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Daily Tweet Archive

TUESDAY — APRIL 7, 2020

Blessed Palm is still available at the entrance to church.
Feel free to take enough for your whole family
to remind you and your family of the victory of Christ crucified.

 Stations Seventh, Eighth, Ninth


Seventh Station ٳ Jesus Falls the Second Time
Listen once again to the divine power in Jesus in raising Lazarus from the dead. John 11:35-46

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.

The crowds raised the question: Couldn’t he do something? He did before. God is in charge. His ways are not man’s ways. Notice, too, that Jesus ordered that Lazarus be untied so he could stand up. Jesus stood up again even after human weakness caused him to fall to the ground. Pay attention particularly to the last line: Many came to believe in him. Jesus’ fall is to lead us to believe in him more deeply.

 

Eighth Station — Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

Luke 23:27-31

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?”

These women are not those who had followed Jesus for a long time from Galilee. They were newcomers in a sense, who spontaneously joined the crowd for the event. They were like mourners at a funeral procession. They were weeping. Jesus speaks to them, in spite of his torment. His love shows even then. He was not just thinking of himself. His teaching here is that they are to be faithful to their responsibilities as parents to their children in raising them in the faith (covenant). Divine assistance will be needed and given to them when the wood is dry.

 

Ninth Station — Jesus Falls the Third Time
Peter’s Denial and Reconciliation — three times for both.

John 13: 36-38

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’t I 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.”

John 21:15-19
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to him a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?”
and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

The scripture writer explains much in the mercy passage after the Resurrection. First of all, Peter was an overachiever and a good one. He thought he could do more than he was capable of doing. Jesus set him straight. It was going to take the merciful love of God to make him what he was supposed to be. Jesus draws the love out of Peter in asking the triple question on the seashore. Jesus wants us to tell him out loud that we love him. Jesus’ reply: Feed my sheep, shows that with the gift of mercy comes a mission. Forgiveness is not just for ourselves but to help others. Finally, the whole reason for these scenes is to glorify God. Jesus’ falls on the road to Calvary is also to give glory to God — God’s mysterious will and power will win out.

We adore you, O Christ, and praise you.
Because by  your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

 

 

MONDAY OF HOLY WEEK — April 6, 2020

Blessed Palm is still available at the entrance to church.
Feel free to take enough for your whole family
to remind you and your family of the victory of Christ crucified.

 

 

Sixth Station — Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

John 14:1-9
At the Last Supper Jesus said:
 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.
Where [I] am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

The Passion accounts of our Lord in the scriptures do not mention Veronica. But this singular act of kindness toward Jesus on his way to Calvary is very plausible. There was crowd all along the way and knowing the innocence of Jesus they could easily be moved to pity for him in his suffering, even to the point of pushing oneself through the barrier of the soldiers and refreshing Jesus a bit by wiping his bloody face quickly before the guard would push her back. The tradition that his face was imprinted on her veil is a way of indicating that Veronica herself was changed and drawn closer to God by this experience. She treasured this all her life. Pope Francis has said: Jesus is the face of the loving and merciful God. This is teaching for us in our time. Even the disfigured face of Christ shows us that he is forgiving and wants us to be in his saving presence. The psalms in various places uses the expression of seeking the face of the Lord, i.e. entering God’s presence as in the Temple and gazing his beauty and goodness. King David in his “act of contrition” pleaded that God would not remove him from his presence. We contemplate the face of the suffering Jesus whose love for us is greater than everything else.

Psalm 51: 11-13  King David
Turn away your face from my sins;
blot out all my iniquities.
A clean heart create for me, God;
renew within me a steadfast spirit.
Do not drive me from before your face,
nor take from me your holy spirit.

Psalm 27:4, 8
One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek:
To dwell in the LORD’s house all the days of my life,
To gaze on the LORD’s beauty, to visit his temple.

“Come,” says my heart, “seek his face”;
your face, LORD, do I seek!

[See the ARCHIVES at the bottom of the BLOG page below]

 

SUNDAY — APRIL 5, 2020

Blessed Palm can be found at the entrance to church today
You may take enough for the whole family
and your Palm Sunday prayer at home.

