Showing posts with label Easter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Easter. Show all posts

26 May 2017

'The Lord goes up with shouts of joy.' Sunday Reflections, The Ascension


The Ascension, Andrea della Robbia [Web Gallery of Art]

For Readings for the Ascension and the Seventh Sunday of Easter and for Reflections on the Ascension click on the following: 



Three White Cottages in Saintes-Maries, van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]

A work of art is the fruit of the creative capacity of the human being who stands in wonder before the visible reality, and who seeks to discover the depths of its meaning and to communicate it through the language of forms, colors and sounds. Art has the capacity to express and to make visible man’s need to go beyond what he sees; it manifests his thirst and his search for the infinite. In fact, it is like a door opened to the infinite — to a beauty and a truth that goes beyond the everyday. And a work of art can open the eyes of the mind and heart, carrying them higher(Pope Benedict XVI).

12 May 2017

'Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.' Sunday Reflections, Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year A


St Philip, Giuseppe Mazzuoli [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings and Reflections:
Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year A

Canonisations in Fatima





Lucia Santos, left, and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto [Wikipedia]
On Saturday 13 May Pope Francis will canonise Blessed Francisco Marto (1908 - 1919) and his sister Jacinta (1910 - 1920) in Fátima, Portugal, on the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Mother there to the three children.


A good friend of mine who is a priest and a Scripture scholar once pointed out to me that in all the places where the Church has affirmed that our Blessed Mother truly appeared it was to poor people. We can see this in such places as Guadalupe (1531) in Mexico, La Salette (1846) and Lourdes (1858) in France, Beauraing (1932-33) and Banneux (1933) in Belgium, Fátima (1917) in Portugal and Knock (1879) in Ireland. I have been blessed by having taken part in pilgrimages to all of these except La Salette and Guadalupe.

You may find this article of interest: The surprising connection between Our Lady of Fatima and Islam.

Ave de Fátima
Sung in Portuguese by the Choir of the Shrine in Fátima

Beatification in Dublin of Blessed John Sullivan SJ

Blessed John Sullivan SJ 
[Facebook. Portrait by Seán O’Sullivan]

Also on 13 May, for the first time in history, a beatification will take place in Ireland, that of Fr John Sullivan SJ (1861 - 1933), by Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The ceremony will be held in St Francis Xavier Church, Gardiner Street, Dublin, a church that is closely associated also with the Venerable Matt Talbot (1856 - 1925). These two men grew up within walking distance of each other, but in totally different circumstances, John Sullivan in prosperity and Matt Talbot in poverty. God called both of them to sanctity, as indeed he calls each of us through our baptism. They responded to this call.


St Francis Xavier Church, Gardiner St, Dublin [Wikipedia]
For some reason, Dubliners rarely refer to their churches by their patronal name but rather by the street name. Had this ceremony been held in Dublin 50 or 60 years ago it would not have taken place in this or in any other church but in an open, public space. It will be interesting to see how the Irish media will cover the event.
Please pray this weekend for a renewal of the Catholic Christian faith in Ireland where to a large extent in recent decades it has been rejected or marginalised as a purely private matter, and despised by some.

5 May 2017

Sunday Reflections, Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year A. Columban ordination to diaconate.


The Good Shepherd, Martin van Cleve the Elder [Web Gallery
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: )
Gospel John 10:1-10(NRSV, Catholic Edition, Canada)






Jesus said:
"Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

You'll find the Reflections here.
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Columban Ordination to Diaconate

Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco of Cubao ordained Erl Dylan J. Tabaco to the diaconate on 30 April in the Columban House of Studies, Cubao, Quezon City. The new deacon is from Holy Rosary Parish, Agusan, Cagayan de Oro City. He spent two years, 2014 to 2016, on First Mission Assignment in Peru as part of his preparation for the Columban missionary priesthood. You can read about his work there with children who are profoundly deaf and with young persons with intellectual disabilities here.

