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April 21, 2014

Monday – 1st Day of the Octave of Easterempty tomb

Saint for the day: St. Anselm (1033-1109)      

Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy:

Acts 2:14, 22-23

Psalm 16

Matthew 28:8-15

The familiar saying, “…you can’t see the trees for the forest” might easily fit to these days of the Resurrection since we will hear over and over Jesus  MMagain Gospel accounts of those who were closest to Jesus during his lifetime – not recognizing him when they encounter him in various situations. A helpful note for us might be the reoccurring fact that most of His appearances happened when they were on the way. Mary Magdalen – on the way to tell the disciples that the tomb is empty, presumes that someone has taken the body of Jesus. She encounters Him on on the roadthe way. And even when she sees Him she doesn’t recognize Him and thinks He is the gardener. The two disciples –on the way to Emmaus don’t recognize Him until He breaks bread and explains the scriptures that apply to Himself. “I am… the truth(explaining the Scared Scriptures) and the Life. – the Bread of Life, the Eucharist.  Peter and John come to believe just by seeing the burial cloths folded up nicely in the place where they had placed the dead body of Jesus. This should have been a clear indication to them that Jesus was not going to be recognized using their memory of what He looked like in life. If we apply all these interesting connections to our own lives we might more easily compare ourselves to Thomas who is most familiar to us as the doubting Thomas: “unless I see with my own eyes and hands…”

resurrected JesusSo, it should be obvious that any encounter with the Resurrected Jesus is going to require our ability to “see” with the eyes of faith. And still, like the man in the Gospel (Matthew 9:23-25) who asks Jesus to heal his son, we will probably have to say, “Lord, I believe … help my unbelief!”  On our journey through life – both physical and spiritual – we need to meditate on these three “qualities” that Jesus proclaimed: “I am the WAY, the Truth and the Life!  Whenever we get discouraged or down we need to see where we are. Are we on the way? Or have we taking a detour into self-indulgence or some other fault that prevents us from seeking – and living – the truth? And, are we honestly participating in the life of Jesus by frequent participation in the Eucharist? Something to think about on this Monday in the Octave of Easter. And, in case you didn’t’ get it right today: we have seven weeks to work on this! Amen!

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April 20, 2014

EASTER SUNDAYJesus raised 

“click” here to read about: the history of Easter celebrations 

Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy:

Acts 10:34 … 43

Psalm 118

Colossians 3:1-4 or 1st Corinthians 5:6-8

John 20:1-9 

“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; … but did not go in.” (John 20:3 … 5) 

Jesus raised bThe above, quoted verse rings clear to me – and takes me back to my grammar school days when the “good sisters” used this verse to remind us of respect of our elders. However, I think there is more here than at first meets the eye.   To begin with, St. John uses a technique that I will call “gradual layers of understanding unfolded before us.” We’ll see this in the various Holy Scriptures that are presented to us in these first days of our Easter Celebrations. We’ll hear repeated accounts of Jesus’ followers not quite recognizing Him when he suddenly appears before them. So there was obviously something different about the way he looked. It’s almost as if He knew that if He appeared in His pure, spiritual form, they wouldn’t be able to handle that or grasp it. That’s why the church gives us clear and visible signs for our “sacramental life.” Common things that are familiar to us that make bridges for us to understand the deeper mystery: Water, bread and wine, oil, lighted candles, incense and ritual. 

When Peter and John get to the tomb they find it empty and make special note that the burial clothes were neatly folded up next to where His meets MMbody had lain. Mary Magdalene mistakes Him for the Gardner and only comes to faith when Jesus calls her by name. But Jesus tells her not to cling to him – maybe because His resurrection isn’t complete until He ascends to Heaven. This makes me think of the raising of Lazarus who was brought back to life but not in the same way as Jesus. We only have to presume that he must have died again … since there’s no further mention of him in the Holy Scriptures. The Disciples on the road to Emmaus don’t recognize Jesus either – until He “breaks bread with them” and opens their minds to the meaning of the Holy Scriptures. That meeting seems to be key to our understanding of the Easter Mystery. It’s the Holy Emmaus mealEucharist – the Body and Blood of Jesus – that begins to open our minds to this mystery of God’s love for us. Just as Jesus was gradually revealed to His closest friends, we too are called into fellowship, which slowly by slow, does something remarkable in our lives. We are gradually able to see and recognize Jesus through our frequent reception of Holy Communion. Christ comes out of the tomb a changed person. Lazarus comes out of the tomb still bound up in the burial clothes. We are being invited to come out of the darkness of our sinful lives and take off the old, soiled garments for robes of Glory in order to let the “light of Resurrection” lead us out onto the road to Heaven. We also have an ancient greeting that was used by the first Christians who would meet one another saying, “Jesus Christ is Risen! The other person would respond – with exuberance, “He is truly Risen!” With the implied belief that we, too, will be changed. Amen! Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia!

