judea,
from Galilee where he began even to here.”

On hearing this Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean; 
and upon learning that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction,
he sent him to Herod who was in Jerusalem at that time.
Herod was very glad to see Jesus; 
he had been wanting to see him for a long time,
for he had heard about him 
and had been hoping to see him perform some sign.
He questioned him at length,
but he gave him no answer.
The chief priests and scribes, meanwhile,
stood by accusing him harshly.
Herod and his soldiers treated him contemptuously and mocked him,
and after clothing him in resplendent garb, 
he sent him back to Pilate.
Herod and Pilate became friends that very day, 
even though they had been enemies formerly.
Pilate then summoned the chief priests, the rulers, and the people 
and said to them, “You brought this man to me
and accused him of inciting the people to revolt.
I have conducted my investigation in your presence 
and have not found this man guilty 
of the charges you have brought against him, 
nor did Herod, for he sent him back to us.
So no capital crime has been committed by him.
Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.”

But all together they shouted out, 
“Away with this man!
Release Barabbas to us.”
— Now Barabbas had been imprisoned for a rebellion 
that had taken place in the city and for murder. —
Again Pilate addressed them, still wishing to release Jesus,
but they continued their shouting,
“Crucify him!  Crucify him!”
Pilate addressed them a third time,
“What evil has this man done?
I found him guilty of no capital crime.
Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.”
With loud shouts, however,
they persisted in calling for his crucifixion,
and their voices prevailed.
The verdict of Pilate was that their demand should be granted.
So he released the man who had been imprisoned
for rebellion and murder, for whom they asked,
and he handed Jesus over to them to deal with as they wished.

As they led him away
they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, 
who was coming in from the country; 
and after laying the cross on him, 
they made him carry it behind Jesus.
A large crowd of people followed Jesus, 
including many women who mourned and lamented him.
Jesus turned to them and said, 
“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; 
weep instead for yourselves and for your children 
for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, 
‘Blessed are the barren,
the wombs that never bore
and the breasts that never nursed.’
At that time people will say to the mountains,
‘Fall upon us!’
and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’
for if these things are done when the wood is green 
what will happen when it is dry?”
Now two others, both criminals,
were led away with him to be executed.

When they came to the place called the Skull, 
they crucified him and the criminals there, 
one on his right, the other on his left.
Then Jesus said,
“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
They divided his garments by casting lots.
The people stood by and watched; 
the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, 
“He saved others, let him save himself 
if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.”
Even the soldiers jeered at him.
As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
“If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.”
Above him there was an inscription that read, 
“This is the King of the Jews.”

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,
“Are you not the Christ?
Save yourself and us.”
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
“Have you no fear of God,
for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, 
but this man has done nothing criminal.”
Then he said,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him,
“Amen, I say to you, 
today you will be with me in Paradise.”

It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon
because of an eclipse of the sun.
Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle.
Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; 
and when he had said this he breathed his last.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said,
“This man was innocent beyond doubt.”
When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened,
they returned home beating their breasts;
but all his acquaintances stood at a distance, 
including the women who had followed him from Galilee 
and saw these events.

Now there was a virtuous and righteous man named Joseph who,
though he was a member of the council, 
had not consented to their plan of action.
He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea 
and was awaiting the kingdom of God.
He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
After he had taken the body down, 
he wrapped it in a linen cloth
and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb
in which no one had yet been buried.
It was the day of preparation,
and the sabbath was about to begin.
The women who had come from Galilee with him followed behind, 
and when they had seen the tomb 
and the way in which his body was laid in it, 
they returned and prepared spices and perfumed oils.
Then they rested on the sabbath according to the commandment.

Or – LK 23:1-49

The elders of the people, chief priests and scribes,
arose and brought Jesus before Pilate.
They brought charges against him, saying,
“We found this man misleading our people; 
he opposes the payment of taxes to Caesar 
and maintains that he is the Christ, a king.”
Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
He said to him in reply, “You say so.”
Pilate then addressed the chief priests and the crowds, 
“I find this man not guilty.”
But they were adamant and said, 
“He is inciting the people with his teaching throughout all Judea,
from Galilee where he began even to here.”

On hearing this Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean; 
and upon learning that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction,
he sent him to Herod who was in Jerusalem at that time.
Herod was very glad to see Jesus; 
he had been wanting to see him for a long time,
for he had heard about him 
and had been hoping to see him perform some sign.
He questioned him at length,
but he gave him no answer.
The chief priests and scribes, meanwhile,
stood by accusing him harshly.
Herod and his soldiers treated him contemptuously and mocked him,
and after clothing him in resplendent garb, 
he sent him back to Pilate.
Herod and Pilate became friends that very day, 
even though they had been enemies formerly.
Pilate then summoned the chief priests, the rulers, and the people 
and said to them, “You brought this man to me
and accused him of inciting the people to revolt.
I have conducted my investigation in your presence 
and have not found this man guilty 
of the charges you have brought against him, 
nor did Herod, for he sent him back to us.
So no capital crime has been committed by him.
Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.”

But all together they shouted out, 
“Away with this man!
Release Barabbas to us.”
— Now Barabbas had been imprisoned for a rebellion 
that had taken place in the city and for murder. —
Again Pilate addressed them, still wishing to release Jesus,
but they continued their shouting,
“Crucify him!  Crucify him!”
Pilate addressed them a third time,
“What evil has this man done?
I found him guilty of no capital crime.
Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.”
With loud shouts, however,
they persisted in calling for his crucifixion,
and their voices prevailed.
The verdict of Pilate was that their demand should be granted.
So he released the man who had been imprisoned
for rebellion and murder, for whom they asked,
and he handed Jesus over to them to deal with as they wished.

As they led him away
they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, 
who was coming in from the country; 
and after laying the cross on him, 
they made him carry it behind Jesus.
A large crowd of people followed Jesus, 
including many women who mourned and lamented him.
Jesus turned to them and said, 
“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me;
weep instead for yourselves and for your children 
for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, 
‘Blessed are the barren,
the wombs that never bore
and the breasts that never nursed.’
At that time people will say to the mountains,
‘Fall upon us!’
and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’
for if these things are done when the wood is green 
what will happen when it is dry?”
Now two others, both criminals,
were led away with him to be executed.

When they came to the place called the Skull, 
they crucified him and the criminals there, 
one on his right, the other on his left.
Then Jesus said,
“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
They divided his garments by casting lots.
The people stood by and watched; 
the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, 
“He saved others, let him save himself 
if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.”
Even the soldiers jeered at him.
As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
“If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.”
Above him there was an inscription that read, 
“This is the King of the Jews.”

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,
“Are you not the Christ?
Save yourself and us.”
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
“Have you no fear of God,
for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, 
but this man has done nothing criminal.”
Then he said,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him,
“Amen, I say to you, 
today you will be with me in Paradise.”

It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon
because of an eclipse of the sun.
Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle.
Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; 
and when he had said this he breathed his last.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said,
“This man was innocent beyond doubt.”
When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle
saw what had happened,
they returned home beating their breasts;
but all his acquaintances stood at a distance, 
including the women who had followed him from Galilee 
and saw these events.

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Who Are You Carrying?


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 14, 2019

Among several cultures on our planet, there exists a delightful little story about a young donkey and his mother who was trying desperately to prepare her young son for the ravages and cruelty of the world which typically never treated these animals with much respect. Coming home, however, one day, the young animal was full of excitement and unbelievable joy. He had a small job earlier that morning and everyone was shouting with respect and joy and even throwing palm branches in front of him so that the walk on the hard surface would be less strenuous. “They love us, Mama!,” he shouted with almost unbelief. “They now respect us! We are free!” His kind mother looked with love upon her somewhat idealistic son and simply said, “We are free as long as we carry greatness upon our backs.” “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately on entering it, you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here.” (Opening Gospel Before Procession with Palms) 

Today we celebrate Palm Sunday while ushering in the great mystery of Holy Week when we commemorate Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey with gleeful and exuberant shouts of “Hosanna.” It was, however, a short-lived moment of public popularity for Jesus. In just a few days the feckless crowds would become violent and hostile crying out for His execution. The donkey would be traded for a cross. By the end of the week on Good Friday, the burden-bearer would be Jesus Himself and a donkey would not be carrying Christ – Christ would be carrying the cross.  He would not be astride the back of a donkey’s back, but rather a cruel, albeit, redemptive cross would be crushing upon His back!

Let us begin and let us pray: 

“All-powerful, eternal God, You have chosen to give us all a model of humility; our Savior took on our flesh, and subjected Himself to the Cross. Grant us the grace to preserve faithfully the lessons He has given us in his Passion and to have a share in His Resurrection. Amen.”  

