Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday
Alleluia! He is risen.

Although we all know very well the story of the resurrection of Jesus, it continues to be a mystery for all of us. We cannot fully grasp its meaning in its entirety. Like those faithful women on that Sunday morning, we come to the tomb expecting the stench of death. However, when we get there, we cannot grasp how it is possible to find signs of new life. History no longer makes sense. It has been changed by the effects of the risen Christ. How can we understand that the one that was shamefully hung on a tree was the same one chosen by God to be the judge of everything? How can we understand such a paradox? But then, who goes to a tomb expecting to find life? Everything has changed. We do not know what to expect from the world.

That same power of the resurrection works on us too. As the tomb was unable to hold the resurrected Christ, the world has not been able to contain the power of the presence of Jesus in the Church. Saint Peter, from the reading of the book of Acts, makes it clear. It is our vocation, we have been commissioned, to bring that power of the resurrection to the world.

As we come to celebrate the mystery of the resurrection of Your Son, we ask You Lord to pour the graces of the Holy Spirit upon us. So, we can courageously bring the new life of Christ wherever we go.

Fr. Lino Oropeza, S.S.E. ’11, International M.O.V.E. Coordinator

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, Mark 16:1-7, or Luke 24:13-35

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil)
There is a “The Family Circus” Easter Sunday cartoon of the little girl getting out of bed on Easter Sunday morning and telling her mother, “What I like best about Easter Sunday is the candy, and Jesus not bein’ dead anymore.”

I expect that as youngsters we all looked forward to an Easter basket filled with a chocolate Easter bunny and lots of multi-colored candy Easter eggs; I know I did. But the rest of the child’s comment is, of course, also right-on. We rejoice at this Easter Vigil and on Easter morn because Jesus is “not dead anymore.”

In the film version of the popular musical Jesus Christ Superstar, there is no explicit Resurrection scene but, at its end, the film clearly implies the Resurrection of Jesus through the symbol of a glorious sunrise on the horizon. At this Easter Vigil, the Church’s liturgy joyously encourages us to renew and strengthen our faith and hope in Jesus’ glorious rising from death, the promise of our own ultimate rising from death to eternal life. So:

“Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!  The risen Savior shines upon you!  Let this place resound with joy, echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!” (Easter Proclamation)

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

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: Mark 16:1-7

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Friday, March 30, 2018

Good Friday
He strained to raise His head and look up to heaven.  “It is finished,” He cried and then bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

At the time, the moment was filled with too much emotion for those words to sink in and to ponder what they meant.  But later, as the early Christians read John’s Gospel and heard again those words, it dawned on them just how powerful these dying words of Jesus were. 

When Jesus says, “It is finished,” He is saying that His job of saving the world has been completed.  Salvation is finished, Jesus cried.  The restoration of the friendship between God and humanity has been finished.  That is why we call today “Good Friday.”  It wasn’t a good day for Jesus.  We call it Good Friday because the cross is the proof of the powerful love God has for each one of us.  Here we see a love that was prepared to endure the ultimate in order to rescue us.

Today we’re going to do an altar call.  We are going to process to the front and venerate the cross.  Let us think about what Jesus has done for you through His death on the cross.  Ask God to wrap you tightly in His love — forgiving you, watching over you, guiding you.

Loving God, what You have done for us in Jesus’ death on the cross is far more than we deserve.  His death has made us friends with You again.  His death has given us forgiveness and hope of life forever.  Everything is complete.  We thank You from the bottom of our hearts.  Amen.

Fr. Stanley Deresienski, S.S.E. ’74, M’75

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, March 29, 2018

Holy Thursday
Two major celebrations occur on Holy Thursday in the Catholic Church.  In the morning, we celebrate the Chrism Mass in which the bishop concelebrates with the priests of the diocese the blessing of the sacred oils used throughout the church year and the institution of the priesthood.  In the evening, Catholics gather to celebrate the institution of the Eucharist, a commemoration of the Last Supper when Jesus shared a last meal with the apostles.  The celebration of the evening Mass reminds Catholics about two things.  First, Christians are called to wash the feet of others as did Christ, a reminder that our faith calls us to serve and not to be served.  Second, Christians are reminded that the command of Christ was to serve others in real ways by sharing what they have with those who have not.  The liturgy for the day speaks about collecting goods to be distributed to those in need as a sign of Christian commitment to the poor.

