Easter Sunday–April 10, 1977–CNR
The readings for Easter liturgies have an interesting structure. There is always, of course, an account of the discovery of the empty tomb or of a resurrection-appearance of the Lord. Then again there is either (as in the Easter Vigil) a prophet’s vision anticipating the glories displayed or given in the resurrection, or else an account from the Acts of the Apostles of the earliest preaching of the resurrection. Finally, there is a text from the NT in which it is made clear how Christians share in the life of the Risen Christ.
Something crucial to an understanding of our Christianity is here displayed. (more…)
Easter Vigil – March 28-29, 1964 – Santa Susanna, Rome
If you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, appears, then you shall appear with him in glory (Col 3:1-4).
These words of St. Paul are the Epistle of this evening’s Mass.
“This night has made us greater than we know” (Newman). What we have become this night only God’s Spirit fully knows; but “this is the Spirit we have received from God” (1 Cor 2:12), and he will help us understand what God has done for us this night. (more…)
Palm Sunday – March 26, 1972 – CNR
The Church begins today our celebration of the week we call holy, holy for its re-presentation of the deeds that manifest the holy love of our God, his holiness at once the manifestation and the remedy of our sinfulness.
The liturgy of this Sunday does not present a contrast, as we move from the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem and our songs in praise of his kingship to the more sombre lessons of the Mass. Nor are we to concentrate on the fickleness of the crowds, crying “Hosanna” today and “Crucify him” a few days later. We are to see, rather, in today’s celebration the key to the Church’s recollection in Holy Week. For to see in today’s liturgy only a contrast between honor and shame or in this week’s celebrations only a sequence of defeat and victory is to miss the point. This week it is only victory that the Church celebrates, only honor it sees in her Savior.
“Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Your king comes to you without display.'” (more…)
Fifth Sunday of Lent – March 31, 1974 – C.N.R.
The beautiful account of the woman caught in adultery, most scholars believe, was not part of the original Gospel according to St. John. It seems to have been a story which circulated on its own, but was obviously treasured by the Church and eventually found its way into the Gospel’s text. It is read on this Sunday of Lent, it seems, for two reasons, first, for the hope of sinners, not one of whom would the Lord see perish, and secondly, for the light it throws on the mystery of human sinfulness and the forgiveness of God.
We might catch a theme from Augustine’s comment on Jesus’ reply, “Let the one of you without sin cast the first stone.” (more…)
FIFTH SUNDAY IN LENT – MARCH 28, 1993 – BLESSED SACRAMENT
With the scriptural readings we have heard today, we are already placed before the great mystery which we will celebrate two weeks from today, the triumph of Christ over death. Rarely do the Mass readings concentrate so clearly and so exclusively on a single theme, and today’s is the one around which our faith centers: resurrection.
It centers around resurrection, first, because Christianity arose out of a conviction that Jesus of Nazareth, the one who had been crucified, had been made Lord and Messiah in the Spirit that raised him from the dead. (more…)
Fifth Sunday in Lent – April 10, 2011 – St. John’s
The theme of resurrection lights from within each of the readings we have just heard. It is almost as if the Church cannot wait for Easter, that in our hearts we are already celebrating Christ’s resurrection and our own.
The three verses we have heard from the prophet Ezekiel need to be read in context. They serve as a kind of commentary on the great vision the prophet has had of the valley of dry bones. He sees very dry and disconnected bones strewn across a plain, a symbol of Israel in exile, her children scattered like the bones of a defeated army on a battlefield. But Ezekiel is told to prophesy over the bones: “Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord… Behold I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” And the prophet then hears a rattling sound and watches the bones take on sinew and flesh and skin, and then, at the Lord’s command, he breathes on them, and they come alive, a great multitude.
This is the vision which our verses illumine. Hear them now: (more…)
FIFTH SUNDAY IN LENT – APRIL 1, 2001 – BLESSED SACRAMENT
Our readings today are about new possibilities, the possibilities of beginning something new, of becoming something new.
The first reading comes from a portion of the Book of Isaiah in which the prophet is addressing Israel in exile. Although he recalls the founding event of the Exodus, of God’s liberation of Israel from Israel through the Red Sea, he does so only to urge the people not to focus on those pasts deeds. “See,” God says through him, “I am doing something new!” (more…)
Fourth Sunday of Lent – March 24, 1974 – C.N.R.
More directly than many others, today’s New Testament readings ask us, individually and as a community, “How do you view the world?” There are obviously two sides to that question, an objective side, if you will–what is this universe of being in which we live?–and a subjective side: how does it appear to us? If the reading from Paul concentrates on the former, the parable of the merciful Father makes it clear that the two sides of the question are inseparable.
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation,” writes St. Paul; “the old order has passed away: now all is new!” (more…)