Thursday, April 1, 2010

"They have taken the Lord from the tomb"

Easter Sunday (EasterC), April 4, 2010

BURNING QUESTION: What two Sacraments were insituted on Holy Thursday?
FEATURED BLOG: Contemplation and Meditation? What's the Difference?

Dear Friends:

This Sunday the Gospel Readings describes that first Easter Sunday when Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb of Jesus early in the morning and sees that the stone had been removed from the tomb. Our Discussion Questions this week will guide your bible study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

The Paschal Triduum

Lent comes to an end before the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday. That liturgy begins the Triduum, the great Three Days that celebrate the central mystery of our faith - the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of the Lord.

It would be a tragedy to let this season of grace go by without taking some time for extended prayer and reflection. So we have put together for you a Triduum Guide by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D. which offers suggestions for prayers during these holy days. We also have compiled for you "A Practical Guide to the Liturgies of Holy Week" by Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M. And if you want to follow the Papal Holy Week Liturgies presided over by Benedict XVI, they will be available online in a live video and audio stream. We give you the link.

So steal away for as much time as you can and let the Spirit help you pick and choose which devotions will best help you make the most of this special time.

Holy Thursday

To celebrate the Eucharist, says Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, is to commit oneself to a discipleship that "remembers" Jesus, not only in the ritual breaking of the bread and sharing the cup, but also in the "imitation" of Jesus, in the ongoing breaking of one's own body and spilling of one's own blood "in remembrance" of Jesus."

From Jerusalem, Paul Dion, STL presents to you his Holy Thursday report "Do this in memory of me." It is part of our Holy Week from the Holy Land Series that brings you today to the actual place where it all happened some 2,000 years ago.

Good Friday

In his Reflection for Good Friday, Father Thomas Rosica, CSB says the day shows us where God is - there, hanging on the wood of the cross in Jerusalem, and on the crosses throughout the world where people are betrayed, abandoned, denounced, abused, mocked or humiliated. Yet it is only there that we receive the mystery of the death that gives life.

While Dr. Marcelino d'Ambrosio submits this powerfully poetic sermon on the Cross of Christ as the Cosmic Tree. It was preached during Holy Week in the early church, somewhere around the 5th century, by someone whose name has been lost.

Today's Jerusalem is a crowded place just like it was during the time of Jesus. In his Holy Land Report, Paul Dion, STL describes in great detail how he developed a deeper appreciation of the Passion of our Lord as he tried to pray the Way of the Cross on Good Friday along the busy Via Dolorosa. As he jostled his way through the wild Jerusalem crowds, he pretty much could imagine how our Lord had to fight HIs way through these very same crowds as He carried His cross down these cobbled-stone streets 2000 years ago.

And from the Vatican, the Pope's former vicar for Rome, said Good Friday's Way of the Cross in the Colosseum can be a precious occasion to help believers go to the heart of the faith.

Holy Saturday

This Holy Saturday reading on the descent of the Lord Jesus into Hell is used in the Roman Church's Office of Readings for Holy Saturday, with the accompanying biblical reading of Hebrews 4:1-13. What did the Apostles Creed mean when it says, "He Descended into Hell?" Check out this biblical reflection by an early Church Father.

Easter Sunday: An affirmation of hope

Sunday is the day of Easter joy. Yet, even as we celebrate we are painfully aware that for many people it is still Good Friday. Every day it seems there is something to remind us of the poverty, injustice, and violence of our world. Fr. Ron Rolheiser says it's fair and reflective to wonder: Where is the resurrection in all of this? Why is God seemingly so inactive? Where is the vindication of Easter Sunday?

Fr. Jim Kirstein SMA says the the resurrection doesn’t mean that we gloss over pain, suffering and difficult daily life situations, but it does give us a new vision of life. It gives us the freedom to face the dark side of life, and even death with confidence knowing that Jesus broke the bonds of human limitation and death. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino adds further that we will always remember the Passion, but we are not people of suffering, and torture and death. We are people of life and of hope.

While Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, OSB explains to us that our Easter celebration is an affirmation of hope in a world that appears to experience the pain of Good Friday more than the joy of Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday: Jesus alive and present among us

Fr. James Gilhooley shares this Easter Sunday sequence from the Roman Missal which sums up the entire scene in beautiful language: "Death and life were locked together in a unique struggle. Life's Captain died. Now He reigns, no more to die."

What about you? Do you believe Jesus is risen from the dead? If not, how much further do you have to go? Fr. John Foley, S.J. says the greatest of all Easter truths is this: God’s love is stronger than life itself, stronger than death. The Resurrection is molded out of love. If you know that, blessed are you as you come to believe.

And how is Jesus alive and present among us? Is our own friendship with Christ contagious? Do we burn with love for him? Do people avoid us because of our coldness? These are the questions Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB challenges us to answer. While Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS reminds us that the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus ought to restore passion to our life. He says passion drives us to share the Love of God in creative, innovative ways with those around s. Passion is what gives life to life.

Also this Easter, thousands are planning to become Catholic, including a man who almost lost his life five times as a soldier in Iraq. The U.S. bishops' conference shared the story of Jeremy Feldbusch, 30, from Blairsville, Pennsylvania, who is among the thousands preparing to enter the Church Saturday evening. Plus, two of the many thousands who will join the Catholic Church this Easter are a mother and daughter from Japan. Their story is unique because the family's father is a Shinto priest.

Youth Life

"A Guide to Lent and Easter for Young People" is an article written with young readers in mind. However, the ideas are big, and you may want to read with them, or simply use this page as a guide to talk to your child about Lent in general.

From Rome, Italian prelates concluding their Permanent Council Meeting noted that it is harder than ever for young people to learn the faith, because the culture keeps them from maturing and developing their freedom. And from Wasghingotn DC, Grand Knight Carl Anderson struck a similar note. While discussing "Young Catholics and Moral Relativism," he said the next generation of Catholcis face unique challenges and opportunities.

A Billionaire Keeps His Word

Here's someone who means what he says. Albert Gubay, an 82-year-old English billionaire has pledged all but $15 million of his $1.1 billion fortune to charity, fulfilling a promise made to God while he was still poor.

Finally, we know that developing good habits is the basic of personal development and growth. Unfortunately, not all the habits that we have are good, that’s why we are constantly trying to improve. Check out this list of 30 practical habits that can make a huge difference in your life.

Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a great and blessed Easter.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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