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Archive for the tag “Easter”

2015 Easter Time

It always happens doesn’t it?  We are cruising along the highway of life.   Something happens,  a loved one falls ill,  an accident happens or a tragedy.   We don’t expect it, we can not foresee it and we never want it.   We have to adjust, adapt and move forward because there is not a rewind button.

The excitement of Holy Week rushed by.   And now I am finding myself standing in the pool of exhilaration like when you go down one of those big water slides!   It is Easter time!

Easter (FYI – the resurrection of Jesus) doesn’t end on Easter Sunday.   Jesus shows Himself multiple times to many different people (One of the many reasons that the christian faith is so strong is the fact that many people testified to this fact and not only was it recorded in many letters (aka the Bible), but it also had to be passed down, verbally, to many more friends and family.  Which makes up our deposit of faith.)   One of my favorites is on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24) when Jesus comes upon two men walking home from Jerusalem, three days after Jesus was crucified.   He walked and talked with them.   He explained to them why He had to be crucified.  They were amazed.   They wanted more.   Later that day as they were about to dine with Him  I think they were astute enough to ask Him to say a blessing before breaking the bread.   And Jesus “took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them” , their eyes were opened and then Jesus vanished.

This year during Easter time, let us be willing to open our eyes, our minds, our hearts and recognize Jesus in our lives.   Now Jesus can appear in many ways such as; movies, music, children, animals, scenery, sports, work or even old family pictures.   The funny thing is if you seek Him, you are more likely to find Him!

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Why I am catholic ……. Easter Time

We are now in Easter Time.    Some of us are still in amazement that Christ has risen!

Luke 24:13-35

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emma′us, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cle′opas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning 23 and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, 29 but they constrained him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us[b] while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, 34 who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

We have two guys walking home after the crucificition.  They may have been in town for business and got caught up with trials etc. and hung around.   It appears they are on the fence as to if they believe what they have been told.   They did however go to the tomb and did not see Jesus there, in the tomb.   They must of saw Him hang on the cross as well and listen to stories and deeds that Jesus said and did.   Afterall they, themselves and HOPED that Jesus was the one.   They were hoping for redeemption.   Then on the third day, they lost their faith.   They gave up hope!  They gave up hope like a team who is behind by 10 and gives up hope with one minute to go!  They gave up hope and started to head home so they could waller in their misery.

Has this ever happened to you?   We all (okay – maybe just me) like to waller in our misery and we try to pull others into the mud puddle with us.   Then, out of the blue, comes the happy happy happy person that you want to slap-up-side the head!  Here Jesus just happens to join the two pitiful merchants and teaches them about what the prophets had been telling them.  Now, in my mind, Jesus did not whip out the Torah or scrolls of scripture, nor did He teach in a way of rattling off verse after verse (i.e. In Genesis chapter 1 verse 1….etc.).   He spoke and taught so they could understand.  He had developed a dialogue with them that they readily devoured.   He left them wanting more, so much so that they invited Him to enter under their roof.
Then, when Jesus was at the table, “he took the bread and blessed, and broke it and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened” 

We have this miracle happen at every mass!!

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday

Are you ready?  Are you ready?  Are you ready for the coming of the Lord!!

Lk 24:1-12

At daybreak on the first day of the week
the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus
took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
but when they entered,
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were puzzling over this, behold,
two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.
They said to them,
“Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
He is not here, but he has been raised.
Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee,
that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners
and be crucified, and rise on the third day.”
And they remembered his words.
Then they returned from the tomb
and announced all these things to the eleven
and to all the others.
The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James;
the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles,
but their story seemed like nonsense
and they did not believe them.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb,
bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone;
then he went home amazed at what had happened.
Seemed like nonsense to the apostles.   Seems like nonsense  to some still today.   But why do so many listed in the bible attest to it?  Why do so many more not listed attest to Jesus being raised?  Why is our faith, the christian faith, so strong?  Why is the church, the catholic church so strong?  Because as John stated in John 20: 30-31  Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of  his disciples that are not written in this book.  But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
We do not know the thousands of people who saw and believed but we know of billions today who have come to believe and not see.  Tonight we welcome thousands or millions more into the catholic (universal) church and may they be called blessed for believing without seeing!!
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
AMEN!!!

