Archive for March, 2013

March 31st 2013 – Easter Sunday

Posted: March 30, 2013 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

They Saw and Believed

Readings:
Acts 10:34, 37-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Colossians 3:1-4
John 20:1-9


 

Jesus is nowhere visible. Yet today’s Gospel tells us that Peter and John “saw and believed.”

What did they see? Burial shrouds lying on the floor of an empty tomb. Maybe that convinced them that He hadn’t been carted off by grave robbers, who usually stole the expensive burial linens and left the corpses behind.

But notice the repetition of the word “tomb” – seven times in nine verses. They saw the empty tomb and they believed what He had promised: that God would raise Him on the third day.

Chosen to be His “witnesses,” today’s First Reading tells us, the Apostles were “commissioned…to preach…and testify” to all that they had seen – from His anointing with the Holy Spirit at the Jordan to the empty tomb.

More than their own experience, they were instructed in the mysteries of the divine economy, God’s saving plan – to know how “all the prophets bear witness” to Him (see Luke 24:27,44).

Now they could “understand the Scripture,” could teach us what He had told them – that He was “the Stone which the builders rejected,” that today’s Psalm prophesies His Resurrection and exaltation (see Luke 20:17; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11).

We are the children of the apostolic witnesses. That is why we still gather early in the morning on the first day of every week to celebrate this feast of the empty tomb, give thanks for “Christ our life,” as today’s Epistle calls Him.

Baptized into His death and Resurrection, we live the heavenly life of the risen Christ, our lives “hidden with Christ in God.” We are now His witnesses, too. But we testify to things we cannot see but only believe; we seek in earthly things what is above.

We live in memory of the Apostles’ witness, like them eating and drinking with the risen Lord at the altar. And we wait in hope for what the Apostles told us would come – the day when we too “will appear with Him in glory.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 30, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

womenatthetomb

How many devout women of today will rise early to seek out the Lord. To offer Him at the start of the day their gifts and talents to be used for their families and for others?

How many who find emptiness, who had forgotten the Lord Jesus in their lives have sought Him through prayer and in the Word? Having found Him rejoiced? Having experienced the Living God in their lives have found peace and lasting joy? Having experienced this in wonderment shared it with others? Prayed for others so that they too will share in the joy and peace?

How many still refuse to hear the Good News? Refuse to acknowledge the testimony of God’s glory witnessed by others?

How many like Peter in today’s Gospel, will run seeking the Lord out to witness to the Glory of God?

GOSPEL Luke 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.

EmptyTomb600wH


Those of us who had done the Vigil, fasted yesterday during Good Friday and attended the service. Did you not experience profound sadness? A sense of loss? Especially when you saw Jesus physically absent in the tabernacle and the sacramentals removed? Yes some of us felt His presence still as spiritual consolation but wasn’t the overall experience surreal?

Now while we continue to fast and remain in prayer, do you now begin to feel a different experience? A sense of joyful anticipation? Perhaps in a sense like a pregnant woman about to give birth? A new beginning?

Amen! I am thankful to be Catholic! Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit! Amen.


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Whom do we identify ourselves with in the passion of Christ?

Do we identify ourselves with the disciples? Who follow Christ faithfully? Who could not stay awake for Christ? Who abandoned their faith when the situation got uncomfortable? Who let fear overcome them?

Do we identify ourselves with Judas? Betrayed Him for money? Greed? Way of living? With the idea of being superior in intellect? Unrepentant?

Do we identify ourselves with Peter? Bold in the faith yet brash? With a leader’s mentality that I know it all? Loyal in the heart but not yet fully grounded in the faith and so was fearful and fell from faith? Repentant in the end, courageous to accept the faults and rebuild, and fortify his faith through the help of the Holy Spirit?

Do we identify ourselves with Pilate? A leader of men yet not in Christ? To go against what is true and right in order to keep the peace? Who will not stand up for the innocent or for  those who are bullied and those who cannot fend for themselves?

Do we identify ourselves with the high priests? Self righteous? Seeking personal glorification? Having a faith like horses wearing blinds? Quick to judge and condemn others? Using all means to justify their actions? Seeking not God’s counsel?  Doing not His Will?

Do we identify ourselves with the crowd? Do we have a mob mentality? Taking not the time or making not the effort to learn and grow in faith? To allow our emotions to rule us? To live our lives with God absent?

Do we identify ourselves with John? Who truly loved Jesus and knew what it was to be loved by Him? Initially seeking status and fame? Allowed fear to overcome His love? But gathered courage through his love for Christ and stood by His mother and His side in the end?

Do we identify ourselves with the repentant thief? Who abandoned all pride and carried the shame of the sinful life he led and turned to Christ in the end? Fully willing to accept condemnation for his sins? Entrusting himself to the Lord his God?

Do we hope to identify ourselves with Jesus? To drink the cup he drank? To carry His cross? To serve, not to served? To be the light for others living in darkness?