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April 15, 2019


Monday of Holy Week

Reading 1 – IS 42:1-7

Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
Upon whom I have put my Spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
Not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
Until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spreads out the earth with its crops,
Who gives breath to its people
and spirit to those who walk on it:
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
To open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14

R.  (1A)  The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
When evildoers come at me
to devour my flesh,
My foes and my enemies
themselves stumble and fall.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me,
even then will I trust. 
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Verse Before The Gospel

Hail to you, our King;
you alone are compassionate with our faults.

Gospel – JN 12:1-11

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. 
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. 
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
“Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages
and given to the poor?”
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, “Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,
not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him.

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Open-Handed Holy Week


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 15, 2019

“You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” This particular and perhaps familiar Gospel passage has been quoted and misquoted, applied and misapplied by so many over the centuries, literally ever since it was first transcribed. This, among many other factors, is exactly why it is simply not enough to know what the Bible says, but what it means. You see, on a first glance, the phrase about always having the poor seems almost fatalistic, as if to suggest that there is really no use to address the issue of poverty because we will never rid our society from it, but that is so far from the meaning. Jesus was actually quoting another well-known Biblical passage from Deuteronomy which sets the context of the poor and our response in a very different context: “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be … For the poor you will always have with you in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’” (Deuteronomy 15:7-11) Thus, realistically and with the greatest of authentic interpretation, the Lord Jesus is enthusiastically begging us to be “open-handed” toward the poor among us. Holy Week begins for most of us with this deep and emotional call to be aware of those who suffer in our own circles, perhaps right in front of us and to respond quickly, deeply and readily. 

In this most awesome week, we must see our own roles to feed the hungry and lift up the poor among us. In the New Testament humble beginnings of the Church, there were no needy persons among them. Everyone shared and cared for each other. Poverty, even as we can describe it today, was eradicated in their midst. That was the natural outcome of taking Jesus’ teachings seriously and to heart. Just imagine that for a moment: a world where all are free to love and serve! This is not some nimble-headed utopia but the goal of being a follower of Christ right here, right now. The fulfillment of Lent, Holy Week and all that Jesus taught and lived and died for is now about to be realized and celebrated. Spend today reflecting on those in your own homes and friendships who really need you. Pray for all those who are unhappy in this life and beg Jesus to live deeply within them and in you. He has the ultimate endorsement from Heaven: “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, Upon whom I have put my Spirit.”

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like. Saint Augustine

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April 16, 2019


Tuesday of Holy Week

Reading 1 – IS 49:1-6

Hear me, O islands,
listen, O distant peoples.
The LORD called me from birth,
from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp-edged sword
and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
He made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,
Yet my reward is with the LORD,
my recompense is with my God.
For now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
That Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
And I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 71:1-2, 3-4A, 5AB-6AB, 15 AND 17

R. (see 15AB)  I will sing of your salvation.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
For you are my hope, O LORD;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R. I will sing of your salvation.

Verse Before The Gospel

Hail to you, our King, obedient to the Father;
you were led to your crucifixion like a gentle lamb to the slaughter.

Gospel – JN 13:21-33, 36-38

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,
was reclining at Jesus’ side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him,
“Master, who is it?”
Jesus answered,
“It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.”
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas,
son of Simon the Iscariot.
After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.
So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him.
Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him,
“Buy what we need for the feast,”
or to give something to the poor.
So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

When he had left, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself,
and he will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me, and as I told the Jews,
‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?”
Jesus answered him,
“Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later.”
Peter said to him,
“Master, why can I not follow you now? 
I will lay down my life for you.”
Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times.”

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The True Cost of Words


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 16, 2019

George Bernard Shaw is credited with saying that the “single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” While there are many different explanations and approaches to explain and or further expand on this thought, for today let us consider what Jesus has done for us and how we respond based on what we have in the dramatic unfolding of events in the Gospel as we move through Holy Week this year. First we begin with the explosive observation that Jesus makes to His closest friends that one of them is about to betray Him and send Him to death: “Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.’” Each Apostle in the upper room took the phrase in a different light. One or two began to blame themselves. Perhaps a few couldn’t or wouldn’t believe what they just heard. Peter impulsively sprang to action and pledged undying loyalty and protection while Judas knew exactly who the Lord was talking about. 

“Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, Yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God.” On this Tuesday in Holy Week, we are called to pay even closer attention to what is being said to each of us as it may relate to our individual circumstances especially in our spiritual lives. When you hear, “one of you is about to betray me,” what is the first thing that comes to your heart and mind? Is there any evidence whatsoever that would or could suggest betrayal in our lives? The next pertinent question would then be, to whom or what? To God? Our spouse? Our family and friends? The reality is simple during this very holy time: everything that is uttered and celebrated has deep meaning and significance and must be addressed with courage and fidelity.  We must make this week different by what we do with it. Now, lift that up in prayer and wait patiently for the inspiration that will come, guaranteed!

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.  Brené Brown

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April 17, 2019


Wednesday of Holy Week

Reading 1 – IS 50:4-9A

The Lord GOD has given me 
a well-trained tongue,
That I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
And I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
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.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me,
let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let him confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?

Responsorial Psalm – PS 69:8-10, 21-22, 31 AND 33-34

R. (14C) Lord, in your great love, answer me.
For your sake I bear insult,
and shame covers my face.
I have become an outcast to my brothers,
a stranger to my mother’s sons,
because zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak,
I looked for sympathy, but there was none;
for consolers, not one could I find.
Rather they put gall in my food,
and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving:
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

Verse Before The Gospel

Hail to you, our King;
you alone are compassionate with our errors.

Or

Hail to you, our King, obedient to the Father;
you were led to your crucifixion like a gentle lamb to the slaughter.

Gospel – MT 26:14-25

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.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
the disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Where do you want us to prepare
for you to eat the Passover?”
He said,
“Go into the city to a certain man and tell him,
‘The teacher says, My appointed time draws near; 
in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”‘”
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered,
and prepared the Passover.

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A Fate Worse Than Death


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 17, 2019

“The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” Imagine the pain of a person when they realize they have wounded and perhaps forever severed the most wonderful and awesome relationship that they will ever encounter. Now compound this upon the world stage of history and we may have something close to the experience of Judas, the man who betrayed the Son of God. “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” His name has become synonymous with any notorious traitor even to this very day. In addition to this remarkable infamy, there has developed a popular hatred of Judas in various parts of Christendom. On the Greek island of Corfu, for example, the people at a given signal on Holy Saturday night, throw vast quantities of crockery from their windows and roofs into the streets, and thus execute an imaginary stoning of Judas. 

However interesting, the painful truth for us to face on this midway of Holy Week is the potential for each of us to betray love itself in our own lives. This comes when we allow selfishness and hate to brood within us so that we do not not even realize the pain and misery we are inflicting upon others and, by extension, to our very souls. What happens is that we become so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others, that in the end, we become disguised to ourselves. Perhaps the pains and disappointments of life create hurt and deep wounds beyond our imagination. The paradox of this week deeply entwined with the whole teaching of Jesus the Christ is simple in many ways. If we love until it hurts, then there can be no more hurt, just more love to give. (St. Theresa of Calcutta) It is then, and only then, can we shout and sing with the most joyous voice we have, joining the refrain of today’s Psalm: “I will praise the name of God in song, and I will glorify him with thanksgiving: ‘See, you lowly ones, and be glad; you who seek God, may your hearts revive! For the LORD hears the poor, and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.’”

The shattering of a heart when being broken is the loudest quiet ever. Carroll Bryant

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April 18, 2019


Holy Thursday

Reading 1 – IS 61:1-3A, 6A, 8B-9

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;
To place on those who mourn in Zion
a diadem instead of ashes,
To give them oil of gladness in place of mourning,
a glorious mantle instead of a listless spirit.

You yourselves shall be named priests of the LORD,
ministers of our God shall you be called.

I will give them their recompense faithfully,
a lasting covenant I will make with them.
Their descendants shall be renowned among the nations,
and their offspring among the peoples;
All who see them shall acknowledge them
as a race the LORD has blessed.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:21-22, 25 AND 27

R. (2)  For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him.
That my hand may always be with him;
and that my arm may make him strong.”
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him;
and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior!'”
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2 – RV 1:5-8

[Grace to you and peace] from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his Blood, 
who has made us into a Kingdom, priests for his God and Father, 
to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

Behold, he is coming amid the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him.
All the peoples of the earth will lament him.
Yes. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, 
“the one who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Verse Before The Gospel – IS 61:1 (CITED IN LK 4:18)

The Spirit of the LORD is upon me;
for he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.

Gospel – LK 4:16-21

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, 
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

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.”

