Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday
Reflection
A question was once posed to me that my years of theological education had not prepared me for. When asked by a mentor what it was that Jesus most wanted to let humanity know, what He repeated most in His ministry, I found myself poring over my memory to try and find something profound to say, with the fear of saying something foolish bubbling within me. I was gently reminded that if I were to go through the Gospels and look for the statement most often spoken by Jesus, I would find that it is this simple phrase: “do not be afraid.” This was another step in my evolving journey to leave my greatest enemy, my fear, behind me.

This Easter, we see Peter making a fearless statement of belief. He outlines in a few clauses the whole life and mission of Jesus, the man who called him out of obscurity, whom he devoted his life to. Earlier in his life, Peter had allowed his fear to lead him to lie about his connection with Jesus. It was the Easter message, the Easter experience, that turned Peter away from fear. What was discovered that first Easter day was not merely an empty tomb, or even the fact that Christ had conquered death. It was the fact that he had conquered fear, our fear, through his presence, through his guidance, and through his love. Love is the antidote to fear, and as a community of love, we are called in the Easter season to fearlessly let love shine forth, as radiant as the empty tomb.
Prayer
Christ of the Resurrection, You overcame even the bonds of death itself to show Your bottomless love for us. Help us to follow in Your example by always radiating peace, love, and understanding to all of the world.

Deacon Michael Carter, S.S.E. ’12, Edmundite Campus Minister and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies

Scripture
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, Matthew 28:1-10, or Luke 24:13-35

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil)
Reflection
The first time I experienced the Easter Vigil I was a student and seminarian at Saint Michael's College (growing up on a farm had precluded ever attending the Vigil).  The first time I FELT the Easter Vigil was while ministering in Caracas among the people of the Las Minas de Baruta shanty-town community then under Edmundite pastoral care.

The difference between the first “first time” and the second may be compared to the distance between head and heart.  The former carried with it all the “excitement” of a task I had to get done.  In contrast, the latter had all the vitality imaginable to the human spirit.  To some, the Easter Vigil ceremony may seem a needlessly prolonged one.  Yet, when well-done, it touches the soul in a unique way by rehearsing the deeply human mystery of darkness and light.

It may seem that I am making strong pitch for people—you the reader—to attend the Easter Vigil ceremony at your place of worship.  In a way, this is true because it is impossible to put into words the power today’s liturgy exhibits in the drama of darkness and light, in the story of salvation retold in the readings and the beauty of its liturgy.  It’s not possible to exaggerate its impact on the heart. 

After attending the Easter Vigil liturgy, I encourage you to pray the homily Pope Benedict gave at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome in 2007, which you will find on the website: http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/homilies/2007/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20070407_veglia-pasquale.html.

(And, if you have a good excuse for not attending the Easter Vigil Mass, praying Pope Benedict’s homily will at least inspire you to appreciate God's infinite goodness and love for our human family down through the ages, and as personalized in our Resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.)

Prayer
Gracious God, grant us always to see ourselves as Your children and sisters and brothers with all people.  Fill us with Your grace so that we may be one in mind and heart, both individually and in community.  May the Holy Spirit of Your Love always be the Light of Life for us.  We make this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, our risen Lord.  Amen.

Fr. Marcel Rainville, S.S.E. ’67, Edmundite Campus Ministry

Scripture
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: Matthew 28:1-10

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday
Reflection
Every year on Good Friday, we read the passage from the prophet Isaiah, the fourth Suffering Servant Song.  Christians in the early church came to see the passage as speaking about Jesus and His suffering for the sake of others, although innocent of any sin Himself, so that the sins of humanity might be forgiven and the human community reconciled with God.  What is noteworthy in the passage is how the innocent one, scorned and rejected by people, becomes the one who accomplishes God’s will and saves humanity from sin.  We could say that people underestimated the person they saw—deemed Him unlikely to be of any value or worth in His dying.  As we ponder Jesus on Good Friday, we can place ourselves in the position of so many who witnessed the crucifixion, believing Jesus to have failed in his chance at greatness, and to have become a disappointment to those who followed Him.  Yet, what happened in the crucifixion has become the cornerstone of our redemption and the pattern of Christian life—the abandonment of self in obedience to God for the sake of others.  This day, perhaps, we are called to ponder whether we too have underestimated Jesus and His power to save, thought of Jesus as an ancient memory of no real relevance to our lives today.  There is power in the cross of Jesus.  Today we reverence that cross and its purpose in our lives, a reminder that God comes to us in the least likely ways and even through the least likely people.

Prayer
O Lord, help us to notice what You have done for us by dying on the cross.  May we come to see Your hand at work in our lives when we least notice You or underestimate Your ability to touch who we are or what we do.  This is our prayer in the name of Jesus, who died for us so that we may live.  Amen.

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

Scripture
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 13, 2017

Holy Thursday
Reflection
The readings for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper are very interesting. The first reading reminds us of the Passover meal when the people of God were captive in Egypt. In the letter to the Corinthians, Paul described the words and actions of Jesus during the Last Supper. To this point, this makes sense. Jesus, in the celebration of the Eucharist, is the spotless lamb to be sacrificed for our sins. However, there is no mention of the Eucharist in the Gospel reading. John presents Jesus washing the feet of the disciples during the Last Supper. The readings suggest, therefore, that there is a connection between the Eucharist and service.

