Resurrectio Domini, spes nostra!
Today, together with the whole Church, we sing the joyful Alleluia! This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice in it and give joy! (Ps 118). I greet you with the Easter acclamation, Christ is Risen! He is truly risen! This joyful paschal message gives us deep amazement and gratitude - the Lord has truly risen! He overcame death and brought life!
Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
“Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!" (Sequence)
Easter is a celebration of "new life”! All creation joins in the celebration. Each Spring we rejoice in the new life of nature bursting forth after the slumber of winter. And we Christians echo nature in celebrating the "new life" of God’s presence bursting forth among us through the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus is raised from the dead! But not only is Jesus raised from the dead, we are too! Paul could not be more direct in his Letter to the Colossians, ”If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. . . .For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death. - Romans 6:4
Today we experience the painful waiting between the death of one ideal and the rebirth into something new. The Scriptures have little to say about the thoughts of the disciples that day, but I imagine they were confused and disillusioned. They had ideas of what the Messiah would do, but Jesus was killed before accomplishing them. On this day I see all my shattered expectations and doubts about God. It is my Holy Saturday today. Like the disciples, I am fearful and lonely.
Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42
Much has been said about what is ‘good’ about this day, I believe we each can personalize the ‘good’ for what it means to us. For me the ‘goodness’ of this day is to be able to reflect on Jesus’ compassion in his passion. We can begin with his agony in the garden “My soul is sorrowful even to death.” (Mt 26:38, Mk 14:34, Lk 22:44). Despite his sorrow and distress he is very patient with Peter James and John, whom he has asked to pray with him, but they cannot stay awake. Jesus also shows compassion for Judas. Jesus addresses him as “friend” even as he kisses him and turns him over to the authorities (Mt 26:50). Luke even records that Jesus heals the ear of a person that a disciple cuts off with a sword (Lk 22:51).
Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper
Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
At the Last Supper and in every liturgy we hear the words that tell us Jesus took bread - blessed, broke and gave it to his disciples. In the same way we have been 'taken', that is, chosen to BE. From the billions of possible humans, God from all eternity affectionately chose me to BE.
Isaiah 50:4-9a; Matthew 26:14-25
We find it easy to place ourselves in Jesus’ presence in the holy three days about to start. But we also see how Jesus is fulfilling the Israelite prophecies.
The first reading is Isaiah’s Third Suffering Servant Song. The following psalm reminds us that God constantly forgives us even as we selfishly sin again and again. The scene in the upper room is where Jesus identifies Judas as the one who will betray him. Even at this tragic moment Jesus seeks a conversion. His response, “You say so!” has the meaning that “yes, since you asked”, leaving space for Judas to be reconciled.
Isaiah 49:1-6; John 13:21-33, 36-38
The early days of Holy Week are such a combination of anticipation and fearfulness of what is to come. We’ve had the weeks of Lent to prepare and we’re ready for Easter, yet we’re not. I’ve tried to live up to my Lenten resolutions – on some days with more enthusiasm than others. Today’s reading from Isaiah reminds me that God knows of my struggles: “Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength. Yet my reward is with the Lord, my recompense with God.” The beautiful words and images in that reading help me feel protected and loved, help to reduce my own fearfulness at falling short.
▪ The post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Christus vivit (Christ is alive), by Pope Francis, was signed on Monday 25 March in the Holy House of Loreto. The document is addressed to young people, and to the entire People of God. The document is based on the rich reflections and conversations of the Synod on Young People, celebrated in the Vatican in October 2018. ▪ Pope Francis also made several changes to ecclesial canons concerning the dismissal of consecrated persons from the religious institutes to which they belong. The new regulations were promulgated and will go into effect on 10 April 2019.
Psalm 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14
Two thousand years ago Christ said “You always have the poor with you.” And so we do. What examples did He give us for dealing with these poor among us? He healed the sick, and fed the hungry, and clothed the naked, and stood in solidarity with those whom society least respected in His days and times. He held up for all to see what was just and unjust in His society.