Erl Dylan J. Tabaco with youngsters in Peru
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Bring Flowers of the Fairest, also known as Queen of the May, a very popular Marian hymn in Ireland, especially during the month of May, was written by Mary E. Walsh and is sung here by the late Irish tenor, Frank Patterson.

29 Apr 2017

'Then there eyes were opened . . .' Sunday Reflections, Third Sunday of Easter, Year A

Supper at Emmaus (detail) 1606, Caravaggio

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible)
Gospel Luke 24:13-35 (NRSV, Catholic Edition, Canada)

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth,who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

You will find the Reflections here.

21 Apr 2017

'My Lord and my God!' Sunday Reflections, Second Sunday of Easter (or Sunday of Divine Mercy), Year A


Year A
The Apostle St Thomas, El Greco 

Readings (New American Bible) 
Readings (Jerusalem Bible)
Gospel John 20:19-31(NRSV, Catholic Ed.)

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’


John 20:19-31 from The Gospel of John
We can read the words of Jesus to Thomas as a gentle rebuke that has led to the nickname he may carry for all eternity: 'Doubting Thomas'. But I prefer to see him as the one who understood that the Risen Lord must carry the scars of his crucifixion and who made the most explicit act of faith in the whole of Sacred Scripture: My Lord and my God!

The First Reading today (Ats 2:42-47) opens with the words They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 'The breaking of the bread' is an expression used for the celebration of the Eucharist. We can see in this sentence the essence of the Mass as we celebrate it today: listening to God's word, praying and sharing in the Sacrifice of Jesus and sharing his Body and Blood.

Some commentators say that the failure of Thomas was not to listen to God's word as related by his companions. Maybe he did fail here but did the others have the same awareness as Thomas had that the Risen Lord must carry his scars for all eternity?

In Evangelii Gaudium No 7 Pope Francis writes: I never tire of repeating those words of Benedict XVI which take us to the very heart of the Gospel: 'Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction'.

Thomas had been a companion of Jesus for two to three years but what he experienced in today's gospel was precisely what Pope Benedict describes as the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.
Servant of God, Fr Emil Joseph Kapaun (20 April 1916 - 23 May 1951) celebrating Mass with American soldiers during the Korean War [Wikipedia]

Full post here.

17 Apr 2017

That Time the Nice Boy Swore at Me


Or ... Teaching the Faith Sometimes Means Carrying a Cross

Teaching the faith can be a challenge. The Confirmation retreat was nearly over, so we settled back in the main hall after a few hours in the church to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and spend time in Eucharistic Adoration. Though I’ve presented to teenagers for years, it never gets any easier. Corralling them for 8 hours, most against their own will, usually creates a less than friendly atmosphere. This particular group, despite my attempts to provide engaging activities and quick witted presentations, was very difficult to reach.

It was a huge relief to glance at the clock and realize there were fewer than two hours left.“You got this,” I murmured to myself, and grabbed the microphone to begin my last presentation. I barely completed the sign of the cross, when suddenly a young man dressed in a suit stood up.

“Excuse me,” I politely addressed him, “break is over and we are clearly about to pray. We are almost finished; we just have one more subject to cover.” What happened next, even as I type it, still astounds me. “Who,” he began, “do you expletive think you are. This has been complete bull-expletive you have been shoveling at us all day.” Perhaps he saw an opportunity to pounce, since the room had emptied of all adults except me. Before I could answer, he continued with more sentence enhancers and crazy accusations. He had clearly come with preconceived and very misguided notions of Catholicism. My presentations always focus on living the faith in our everyday life and I purposely steer clear of controversial subjects – because I am fully aware that Apologetics are my Achilles heel. This young man perhaps sensed that as well.

The part of my brain that was presently retrieving all of my training in youth ministry and facilitating retreats was screaming “halt, do not fall into this trap, cease all arguments now”! How I wish my brain had won. Instead .... read more 

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras

16 Apr 2017

The Eighth Day: Two Millennia and Counting

Easter is when we celebrate "the crowning truth of our faith in Christ" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 638)

It's among the top major events so far. Depending on how you count them, there have been only three to six: the creation of this universe; humanity's creation and fall; and our Lord's arrival, execution, and resurrection.

