Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Sunday
“Happy Easter, brothers and sisters! We have journeyed through Lent and Holy Week together and today we celebrate the central mystery, the ultimate good news of our Christian faith. Christ is risen!” (Jason Moore, Daily Lenten Reflections 2013, Saint Michael’s College).

“Our God is not dead, He is alive! Jesus, who sacrificed and allowed men to nail him to a tree, has risen from the dead! He has completely triumphed over death, sin, the devil and all of this world’s evil.  Jesus is the ultimate ‘agape,’ the sacrificial and true love you demonstrate when you lay down your life for another” (Sarah Spencer, Creighton University, Daily Reflection).

These opening comments are the reflections of two young adults, one (at the time) a campus minister and the other a nursing student. It is surely refreshing to read these manifestations of their sincere faith in the risen Christ, especially at a time when it seems that many young people are “turned off” by the Church and religion, if not by Christ Himself. Perhaps Pope Francis with his sincere active love for the poor and his simplicity of lifestyle, will attract youths back to the Church and religious faith.

In a Palm Sunday homily, addressed directly to young people who came to hear the Pope, he said: “Dear young people, you bring us the joy of faith, and you tell us that we must live the faith with a young heart, always a young heart, even at 70 or 80! With Christ, the heart never grows old! The young people must say to the world that it is good to follow Jesus, it is good to go with Jesus, Jesus’ message is good. It is good to go out of yourself to the ends of the earth to bring Jesus!” The Pope expressed great confidence in those young people and challenged them to live their faith in Christ.  Easter “is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!”

That all of us, particularly young people, may have faith and hope in the risen Jesus, and share our faith and hope with others.

Fr. Ray Doherty, S.S.E. 51, Campus Minister

First Reading: Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8
Gospel: John 20:1-9, Luke 24:1-12, or Luke 24:13-35

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil)
“In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters.” Thus begins the Liturgy of the Word for the Easter Vigil celebration anticipating the resurrection from the dead of Jesus, the carpenter’s son who was born of Mary of Nazareth.

The Word on this holy night calls to mind the creative action of God and how He continued to make all things new through the gift of water and the Holy Spirit. The several passages proclaimed serve as a summary of our salvation history dramatically illustrating how God worked through human events to bring us to the empty tomb from which Jesus was raised from the dead. “Why do you seek the living one among the dead?” is asked of the women at the tomb who are looking to perform the traditional post-burial anointing of Jesus’ body. This encounter sparks the beginning of resurrection faith but it would take much reflection and prayer to fully comprehend the meaning of Jesus being raised from the dead.

Some two-thousand years later we continue to reflect on the importance of the resurrection in our contemporary lives. The resurrection of Jesus is the central doctrine of our Christian faith and without it everything else in our faith would be meaningless. The empty tomb is followed by various instances of the disciples encountering the living Lord among them in ordinary settings. On the road to Emmaus, in the Upper Room, cooking on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias, — “It is the Lord” as the beloved disciple exclaims. How do you notice the presence of the risen Christ in the ordinariness of your life?

Almighty God, out of nothing You initiated creation, out of death You brought life, and You continue to make all things new with Your abiding Spirit among us. Strengthen our Resurrection Faith these days and fill us with Easter joy. Amen.

Fr. Brian Cummings, S.S.E. ‘86, Director of Edmundite Campus Ministry

First Reading: Genesis 1:1-2:2 or 1:1, 26-31a
Psalm 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24, 35 or Psalm 33:4-7, 12-13, 20, 22
Second Reading: Genesis 22:1-18 or 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Psalm 16:5, 8-11
Third Reading: Exodus 14:15—15:1
(Psalm) Exodus 15:1-6, 17-18
Fourth Reading: Isaiah 54:5-14
Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13
Fifth Reading: Isaiah 55:1-11
(Psalm) Isaiah 12:2-3, 4-6
Sixth Reading: Baruch 3:9-15, 32—4:4
Psalm 19:8-11
Seventh Reading: Ezekiel 36:16-17a, 18-28
Psalm 42:3, 5; 43:3-4
Eighth Reading: Romans 6:3-11
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Gospel: Luke 24:1-12