INTRODUCTION

[Before entering into the sample Sunday prayers, you may wish to familiarize yourself with the scripture commentary which is provided on this homepage in the Blog, just beneath this opening Tweet, on the right.
Today’s homily is a quasi homily because the ideal homily takes much of its meaning from its actual setting in a “live” liturgy in which the Holy Spirit is at work uniting the body of Christ. This communion together is part of the reality of a homily within the action of the liturgy itself. It is offered here to bind together your small group of prayer on this Lord’s Day. The scripture commentary is meant to give some background to what God is saying and doing at this particular time.]

SAMPLE OF HOME PRAYER FOR THE LORD’S DAY

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Peace be with you.

 

Let us seek the merciful love of God:

Have mercy on us, O Lord
For we have sinned against you.

Lord, show us your mercy
And grant us your salvation.

 

Let us pray:

Almighty ever-living God, who as an example of humility for the human race to follow caused our Savior to take flesh and submit to the Cross, graciously grant that we may heed his lesson of patient suffering and so merit a share in his Resurrection.

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. AMEN

 

Listen to the sacred scriptures:
[Go to the Today’s Readings section below on this webpage.]

 

Silent Reflection and/or share comments.

 

Homily Written for the Web —May it enhance your prayer and worship of God this day.

We Have Never Had This Before

 

Never in our wildest dreams did we ever think that there would an Easter without Mass or Holy Week. It is the highlight of the year for us. We have grown to love it and look forward to coming to church during these days. But we still have these sacred times and, I believe, God wants us to grow in his love by paying more attention to certain aspects of our faith life, not just to the Eucharistic Species.

 So we ask ourselves this question: Have we, or our ancestors, ever had anything like this before? If so, what did they do about it in their prayer and worship of God?

 As our knowledge of salvation history has grown we have come to know in former times of what is called the Babylonian Exile in the Old Testament — about 700 – 600 B.C. The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and many were deported to the eastern kingdom of Babylon. Their normal worship ceased. What did they take with them? Scriptures and memories of their history and what God had done for them. Some of it was edited or written down new for future generations. They returned from the Exile and to rebuilding the Temple and never lost sight again of what God had spoken to them over the centuries. Through this gift of a Bible they renewed their relationship with God by renewing the Covenant. They returned to Temple rituals and his word became more important to them, realizing that the living God demands that they live according to his word. Their sacrifices would be empty without adherence in their daily lives to God’s word. All their prayer would have to be that way.

 I firmly believe that God in his love for us is calling us to do the same. He wants his love to dwell within us so that it will show forth in our community gatherings in church. So do not forget Jesus said: Do this in memory of me. He will bring us back enriched by his holy word and his word will be more active and effective in our Eucharists.

 So do not take the Sunday’s opening the word at home. Everything we do along this line, e.g. resolve to spend my time learning the scriptures, will make our return to Mass a more deep and joyful experience. Hopefully this will encourage our young brothers and sisters how worthwhile the Mass actually is.

 So God is calling us to pay more attention to his word — not just printed or written words on paper but the power of his living word as spoken. It is a creative word. It does something within us at the very time it is spoken. And God said Let there be light…and it was done.  So Jesus said: In all truth I tell you, whoever listens to my words, and believes in the one who sent me, has eternal life [and will never die]. To Martha he also said: I am the resurrection. Anyone who believes in me, even though that person dies, will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (John l5:24 and 11:25). Christ’s word leads to faith. God wants our faith to grow during this critical time. Christ’s word is the bread of life (see John 6).

 As we say at the conclusion of our scripture: The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

 

Period of Silence

 

Sample Prayer of the Faithful
Let us pray
for the Church entrusted with preserving and spreading the faith
for Pope Francis, Archbishop Schnurr, and the other bishops called to lead us in these days
for all our faithful departed, especially those taken from us in recent days
especially for Steven Clarke, also the brother of Jennifer Pearce
for those developing remedies for the virus
for first responders and all those caring for the sick in medical facilities and at home
for those who in one way or another take care of our essential needs

for those who do not know how to pray

In Jesus’ name we pray for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Our Father, who art in heaven…

 

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

 

[See the ARCHIVES at the bottom of the BLOG page below]

SATURDAY — April 4, 2020

Blessed Palm can be found at the entrance to church
You may take enough for the whole family
and your Palm Sunday prayer at home.

