Thursday, April 17, 2014

"They have taken the Lord from the tomb"

This Sunday, this Easter 2014, is a day of Life and Joy — a day in which God gives new meaning to all of our lives in the Resurrection of Jesus. Our Discussion Questions will guide your online Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

The Sacred Triduum

But before Easter comes the Triduum—Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday. During these days, the Church invites us to remember that sin is real and that only blood can redeem it. But also that God loves us so deeply that he sent his only son to offer himself for our deliverance. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap. reminds us that discipleship always has a cost. No Christian ever lives the Gospel without eventually encountering the cross.

Holy Thursday

Yesterday was Holy Thursday, the day when the Church formally concluded the Lenten season. Earlier on this fateful day, the disciples prepare for this most holy meal which will be hour Lord's last supper. At this meal, Jesus made some startling changes in the ritual of the Passover meal. Blessing over the bread, He proclaimed “take and eat for this is my body.” Over the third cup of wine, known as the cup of blessing, he said “take and drink for this is my blood.” Then he commanded the disciples “do this in memory of me.” 

In the Mass of the Lord’s Supper conducted at our parishes, we are in the upper room with Jesus and the Apostles and do what they did. Through the ritual of washing the feet (Jn 13:1) of 12 parishioners, we unite in service to one another. Through our celebration of this first Mass and Holy Eucharist (Mt 26:26), we unite ourselves to Jesus and receive his Body and Blood as if for the first time. At this Eucharist, we especially thank God for His gift of the ministerial priesthood.

Good Friday

Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence. During the day's service, the priest enters the church in silence and prostrates himself before the altar signifying the grief and sorrow of the Church. It is a day of solemn reflection on the mystery of the cross. The liturgy of Good Friday is the one place where we find an especially somber aspect in our liturgy.

On this day there is no Eucharist, no Mass, celebrated. Yet, even on Good Friday, we quietly anticipate the joy of the empty tomb. We know that the Eucharist is coming back very soon. But even on Good Friday, we receive Holy Communion. We make contact with the living Lord who is alive and really present with us, even on Good Friday.

If you've always wondered why Catholics venerate the crucifix and not just the plain cross as Protestants do, we give you the answers here.

Holy Saturday

Msgr. Charles Pope offers reflection on how Jesus really spend his last week on earth. On Holy Saturday, the body of Jesus is in the tomb but His soul is among the dead to announce the kingdom. The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear it will Live (John 5:25).

Holy Saturday is an empty time of waiting. No Mass is offered, not even a Communion service like Good Friday’s. It isn’t an official fasting day, but many Catholics eat modestly this day as we wait to celebrate the Resurrection. Danielle Bean describes Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday as days of "Waiting, then Feasting."

Celebrating Easter

To the secular world, Easter is a minor holiday, a time of candy, colored eggs and Easter bunnies. But Easter is not a low-budget Christmas. For Christians, Easter is what their faith is all about. In the words of Psalm 118: "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad!"

The tragedy of Jesus’ suffering abuse, crucifixion, and death is transformed by the gift of His risen Life. New Life through the Resurrection of Jesus is our goal as 21st Century followers of Jesus. Our hope in the Resurrection of Jesus gives meaning and purpose to our lives which we celebrate in each Eucharist, but especially this Easter.

What Jesus did in his Paschal Mystery, he did for our benefit! The challenges and misfortunes of our lives and our world are transformed in Jesus’ risen Life. Thus, with Easter, we commit ourselves to becoming peacemakers and reconcilers. Fr. Romy Seleccion, MS shares "Ten Alleluias of the Resurrection."

Our full Homiletics Section for Easter Sunday is comprised of ten different homilies which we have compiled for your Easter reflection. Click here to view them all.

An Atheist, Divine Mercy and a New iPhone App

Finally, we bring you a moving Easter story that begins with the worst news one could get as an atheist: his agnostic wife had decided to become a Christian. Two words shot through his mind. The first was an expletive; the second was “divorce.” That was then. And now he's celebrating his 30th Easter as a Christian. It was Easter that killed his faith in Atheism.

The Divine Mercy novena begins on Good Friday. Here's a free iphone app - also for Androids - that many pray can promote hope in the Divine Mercy.

Finally, as we begin a new life in Christ after Easter, receive gift from ParishWorld and download our FREE ParishWorld Mobile App for either iPhones and Android phones. Make it a daily habit to and use it to LEARN OUR FAITH, LIVE OUR FAITH & SHARE OUR FAITH. Click here.

Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a Spirit-filled and blessed Easter

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

BURNING QUESTION: Who can receive Communion?
FEATURED BLOG: Easter is not a low-budget Christmas
PASTORAL HISPANA: La resurrección da sentido a nuestra vida

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