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Memorial of Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Scripture Readings

In the first Reading, Peter and the Apostles are “obeying God rather than men,” teaching and talking about Jesus.  They witnessed everything that Jesus did, along with the Holy Spirit.  Here in the Easter Season, we are celebrating Jesus’s resurrection, but also his victory over oppression, violence, worldly power, and evil.  The poor always suffer the most from the sinful nature of people in positions of power.  But in Christ, we have a way to rise above that worldly power.  We have in the Holy Spirit an unstoppable heavenly power, freeing us from all coercion and hardship by enabling us to rise above our suffering, to use it for our sanctification.  In this holy season, what do you ask God to help you rise above?  What hardships do you need the Lord to transform?

Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

We live in a culture in which the truth seems to have become relativized.  Whether it be climate change, clean water standards, or how we define what constitutes life the truth seems to be determined by the one who has the power.  Perhaps in many ways it has always been this way. Still no matter many times the Nazi’s or other dictators have criminalized a race or a religion, it does not make their rhetoric true.  Yet in our country it seems to be common thinking that if one says a lie enough it will make it the truth.  It is almost as if people think the truth can be locked away and hidden away from the people.

Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter

Scripture Readings

The book of Acts is such a gift to the church because in it Luke tells us how to be the church after Easter—that is after Jesus’s earthly ministry has come to an end and he has formed the church through the gift of the Holy Spirit. In the passage before us today, we learn three important lessons about how to be the church.

Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Scripture Readings

We are in the midst of the Easter season, but how do we continue to live our lives as “resurrection” people.  Both readings today reveal the answer- the Spirit of God.  God’s Spirit inspires us with the courage, love and grace that we need to go forth and build the Kingdom of God.

Saturday in the Octave of Easter

Scripture Readings

A friend of mine and I have occasionally gotten together and recorded little 5 minute shorts about some topic regarding the faith. We called them Trailblazers and have always had a blast recording them. We’ve opened with references to Pinky and the Brain, compared God and Tolkien, likened Lent to spring practice for baseball, and bounced all over the place. During one episode we recorded, my friend shared a quote from C.S. Lewis that immediately came to mind as I read today’s readings.

Friday in the Octave of Easter

Scripture Readings

So the Easter egg hunts are done. At our house, we've eaten all the candy, save for a few jelly beans. Yet it is still Easter! The great thing about our Catholic tradition is that we have no holds barred when it comes to the Resurrection. We celebrate, lavishly, for eight whole days.

Thursday in the Octave of Easter

Scripture Readings

In this gospel, and many others, I find myself really connecting with the apostles - not for their faith but for their total cluelessness.  It’s easy to read this passage and think, “don’t you guys get it? This is Jesus. He’s risen.” But if I am being honest with myself, I would have been even more clueless than they are if I were alive in Jesus’ day. I often think I would be like Thomas, not truly believing Christ had risen until I touched the wounds in his hands and feet.

Wednesday in the Octave of Easter

Scripture Readings

Our great Octave of Easter celebration this year is mingled, for me,  with tears and sadness for our Christian brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka, and elsewhere - where violence and terrorism has threatened to overtake our Resurrection songs.

Tuesday in the Octave of Easter

Scripture Readings

I find that with the excitement of Easter and all the preparations, including the music involved with singing in the choir (which I love), I sometimes miss the opportunity to listen carefully and reflect on the Easter story. I don’t mean the overall theme of resurrection; that’s obvious and evident in the entire celebration. Rather, I mean, the actual gospel readings. So, I’m thankful that for a couple more days after Easter Sunday the gospel readings continue telling the story of that first early morning, each from a somewhat different perspective, allowing more time to reflect. And I especially appreciate today’s gospel passage from John (20:11-18) that continues with Mary Magdalene’s experience after the other disciples have left the place of the empty tomb.

John’s gospel passage from Easter Sunday morning omits the final line of when they (the other two disciples Mary Magdalene had told) had seen the empty tomb: “Then the disciples returned home” (20:10). I think this is noteworthy as today’s passage picks up where John left off, continuing that Mary did not return home, but remained outside the tomb “weeping.” And this is when she first encounters the risen Lord, whom she does not initially recognize.

Was it the shock of grief, finding the tomb empty and not knowing where Jesus’ beloved body had been moved to — or the tears blurring her vision — that kept her from initially mistaking Jesus for a Gardner? Perhaps some of both. But it is when Jesus speaks her name, “Mary!”, that she is able to recognize her beloved “Rabbouni.”

This is the Mary whom Luke’s gospel tells us Jesus had cured of seven demons, and who she, along with other women, traveled with and helped support out of her means. This Mary of Magdala had turned her life over to him, and now was faced with the shock of grief. Not only the grief of his death, but also someone seemingly taking the body of her Lord. 