The Fifth Station
Simon of Cyrene Forcibly Enlisted to Help Carry the Cross

Of the many people witnessing the process of Jesus’ crucifixion the scriptures single out Simon from northern Africa. He was not a local but one of God’s people from afar to share in the Mystery of Salvation, fulfilling the prophecy of old.

Matthew 27:27-32
27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus with them into the Praetorium and collected the whole cohort round him.

28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet cloak round him,
29 and having twisted some thorns into a crown they put this on his head and placed a reed in his right hand. To make fun of him they knelt to him saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’
30 And they spat on him and took the reed and struck him on the head with it.
31 And when they had finished making fun of him, they took off the cloak and dressed him in his own clothes and led him away to crucifixion.
32 On their way out, they came across a man from Cyrene, called Simon, and enlisted him to carry his cross.

Ezekiel 37:21-28
21 “The Lord Yahweh says this: I shall take the Israelites from the nations where they have gone. I shall gather them together from everywhere and bring them home to their own soil.
22 I shall make them into one nation in the country, on the mountains of Israel, and one king is to be king of them all; they will no longer form two nations, nor be two separate kingdoms.
23 They will no longer defile themselves with their foul idols, their horrors and any of their crimes. I shall save them from the acts of infidelity which they have committed and shall cleanse them; they will be my people and I shall be their God.
24 My servant David will reign over them, one shepherd for all; they will follow my judgements, respect my laws and practise them.
25 They will live in the country which I gave to my servant Jacob, the country in which your ancestors lived. They will live in it, they, their children, their children’s children, for ever. David my servant is to be their prince for ever.
26 I shall make a covenant of peace with them, an eternal covenant with them. I shall resettle them and make them grow; I shall set my sanctuary among them for ever.
27 I shall make my home above them; I shall be their God, and they will be my people.
28 And the nations will know that I am Yahweh the sanctifier of Israel, when my sanctuary is with them for ever.”

The Roman soldiers did not ask Simon his name when they grabbed him to help with the cross of Jesus, but the Gospel writers did know him and knew him by name. There is more to the story then, following the crucifixion. Saint Mark even tells us Simon was the father of Rufus and Alexander (Mark 15:21). Simon’s carrying the cross changed his life. We believe that he was in Jerusalem at the time to celebrate the Jewish Passover. But he came a distance to do so as did many others. He was not a resident of Jerusalem but gathered with God’s people as the prophet Ezekiel spoke centuries before. In that prophecy God’s chosen king of the house of David would reign as the sovereign of God’s people. Walking behind Jesus Simon was following the King who was to establish an eternal covenant between God and his people. From the events which followed Jesus’ crucifixion we know that Simon entered into that covenant/communion and evidently lived it for all his years. This was due to the love and providence of God. Our obeying Christ to carry the cross and follow him will do the same for us. These days have brought unexpected realities into our lives. We are being called to “follow” the Word and all the word of God dealing with the passion, death and resurrection of Christ the King.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you;
for by your cross and resurrection you have redeemed the world.

[See the Archives at the end of the Blog on this homepage.]

Friday — April 3, 2020

 

The Fourth Station
Jesus and his Mother Meet on the Road to Calvary

To understand better this sacred encounter between Jesus and Mary we turn to the time when Mary and Joseph found the young Jesus in the Temple and the mystery of their son unfolds even further (Luke 2:41-52).

Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.

We must not forget that Jesus dies and rises at Passover time. Mary was faithful in making a religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem to join God’s people of Israel in celebration of the freedom and covenant with which God had joined his chosen people to himself. The surroundings and familiarity with the rituals (e.g. the Passover meal), hymns and prayers were not lost on her. She brought all this with her to this famous encounter with her Son. Included in her sacred memories was the startling words of the twelve year old Jesus when they found him in the Temple: I must be in my Father’s house. She knew that the same applied to what Jesus was undergoing at that very moment. She also realized that the mysterious will of the Father was for a good purpose for mankind. The deep meaning would be revealed in the near future. So on Mary’s lips this time was also “why?” She knew she would find the answer in the tradition of the Feast of Passover and its celebration of the Covenant. Soon the Apostles would tell her when she was with them in the Upper Room that Jesus the night before his crucifixion had said: Take and drink from this, all of you, this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you. Her cherished meeting with Jesus on the road to Calvary made a lasting impression on her for the rest of her life.