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This Is My Body, My Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 18, 2019

Although it is not plausible to debate that eating is essential to our survival, that it is deeply symbolic and that it is enjoyed across the board by every known culture on the planet, we can and should open the debate lines concerning how we have lost the meaning of meals and the richness of gathering to feast especially in our modern times. For example, it appears that breakfast is often a shake of everything from protein, fruits, or a soda with ice, lunch a sandwich gobbled in front of the computer, and dinner, when hurriedly arranged or just accidentally falling into place, is quickly consumed usually in front of the television blaring or everyone with their phones checking social media posts and or texts. Even though we see commercials to the contrary and movies and listen to heart-felt pitches to act otherwise, we still continue with this rapid feeding frenzy. Perhaps it is because eating like this satisfies some basic needs as it fuels our bodies. But being fed is not the same as being nourished. This is how and why we must understand the great significance of Holy Thursday, when Jesus the Christ uttered those immortal words that have since been repeated over the centuries and the great span of time: “This is my body…this is my blood…do this in memory of me.”  Our First Reading begins to set the stage for this deeper awareness of the simplicity of eating: “This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.” Our lives have been bought and purchased and at an amazing cost! None of us are here “by accident.” We each have a deep and enriching purpose which we must find and for that journey must be fed: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” 

While thought-out mealtime practices and rituals can draw us into a state of increased awareness, our appreciation for the Eucharist can give sight to the vision we need to focus on the things that really matter in this life and to get home safe to Heaven when it is all said and done. Jesus does so much more this night as well. He teaches us that not only do we take meaningful time when we sit and share food but also take every opportunity and chance to serve, even to the point of washing each other’s feet. “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” Today, especially on this day, we need to remember what the initial impression of this passage made on initial First Century audience: even art and literary works have somewhat romanticized this event, it was not really beautiful to them. It was not even humbling, it was actually humiliating. You see to wash another’s feet was a dirty job reserved for slaves. Today this action would be tantamount to going to someone’s house to clean their bathroom including the toilet. Maybe caregivers who have to clean and wash and witnessed the worst in a person’s life are closest to the real meaning of this marvelous gesture. As Jesus feeds us with His very Body and Blood, He is assuring us that He is showing us and expecting us to be the least among us. It is easy to do great things for those we love. What about doing the hard things for those we don’t even know or even better, know that we will never be able or willing to say thank you. This is selfless and it is what this night is all about: empty yourself like Jesus did so where He has gone, we can follow. 

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. J.R.R. Tolkien

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April 19, 2019


Good Friday

Reading 1 – IS 52:13—53:12

See, my servant shall prosper,
he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.
Even as many were amazed at himC
so marred was his look beyond human semblance
and his appearance beyond that of the sons of manC
so shall he startle many nations,
because of him kings shall stand speechless;
for those who have not been told shall see,
those who have not heard shall ponder it.

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.
But he was pierced for our offenses,
crushed for our sins;
upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,
by his stripes we were healed.
We had all gone astray like sheep,
each following his own way;
but the LORD laid upon him
the guilt of us all.

Though he was harshly treated, he submitted
and opened not his mouth;
like a lamb led to the slaughter
or a sheep before the shearers,
he was silent and opened not his mouth.
Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away,
and who would have thought any more of his destiny?
When he was cut off from the land of the living,
and smitten for the sin of his people,
a grave was assigned him among the wicked
and a burial place with evildoers,
though he had done no wrong
nor spoken any falsehood.
But the LORD was pleased
to crush him in infirmity.

If he gives his life as an offering for sin,
he shall see his descendants in a long life,
and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.

Because of his affliction
he shall see the light in fullness of days;
through his suffering, my servant shall justify many,
and their guilt he shall bear.
Therefore I will give him his portion among the great,
and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty,
because he surrendered himself to death
and was counted among the wicked;
and he shall take away the sins of many,
and win pardon for their offenses.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25

R. (Lk 23:46) Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
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.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
For all my foes I am an object of reproach,
a laughingstock to my neighbors, and a dread to my friends;
they who see me abroad flee from me.
I am forgotten like the unremembered dead;
I am like a dish that is broken.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
But my trust is in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.
In your hands is my destiny; rescue me
from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.”
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
Take courage and be stouthearted,
all you who hope in the LORD.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

Reading 2 – HEB 4:14-16; 5:7-9

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, 
Jesus, the Son of God, 
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, 
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace 
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

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.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; 
and when he was made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Verse Before The Gospel – PHIL 2:8-9

Christ became obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name which is above every other name.

Gospel – JN 18:1—19:42

Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley 
to where there was a garden, 
into which he and his disciples entered.
Judas his betrayer also knew the place, 
because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.
So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards 
from the chief priests and the Pharisees 
and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, 
went out and said to them, “Whom are you looking for?”
They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.”
He said to them, “I AM.”
Judas his betrayer was also with them.
When he said to them, “I AM, ” 
they turned away and fell to the ground.
So he again asked them,
“Whom are you looking for?”
They said, “Jesus the Nazorean.”
Jesus answered,
“I told you that I AM.
So if you are looking for me, let these men go.”
This was to fulfill what he had said, 
“I have not lost any of those you gave me.”
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, 
struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear.
The slave’s name was Malchus.
Jesus said to Peter,
“Put your sword into its scabbard.
Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?”

So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus,
bound him, and brought him to Annas first.
He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, 
who was high priest that year.
It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews 
that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus.
Now the other disciple was known to the high priest, 
and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus.
But Peter stood at the gate outside.
So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest, 
went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in.
Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter, 
“You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?”
He said, “I am not.”
Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire
that they had made, because it was cold,
and were warming themselves.
Peter was also standing there keeping warm.

The high priest questioned Jesus 
about his disciples and about his doctrine.
Jesus answered him,
“I have spoken publicly to the world.
I have always taught in a synagogue 
or in the temple area where all the Jews gather, 
and in secret I have said nothing.  Why ask me?
Ask those who heard me what I said to them.
They know what I said.”
When he had said this, 
one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said, 
“Is this the way you answer the high priest?”
Jesus answered him,
“If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; 
but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?”
Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm.
And they said to him,
“You are not one of his disciples, are you?”
He denied it and said,
“I am not.”
One of the slaves of the high priest, 
a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said, 
“Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?”
Again Peter denied it.
And immediately the cock crowed.

Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium.
It was morning.
And they themselves did not enter the praetorium, 
in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover.
So Pilate came out to them and said, 
“What charge do you bring against this man?”
They answered and said to him,
“If he were not a criminal, 
we would not have handed him over to you.”
At this, Pilate said to them, 
“Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law.”
The Jews answered him, 
“We do not have the right to execute anyone, ” 
in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled
that he said indicating the kind of death he would die.
So Pilate went back into the praetorium 
and summoned Jesus and said to him, 
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered,
“Do you say this on your own 
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered,
“I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered,
“My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world, 
my attendants would be fighting 
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him,
“Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered,
“You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world, 
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

When he had said this,
he again went out to the Jews and said to them,
“I find no guilt in him.
But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover.
Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
They cried out again,
“Not this one but Barabbas!”
Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged.
And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, 
and clothed him in a purple cloak, 
and they came to him and said,
“Hail, King of the Jews!”
And they struck him repeatedly.
Once more Pilate went out and said to them, 
“Look, I am bringing him out to you, 
so that you may know that I find no guilt in him.”
So Jesus came out, 
wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak.
And he said to them, “Behold, the man!”
When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out, 
“Crucify him, crucify him!”
Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves and crucify him.
I find no guilt in him.”
The Jews answered, 
“We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die, 
because he made himself the Son of God.”
Now when Pilate heard this statement,
he became even more afraid, 
and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus, 
“Where are you from?”
Jesus did not answer him.
So Pilate said to him,
“Do you not speak to me?
Do you not know that I have power to release you 
and I have power to crucify you?”
Jesus answered him,
“You would have no power over me 
if it had not been given to you from above.
For this reason the one who handed me over to you
has the greater sin.”
Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out, 
“If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar.
Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out 
and seated him on the judge’s bench 
in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon.
And he said to the Jews,
“Behold, your king!”
They cried out,
“Take him away, take him away!  Crucify him!”
Pilate said to them,
“Shall I crucify your king?”
The chief priests answered,
“We have no king but Caesar.”
Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus, and, carrying the cross himself, 
he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, 
in Hebrew, Golgotha.
There they crucified him, and with him two others, 
one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.
Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross.
It read,
“Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.”
Now many of the Jews read this inscription, 
because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; 
and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.
So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, 
“Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’
but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews’.”
Pilate answered,
“What I have written, I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, 
they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, 
a share for each soldier.
They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, 
woven in one piece from the top down.
So they said to one another, 
“Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be, ” 
in order that the passage of Scripture might be fulfilled that says:
They divided my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.