Good Friday

Good Friday

from the gospel according to John 18: 4-6 “Whom are you looking for?” They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.”  He said to them “I AM.”  Judas his betrayer was also with them.  When he said to them, “I AM,” they turned away and fell to the ground.

Sometimes we go through the motions.  We’ve been there done that we know what were doing, so we go through the motions.   How many times have we read this passage?   How well do we know the story of Judas’ betrayal?   Well I thought I did too.   Then it hit me, like running into a road reflector on an early morning jog (true story!).    Did you read what just happened?  “they turned away and fell to the ground.”  

Would we recognize God in the flesh if we saw Him?  I think, we would naturally – instinctively know.  Those who came to arrest Jesus did – they recognized God – they knew – and may I say they were not all disciples of His – but they knew who He was by “I AM”     

My prayer is that God grants me His mercy and grace to recognize Him when He comes.  I think we all we know though.

Why I am catholic…….the Easter Vigil

Well we just completed the celebration of the Easter Vigil.   The most glorious night in the church (in my opinion and the opinion of many).  This is traditionally the night many of the converts are baptized (either full immersion or water poured over them).   In my home parish this year we had 23 baptized and 25 confirmed into the church,  and in the diocese approximately a total of 1200, so using some my education in accounting I can safely estimate over 100,000 were likely baptized and confirmed into the catholic church (in the USA) this Easter Vigil.

Each Easter has it’s own flavor and is never the same as prior years.  This alone always make this a special time of the year.  This was our first Easter as empty nesters.  The house was more quiet than usual (or so it seemed) and certainly not all the hustle and bustle of getting everything together as far as gifts, dinner preparations and attire for the Easter Vigil.  We were either more organized or as I said, it was more of a calm around the house.  Maybe this is what happens with age, like aging wine we get smoother as well! (I like that thought!).   So this Easter as Holy Week came upon us and only a fraction of those we have been teaching for the past nine months showed up on Holy Thursday night, we thought what did we do to not convey the significance of Holy Week?   Well here is where having the experiences of some Easters past tells us not to panic, be patience, be prayerful (pray for us St. Nicolas) and make some notes on how to make it better next year.

But the joy of the Easter Vigil is not only are those that we have been close to being baptized or confirmed into the Church but that the WHOLE Church from east to west, north to south is doing the same thing tonight!  So when Paul talks about one universal church – lookie here, here it is!  It begins with a simple bonfire outside and the church is dark.  So as the church begins to light up from the candles of the baptized and they share this light of Christ with those waiting to be baptized and hold their own light of Christ, songs are sung, stories told of how it happened.   We begin in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, every living thing great and small, man and woman.  We are told of stories of struggle that man caused and how God gave many promises which included the promise land.  We sing, we worship, we listen, we pray as one family from east to west, north to south.   As we anticipate those about to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, you can feel the pressure of jubilation building inside the walls of the building and our hearts!   Alleluia!!  Alleluia!!  Alleluia!!

No one word can describe this – JOY!  HAPPINESS!!  EXCITEMENT!!  FULFILLMENT!!

As we try to quickly get everyone out their wet grey gowns and into some dry clothes with white garments or gowns – their joyful jubilation rubs off on us who are helping and soon everyone is dancing!!   Kids are running up to us “I don’t know why but I am so Happy now!!”  

After the final blessing of the mass and all the newbies (the newly baptized are called neophytes ) exit before the priests and the rest of us.  We are having cake and punch for the reception and hardly notice that we have been in mass for the past 3 hours and in the building for the past 5 hours.  And as we are saying our good-nights we overhear a past minister who’s wife converted three years ago , express his wishes to be confirmed in the Church.

Next year is going to be even better!!!

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