Check the Archives at the bottom of the Blog on this homepage.

Thursday — April 3, 2020

The Third Station
Jesus Falls the First Time

We recall the incident when Jesus healed the paralytic who had been lowered through the roof. When cured through the merciful love of Jesus the man walked home, giving praise to God (Luke 5:17-26)

17 Now it happened that he was teaching one day, and Pharisees and teachers of the Law, who had come from every village in Galilee, from Judaea and from Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was there so that he should heal.
18 And now some men appeared, bringing on a bed a paralysed man whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of him.
19 But as they could find no way of getting the man through the crowd, they went up onto the top of the house and lowered him and his stretcher down through the tiles into the middle of the gathering, in front of Jesus.
20 Seeing their faith he said, ‘My friend, your sins are forgiven you.’
21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to think this over. ‘Who is this man, talking blasphemy? Who but God alone can forgive sins?’
22 But Jesus, aware of their thoughts, made them this reply, ‘What are these thoughts you have in your hearts?
23 Which of these is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven you,” or to say, “Get up and walk”?
24 But to prove to you that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ — he said to the paralysed man-‘I order you: get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.’
25 And immediately before their very eyes he got up, picked up what he had been lying on and went home praising God.
26 They were all astounded and praised God and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen strange things today.’

The Gospels present Jesus as walking about freely through Palestine preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing the people by his presence and his word. Now on his journey to Calvary Jesus is forced to walk on the way determined by the Roman soldiers — not just walking but carrying the burden of the cross. Jesus stumbles at first at the extra weight and finds it hard to get his balance. All of this was part of the crucifixion process to show that that the prisoner was being punished for some crime. The placard eventually placed above Jesus’ head would read: Jesus Nazareth King of the Jews. This was all done as human beings saw it. Jesus is the Son of God sharing our humanity. He gives added dimension to his actions, including carrying the cross. When Jesus cured the paralytic above from his sins and weakness the man was able to walk again and thereby give praise to God. Here Jesus gets up — struggle though it was — and heads to Calvary giving praise to this heavenly Father. He offers that divine power to us and strengthens us for our journey. He already has done this and will continue to do so.
We walk by faith.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you;
for by your cross and resurrection you have redeemed the world.

[See the Archives at the end of the Blog on this homepage.]

 

Wednesday — April 1, 2020

 

The Second Station
Jesus Willingly Accepts the Cross Which the Father had Given Him

From the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 26

30 After the psalms had been sung [at the Last Supper] they left for the Mount of Olives.
31 Then Jesus said to them, ‘You will all fall away from me tonight, for the scripture says: I shall strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered,
32 but after my resurrection I shall go ahead of you to Galilee.’
33 At this, Peter said to him, ‘Even if all fall away from you, I will never fall away.’
34 Jesus answered him, ‘In truth I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will have disowned me three times.’
35 Peter said to him, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And all the disciples said the same.
36 Then Jesus came with them to a plot of land called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Stay here while I go over there to pray.’
37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with him. And he began to feel sadness and anguish.
38 Then he said to them, ‘My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. Wait here and stay awake with me.’
39 And going on a little further he fell on his face and prayed. ‘My Father,’ he said, ‘if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.’
40 He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, ‘So you had not the strength to stay awake with me for one hour?
41 Stay awake, and pray not to be put to the test. The spirit is willing enough, but human nature is weak.’
42 Again, a second time, he went away and prayed: ‘My Father,’ he said, ‘if this cup cannot pass by, but I must drink it, your will be done!’
43 And he came back again and found them sleeping, their eyes were so heavy.
44 Leaving them there, he went away again and prayed for the third time, repeating the same words.
45 Then he came back to the disciples and said to them, ‘You can sleep on now and have your rest. Look, the hour has come when the Son of man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners.
46 Get up! Let us go! Look, my betrayer is not far away.’
47 And suddenly while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared, and with him a large number of men armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and elders of the people.
48 Now the traitor had arranged a sign with them saying, ‘The one I kiss, he is the man. Arrest him.’
49 So he went up to Jesus at once and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi,’ and kissed him.
50 Jesus said to him, ‘My friend, do what you are here for.’ Then they came forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.
51 And suddenly, one of the followers of Jesus grasped his sword and drew it; he struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his ear.
52 Jesus then said, ‘Put your sword back, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.
53 Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, who would promptly send more than twelve legions of angels to my defence?
54 But then, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say this is the way it must be?’
55 It was at this time that Jesus said to the crowds, ‘Am I a bandit, that you had to set out to capture me with swords and clubs? I sat teaching in the Temple day after day and you never laid a hand on me.’
56 Now all this happened to fulfil the prophecies in scripture.