Why does Jesus not immediately call her name? He first asks, as if he doesn’t know, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Does he want to hear her intention/desire first? (Perhaps like a prayer, does Jesus want to hear from us although he already knows our heart’s desire?) And then he speaks her name, “Mary!” and she recognizes him in his recognition of her. In our humanity, we want to be known. Perhaps that is part of the Trinity as well. Being known. Being in relationship. This is where Mary recognizes Jesus, in being known by him.

As we continue in the liturgical Easter season, let us take time to speak our heart’s desires to the Risen One. Let us take time to listen to how we are known, by name, by the One who loves us enough to die for us. May we live as a people of the resurrection. Known and called by name.
~Eileen Miller

Monday in the Octave of Easter

Scripture Readings

In this week's Scripture readings everything is 'new'. The excitement and joy of Easter continues in the days and weeks following the Resurrection of Jesus and in our own lives as well. We may look back on Lent and wonder how (or if) we have been transformed through our Lenten journey. So often, though, the 'treasures' God gives us take time to reveal themselves. They may not be at all what we expect and can tempt us to hesitate and resist.  But let us be patient, keep moving, and spend time 'mining' the treasures of Lent.

Holy Saturday

Scripture Readings (for the Easter Vigil Mass)

Today is Holy Saturday. The day of the tomb. My co-workers could all tell you that I have an unusual love for this day of Holy Week.

Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion

Scripture Readings

I want to reflect today mostly on the Isaiah passage (Isaiah 52:13—53:12), not because the reading of the passion (John 18:1-19:42) isn’t intensely important, but because when it comes to Good Friday and the crucifixion, I think that meditation on the cross, and the liturgy of the day, speaks for itself. What more could I possibly say? If you have a chance at all to get to a Good Friday service, go.

Holy Thursday – Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper

Scripture Readings

As the Triduum begins today, our readings recall the Passover foreshadowing of the Passion of Jesus that has deflected sin’s arrow.  Just as the lamb’s blood signaled the Lord to pass over the Israelite households, so the Blood of the Lamb that we drink shields us from the spiritual death that normally follows sin.

Wednesday of Holy Week

Scripture Readings

We are half way through Holy Week and Triduum is only hours away.  This said, today is a good day to take stock of our Lenten journey.  Hopefully these forty days have helped us set our face like flint to our own sinfulness.  Hopefully these days have helped us recognize that there is no disgrace in doing our best to turn away from all that distracts us from God.  In short, reflect upon how this journey has brought us closer to the Lord.

Tuesday of Holy Week

Scripture Readings

Today’s readings speak of failure, betrayal, and denial, as well as love and good intentions (which are not always acted on). We hear that Jesus is “deeply troubled” as he enters further into the events that eventually lead to his death. We learn of Judas’s forthcoming betrayal of Jesus and Peter’s eventual denial of him. It is not looking good at this point. We, however, also have the “rest of the story” that the disciples did not yet have. So, I invite you to reflect with me. What are we doing with the rest of that story?

Monday of Holy Week

Scripture Readings

As we begin Holy Week, the gospel readings tell the story of the increasing conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders of His time.  Today’s gospel reading mentions that they are planning to kill Jesus (and Lazarus as well) because many of the Jews were “turning away and believing in Jesus.” What exactly were these people turning away from, and what are the things in our lives that we need to turn away from to become disciples of Jesus?

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Scripture Readings

A common occurrence in my home is for Avila (who turns two today) to come up to us at bed time and say, "La La La Song!" The La La La Song is one of many songs that have come from Bess's side of the family. For the longest time I did not know its origin but I knew the kids loved it. As Bess sits in the middle of the room clapping and singing they run around her as fast as possible, recreating a scene of her own bedtime rituals. I always thought my creative Father-in-law conjured up this joyful song about virgins and young men dancing. Then I read the responsorial today.

Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Scripture Readings

Game shows like to heighten suspense by asking, “Is that your final answer?” , which potentially psyches out the contestant.  Today’s scriptures display a similar kind of suspenseful questioning,  but for Christians, these readings will not psyche us out, but give us some faith and hope.

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Scripture Readings

Today’s first reading begins with a covenant - a covenant made with Abram. This covenant, in which God fulfills Abram’s deepest desires - for a family, a legacy, a whole nation that he will father - a nation that will praise the Lord - plays a central role in our salvation history.

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Scripture Readings

At an RCIA session I helped lead had a wonderful session where we discussed a variety of questions the candidates and catechumens were asking.   One of the queries was to help the candidate understand the Catholic belief in purgatory.  At the heart of the discussion we was that in this world we are not perfect yet in heaven we are a glorified body purged of our sinful nature.  The process of moving from here to eternity requires us to be purified.