Ps 33:4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22
The Easter season has arrived once again. It is a very uplifting season. But I am not so ready to forget about Lent. It leaves an imprint on us, or at least it should. It should all be connected. There are three main themes in the lessons today that I think sum up Lent, Easter, and the days that follow in a coherent faith response. They are “repent, rejoice, and report.”
Jesus asked that the Feast of the Divine Mercy be preceded by a Novena to the Divine Mercy which would begin on Good Friday. He gave St. Faustina an intention to pray for on each day of the Novena, saving for the last day the most difficult intention of all, the lukewarm and indifferent of whom He said:
"These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in the Garden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by.' The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy."
The great feast of Our Lord’s resurrection has come and gone, and we are now able to bask in the happy afterglow that is called “the Easter Octave” and then “the Easter season.” Today I would like to ask you to think and pray with me about the meeting between Our Lord Jesus and his Blessed Mother when he rose from the dead. The four gospel accounts of the resurrection, each giving its own details but all affirming the return of Jesus to life after his death on the cross, speak of the various persons who saw Our Lord on that first day of the Jewish week, which we call Sunday. Our risen Lord appeared to several women who came to complete what they considered the proper preparation of the body of their Lord for death; then he appeared to Saints Peter and John, two of the disciples that afternoon on the road to Emmaus, and then that night, to the apostles assembled in the upper room in Jerusalem.
In that industrious, productive, patient and simple communion forged in the love of Jesus Christ, we pray for each other for the grace to faithfully and constantly live ever more profoundly the words of our holy founder Saint Vincent Pallotti: “Let our life always be at the foot of the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and in Jesus Christ we will always find true joy. May the Grace, the Charity, the Peace, and the Mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ be always in us and in all”. (Letter of 04.04.1849, to the Sisters of San Silvestro in Capite)
In the Risen One,
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.