There's another big one coming, eventually, and I'll get back to that.

The idea that the Son of God was human and divine has seemed insufficiently 'spiritual' to some folks for two millennia now. But like John 1:14 says,1 "...the Word became flesh...."

The crucifixion, and what happened later, wouldn't mean much otherwise....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

14 Apr 2017

Grief and Gratitude on Good Friday

Great griefs are like great joys: they bend time. My sister died twenty years ago. Sometimes it seems so long ago that mercifully, I can barely remember the details. Other times, those details rush back at me so sharply I have to steel myself for impact.

Suicide does that.

I can smile now at the memory of my sister. I felt disloyal the first time I did that, as though permanent grief could be the only fitting monument to her memory. Time, mercy, and God’s grace have done their work, bit by bit.

For the first time since her death, I am writing about her and about losing her. This is an anniversary, and the time is right. For years, I thought she had taken Easter away with her and left nothing behind but wreckage. Gradually I found that she left me other things: a greater appreciation for the gift of my family, and how to live with gratitude despite wounds that are bone-deep. Those aren’t compensations. They don’t cancel out anything. They are gifts nonetheless.

I extend my hand to anyone who’s facing a loss, or anniversary of a loss, this Good Friday. I can’t make the pain go away. I can only say that you’re not alone. All I have is compassion, “suffering with,” in whatever way I can manage. The time and mercy and grace I mentioned were not my doing, and I couldn’t rush them.

Read the rest of the post at ellenkolb.com.

29 Apr 2016

'We will come to them and make our home with them.' Sunday Reflections, 6th Sunday of Easter, Year C

The Trinity, El Greco, 1577, Madrid 
Gospel John 14:23-29 (NRSV,Catholic Ed, Can)

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.

The late Bishop Bienvenido 'Benny' S. Tudtud of Marawi, Philippines, visited my Dad (below) in Dublin some time in the early 1980s. As it happened, Dad was about to leave for the wedding of a cousin of mine but he was able to entertain his unexpected guest for a while. Later on he told my brother, 'The bishop made me feel at home'. My brother laughed and said to him, 'You were the one supposed to make him feel at home!'

Full post here.

1 Apr 2016

'If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them.' Sunday Reflections, Second Sunday of Easter (or of Divine Mercy)



The Incredulity of St Thomas, Rembrandt, 1634 Pushkin Museum, Moscow [Web Gallery of Art]

Gospel John 20:19-31 (NRSV, Catholic Ed,Can)

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

The Gospel of John (2003) Directed by Philip Saville
Narrator: Christopher Plummer


To embrace, to embrace – we all have to learn to embrace the one in need, as Saint Francis did. There are so many situations in Brazil, and throughout the world, that require attention, care and love, like the fight against chemical dependency. (PopeFrancis, St Francis of the Providence of God Hospital, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 24 July 2103).[Photo: Wikipedia]
Full post here

28 Mar 2016

Living the Triduum on Easter Monday and Beyond


The overriding sentiment which prevails at my house and in my heart each Easter Monday is the same.  It is finished.  The long 40 days of Lenten fasting, prayer and penance are completed.  The late nights of the Triduum liturgies are over.  Crumbs of the traditional Italian Easter bread and a handful of neon colored peeps are all that remain from Easter dinner.

 He is Risen indeed – so why does Easter Monday always get me down?

Read more here...


27 Mar 2016

Christ Has Conquered

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor, radiant in the brightness of your King! Christ has conquered! Glory fills you! Darkness vanishes for ever!
Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory! The risen Savior shines upon you! Let this place resound with joy, echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!

Another Easter


There have been only three to six major events so far, depending on how you count them: the creation of this universe; humanity's creation and fall; and our Lord's arrival, execution, and resurrection.

There's another big one coming, eventually, and I'll get back to that.