This is what the soldiers did.
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, 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.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

Now since it was preparation day,
in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath,
for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, 
the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken 
and that they be taken down.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first 
and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, 
they did not break his legs, 
but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, 
and immediately blood and water flowed out.
An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; 
he knows that he is speaking the truth, 
so that you also may come to believe.
For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled:
Not a bone of it will be broken.
And again another passage says:
They will look upon him whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathea, 
secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, 
asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus.
And Pilate permitted it.
So he came and took his body.
Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, 
also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes 
weighing about one hundred pounds.
They took the body of Jesus 
and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, 
according to the Jewish burial custom.
Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, 
and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.
So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; 
for the tomb was close by.

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Great Friday And The Defeat Of Death


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 19, 2019

†Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, Love leaves a memory no one can steal. —-from a headstone in Ireland

Today is Good Friday. Why do we call it “good?” This is the first day of what the Church has long in her sacred history called the Triduum. These are the three glorious days that end Lent, enter the tomb of Jesus and rise with Him at Easter. It could be said that we call this good because although everyone wears a mask of sorts as we present to the world the person we want others to see, today we remember the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus so that you and I can reach true spiritual maturity which is that point where a person no longer hides behind any pretense, removes the mask of deceit and fear, exchanges the fashion statement for integrity and truly begins to live a holy life. Every year on Good Friday when this day arrives, it is certainly different for each one of us. It’s always different because either someone has died in the last year, a friend has become ill or incapacitated, another year has passed from the time we lost a dear loved one, and we ourselves have lived another year, presumably, one year closer to our own death.

This is why the Scripture passages and the yearly reading of the Passion we have for Good Friday are simply priceless. We came from God, and slowly but surely, we are moving back to him, face-to-face, to give whatever account we have of how we used these precious pearls of time while we were alive. I guess that’s why there are some who can’t (or won’t) deal with death. The message and experience must be too much, too overwhelming. I have also known people who have down right rejected God with a kind of indignation and misplaced anger for “having taken my loved one away.” That’s actually more tragic than death itself because there is absolutely no way you can arrive at a spiritual and mental place of peace and comfort— or even effectively through the grieving process —without the one who defeated death on the cross. Grief is the price we pay for loving and less we think that getting through this life without love is some kind of viable option, when you really think about it, it is indeed a fair price.

The readings from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, Psalm 31, the Letter to the Hebrews and the Passion according to St. John all clearly and effectively underscore that truth. God is in control. He sent His Son Jesus to take away the eternal price of our sins and Jesus gave us the Church so that through the centuries of time and space, we would remain together in hope and prayer until the day comes for us.

+May the Divine Assistance remain always with us and May the souls of all the faithful departed,through your mercy, O God, Rest in Peace. Amen

Because I could not stop for death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

—Emily Dickinson

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April 20, 2019


Holy Saturday Easter Vigil

Reading 1 – GN 1:1—2:2

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, 
the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, 
while a mighty wind swept over the waters.

Then God said,
“Let there be light,” and there was light.
God saw how good the light was.
God then separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.”
Thus evening came, and morning followed—the first day.

Then God said,
“Let there be a dome in the middle of the waters, 
to separate one body of water from the other.”
And so it happened:
God made the dome, 
and it separated the water above the dome from the water below it.
God called the dome “the sky.”
Evening came, and morning followed—the second day.

Then God said, 
“Let the water under the sky be gathered into a single basin, 
so that the dry land may appear.”
And so it happened:
the water under the sky was gathered into its basin, 
and the dry land appeared.
God called the dry land “the earth, ” 
and the basin of the water he called “the sea.”
God saw how good it was.
Then God said,
“Let the earth bring forth vegetation: 
every kind of plant that bears seed
and every kind of fruit tree on earth 
that bears fruit with its seed in it.”
And so it happened: 
the earth brought forth every kind of plant that bears seed 
and every kind of fruit tree on earth 
that bears fruit with its seed in it.
God saw how good it was.
Evening came, and morning followed—the third day.

Then God said:
“Let there be lights in the dome of the sky, 
to separate day from night.
Let them mark the fixed times, the days and the years, 
and serve as luminaries in the dome of the sky, 
to shed light upon the earth.”
And so it happened:
God made the two great lights, 
the greater one to govern the day, 
and the lesser one to govern the night; 
and he made the stars. 
God set them in the dome of the sky, 
to shed light upon the earth,
to govern the day and the night, 
and to separate the light from the darkness.
God saw how good it was.
Evening came, and morning followed—the fourth day.

Then God said, 
“Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, 
and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky.”
And so it happened:
God created the great sea monsters 
and all kinds of swimming creatures with which the water teems, 
and all kinds of winged birds.
God saw how good it was, and God blessed them, saying, 
“Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas; 
and let the birds multiply on the earth.”
Evening came, and morning followed—the fifth day.

Then God said, 
“Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures: 
cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds.”
And so it happened:
God made all kinds of wild animals, all kinds of cattle,
and all kinds of creeping things of the earth.
God saw how good it was.
Then God said: 
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, 
the birds of the air, and the cattle, 
and over all the wild animals 
and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.”
God created man in his image;
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them, saying:
“Be fertile and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it.
Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, 
and all the living things that move on the earth.”
God also said: 
“See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth 
and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; 
and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, 
and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground, 
I give all the green plants for food.”
And so it happened.
God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.
Evening came, and morning followed—the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed.
Since on the seventh day God was finished
with the work he had been doing, 
he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.

Or – GN 1:1, 26-31A

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth,
God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, 
the birds of the air, and the cattle, 
and over all the wild animals 
and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.”
God created man in his image;
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them, saying: 
“Be fertile and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it.
Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, 
and all the living things that move on the earth.”
God also said: 
“See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth 
and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; 
and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, 
and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground, 
I give all the green plants for food.”
And so it happened.
God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 13-14, 24, 35

R. (30) Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
You are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
You fixed the earth upon its foundation,
not to be moved forever;
with the ocean, as with a garment, you covered it;
above the mountains the waters stood.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
You send forth springs into the watercourses
that wind among the mountains.
Beside them the birds of heaven dwell;
from among the branches they send forth their song.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
You water the mountains from your palace;
the earth is replete with the fruit of your works.
You raise grass for the cattle,
and vegetation for man’s use,
Producing bread from the earth.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
How manifold are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you have wrought them all— 
the earth is full of your creatures.
Bless the LORD, O my soul! Alleluia.
R.  Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.

Or – PS 33:4-5, 6-7, 12-13, 20 AND 22

R.  (5B) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
 and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
 of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made;
 by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea as in a flask;
 in cellars he confines the deep.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
 the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
 he sees all mankind.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
 who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
 who have put our hope in you.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2 – GN 22:1-18

God put Abraham to the test.
He called to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am, ”  he replied.
Then God said:
“Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, 
and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a holocaust 
on a height that I will point out to you.”
Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey, 
took with him his son Isaac and two of his servants as well, 
and with the wood that he had cut for the holocaust, 
set out for the place of which God had told him.

On the third day Abraham got sight of the place from afar.
Then he said to his servants:
“Both of you stay here with the donkey, 
while the boy and I go on over yonder.
We will worship and then come back to you.”
Thereupon Abraham took the wood for the holocaust 
and laid it on his son Isaac’s shoulders, 
while he himself carried the fire and the knife.
As the two walked on together, Isaac spoke to his father Abraham: 
“Father!” Isaac said.
“Yes, son, ” he replied.
Isaac continued, “Here are the fire and the wood, 
but where is the sheep for the holocaust?”
“Son,” Abraham answered, 
“God himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust.”
Then the two continued going forward.

When they came to the place of which God had told him, 
Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.
Next he tied up his son Isaac, 
and put him on top of the wood on the altar.
Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven,
“Abraham, Abraham!”
“Here I am!” he answered.
“Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger.
“Do not do the least thing to him.
I know now how devoted you are to God, 
since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.”
As Abraham looked about, 
he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket.
So he went and took the ram 
and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.
Abraham named the site Yahweh-yireh; 
hence people now say, AOn the mountain the LORD will see.”

Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: 
“I swear by myself, declares the LORD, 
that because you acted as you did 
in not withholding from me your beloved son, 
I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; 
your descendants shall take possession 
of the gates of their enemies, 
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessingC
all this because you obeyed my command.”

Or – GN 22:1-2, 9A, 10-13, 15-18

God put Abraham to the test.
He called to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am, ” he replied.
Then God said:
“Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, 
and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a holocaust 
on a height that I will point out to you.” 

When they came to the place of which God had told him, 
Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.
Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven,
“Abraham, Abraham!”
“Here I am, ” he answered.
“Do not lay your hand on the boy, ” said the messenger.
“Do not do the least thing to him.
I know now how devoted you are to God, 
since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.”
As Abraham looked about, 
he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket.
So he went and took the ram 
and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.

Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: 
“I swear by myself, declares the LORD, 
that because you acted as you did 
in not withholding from me your beloved son, 
I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; 
your descendants shall take possession 
of the gates of their enemies, 
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessingC
all this because you obeyed my command.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11

R. (1) You are my inheritance, O Lord.
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
 the delights at your right hand forever.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Reading III – EX 14:15—15:1

The LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me?
Tell the Israelites to go forward.
And you, lift up your staff and, with hand outstretched over the sea,
split the sea in two,
that the Israelites may pass through it on dry land.
But I will make the Egyptians so obstinate
that they will go in after them.
Then I will receive glory through Pharaoh and all his army, 
his chariots and charioteers.
The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, 
when I receive glory through Pharaoh 
and his chariots and charioteers.”

The angel of God, who had been leading Israel’s camp, 
now moved and went around behind them.
The column of cloud also, leaving the front,
took up its place behind them,
so that it came between the camp of the Egyptians
and that of Israel.
But the cloud now became dark, and thus the night passed 
without the rival camps coming any closer together
all night long.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, 
and the LORD swept the sea
with a strong east wind throughout the night
and so turned it into dry land.
When the water was thus divided, 
the Israelites marched into the midst of the sea on dry land, 
with the water like a wall to their right and to their left.

The Egyptians followed in pursuit; 
all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and charioteers went after them 
right into the midst of the sea.
In the night watch just before dawn 
the LORD cast through the column of the fiery cloud
upon the Egyptian force a glance that threw it into a panic; 
and he so clogged their chariot wheels
that they could hardly drive.
With that the Egyptians sounded the retreat before Israel, 
because the LORD was fighting for them against the Egyptians.

Then the LORD told Moses, AStretch out your hand over the sea, 
that the water may flow back upon the Egyptians,
upon their chariots and their charioteers.”
So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, 
and at dawn the sea flowed back to its normal depth.
The Egyptians were fleeing head on toward the sea, 
when the LORD hurled them into its midst.
As the water flowed back, 
it covered the chariots and the charioteers of Pharaoh’s whole army
which had followed the Israelites into the sea.
Not a single one of them escaped.
But the Israelites had marched on dry land
through the midst of the sea, 
with the water like a wall to their right and to their left.
Thus the LORD saved Israel on that day
from the power of the Egyptians.
When Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the seashore 
and beheld the great power that the LORD
had shown against the Egyptians, 
they feared the LORD and believed in him and in his servant Moses.

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD:
I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant;
horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.

Responsorial Psalm – EX 15:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 17-18

R. (1B) Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant;
horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
He is my God, I praise him;
the God of my father, I extol him.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
The LORD is a warrior,
LORD is his name!
Pharaoh’s chariots and army he hurled into the sea;
the elite of his officers were submerged in the Red Sea.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
The flood waters covered them,
they sank into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O LORD, magnificent in power,
your right hand, O LORD, has shattered the enemy.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
You brought in the people you redeemed
and planted them on the mountain of your inheritance
the place where you made your seat, O LORD,
the sanctuary, LORD, which your hands established.
The LORD shall reign forever and ever. 
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

Reading IV – IS 54:5-14

The One who has become your husband is your Maker;
his name is the LORD of hosts;
your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
called God of all the earth.
The LORD calls you back,
like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
a wife married in youth and then cast off,
says your God.
For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great tenderness I will take you back. 
In an outburst of wrath, for a moment
I hid my face from you;
but with enduring love I take pity on you,
says the LORD, your redeemer.
This is for me like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah
should never again deluge the earth;
so I have sworn not to be angry with you,
or to rebuke you.
Though the mountains leave their place
and the hills be shaken,
my love shall never leave you
nor my covenant of peace be shaken,
says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
O afflicted one, storm-battered and unconsoled,
I lay your pavements in carnelians,
and your foundations in sapphires;
I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of carbuncles,
and all your walls of precious stones.
All your children shall be taught by the LORD,
and great shall be the peace of your children.
In justice shall you be established,
far from the fear of oppression,
where destruction cannot come near you.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13   

R. (2B) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the netherworld;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper.
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Reading V – IS 55:1-11

Thus says the LORD:
All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, receive grain and eat;
come, without paying and without cost,
drink wine and milk!
Why spend your money for what is not bread,
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you shall eat well,
you shall delight in rich fare.
Come to me heedfully,
listen, that you may have life.
I will renew with you the everlasting covenant,
the benefits assured to David.
As I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander of nations,
so shall you summon a nation you knew not,
and nations that knew you not shall run to you,
because of the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, who has glorified you.

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call him while he is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way,
and the wicked man his thoughts;
let him turn to the LORD for mercy;
to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are my ways above your ways
and my thoughts above your thoughts.

For just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Responsorial Psalm – IS 12:2-3, 4, 5-6   

R. (3) You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
 is the Holy One of Israel!
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.

Reading VI – BAR 3:9-15, 32C4:4

Hear, O Israel, the commandments of life:
listen, and know prudence!
How is it, Israel,
that you are in the land of your foes,
grown old in a foreign land,
defiled with the dead,
accounted with those destined for the netherworld?
You have forsaken the fountain of wisdom!
Had you walked in the way of God,
you would have dwelt in enduring peace.
Learn where prudence is,
where strength, where understanding;
that you may know also
where are length of days, and life,
where light of the eyes, and peace.
Who has found the place of wisdom,
who has entered into her treasuries?

The One who knows all things knows her;
he has probed her by his knowledgeC
The One who established the earth for all time,
and filled it with four-footed beasts;
he who dismisses the light, and it departs,
calls it, and it obeys him trembling;
before whom the stars at their posts
shine and rejoice;
when he calls them, they answer, “Here we are!”
shining with joy for their Maker.
Such is our God;
no other is to be compared to him:
he has traced out the whole way of understanding,
and has given her to Jacob, his servant,
to Israel, his beloved son.

Since then she has appeared on earth,
and moved among people.
She is the book of the precepts of God,
the law that endures forever;
all who cling to her will live,
but those will die who forsake her.
Turn, O Jacob, and receive her:
walk by her light toward splendor.
Give not your glory to another,
your privileges to an alien race.
Blessed are we, O Israel;
for what pleases God is known to us!

Responsorial Psalm – PS 19:8, 9, 10, 11  

R. (John 6:68C) Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
the decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

Reading VII – EZ 36:16-17A, 18-28

The word of the LORD came to me, saying: 
Son of man, when the house of Israel lived in their land, 
they defiled it by their conduct and deeds.
Therefore I poured out my fury upon them 
because of the blood that they poured out on the ground, 
and because they defiled it with idols.
I scattered them among the nations, 
dispersing them over foreign lands; 
according to their conduct and deeds I judged them.
But when they came among the nations wherever they came, 
they served to profane my holy name, 
because it was said of them: “These are the people of the LORD,
yet they had to leave their land.”
So I have relented because of my holy name 
which the house of Israel profaned 
among the nations where they came.
Therefore say to the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord GOD: 
Not for your sakes do I act, house of Israel, 
but for the sake of my holy name, 
which you profaned among the nations to which you came.
I will prove the holiness of my great name, profaned among the nations, 
in whose midst you have profaned it.
Thus the nations shall know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD, 
when in their sight I prove my holiness through you.
For I will take you away from among the nations, 
gather you from all the foreign lands, 
and bring you back to your own land.
I will sprinkle clean water upon you
to cleanse you from all your impurities, 
and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, 
taking from your bodies your stony hearts
and giving you natural hearts.
I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, 
careful to observe my decrees.
You shall live in the land I gave your fathers; 
you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 42:3, 5; 43:3, 4

When baptism is celebrated. 
R.  (42:2) Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God? 
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
I went with the throng
and led them in procession to the house of God,
Amid loud cries of joy and thanksgiving,
with the multitude keeping festival.
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling-place.
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.

Or – IS 12:2-3, 4BCD, 5-6

When baptism is not celebrated.
R. (3) You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
 proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
 is the Holy One of Israel!
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.

Or – PS 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19

When baptism is not celebrated 
R. (12A) Create a clean heart in me, O God.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners shall return to you.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a holocaust, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.

Epistle – ROM 6:3-11

Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus 
were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, 
so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead 
by the glory of the Father, 
we too might live in newness of life.

For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, 
we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.
We know that our old self was crucified with him, 
so that our sinful body might be done away with, 
that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.
For a dead person has been absolved from sin.
If, then, we have died with Christ,
we believe that we shall also live with him.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more;
death no longer has power over him.
As to his death, he died to sin once and for all;
as to his life, he lives for God.
Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin
and living for God in Christ Jesus.

Gospel – LK 24:1-12

At daybreak on the first day of the week 
the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus 
took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
but when they entered,
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were puzzling over this, behold,
two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. 
They said to them,
“Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
He is not here, but he has been raised.
Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, 
that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners
and be crucified, and rise on the third day.”
And they remembered his words.
Then they returned from the tomb
and announced all these things to the eleven
and to all the others.
The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James;
the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles,
but their story seemed like nonsense
and they did not believe them.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb, 
bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone;
then he went home amazed at what had happened.