Jesus, who is the Eucharist, dedicated His life to the service of others. His ministry was focused to the service around Him. Particularly, He paid special attention to the marginalized of His time.

When we eat the bread of life and drink from the chalice of salvation, our purpose is to be in communion with Jesus. Our intention at communion is to become what we consume. In other words, when we come to the Eucharist, we aspire to become like Jesus. Therefore, our lives, following the example of Jesus, should be dedicated to the service of others, taking particular interest for the marginalized of our time. Let us, then, strive to become Eucharistic people. Let us dedicate our lives to the service of our brothers and sisters in need.

Prayer
Good and loving God, as I come to Your altar to be in communion with Your Son, grant me the grace to be like Him, to dedicate my time and talents to the service of others. Amen.

Fr. Lino Oropeza, S.S.E. ’11

Scripture

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 12, 2017

Wednesday of Holy Week
Reflection
It is hard for us to accept the difficulties of our lives as needed corrections or opportunities to turn to God.  We often feel abandoned by God in those times.  Isaiah reminds his people and us that God never abandons us.  God sends help and comfort to us. Isaiah, like Christ, will set his face like flint to save God's people.

Psalm 69 expresses our anguish when we feel abandoned by God.  It also expresses the gift of faith that helps us to turn to God for His loving response to our needs.

Matthew's Gospel focuses on Judas Iscariot's betrayal of Jesus at the Last Supper.  Jesus says, "Amen I say to you, one of you will betray Me."  Judas responds, "...Surely it is not I, Rabbi?"  This can be a startling reflection to us of our own denial of God, our denial of our need for God.  Jesus does not call Judas out or shame him.  Jesus instead institutes the perfect sustenance to carry us through our difficulties and then makes the perfect offering for our forgiveness.  Jesus helps and comforts us and gives Himself to save God's people.

Prayer
Dear God, please keep our hearts open and humbled so that we always turn to You in times of need and respond with gratitude to You and with help for others.  We ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Stephanie Noakes, ’80, M’09, Office of Admission

Scripture

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 11, 2017

Tuesday of Holy Week
Reflection
As we move deeper into Holy Week, what powerful and hopeful Scriptural passages we have before us today! With the Easter Triduum almost upon us, we are reminded of the salvation made available to us all through God’s new covenant with His people.

From the first verse of today’s first reading, we are put on notice to pay attention to this important message! The beginning of the Chapter 49 of Isaiah offers the encouraging image of a humble servant called by the Lord from the womb and concealed like an arrow in His quiver or a sword in the shadow of His arm. Not only is Isaiah referring to a restoration of Israel after the difficult Babylonian exile, but there is a prefiguring of Jesus as the servant messiah who will become a “light to the nations” to bring “salvation to the ends of the earth.” The Psalm response further describes the salvation generously offered by God, who provides strength to each of us from our mother’s womb, forms a stronghold and fortress to give us safety, and rescues us “from the hand of the wicked.”

Today’s Gospel verse leads into the passage of John describing how Jesus will bring salvation through His own sacrifice on the cross “like a gentle lamb to the slaughter.” As the beginning of the Gospel reading acknowledges, how distressed and “deeply troubled” Jesus must have felt at His betrayal by His closest friends and disciples, including Judas and Peter. Nevertheless, soon after in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus remains faithful to the will of the Father in accepting the cup that He is presented.

How many times do we feel betrayed by those around us? Jesus provides a wonderful example to remain strong in our faith and to seek and do the will of God each day of our lives. Although we may sometimes fail and deny Christ as Peter did, we too can pick ourselves up through God’s grace to seek forgiveness, trust in God’s infinite mercy, and sing of the salvation offered by the Lord. Indeed, a hope-filled message to buoy our spirits in these final days of the Lenten season!

Prayer
Dear Lord, thank You for redeeming us all through Your precious sacrifice and obedience unto death. Give us the grace to do God’s will every day and transform our own suffering into salvation. Amen.

George Ashline, Professor of Mathematics

Scripture

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 10, 2017

Monday of Holy Week
Reflection
In the first reading today, we hear about how we are called to speak up for those who cannot and help all those in need. It is often easy to focus on ourselves and get caught up in immediate gratification of helping and getting results right away. We are called to look past those wants and live for others day after day. This is so greatly shown in the Gospel reading. Mary anointed the feet of Jesus while He was over for dinner, a great sign of respect and reverence. Judas on the other hand gets upset at Mary for not selling this oil for money for the poor, but Jesus tells Judas to “leave her alone” since the poor will always be around to help but He would not always be around. This is a good reminder that whatever way we are serving others we should be doing it to share God’s love and not to gain glory for ourselves.

As we start off this Holy Week, I challenge you to reflect on the past couple of weeks of Lent, have you held up your promises for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving? If you have, think about how can you continue these practices even after Lent is over. If you have not, think about ways that you can start this week. It is not too late to start living for God instead of yourself.

Prayer
Lord, help me to remember to serve others with a grateful heart and my eyes on You.

Emma Kalamarides, ’16

Scripture

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