The cross of Christ has become the great symbol of our faith. Saint Paul made the statement: I glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14). There is much more to the cross than the wooden beams. Jesus told us at the first prediction of his passion: Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me (Mark 8:34) to which Luke adds: take up your cross daily (Luke 9:23). So when did Jesus “accept” the cross which his Father had given him? Was it at the time of physically carrying the cross or earlier? The scripture above concludes with the frequent statement of Matthew that the Jesus’ events were all part of God’s overall plan. Jesus accepted his mission from the Father long before the Roman soldiers placed the wooden cross on his shoulders. Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane wonderfully expressed his embrace of the call given him by the Father. This is the glory of his cross. It is ours as well.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you;
for by your cross and resurrection you have redeemed the world.

 

 

Tuesday — March 31, 2020

 

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday, also known as Sunday of the Passion. It is the day when we listen to a Passion Account from the scriptures — this year it is according to Matthew. We shall offer here in the following days meditations on the last hours of Jesus, especially using his last steps, traditionally known as the Way of the Cross. (There is an alternate form of meditations given in the blog, also accessible on this home page.)

The First Station
Jesus is Condemned to Death by Jewish authorities and Pilate, the Roman Governor

 

From the Gospel of Matthew

59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus, however false, on which they might have him executed.
60 But they could not find any, though several lying witnesses came forward. Eventually two came forward
61 and made a statement, ‘This man said, “I have power to destroy the Temple of God and in three days build it up.” ‘
62 The high priest then rose and said to him, ‘Have you no answer to that? What is this evidence these men are bringing against you?’
63 But Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to him, ‘I put you on oath by the living God to tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.’
64 Jesus answered him, ‘It is you who say it. But, I tell you that from this time onward you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.’
65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘He has blasphemed. What need of witnesses have we now? There! You have just heard the blasphemy.
66 What is your opinion?’ They answered, ‘He deserves to die.’

1 When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people met in council to bring about the death of Jesus.
2 They had him bound and led him away to hand him over to Pilate, the governor.

11 Jesus, then, was brought before the governor, and the governor put to him this question, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ Jesus replied, ‘It is you who say it.’
12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and the elders he refused to answer at all.
13 Pilate then said to him, ‘Do you not hear how many charges they have made against you?’
14 But to the governor’s amazement, he offered not a word in answer to any of the charges.
15 At festival time it was the governor’s practice to release a prisoner for the people, anyone they chose.
16 Now there was then a notorious prisoner whose name was Barabbas.
17 So when the crowd gathered, Pilate said to them, ‘Which do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?’
18 For Pilate knew it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over.
19 Now as he was seated in the chair of judgement, his wife sent him a message, ‘Have nothing to do with that upright man; I have been extremely upset today by a dream that I had about him.’
20 The chief priests and the elders, however, had persuaded the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas and the execution of Jesus.
21 So when the governor spoke and asked them, ‘Which of the two do you want me to release for you?’ they said, ‘Barabbas.’
22 Pilate said to them, ‘But in that case, what am I to do with Jesus who is called Christ?’ They all said, ‘Let him be crucified!’
23 He asked, ‘But what harm has he done?’ But they shouted all the louder, ‘Let him be crucified!’
24 Then Pilate saw that he was making no impression, that in fact a riot was imminent. So he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd and said, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood. It is your concern.’