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Vigil Mass Readings

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Why This Night Is Different


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 20, 2019

For those among us who are blessed to attend the Easter Vigil tonight, will have encountered and entered a most wonderful mystery that the Church has to offer as a way of truly making the Easter experience the great moment it truly is. What we do tonight is nothing more than waiting at the Lord’s tomb, meditating on His passion and death and awaiting His glorious resurrection with prayer and fasting. When we think about it, we spend a great part of our lives waiting for everything from simple mundane things like traffic lights and parking spaces to remarkably awesome milestones in life like the announcement of a new baby, job or the tragic news we have all been waiting for. A vigil is the liturgical commemoration of a notable feast, held on the evening preceding the feast much like Christmas Eve. The actual term means “wakefulness” because we stay awake to pray and prepare for the dawn of Easter and, by extension, for the individual experiences we will have of our own death and resurrection and of those we love and cherish in this world. For our purposes here, let us take a look at the diagram of Liturgical Readings for tonight and follow them in our journey toward the empty tomb: 

Reading 1:  Genesis-God creates with His Word and Holy Spirit over the waters
Reading 2:  Genesis-God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac his only son. 
Reading 3:  Exodus-Moses parts the Red Sea and leads his people out of slavery through the waters
Reading 4:  Isaiah-The prophet reminds us of the safe passage of Noah through the waters
Reading 5:  Isaiah-The prophet invites all to come to the waters
Reading 6:  Baruch-The prophet issues a pledge of wisdom and a return to God
Reading 7:  Ezekiel-The people of God will be cleansed by water and live in God’s land
Epistle:  Baptism through water and the Holy Spirit is our way to union with God and promise of Heaven  
Gospel: The tomb is empty; God did not spare His own Son and thus Jesus has defeated death forever

You see, Easter is about the continuing cycle of life, death, life in an amazingly complicated and mysterious pattern that underscores and straps all reality together. This means so much to our human race and yet different takes and aspects based on the conditions and lived experience of everyone alive. But one thing is certain. Everyone dies; not everyone lives. Let us live in the light of Christ this night and always. 

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April 21, 2019


Easter Sunday

Reading 1 – Acts 10:34a, 37-43

Peter proceeded to speak and said:
“You know what has happened all over Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached,
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
and healing all those oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.
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.
He commissioned us to preach to the people
and testify that he is the one appointed by God
as judge of the living and the dead.
To him all the prophets bear witness,
that everyone who believes in him
will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23.

R. (24) This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
R. Alleluia.
“The right hand of the LORD has struck with power;
the right hand of the LORD is exalted.
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.”
R. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
R. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 – Col 3:1-4

Brothers and sisters:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.

Or – I Cor 5:6b-8

Brothers and sisters:
Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough?
Clear out the old yeast,
so that you may become a fresh batch of dough,
inasmuch as you are unleavened.
For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.
Therefore, let us celebrate the feast,
not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness,
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Sequence victimae paschali laudes

Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems;
Christ, who only is sinless,
Reconciles sinners to the Father.
Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous:
The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.
Speak, Mary, declaring
What you saw, wayfaring.
“The tomb of Christ, who is living,
The glory of Jesus’ resurrection;
bright angels attesting,
The shroud and napkin resting.
Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
to Galilee he goes before you.”
Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
Amen. Alleluia.

Alleluia – Cf. 1 Cor 5:7b-8a

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed;
let us then feast with joy in the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 20:1-9

On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
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.

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While It Was Still Dark


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 21, 2019

“On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.” At this wonderful culmination of these days of lenting and detachment, we have come to the morning of our dreams. God has accomplished the victory He promised for us and we are glad indeed. Death has been destroyed forever and now the gates of Heaven, once closed because of selfishness and sins, are open for all humanity to enter with integrity and hope. It was on the “first day of the week” that this glory was discovered because it is the beginning of all our expectations every time we awaken in the morning. Thus, every beginning we have before us is the glimmer of the bright promise of tomorrow. Mary of Magdala was alone in approaching the burial place of the dead. This detail reminds us that each of us must face this truth on the path that we choose and envision, enlightened by the Church and the Word of God. Then, we join the millions who experience the same longing fulfilled and relieved even in the face of death. Although she did not actually see the moment of Resurrection, (she) “saw the stone removed from the tomb,” Mary knew what the scene meant: death had been conquered and Jesus is alive. This is assuredly our call for today and every day on this planet. We must look for, find and cling mercifully to the wonders of our lives which all point to the miraculous endings of all our stories nestled wonderfully in the heart of Jesus the Messiah who has risen from the dead. 

Perhaps the most telling and soothing detail of John’s Easter Gospel today is this tender yet poignant morsel: “while it was still dark.” How often do our lives take swings and turns into chapters that we would never had imagined! How often have we found ourselves “in the dark” as well? And yet, whatever joy and happiness we may feel today must be kept safe and sound, deep within the recesses of our hearts, so that when we find that it is still dark, we must continue to make our way to the Lord with all the hope and faith that we can muster and share. “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”  (St. John Paul II)

On behalf of all those who make CityOfAgape, its mission and its hope to bring the Word of God to everyone hungering for meaning and purpose in this life, please accept our heartfelt wishes for a happy, holy and beautiful Easter! “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.” (Responsorial Psalm)

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April 22, 2019


Easter Monday

Reading 1 – ACTS 2:14, 22-33

On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem.
Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.

“You who are children of Israel, hear these words.
Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God
with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs,
which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God,
you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.
But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death,
because it was impossible for him to be held by it.
For David says of him:

I saw the Lord ever before me,
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted;
my flesh, too, will dwell in hope, 
because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.

My brothers, one can confidently say to you
about the patriarch David that he died and was buried,
and his tomb is in our midst to this day.
But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him
that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne,
he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,
that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld
nor did his flesh see corruption.
God raised this Jesus;
of this we are all witnesses.
Exalted at the right hand of God,
he poured forth the promise of the Holy Spirit 
that he received from the Father, as you both see and hear.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 16:1-2A AND 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

R. (1) Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – PS 118:24

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 28:8-15

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb,
fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce the news to his disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, 
and there they will see me.”

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city
and told the chief priests all that had happened.
The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel;
then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
telling them, “You are to say,
‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’
And if this gets to the ears of the governor,
we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”
The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed.
And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.

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Fear Is Useless


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 22, 2019

Every so often, we or someone we know has the experience of waking up from a terrible dream nearly paralyzed with fear and even at times unable to speak or move. Likewise we may have most likely heard well-intentioned people attempt to explain these terrifying moments as attributed to stress or worry over circumstances in our lives. Be that as it may, we must face the glaring fact that life can and often does hurl directly at us episodes of challenge, difficulty and internal and external struggles that can be frightening and cause us to respond like we do in those terrible dreams. For some others, even more unfortunately, there seems to be no rest from these terrors. Life itself seems to be a nightmare with no end. It is for such as these that the gift of Easter is so precious. Imagine holding Jesus tight and close to us so as to never have to be afraid again. The Scriptures today assure us that we can. “God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses.” 

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.’” Another rich and exciting element of the newly begun Easter Season is the call to engage the spirit of the time with all we meet. We must tell others of why we are an Easter people and why we must keep singing and remembering that there is always hope in every single situation no matter how dark it may seem. Let us begin on this first Monday of Easter. Continue to tell all you meet of the hope we celebrate by saying “Happy Easter” with a great big ol’ smile on your face. Tell them all, “Jesus sent me.”

The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake. Basil Hume

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April 23, 2019


Easter Tuesday

Reading 1 – ACTS 2:36-41

On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jewish people,
“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made him both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other Apostles,
“What are we to do, my brothers?”
Peter said to them,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children
and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call.”
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
and about three thousand persons were added that day.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 33:4-5, 18-19, 20 AND 22

R.(5B) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – PS 118:24

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken my Lord,
and I don’t know where they laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
“Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” 
which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me,
for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’”
Mary went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he had told her.

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Why Are You Weeping?


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 23, 2019

“And they said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’” With all the wonderful talk and mention of the glorious resurrection of Jesus at this great time of Easter, there will no doubt be the recollection of the state from which our resurrected bodies will join the heavenly faithful and crowds of immense joy, which, by definition, is death. In some parts of the world, many flock to the cemetery to place Easter flowers, mostly lilies which mimic the blare of trumpets of the season at the tombs of those who did not live to see this particular Easter and perhaps those who have since long been absent from the table. And because of the humanity we share and the tender hearts that beat within many brave souls, there will be tears today. This is why we need the witness of Mary Magdalene today to bring everything into sharp and hopeful focus: “She said to them, ‘They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.’”  