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April 18, 2014

“Friday of the Passion of the Lord”stripped sanctuary

”Click” here to read about Good Friday.

Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy:

Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12

Psalm 31

Hebrews 4:14-15, 5:7-9

John 18:1 – 19:42

crucifixionThere is no Mass –per se – today but the origins of this Liturgy date back to the beginning of the Christian era and evenAdoration of cross pre-date the celebration of Christmas by several centuries. Our celebration, today, begins in silence and so much of what we are ordinarily used to seeing and doing is stripped away. The altar is bare. There is no greeting and a prayer leads directly into the Liturgy of the Word in which we will hear the Passion according to St. John. I think the intention of the Church is to jar us out of the familiar where it’s too easy for us to just cruise through the Liturgy on “Auto Pilot.” The simplicity of today’s Liturgy forces us to pay attention and realize and come to a deeper understanding of the essence of our believing in Jesus as our Redeemer and Savior. It might even help if you just closed your eyes during the reading of the Passion in order to let the words evoke thoughts and images in your mind.

St. DominicCrossAfter the praying of the “Solemn Prayers” the Cross is unveiled and presented for veneration by the faithful. This part of the liturgy parallels the way the Paschal Candle is presented at the beginning of the Easter Vigil: in three, gradually increasing tones. All of us have to be careful to hold on to the solemnity of this part of the liturgy. This veneration of the Cross is meant to touch us at the deepest level of our spirituality and so I hope that you will be able to realize this and not get caught up in expediency. Then, after Holy Communion, the liturgy ends abruptly and the congregation leaves in silence. Again, to help jar us loose from what is normally done in order to realize more fully the gift that we have been given. This image of St. Dominic embracing the Cross of Christ parallels the words of St. Paul in Galatians 6:14, “God forbid that I should glory except in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ!”

Tomorrow, Holy Saturday, is another unusual and quiet day and there is no Mass until the evening Mass of the Easter Vigil. It’s a chance for us to allow the great and wonderful mysteries of these days of Holy Week to sink in. Take some time to reflect on what you have experienced. Amen!

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April 19, 2014

April 19, 2014 - Holy Saturdaylaid out

“click” on the above “link” to lean more about today’s Celebration.

The Holy Scriptures for the Easter Vigil may differ from place to place

but the following “link” will be a starting point for your preparation

for this Solemn Liturgy. Easter Vigil Readings

angels mourningWhen I was growing up – way back in the ‘dark ages’ - I remember being an altar server for this “liturgy” which was done at 7 o’clock on Saturday Morning! Imagine how silly that was to light the Paschal Candle and sing, “Light of Christ” as we processed into the Church shielding our eyes from the brightness of the rising sun! There were more altar servers than the small group of faithful women – to begin this most solemn celebration of the entire Church Year.  Fortunately, Liturgical restoration was already beginning to inch into the Church in the late 1950’s and things began to return to their proper places. The original liturgy, like so many of our Catholic Traditions, had its roots in Jewish Synagogue services and would have taken place spread throughout most of Saturday. This would have been the final a new daypreparation for the Catechumens who were to be baptized at Easter Viugil.   If all seven of the Old Testament Scriptures are read you can see how it would be the final teaching about the meaning of “Church” for the Catechumens. Still, no matter how many of the Holy Scriptures is read all of us are being given the opportunity to re-evaluate our own commitment to follow the Resurrected Jesus and be renewed in our own Christian Journey. Even if we only hear the first Holy Scripture from the Book of Genesis, “In the beginning when God created the Heavens and the earth ,,, and said, ‘Let there be light!’” We should be able to see how our spiritual journey – in and out of God’s favor – was still able easter fireto guide us through the wanderings in the desert and finally to the “Calvary experience” and on to the empty tomb.  Even if your parish edits the scripture readings it would do you well to go back on your own and read through them again atBaprism your leisure. I know I’ve said it many times but it still bears repeating: the history of the Israelites, along with the history of the early Church – coupled with more than a thousand years journey to where we are today – is still the journey of each of us.   We need to be reminded that we are never finished travelling until we are finished … with our life here on earth. And, in between, we are reminded over and over again, “Do not be afraid!” I think it was Fr. Richard Rohr who said, “that sense of not having fear or being afraid, appears in the Holy Scriptures 366 times – enough for every day of the year including “leap Year!” I never checked him out on this but I know we hear it often enough in the Holy Scriptures to make it real for each of us. Just imagine the situation when those women meet the Resurrected Jesus: the closing words of this Gospel: “Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:10)