Just yesterday we heard the Gospel of the meeting of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. At that time Jesus said to her: I do not condemn you (John 8) and we recalled that earlier in John’s Gospel we have the quote that God so loved the world that he sent his Son, not to condemn but to save (John 3:16ff). Here at the First Station we are reminded of others condemning Jesus — one out of jealousy and one to please the crowd. Both should have known better. God’s own people failed to remember that God is the ultimate Judge and our lives are to be judged ultimately on his word. Pilate had the good Roman sense to know that justice is served when reality is the basis of judgment — Pilate knew the true reason why they sought Jesus’ death, jealousy, and he told them first: But what harm has he done? But Pilate was worried that they would turn against him. So he gave in.
God has the last word on everything. Our lives must be grounded in his word. Listening to his word is essential for life. Human authority, such as that of Pilate, is subject to God’s judgment as well. Fear of the Lord — a reverential respect and obedience to God — is also essential for life. Jesus has given us this double way of life. That is why he does not condemn us and gives us life through his death and resurrection.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you;
for by your cross and resurrection you have redeemed the world.

 

Monday — March 30, 2020

 

Here is today’s Gospel with a running commentary

Gospel, John 8:1-11

1 And Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
THE MOUNT OF OLIVES IS ASSOCIATED WITH THE PASSION OF CHRIST
2 At daybreak he appeared in the Temple again; and as all the people came to him, he sat down and began to teach them.
FIRST THING IN THE MORNING JESUS RETURNED TO THE TEMPLE AREA AND STARTED TO TEACH, EXPLAIN THE KINGDOM OF GOD TO THE PEOPLE, I.E. WHAT KIND OF A GOD WE HAVE
3 The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery; and making her stand there in the middle
THE OPPOSITION LEADERS WANTED TO MAKE A PUBLIC DISPLAY, THINKING THEY WOULD CATCH JESUS AS A PERSON WHO DID NOT OBEY “THE LAW”
4 they said to Jesus, ‘Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery,
THEY ENTRAPPED THE WOMAN — ADULTERY WAS A TERM USED BY THE PROPHETS TO DESCRIBE UNFAITHFULNESS TO THE COVENANT. BASICALLY THEY WERE SEEKING TO SHOW JESUS WAS NOT BEING FAITHFUL TO THE COVENANT, FOR WHICH THEY COULD CONDEMN HIM
5 and in the Law Moses has ordered us to stone women of this kind. What have you got to say?’
WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO SAY? MEANT PUTTING JESUS AS JUDGE OF THIS WOMAN
6 They asked him this as a test, looking for an accusation to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger.
THE SACRED WRITER JOHN INDICATES WHAT REALLY WAS GOING ON. JESUS’ RESPONSE IS SILENCE. HE DOES NOT RESPOND WITH ACCUSATION/CONDEMNATION OF ANYBODY, INCLUDING THE PHARISEES. JESUS IS GIVING EVERYONE THERE, ACCUSERS AND ACCUSED, WITH THE CHANCE TO PONDER WHAT GOD THE JUDGE HAD DONE IN MERCY FOR THEM. THEY HAD BEEN PRAISING GOD IN THEIR WORSHIP FOR YEARS FOR HIS MERCIFUL COVENANT LOVE
7 As they persisted with their question, he straightened up and said, ‘Let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to throw a stone at her.’
TIME IS UP FOR THEIR RESPONSE. “THE FIRST TO THROW THE STONE” WAS A SAYING FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT (Deuteronomy 17:2-5) PERTAINING TO IDOLATRY, I.E. UNFAITHFULNESS TO THE GOD OF THE COVENANT OF MERCY. JESUS’ RESPONSE IS A CALL TO FAITHFULNESS TO GOD WHO IS MERCY ITSELF. GOD IS TO BE THE JUDGE NOT MAN.
8 Then he bent down and continued writing on the ground.
SILENCE AGAIN — TIME TO PONDER WHAT KIND OF GOD WE HAVE
9 When they heard this they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until the last one had gone and Jesus was left alone with the woman, who remained in the middle.
THEY CAME TO THEIR SENSES AND REALIZED, EACH AND EVERY ONE, THAT GOD HAD BEEN MERCIFUL TO THEM MANY TIMES OVER — THEY CONTINUALLY IN THE TEMPLE GAVE HIM PRAISE FOR BEING KIND AND MERCIFUL, SLOW TO ANGER, RICH IN COVENANT LOVE
10 Jesus again straightened up and said, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
THIS RECALLS OF JOHN’S GOSPEL (3:16-17): For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
11 ‘No one, sir,’ she replied. ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus. ‘Go away, and from this moment sin no more.’
THE SIN IS STILL A SIN BUT GOD WILL CONTINUE TO POUR OUT HIS MERCIFUL LOVE IN THE FUTURE. HE IS OFFERING YOU A FUTURE OF HOLINESS

