Friday, March 30, 2012

Passion (Palm) Sunday

Our high holy days are upon us! Our Palm Sunday celebration this weekend begins Holy Week. You will find a complete schedule of events leading us to the Holy Triduum - Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil and Easter liturgies on our parish web site.

The Easter Vigil is the focal point of the entire Church year. In remembering the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, we proclaim our death to sin and our rising to new life in Jesus. Plunged into the waters of baptism, we emerge refreshed and enlivened to help God do the work of the Church. The best gift we can give our families and ourselves is a prayerful participation in the liturgies of the Holy Triduum. Let us walk with and pray with Jesus as we celebrate the events marking the beginning of our salvation. Let us ask God to strengthen us so we can continue the work begun by Jesus our Savior.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lent 5

One of writer Ramona C. Carroll’s most well-known faith quotes is: “Faith is putting all your eggs in God’s basket, then counting your blessings before they hatch.”

In our Gospel this weekend, Jesus does not ask the Father to save him from the hour of his death. Even as he foretells his death on the cross, Jesus puts all of his faith in God’s basket. Through such faith, we see that there is hope on the horizon. From the dark agony of Calvary will come the glorious triumph of the Resurrection. In that Easter sunrise, we find ourselves heirs to an everlasting day, basking in the presence of God himself.

There’s no need to hedge our bets. Salvation can only be found by putting all our eggs in God’s basket.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lent 4

The rod of Asclepius, with a single snake entwined upon the staff, remains a symbol used in modern medicine. Its biblical likeness as the bronze serpent lifted up on a pole is the sign of God’s saving power during the Exodus when the people of Israel had rebelled against the Lord and he sent seraph serpents among them as a punishment. In the Gospel of John the victory of God’s saving action is not a symbolic serpent, but the Son of Man who is lifted up on the cross. The self-offering of Christ is the ultimate victory over death. The Gospel reminds us: “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.”

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lent 3

As each Lenten Sunday draws us nearer to Holy Week and Easter, the scriptures urge us to measure ourselves against the mysteries we celebrate so we can be better, grow in God more deeply and believe more fully – both as individuals and as a community.

A wonderful word that comes to mind is zeal. Zeal is that passionate driving force that can enflame a person’s heart and motivate one to give great effort. I am sure the disciples recalled the words of Psalm 69 when they saw Jesus cleansing the Temple, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” We are at the midpoint of Lent and maybe some of our initial enthusiasm and zeal for the traditional practice of prayer, fasting and almsgiving have worn off a bit. The zealousness of Jesus for setting things aright might serve to encourage us and help us renew our own zeal this week.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lent 2

I have had the opportunity to go up Mt. Tabor, the mountain on which Jesus was transfigured. It was quite an adventure. The mountain is steep and thus preventing a bus to travel up it. What is needed is a strong-powered taxi. The road zigs and zags going up the mountain and there is no guard rail. To add to the adventure the taxi driver who only speaks Arabic is looking at the passengers and speaking to them while he drives up the perilous road. When one finally arrives at the top there is a beautiful panoramic view of the countryside below. There is also a beautiful church built in honor of the Transfiguration. I am sure Peter, James and John got to see the same beautiful sight as well. They also saw an amazing sight when Jesus was transfigured before them. We may never get a chance to go up Mt. Tabor to see the face of Jesus transformed, but our Lenten acts of kindness and almsgiving will transform the faces of those around us who are Christ present among us.