Reflection on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ +

The agony in the garden was really the agony in His mind. He suffered the passion in His mind before He suffered it in His body—to the point of actually affecting the latter by sweating blood. But from then on, it was His bodily suffering that affected His mental suffering.

At the base of all His suffering was the one thing that human beings dread the most: rejection. He was betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter and abandoned by all the rest of His Apostles; those He had hand picked as His closest intimates. He was most rejected by those who put Him to death. They not only wanted Him dead, they wanted Him to suffer. They not only considered Him to be worth nothing, they considered Him to be worth minus nothing! This significance was not lost on Him. He felt fully the rejection as each physical agony reminded Him.

So we thank Him for I us on our human journey and actually choosing to experience what we fear the most.

We thank Him for enduring the arrest and the cruelty of the guards and the Sanhedrin. We thank Him for enduring the cruelty of Pilate who allowed Him to be executed rather than risk his own political ruin—and for the cruelty of Herod who wanted to be entertained by having Him work a miracle. We thank Him for all the time He spent satisfying their preoccupation with themselves, just delaying His ultimate death. We thank Him for the anxiety of that night in a cell.

The next morning He was brutally scourged with such intensity and violence that He became as an aged man in a matter of minutes. His multiple wounds bloodied His entire body. The loss of so much blood not only severely weakened Him; it also caused a severe, throbbing headache that remained with Him for the duration.

We thank Him for this and for the mockery He received when they put a purple cloth on His shoulders and pushed a crown of thorns down into His head which intensified His headache. They blindfolded Him and slapped Him, insisting that He ‘prophesy’ who had hit Him. They spat on Him and beat Him. But it was they who were blind. He knew who they were. This is what we do when we sin. We blot him out of our consciousness as if He can’t see us. But it is we who choose to not see.

He stood at the praetorium in utter disgrace according to the attitude of the crowd—while in reality, He stood in utter glory: almighty God, being present to every person who has ever suffered rejection, joining them in their
moment of pain. It was there that He was sentenced to death by crucifixion. As a further humiliation, He was forced to carry His instrument of execution. He revealed to St. Bernard that carrying the cross was His most painful agony. He was so weak, He could hardly walk. So the weight of the cross on His shoulder was unbearable. It most likely dislocated His shoulder. It is not surprising that He fell down on the stone streets that were filthy with animal dung—with the cross on top of Him. And He got up each time.

It was only with the help of Simon of Cyrene that He made it to the top of Calvary. There they drove the nails into the carpal tunnels of His hands, causing pain throughout His upper body. The nail in His feet registered great pain through all the sensitive nerves there. When the cross was righted, His up-stretched arms squeezed His lungs and He began to pant for lack of oxygen. So He had to push down on His crucified feet to push His body up in order to fill His lungs with air. This took great effort because He was so weak. Yet He managed to maintain such effort for three hours of agony which increased gradually as He became weaker moment by moment.

By the end of the third hour, His agony was at its peak and His self-gift was exquisite. He had come to the point where His strength simply gave out and He suffocated. In this eternal moment as He died, He gave us His life. Transcending time, this moment of divine love is present to us in the tabernacles of the world.

Thank you, Lord. We adore you O Christ and we praise you. By your holy cross, you have redeemed the world!

If this still matters to you, then it must matter more than anyone and anything. One day you will see Him face to face. If you go through with this marriage, what will you tell Him? If you read this reflection every day, He will give you the strength to be faithful to Him. You are in our prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 27, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Can we ever fully comprehend the love God has for us? What it truly means to love us to the end?

Can we strip ourselves bare of all that is worldly? Can we remove our cloak of pride? And with our robe of holiness serve others? Even getting down to our knees if the need arises? Working with our Lord to wash away the veil of darkness from their eyes and hearts? Can we help our Lord Jesus wash their feet from all sinfulness gathered while walking in the wrong direction and helping them move forward in the right one through His Word?

Let us pray…..

Sweet Jesus, thank you for loving me and teaching me how to love. Guide me always in your ways so that I may continue to serve you by serving my brethren. Calling to mind Your act of love in washing the feet of your disciples let me do likewise in all I say and do. Amen  

GOSPEL John 13:1–15

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.” Jesus said to him, “Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all.” For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. 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.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 27, 2013 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Jesus Last Supper Passover

Do we hold on to Jesus at all cost? Or do we ‘sell’ Him off from our lives, when we choose greed over Him? The lavish lifestyle we created for ourselves? Our wants and desires which must come first? Simply because He has no place in our lives? No value?

Jesus desires to be with us, to bless us in our homes, in our hearts, are we ready and willing to let Him in? To welcome Him with open arms?

When relationships fail for whatever reasons, do we look to point fingers? Or do we reflect on how we may have contributed? For what we have done or failed to do?

It is never too late to follow Jesus, no matter what we may have said or no matter what we have done. Let us turn to Him and say “Jesus I choose You!, I love You.” Amen

GOSPEL Matthew 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.

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” He said in reply, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. 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.” Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.”