Jesus is the judge of the living and the dead

Sunday — March 29, 2020

 

(Before entering into the sample Sunday prayers, you may wish to familiarize yourself with the scripture commentary which is provided on this homepage, just beneath this opening Tweet.
This is a quasi homily because the ideal homily takes much of its meaning from its actual setting in a “live” liturgy in which the Holy Spirit is at work uniting the body of Christ. This communion together is part of the reality of a homily within the action of the liturgy itself. It is offered here to bind together your small group of prayer on this Lord’s Day. The scripture commentary is meant to give some background to what God is saying and doing at this particular time.)

SAMPLE OF HOME PRAYER FOR THE LORD’S DAY

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Peace be with you.

Let us seek the merciful love of God:

Have mercy on us, O Lord
For we have sinned against you.

Lord, show us your mercy
And grant us your salvation.

Let us pray:

It is our heart’s desire and prayer of you, O Lord, God of your people, that we imitate by a joyful way of life the faithful covenant love of Jesus Christ, who freely gave himself and his life for us inspired by that same love that caused him to enter this world to save us.

Listen to the sacred scriptures:
[Go to the Today’s Readings section below on this webpage.]

Silent Reflection and/or share comments.

Homily:

Among the unusual events of these days was our watching the funeral Mass of Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk live streamed on the Internet last Friday. The presentation was well done but somewhat awkward in that the whole time the Archbishop’s casket in front of the altar was all alone — the pews in the church were empty. This is not the ordinary way our Masses of Eternal Rest are celebrated.
Then today as we listen to God’s word relating the funeral rites for Lazarus long ago we also see a very different picture. The scriptures speak of the crowds that accompanied Martha and Mary to the tomb. They had come to their home to grieve with them. Martha and Mary had contacted Jesus earlier and had asked him to come be with them. This he did, after a purposeful delay, for the glory of God. Jesus in coming to the tomb made his presence felt. He was there because of his love for this family. He took a risk to come into the territory adjacent to Jerusalem where some leaders who disliked Jesus were threatening to kill him. In raising Lazarus from the tomb Jesus revealed the power of God in overcoming earthly death and assuring us of keeping his promise that we are called to be with the Lord forever and never be separated from him. All of this because of the divine covenant love prompting Jesus to give his life that we be in communion with God always.
Today the Church prays as we do with the Collect/Gathering Prayer that we have that same love behind everything Jesus did. We gathering around the remains of our deceased brothers and sisters and their families because Christ’s and his love dwells in us. We are very much a part of the funeral rites as we gather as the body of Christ to celebrate the Mass of Eternal Rest for our beloved departed. We did not get to do this the other day for Archbishop Pilarczyk. We shall get to do this later when the pandemic subsides.
Remember it is the love of Christ that impels us to do so. He is the one who said: There is no greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13). He did it. So can we.

 Praise be to God!

 Period of Silence

Sample Prayer of the Faithful
Let us pray
for the Church entrusted with preserving and spreading the faith
for the eternal rest of Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk, whom God chose to lead us in the past
for all our faithful departed, especially those taken from us by the virus
for those suffering from the virus and their families
for those who have the disease and do not know it
for all those caring for the sick in medical facilities and at home
for those who in one way or another take care of our essential needs

for those who have no one to pray for them

In Jesus’ name we pray for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Our Father, who art in heaven…

 

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen