Readings & Reflections: Thursday within the Octave of Easter & St. Conrad of Parzham, April 20,2017
When we, like the disciples in today’s Gospel, are “startled,” “terrified,” or “troubled,” what restores our peace? The humanity of Jesus Christ. The risen Lord says to the distressed disciples, “Look at my hands and my feet…. Touch me and see.” To prove that they are not “seeing a ghost,” Jesus takes the piece of baked fish given to him and eats it in front of the disciples. Jesus woos us away from our anxiety with the words, “Why do questions arise in your hearts?” For the pierced man who stands before us is our Answer. The repentance and conversion that Saint Peter preaches make it possible for God to “grant you times of refreshment and send you the Christ already appointed for you, Jesus.” “All the holiness God has destined for our souls has been placed in the humanity of Christ, and it is from this source that we must draw” (Blessed Columba Marmion). Those who dare to look at his wounds an live as “witness of these things” hear the risen Christ say, “Peace be with you.”
Archbishop Socrates Villegas, head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, gestures during a 2014 news conference in Manila. Archbishop Villegas expressed concern over what he perceived to be a growing trend “of rebuffing church morals and doctrine” in his country. (Credit: CNS photo/Simone Orendain.)
As the government in the Philippines continues its violent war against drugs, Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan expressed his concern for Catholics in the country who continue to support the President. The archbishop criticized those who hide behind the statement “I am a Catholic but ….”
The head of the Philippine bishops’ conference expressed concern over what he perceived to be a growing trend “of rebuffing church morals and doctrine” in his country.
Readings & Reflections: Wednesday within the Octave of Easter & St. Gianna Beretta Molla, April 19,2017
The disciples on the road to Emmaus have grown “downcast” and cynical about Jesus: “We were hoping that he would be the one.” At the Last Supper, Jesus gave his disciples a way to deal with doubts: “He took the bread…. broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body;… do this in memory of me’” (Lk 2219). In their disillusionment, “Jesus himself drew near and walked with them.” As he spoke on the road to them, their “hearts were burning” within them. They became like the crippled man at the temple gate who “paid attention” to Peter and John because he expected “to receive something from them.” That expectation moves the two disciples to beg Jesus, “Stay with us.” Sitting at table, Jesus took bread, broke it, and gave it to them. “With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” For the crippled man at the temple gate, this “drawing near” of Jesus happens through Peter and John. The result is that he wants to stay with them. The crippled man walks with them!
Readings & Reflections: Tuesday within the Octave of Easter & Blessed James Oldo, April 18,2017
Despite the miraculous apparition of two angels sitting in the open tomb, “one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been,” Mary Magdalene remains unmoved, consumed only by her grief. Two times heaven has to ask (once via the angels, the second time by the risen Lord himself), “Woman, why are you weeping?” She has come to her own fatalistic conclusion about what happened to Christ – “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him” – and it is from this pessimism that she must be converted. When the risen Jesus speaks her name – “Mary!” – the Magdalene, like the Jewish people on the day of Pentecost, was “cut to the heart.” The risen Christ’s command to “stop holding on” pertains to our preconceptions and our stubbornness as well. Something Greater than our sorrow is now at work in the world. It is the reason why, even in our weeping, we bend over and peer into the tomb, full of expectation.
Readings & Reflections: Monday within the Octave of Easter & St. Benedict Joseph Labre, April 17,2017
Peter appeals to the people, not with theological arguments, but with concrete facts they can “both see and hear.” The most compelling of these is the transformed humanity of Peter himself, in whom God has “poured forth the promise of the Holy Spirit.” After denying Jesus, Peter went out and wept bitterly. But the Lord refused to “abandon his soul to the nether world.” As with his only Son, God released Peter “from the throes of death” because Christ’s Resurrection makes it “impossible for him to be held by it.” In his heart, Peter sang, “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” And this pattern continues for us: “Jesus met them on their way,” that is, our risen Savior comes to us amidst the everyday, impossible circumstances of our lives. In the face of them he promises, “There they will see me.”
Readings & Reflections with Cardinal Tagle’s video: Easter Sunday The Resurrection of the Lord A – The Mass of Easter Day & St. Bernadette Soubirous, April 16,2017
“Faith in the Resurrection of Jesus says that there is a future for every human being; the cry for unending life which is a part of the person is answered. Through Jesus we do know ‘the room where exiled love lays down its victory.’ He himself is this place, and he calls us to be with him and in dependence on him. He calls us to keep this place open within the world so that he, the exiled love, may reappear over and over in the world…. God exists: that is the real message of Easter. Anyone who even begins to grasp what this means also knows what it means to be redeemed” (Pope Benedict XVI). For all those who give their time, talents, treasure and life for the Church are signs of being redeemed by His resurrection.
Readings & Reflections: Holy Saturday – At the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter A & Blessed Caesar de Bus, April 15,2017
“Holy Saturday is the day of the ‘death of God,’ the day which expresses the unparalleled experience of our age, anticipating the fact that God is simply absent, that the grave hides him, that he no longer awakes, no longer speaks, so that one no longer needs to gainsay him but can simply overlook him…. Christ strode through the gate of our final loneliness; in his Passion he went down into the abyss of our abandonment. Where no voice can reach us any longer, there is he. Hell is thereby overcome, or, to be more accurate, death, which was previously hell, is hell no longer. Neither is the same any longer because there is life in the midst of death, because love dwells in it” (Pope Benedict XVI).
Readings & Reflections: Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion & Blessed Peter Gonzalez, April 14,2017
“Christ’s execution notice became with paradoxical unity the ‘confession of faith,’ the real starting-point and rooting-point of the Christian faith, which holds Jesus to be the Christ: as the crucified criminal this Jesus is the Christ, the King. His crucifixion is his coronation; his coronation or kingship is his surrender of himself to men, the identification of word, mission, and existence in the yielding up of this very existence. His existence is thus his word. From the cross faith understands in increasing measure that this Jesus did not just do and say something; that in him message and person are identical, that he always already is what he says” (Pope Benedict XVI).
Readings & Reflections: Holy Thursday– Mass of the Lord’s Supper & St. Martin I, April 13,2017
“When the Lord of the world comes and undertakes the slave’s task of foot-washing – which is an illustration of the way he washes our feet al through our lives – we have a totally different picture. God doesn’t want to trample on us, but kneels down before us so as to exalt us. The mystery of the greatness of God is seen precisely in the fact that he can be small…. Only when power is changed from the inside, and we accept Jesus and his way of life, whose whole self is there in the action of foot-washing, only then can the world be healed and the people be able to live at peace with one another” (Pope Benedict XVI).
Readings & Reflections: Wednesday of Holy Week & St. Teresa of Los Andes, April 12,2017
“Judas is neither a master of evil nor the figure of a demoniacal power of darkness but rather a sycophant who bows down before the anonymous power of changing moods and current fashion. But it is precisely this anonymous power that crucified Jesus, for it was anonymous voices that cried, ‘Away with him! Crucify him!’” (Pope Benedict XVI).
Daily readings with reflections, Pope's messages, Bishop's messages, Church's music & videos, Educational Speaker, Bible Stories, Christopher Notes, Church Militant Video, Religious Movies, Journey Home