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Friday, April 19, 2019

Good Friday
Christian belief is that our reality was created with an intention, that things were designed to be “good”.  What we term sin is therefore a corruption, a perversion of that pure intention. This tendency to twist things that are meant to be “good” results in some of our cruelest realizations. Something like laughter, intended as a way for friends to share joy and humor with one another can be weaponized, used to mock and belittle. Jesus is subjected to the soldier’s laughter as they craft a dark and painful subversion of kingly vesture: the purple cloak, the crown of thorns. This gets to the heart of the Good Friday message, which symbolizes a painful corruption of the purpose of creation. The creator Himself is destroyed by the very people to which He granted life.

The death of Jesus on the cross is firmly in this paradoxical tradition. As goodness can become twisted, so out of death and pain comes life. We do not have a high priest unable to sympathize with our human condition, indeed, this also was part of the grand design. In becoming part of our world, and in sharing every experience, even unto death, the creator forges the world anew. Through the affliction of Christ, we see the light and fullness of days being granted to us all. Without the anguish of the Cross, we could not know the glorious paradox that is the Resurrection.

Ever-living God, through the Death and Resurrection of Your Christ, You restore us to life. Keep within us the hope of the Resurrection so that pardon may come, peace may be given, and faith increased. Through Christ, our Lord.

Fr. Michael R. Carter, S.S.E. ’12, Professor of Religious Studies

First Reading: Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25
Second Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel: John 18:1—19:42

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Holy Thursday
With the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Easter Triduum begins. Over the course of the next triduum or “three days,” the Church celebrates the one paschal mystery of Jesus—His suffering and death on the Cross and His resurrection. This is a reminder of the one saving mystery of faith. As a post-resurrection people, we know what is about to happen. We know what will unfold over the course of the next three days, both in the historic moment of Jesus’ death and resurrection and in our present liturgical celebrations.  None of these three days is disconnected from the other. Fr. Thomas Hopko, an Orthodox theologian, pointed to this very fact when he wrote:

“The church does not pretend, as it were, that it does not know what will happen with the crucified Jesus. It does not sorrow and mourn over the Lord as if the church itself were not the very creation which has been produced from His wounded side and from the depths of tomb. All through the services the victory of Christ is contemplated and the resurrection is proclaimed.”

During these next few days, the mystery of salvation in its fullness is celebrated. There is cause for great sadness and gratitude but also great joy. May we live this mystery of faith in our words and actions.

By the love of Christ we have been brought together:
let us find in Him our glades and our pleasure;
may we love him and revere him, God the living,
and in love respect each other with sincere hearts.
(from the Litany at the Foot Washing)

Most Rev. Christopher Coyne, Bishop of Burlington

First Reading: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Gospel: John 13:1-15

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Wednesday of Holy Week
Lent is a special time in the liturgical calendar, a time of recognition and repentance in preparation for the renewal of Easter.  Our current era of self-affirmation and positivity can make it hard to face sin and its impacts honestly, but we should not fear this.  The Gospel story of Judas’ betrayal gives an allegory of sin.  There is an enticement, the thirty pieces of silver, but the cost is betraying Jesus, the turning away from God that is the essence of sin.  Judas denies his betrayal.  Not only does Jesus see through him as God sees through evasion of sin, but says to him, “You have said so,” leaving it to Judas to own the betrayal, as we must each own our own sin. Judas casts away the silver in the end, for the gain is never worth the cost of betrayal and remorse.  The thirty pieces of silver is the cost of a slave.  Judas has been enslaved by his betrayal, locked into a course of action, as we can feel trapped by the consequences of sin. The story is bleak, and the ending horrific.  How do we come to terms  this, and with Jesus’ words, “It would be better for that man if he had never been born”?   I don’t know the answer to this, but do see one the very darkest stories of the New Testament setting the stage for the brilliant light, hope, and glory of the resurrection. Judas is the darkest hour before the dawn.  We see and feel viscerally death that is the desolation of sin and betrayal contrasted with the freely given selfless death of Christ on the cross that leads to the redemption of the world.  And then there, in the moments of Christ’s death, we are given the story of the good thief, of how acknowledging our wrongs and affirming our faith will bring us closer to God on earth and in heaven. 