Like Mary Magdalene, many of our crosses and sufferings that produce momentary crisis phases in our souls stem from the not-so-obvious fact that we may be looking for God’s comfort and consolation in the places that could never provide them. Once again, Mary points us in the right direction: “Mary went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord,’ and then reported what he had told her.” Excited or mournful, the only true way to celebrate the Easter Season, officially fifty days of commemoration, after the forty days of fasting and penance, is to look for Christ and find him in everyday life and then tell others that you have seen Him. Life cannot possibly ever be the same.

Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality. —Emily Dickinson

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April 24, 2019


Easter Wednesday

Reading 1 – ACTS 3:1-10

Peter and John were going up to the temple area
for the three o’clock hour of prayer.
And a man crippled from birth was carried
and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate” every day 
to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple.
When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple,
he asked for alms.
But Peter looked intently at him, as did John,
and said, “Look at us.”
He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.
Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold,
but what I do have I give you: 
in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.”
Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up,
and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong.
He leaped up, stood, and walked around,
and went into the temple with them,
walking and jumping and praising God.
When all the people saw him walking and praising God,
they recognized him as the one
who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple,
and they were filled with amazement and astonishment
at what had happened to him.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

R.(3B) Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
or:
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
make known among the nations his deeds.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
or:
R. Alleluia.
Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
or:
R. Alleluia.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
or:
R. Alleluia.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generationsB 
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac.
R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. 
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – PS 118:24

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 24:13-35

That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them, 
“What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him, 
“The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning 
and did not find his Body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the Eleven and those with them who were saying,
“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”
Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

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Precious Name


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 24, 2019

“I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.” How many times have any of us heard something like, “I would give a million dollars to see my father again!”? What that emotional phrase (and many like it) screams to connect is simple. What is precious to the world is not necessarily precious to my soul. After forty grueling days of Lent we can begin to see what truly has value and supreme importance as was described in our First Reading today. The totally transformed disciples of Jesus now have in their circle of life the most wonderful and awesome of all gifts: the name of Jesus and the faith that supports a life that can have deep meaning, healing and eternal consequences. 

“Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” The answer to this surprising revelation of the two travelers who were actually walking with the Lord and even breaking bread with Him is simple: Yes, they were! And the best news for you and me today is that they can still continue to burn if we allow them to. This will come from thanking God for the rich blessings and lessons of Lent, asking Him to guide and direct us today especially in the ongoing effort to change, transform and become forgiving people, no matter what is happening around us. Remember, Jesus does not want us to be like other people. He wants us to be like Him. This is so much better than silver or gold.

To holy people, the very name of Jesus is a name to feed upon, a name to transport. His name can raise the dead and transfigure and beautify the living. John Henry Cardinal Newman

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April 25, 2019


Easter Thursday

Reading 1 – ACTS 3:11-26

As the crippled man who had been cured clung to Peter and John,
all the people hurried in amazement toward them
in the portico called “Solomon’s Portico.”
When Peter saw this, he addressed the people,
“You children of Israel, why are you amazed at this,
and why do you look so intently at us
as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety?
The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence,
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
And by faith in his name,
this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong,
and the faith that comes through it
has given him this perfect health,
in the presence of all of you.
Now I know, brothers and sisters,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away,
and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment
and send you the Christ already appointed for you, Jesus,
whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration
of which God spoke through the mouth
of his holy prophets from of old.
For Moses said:

A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you
from among your own kin;
to him you shall listen in all that he may say to you.
Everyone who does not listen to that prophet
will be cut off from the people.    

“Moreover, all the prophets who spoke,
from Samuel and those afterwards, also announced these days.
You are the children of the prophets
and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors
when he said to Abraham,
In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you
by turning each of you from your evil ways.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 8:2AB AND 5, 6-7, 8-9

R.(2AB) O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
or:
R. Alleluia.
O LORD, our Lord,
how glorious is your name over all the earth!
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
or:
R. Alleluia.
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
or:
R. Alleluia.
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – PS 118:24

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 24:35-48

The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way,
and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.”
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of baked fish; 
he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them,
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.”

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Ghostbuster


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 25, 2019

“Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” Take special note of what just happened in the Gospel. The Apostles are talking about life, suffering, God and the Messiah, then Jesus appears to bless peace to everyone and yet, their first interpretation of the event is that they are witnessing an episode from the SyFy Channel. The problem here is simple: to see while the remedy is close by. Jesus first asks why there are troubled hearts. Right after that remark He tenderly instructs the only way to combat fear and doubt: “Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.” What we must see today is that unreasonable and irrational fear can only successfully be combated by reverting back to the entire mystery of Easter which is the awesome truth that Jesus has not only defeated death but also all the forces of evil and darkness. He is on our side. We start to shake and quiver when we forget this wonderful Truth. 

The First Reading also recognizes that as human beings, still affected by the vestiges of original sin, make mistakes out of many different reasons and faulty mindsets. St. Peter was certainly magnanimous in his own personal assessment of this predicament of ours: “Now I know, brothers and sisters, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did,” and then later in that same reading: “For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.” Easter brings light and clarity to our minds because it reveals that the massive, archetypal and age-old battle between good and evil has already been won. We are now offered the chance to share in that victory should we choose to do so with the freedom and wisdom that has been purchased for us by the blood of the Lamb. Remember during this glorious Easter Season that earth’s worst day and best day were just one day apart. 

In one aspect, yes, I believe in ghosts, but we create them. We haunt ourselves. Laurie Halse Anderson

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April 26, 2019


Easter Friday

Reading 1 – ACTS 4:1-12

After the crippled man had been cured,
while Peter and John were still speaking to the people,
the priests, the captain of the temple guard,
and the Sadducees confronted them,
disturbed that they were teaching the people
and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.
They laid hands on Peter and John
and put them in custody until the next day,
since it was already evening.
But many of those who heard the word came to believe
and the number of men grew to about five thousand.

On the next day, their leaders, elders, and scribes
were assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest,
Caiaphas, John, Alexander,
and all who were of the high-priestly class.
They brought them into their presence and questioned them,
“By what power or by what name have you done this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them,
“Leaders of the people and elders:
If we are being examined today
about a good deed done to a cripple,
namely, by what means he was saved,
then all of you and all the people of Israel should know
that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean
whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead;
in his name this man stands before you healed.
He is the stone rejected by you, the builders,
which has become the cornerstone.

There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven
given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 118:1-2 AND 4, 22-24, 25-27A

R.(22)  The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.
O LORD, grant salvation!
O LORD, grant prosperity!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
we bless you from the house of the LORD.
The LORD is God, and he has given us light.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – PS 118:24

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 21:1-14

Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead.

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Fishing For Life


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 26, 2019

Sometimes a great and significant event in life, while answering some very perplexing worries and anxieties, also produces another level of questions that have the potential of taking us to a new and deeper level of living. There is a hint of that aspect of life nudged within the confines of the Psalm today: “The LORD is God, and he has given us light.” The touching scene in the Gospel also supports this approach when Jesus, already risen from the dead, invites his Apostles and closest friends He had on earth to go deeper: “So he said to them, ‘Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.’” Indeed, they did find something. It was the living, breathing, loving Church that Jesus had died to start and give to the world. 

“There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” Like so much of the accumulated wisdom that has been gathered over the centuries over such an amazing span of time, what is real and holy and immersed in truth is usually quite simple. It is the name of Jesus that has the power to save, producing a true and abiding adherence to Him personally and to all He has taught and given to us, even today. This is what we search for here on earth. This is what brings us peace. This is yet another wonderful fruit of Easter. Tonight, before retiring from the day, go fishing: call out His name, then listen. 

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. Henry David Thoreau

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April 27, 2019


Easter Saturday

Reading 1 – ACTS 4:13-21

Observing the boldness of Peter and John
and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men,
the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed,
and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.
Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them,
they could say nothing in reply.
So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin,
and conferred with one another, saying,
“What are we to do with these men?
Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign
was done through them, and we cannot deny it.
But so that it may not be spread any further among the people,
let us give them a stern warning
never again to speak to anyone in this name.”

So they called them back
and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Peter and John, however, said to them in reply,
“Whether it is right in the sight of God
for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges.
It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
After threatening them further,
they released them,
finding no way to punish them,
on account of the people who were all praising God
for what had happened.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 118:1 AND 14-15AB, 16-18, 19-21

R.(21A) I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
“The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
the right hand of the LORD has struck with power.”
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.
Though the LORD has indeed chastised me,
yet he has not delivered me to death.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Open to me the gates of justice;
I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD;
the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – PS 118:24

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 16:9-15

When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week,
he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,
out of whom he had driven seven demons.
She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping.
When they heard that he was alive
and had been seen by her, they did not believe.

After this he appeared in another form
to two of them walking along on their way to the country.
They returned and told the others;
but they did not believe them either.