The two services speak to each other.  The sacred oils consecrated in the morning Mass speaks to the spiritual healing that priests are to carry out in their service of the church, the people of God.  The evening Mass addresses the responsibility of the church to meet the basic needs of people.  From each service, we learn what Jesus taught at the Last Supper where He humbled Himself in washing the feet of His disciples, exampling to those who followed Him how we are called to serve others in their spiritual as well as their basic human needs.

Lord, make me a servant.  Let me bring hope to the despairing and joy to the depressed.  Where there is want and need, let my service be more than the service of my lips in meeting the real needs of those I today.  This I pray in the name of Jesus, who served us all in the giving of His life for our salvation.  Amen.

Fr. David Theroux, S.S.E. ’70, Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies

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, March 28, 2018

Wednesday of Holy Week
Today’s readings revolve around the consequences and rewards of faith.

Isaiah reminds us that faith in the Lord has rewards far beyond earthly comfort and acclaim. By remaining open and receptive to the Word of God and keeping faith with the Lord, the Lord continues to give Isaiah the grace and strength to persevere in his service in the face of public insults.

The Psalm continues the theme of perseverance in the face of insults and rejection suffered at the hands of man because of faith in the Lord. God’s love for us is our constant source of strength and comfort. The psalmist urges us to take heart because the Lord hears, loves, and supports the lowly.

Finally, in his Gospel, Mark shares with us the story of the deep understanding Jesus has for the sacrifice He is about to make for all of us when He celebrates the Passover meal with His disciples. It is clear that Jesus embraces His role as the manifestation of God’s love for humanity even to the extent of showing pity for Judas.

Lord, Your love gives us the strength to endure all earthly obstacles and injustices; grant us the grace to discern the role we are to play in spreading God’s love here today and the strength to persevere.

John Paul Devlin, Department of Fine Arts: Theatre, Member of the Worshipping Community

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, March 27, 2018

Tuesday of Holy Week
Today’s Gospel reading is a real downer.  Both Judas and Peter, trusted disciples, betray Jesus at a crucial moment.  It’s an uncomfortable reminder of our human nature, and how often we fail God in our daily lives.  Fortunately, Isaiah offers comfort, reminding us: “The LORD has spoken, who formed me as His servant from the womb.”  Psalm 71 echoes this:  “On you I depend from birth; from my mother's womb you are my strength.”  We were created by God, with all our failings, to serve and be strengthened by God. 

Oddly enough, this reminds me of The Series of Unfortunate Events by Daniel Handler. These zany tales of woe take on a serious moral tone as the series progresses. Choices are framed as either noble or villainous, but by Book 12, The Penultimate Peril, the Baudelaire children realize that we are all “a mixed bag.” They look back on their Judases and Peters – the many adults who failed them – and also evaluate their own actions which in every book lead (to their dismay) to disaster. They want to be noble, but fear they are not.  In this painful moment of repentance, one adult character — for once — does not fail the children. Without dismissing their concerns, he tells them simply, but with great compassion: “You are noble enough.”

We fail, but we are God’s creation.  We are noble enough. 

Lord, remind me each day that I was formed to be Your servant.  Strengthen me to do Your will.

Helen Donahey, Administrative Assistant, Office of the President

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, March 26, 2018

Monday of Holy Week
Travel in your heart and mind to being a small infant cradled in your parent’s arms in church.  Warm, milky, totally safe, supported and trusting.  Hear the sounds of the liturgy, the music, the rustling in the pews, the little nuzzling noises your parent makes for you and the steady beat of their heart against your whole body.  Return in your mind’s eye to the fractured colors of the stained glass windows, the blurry glints of gold leaf and brass, the geometric patterns on the ceiling, your parent’s eyes gazing into yours.  Inhale your parent’s smell of rightness, with traces of incense and wax and old hymnals and wet coats overlaid.  Of whom should you ever be afraid?  There, at the most primitive level, we begin to feel in our whole being God’s unconditional love.  Isaiah tells us that this too is the charge of God’s chosen, the Christ: not to shout and demand and break, but to hold and to heal, to bring gentleness and justice, to teach and enlighten.  We are held always in Christ, as in a parent’s arms, held and cherished, taught and formed.  We can always return to the safety of His arms, for having died and risen, He is now with us always.  He is indeed our light and our salvation.

Lord, You are my light and my salvation, my comfort and my safety.  From our trust in You, bring us to justice, without shouting in the streets, but through enlightenment, freedom, and Your everlasting promise.

Jo Ellis-Monaghan, Professor of Mathematics

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