Dear Lord, let me face honestly my sins and betrayal of You and help me confess and seek Your mercy in this time of Lent.   Draw me near to You in in every way, I pray.

Jo Ellis-Monaghan, Professor of Mathematics

First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34
Gospel: Matthew 26:14-25

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tuesday of Holy Week
The Scripture readings for today focuses on God as protector and healer which is important during the Lenten season. Even though God may not heal physical ailments that ourselves or our loved ones may experience, our faith in God brings us together and rallies support for those who experience suffering. By using God as our rock and sturdy foundation, we can then carry ourselves and others through hardships and tragedies. As Psalm 71 points out, “Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are my rock and my fortress.” Bracing ourselves in our faith is what helps us to emerge on the other side of suffering and fear and such faith must be in God and in our community. For, as seen in the Gospel reading, the faith of Jesus was betrayed by Judas and Peter, two of His trusted disciples who did not return the same faith in Him. 

This reminded me of how sometimes we may turn our backs on our community members for our own selfish reasons. Peter and Judas were too encapsulated by their own personal gain to see the effect that their actions would have on the other disciples and on Jesus. For this is why it says in the Gospel of John that Jesus stated, “My
children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, 'Where I go you cannot come,' so now I say it to you." He knew from the moment of their selfish betrayal that He would no longer be with His devout and loving disciples.  It is important to remember that faith is sacred and that having true faith will strength not only the individual, but the community as well.

Lord, may You strengthen our faith in You each day and guide us to live selflessly among members of our community.

Marge Riccardelli, ’21

First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6
Psalm 71:1-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15, 17
Gospel: John 13:21-33, 36-38

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Monday, April 15, 2019

Monday of Holy Week
When I was a child, I remember Holy Week fondly.  My favorite day of the week was the Tenebrae on Wednesday.  In my church growing up, we had a music minister, and family friend, named George Charon who sang at the Tenebrae service.  Mr. Charon was not only a gifted musician, but he was a man of profound faith and had a genuine belief in the power of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and it came through in every note!  I was brought to tears every time Mr. Charon sang at the Tenebrae.  My tears were also a reflection of the importance of this time of year.  As a child, Holy Week would begin and things would feel more serious, more prayerful, calmer.  It was the anticipation of the Easter celebration.

In today’s readings, the Monday of Holy Week, we see folks gathering with Lazarus who was just raised from the dead.  Jesus was there with Mary and many in the town came to see this miracle.  The Gospel reading says many Jews came to see and the chief priests were plotting too as many turned away and began to believe in Jesus because of this miracle.  It is that feeling of belief that fills this Monday of Holy Week.  It is all coming to head. The people can feel it. In the first reading, it states, “I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.”  Jesus is the light.  The people can feel it. 

As Mr. Charon would express in his every note the power of the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus, on this Monday of Holy Week, we too begin to feel the immense importance of this very special week.

Jesus, You came into this world to raise us all, to be the light that shines where there is darkness.  Many people in our lives, like Mr. Charon, show us that this light can surround all things.  Lord, let Your light shine in me with a grateful heart, through me with love in my hands, and around me, treating all with kindness as I walk through my days. 

Jeff Vincent, ’93, M’07, P’21, Assistant Dean of Students

First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-7
Psalm 27:1-3, 13-14
Gospel: John 12:1-11

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website