But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them
and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart
because they had not believed those
who saw him after he had been raised.
He said to them, “Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

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Bold New You


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 27, 2019

“Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.” Among the nuances in the dictionary world, there seems to be consistent agreement when it comes to the definition of boldness: a willingness to take risks and act with innovation, confidence or courage. This would certainly more than adequately describe Peter and John and all those who experienced the first Easter. There are those who believe that the real challenge in life is to overcome fear that tends to overwhelm and inhibit real, healthy living. For this level of life we all truly need the virtues that come from the side of the resurrected Christ. He is the source of all we need to make our way through the hills and valleys of the swinging moods and seasons of our journey: “My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior.” 

The Gospel for this beautiful Easter Saturday reveals the real purpose and mission of this boldness that is bestowed on all believers at Easter: “He said to them, ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.’” Now the bulk of us reading this today are not being placed on the next flight into a war-torn area on the planet nor are we walking into any real danger as so many who have died for the faith. However, we are being sent. Where? We are placed on this earth for a very specific and awesome purpose. That purpose is all about what happened on that first Easter morning, about life and death and all the elements that form the fabric of existence. Think about all the things you said to others today. Were you bold?

People who ask confidently get more than those who are hesitant and uncertain. When you’ve figured out what you want to ask for, do it with certainty, boldness and confidence. Don’t be shy or feel intimidated by the experience. You may face some unexpected criticism, but be prepared for it with confidence. Jack Canfield

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April 28, 2019


Divine Mercy Sunday

Reading 1 – ACTS 5:12-16

Many signs and wonders were done among the people
at the hands of the apostles.
They were all together in Solomon’s portico.
None of the others dared to join them, but the people esteemed them.
Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord,
great numbers of men and women, were added to them.
Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets
and laid them on cots and mats
so that when Peter came by,
at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them.
A large number of people from the towns
in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered,
bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits,
and they were all cured.

Responsorial Psalm -PS 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-2

R. (1) Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I was hard pressed and was falling,
but the LORD helped me.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just:
R. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 -REV 1:9-11A, 12-13, 17-19

I, John, your brother, who share with you 
the distress, the kingdom, and the endurance we have in Jesus,
found myself on the island called Patmos
because I proclaimed God’s word and gave testimony to Jesus.
I was caught up in spirit on the Lord’s day
and heard behind me a voice as loud as a trumpet, which said,
“Write on a scroll what you see.”
Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me,
and when I turned, I saw seven gold lampstands
and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man,
wearing an ankle-length robe, with a gold sash around his chest.

When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead.
He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be afraid.
I am the first and the last, the one who lives.
Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever.
I hold the keys to death and the netherworld.
Write down, therefore, what you have seen,
and what is happening, and what will happen afterwards.”

Alleluia – JN 20:29

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
blessed are those who have not seen me, but still believe!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel -JN 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

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Doubts As Traitors


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 28, 2019

“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” On this Second Sunday of the glorious Easter Season, we are presented as we are every year, with this insight into human behavior as it relates to doubt and confidence, and how the normal process of knowing and believing either feed or starve our doubts. Our main character in this lesson is the Apostle Thomas, who, by most accounts, has been unfortunately dubbed with the nickname “doubting Thomas” although it hardly describes adequately his whole life which in the end he gave completely to Christ in martyrdom. However, his painful doubts teach us something very real about our faith. You see, perhaps St. Thomas was so used to seeing Jesus right in front of him, talking and teaching on a daily basis so that when all of sudden He was taken away, he refused to believe and get his hopes up over what he considered a “reasonable” doubt. “You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord; blessed are those who have not seen me, but still believe!”  

“Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord, great numbers of men and women, were added to them.” Doubt has the potential of strengthening our faith and hope but not if we entertain too much of it and then surround ourselves with people who neither have faith nor hope which, according to the last survey, are growing in number and kind. In the Gospel, the very opposite was true. Faith spread like wildfire and the miracles in life began to increase exponentially. This is where a healthy prayer life, daily dose of Scripture and adherence to the Eucharist make all the difference in this world and the next. Starve your doubts and feed your faith. 

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.  William Shakespeare

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April 29, 2019


Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena

Reading 1 -ACTS 4:23-31

After their release Peter and John went back to their own people
and reported what the chief priests and elders had told them.
And when they heard it,
they raised their voices to God with one accord
and said, “Sovereign Lord, maker of heaven and earth
and the sea and all that is in them,
you said by the Holy Spirit
through the mouth of our father David, your servant:

Why did the Gentiles rage
and the peoples entertain folly?
The kings of the earth took their stand
and the princes gathered together
against the Lord and against his anointed.

Indeed they gathered in this city
against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed,
Herod and Pontius Pilate,
together with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,
to do what your hand and your will
had long ago planned to take place.
And now, Lord, take note of their threats,
and enable your servants to speak your word
with all boldness, as you stretch forth your hand to heal,
and signs and wonders are done
through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook,
and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Responsorial Psalm -PS 2:1-3, 4-7A, 7B-9

R. (see 11D) Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Why do the nations rage
and the peoples utter folly?
The kings of the earth rise up,
and the princes conspire together
against the LORD and against his anointed:
“Let us break their fetters
and cast their bonds from us!”
R. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He who is throned in heaven laughs;
the LORD derides them.
Then in anger he speaks to them;
he terrifies them in his wrath:
“I myself have set up my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD.
R. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.
Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.
You shall rule them with an iron rod;
you shall shatter them like an earthen dish.”
R. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia -COL 3:1

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If then you were raised with Christ,
seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel -JN 3:1-8

There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
He came to Jesus at night and said to him,
“Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God,
for no one can do these signs that you are doing
unless God is with him.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” 
Nicodemus said to him,
“How can a man once grown old be born again?
Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”
Jesus answered,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless one is born of water and Spirit
he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
What is born of flesh is flesh
and what is born of spirit is spirit.
Do not be amazed that I told you,
‘You must be born from above.’
The wind blows where it wills,
and you can hear the sound it makes,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

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Born Again


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 29, 2019

“Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can a man once grown old be born again?'” Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin assembly who is particularly known for visiting Jesus at night. He couldn’t risk being seen with the Lord during the day because, well, he couldn’t be caught dead speaking with the “rabble-rouser.” Part of him really wanted to know and learn and actually spend time with someone he deeply admired but the pressure of public and private opinions came at too high a price that it was better to be covered safely by the dead of night than to be associated with such a man in bright sunlight. Time was to eventually change all this and bring both men in each other’s company in a most dramatic and memorable way. This is precisely what it means to have a life-changing encounter with the Lord that changes things forever. This is that new conversion and being born again that is so wanting and needed in our world and Church today. 

“As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” Our deep and lasting call during the Easter Season and in fact, throughout the rest of our lives, is live our faith in such a way that is indeed bold, makes a huge difference and causes us to interpret and face all the crosses of life with deep courage and resilience. All because Jesus lives within me and greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.

Receive every day as a resurrection from death, as a new enjoyment of life; meet every rising sun with such sentiments of God’s goodness, as if you had see it, and all things, new-created upon your account and under the sense of so great a blessing. let your joyful heart praise and magnify so a good and glorious a Creator.  William Law

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April 30, 2019


Reading 1 – ACTS 4:32-37

The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the Apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the Apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.

Thus Joseph, also named by the Apostles Barnabas
(which is translated “son of encouragement”),
a Levite, a Cypriot by birth,
sold a piece of property that he owned,
then brought the money and put it at the feet of the Apostles.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 93:1AB, 1CD-2, 5

R.(1A) The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R. Alleluia.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed:
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia – JN 3:14-15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man must be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him
may have eternal life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – JN 3:7B-15

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“‘You must be born from above.’
The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus answered and said to him,
‘How can this happen?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen,
but you people do not accept our testimony.
If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe,
how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

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The Born Identity


Reflection on Mass Reading for April 30, 2019

“You must be born from above.” There are not many more phrases in Sacred Scripture than this one that has been interpreted and re-interpreted, applied and re-applied, both accurately and otherwise than this one that we find at the beginning of the Gospel of today. How does one understand being re-born or born again? Perhaps there are some clues in the other sections of the Scriptures we have today. We could point first to the generous spirit that has experienced the joy of the resurrection: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.” Then there is the powerful witness that we can give to the Lord as did the Apostles: “With great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all.” And finally, we can be born again by the sheer and deep confidence we place in God: “Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed: holiness befits your house, O LORD, for length of days.”

However, the most profound path to rebirth in the power of the resurrection is simply to gaze upon the Crucified Christ, unite our sufferings with His and hope for all our days in His power to save and the promise that is ours to be saved: “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” We must slow down in order to catch up, pause in order to soar, and reflect in order to learn. This we can do with the Lord Jesus right at our side guiding, if we allow Him, every step of the way with the Scriptures as our friend. This is the Easter joy we so desperately seek. 

“God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.'” Billy Graham

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