Cosmic Scale


I'm a Catholic, so I take Sacred Scripture very seriously,1 including this:
"God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed - the sixth day."
(Genesis 1:31)
We've known that God's creation was big and old, and been impressed, for a long time:
"1 Think! The heavens, even the highest heavens, belong to the LORD, your God, as well as the earth and everything on it."
(Deuteronomy 10:14)

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder's craft."
(Psalms 19:2)

"3 Raise your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth below; Though the heavens grow thin like smoke, the earth wears out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies, My salvation shall remain forever and my justice shall never be dismayed."
(Isaiah 51:6)

"4 Indeed, before you the whole universe is as a grain from a balance, or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth."
(Wisdom 11:22-25)
More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

22 Mar 2016

Have the Last 40 Days Changed You?



Holy Week is here ... Lent 2016 will soon be done

But am I any different than when it all began 40 plus days ago?

Did my Lenten sacrifices - prayers, almsgiving and fasting - transform me? Did they prepare me for the coming Triduum s(Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday) services? Most importantly have the readied my heart to rise again with Jesus on Easter -- a new creation in Christ?
Lent and the expectation of the coming of Spring, maybe because I live in a seasonal location, have always co-existed in my heart. Lent starts often in the harshness of winter - cold, long, dark nights. Easter arrives after daylight savings and (usually) the last snow fall. Flowers and trees are budding, maybe even flowering, and there is an emerging from the cocoon like feel to the world.
But have I changed? Has this time of no television, extra prayer and attention to participating in the Sacraments, awoken something in my heart. 

 What will my spiritual practices look like going forward?   Here are 3 Quick Takeaways from #Lent2016 ... READ MORE

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

Pray with Me, during Holy Week and Easter

Brilliantly simple! A letter from Seattle contains practical wisdom for praying through Holy Week and the Easter Season.


Click over to Praying with Grace to read the letter.

20 Mar 2016

The Messiah We Need

Tiberius was Rome's absentee emperor around the time the Han Dynasty was getting back to business-as-usual, after Wang Mang's brief takeover. I mentioned him before: Wang Mang, I mean. (December 27, 2015)

Meanwhile, Phaedrus was retelling Aesop's Fables in Latin, and Pontius Pīlātus was prefect of the Roman Province of Judea.

That part of the world had been under Roman control since the Battle of Philippi, Armenia wasn't a Roman province yet, but it wasn't the force it had been during Tigranes' reign, and that's another topic.

Tigranes, Tiberius, and Wang Mang, were well-known folks in their day;1 at least in their homelands. Two millennia later, not so much.

Pontius Pīlātus is another matter. He's mentioned each year around this time, when something like 2,000,000,000 folks pay at least fleeting attention to a Nazarene's progress from top-of-the-polls celebrity to executed corpse.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

25 Apr 2015

'I know my own and my own know me.' Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday of Easter, Year B

From The Gospel of John (2003) directed by Philip Saville

Today's Gospel, John 10:11-18 [1:19 - 2:30]
Jesus said:
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.  I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”
Fr Barry Cairns is a Columban priest from New Zealand who was ordained in 1955 and went to Japan in 1956 where he still is. He writes frequently for our various Columban magazines. I met him only once but I know him to be the kind of joyful proclaimer of the Gospel that Pope Francis so often speaks about. 
Full post here.

19 Apr 2015

Jesus Christ is Risen!

Easter Sunday 2015:

Easter Sunday 2015

By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas
April 5, 2015

Jesus Christ is risen! This means that life takes on a new horizon. Have you ever thought of yourself as immortal? Have you ever considered that you have "forever" to live? The resurrection from the death of Jesus casts a new light on our human existence. No longer are we bound by finite ends. Our life has an all new endless and brilliant horizon, and we come to share in this new resurrected and glorious horizon gifted us by Christ Jesus through our baptism.

In baptism, we are born into the resurrected life of Jesus Christ, a life that knows no end, no boundaries....

More, at A Catholic Citizen in America.

My Brother's Keeper, by Bill Kassel - Book Review

In My Brother’s Keeper , by Bill Kassel, we read a great piece of Catholic fiction. Now, right off the bat, let me explain the definition...