It pushes us right back to “square one” and the fact that – no matter who we are – we’re going to have to move from where we are (sometimes too comfortable) and meet the resurrected Jesus … "on the way!”  It’s “Heaven all the way to Heaven” thank you, St. Catherine of Siena. Amen!

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April 17, 2014

Holy Thursdaywashing feet

“Click” on the “link” above to read about today’s Liturgy

Scripture Readings for today's Holy Liturgy:

Exodus 12:1 … 14

Psalm 116

1st Corinthians 11:23-26

John 13:1-15 

priesthoodMany Catholics of my era were brought up thinking that today’s Liturgy was solely focused on the commemoration of the institution of the Eucharist and the Sacerdotal Priesthood. But the appointed Holy Gospel is the account of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples (John 13:1-15) and ends with, “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you   a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

Washing another person’s feet is the second most difficult task that any of us can do for another person. Yet this isclothing the naked what Jesus commands us to do. I’m sure our beloved, Pope Francis, will put serious focus on this liturgy as he seeks to bring the church back to its primary mission: service and love of all, especially the poor and marginalized people of the world. This stance is not to downplay the wonder and beauty of the Eucharist but, rather, to help us understand that it’s the Eucharist that gives us the ability to step out of our comfort zones in service to one another. The Eucharist isn’t given to us to make us feel warm and cozy with Jesus. It is the bread that gives life to our following of Jesus. And this life that Jesus gives us has to be a life of service. And this “service” is made possible because of the “institutional priesthood.” But this “command” doesn’t let the rest of us off the hook. The closing words of today’s Holy Gospel are addressed to all of us: “You call me “teacher” and “master,” and rightly so… you ought to wash one another’s feet.”

hands reachingTake a moment to think about this new commandment: what do you have to do in order to wash someone’s feet? You have to get down on your knees at their feet in an attitude of complete vulnerability. And a lot of people have ugly, nasty looking feet! Jesus could have asked us to wash each other’s heads but that wouldn’t have reminded us of the sense of “service” that we must give to each other. But we can’t turn this around thinking, “now I’ve done my ‘service thing’ and I’ve got that behind me. Now I’ll get on with my life.”

We know what happened after this event: Jesus went across to Gethsemane where he experiences His total aloneness and where His trustedagony in the garden 2 diciples fell asleep or wandered off. Whenever we receive some blessing from God, it’s always there to drive us forward into service. Not into the shadows but into the market place. But Jesus knew all about our human weakness. Just look at Peter in the garden of the house of the Chief Priest: “Who, me?” I don’t even know him!” “Cock-a-doodle-doo!” Yet, it ends up that Peter is the one called “Rock” and upon whom Jesus builds His Church. But it doesn’t happen right away. The church has to “come of age” and that doesn’t happen until they have experienced Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit. That’s when they are “re-created” and “born again,” But born into a church that has service as it’s goal. And we’re all back on our knees washing feet.! Amen!

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The General Curia

The church and convent of Santa Sabina on the Aventine hill in Rome have been home to the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) since the 13th century. At that time the church and associated buildings formed part of the holdings of the Savelli family. A Savelli Pope, Honorius III, approved the Order in 1216. Read more...

Province of St. Joseph

The Dominican friars of the Province of St. Joseph were founded in 1806 by Edward Dominic Fenwick, O.P., an American who had joined the English Province of the Order as a young man during its exile in Belgium. Fenwick eventually returned to the United States with the dream of establishing the Order in his native land. Read more...

 

The Third Order of St Dominic

The Third Order of Saint Dominic consists of men and women, singles and couples living a Christian life with a Dominican spirituality in a secular world. Read more...

 

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