Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sunday
Happy Easter, brothers and sisters!  We’ve 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!
Today’s Gospel reading is evocative, mysterious, and symbolic.  Mary of Magdala arrives at the tomb when it is still dark, and notices that the stone has been removed from the tomb.  She, the most faithful of Jesus’ disciples, witnessed Jesus, in whom she had placed such faith and hope, suffer and die on the cross.  Much like the darkness of the morning, she was in the darkness of pain, grief, confusion and despair.  She runs and tells Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved, that someone has taken Jesus’ body from the tomb and placed it somewhere.  Peter and John run to the tomb, enter it, and see the burial cloths inside.  The Gospel doesn’t tell us Peter’s immediate reaction, but the disciple whom Jesus loved saw and believed.  In the section following today’s proclaimed Gospel passage, Mary, who has not yet come to Easter faith, remains outside the tomb, weeping.  Jesus appears to Mary, but her grief blinds her, and she doesn’t recognize him until He calls her name.  Mary is the first person to see the Risen Lord and the first to fully understand the good news, and Jesus sends her, the apostle to the apostles, to share the good news with His followers and friends.
There can be no doubt that suffering, injustice, violence, pain and death remain in the world and sometimes we find ourselves, like Mary, blinded by sadness and grief, but Easter reminds us that God’s love is more powerful than these forces, and that Resurrection is the pattern of our lives and our ultimate destiny.  The Risen Christ calls our names today and reminds us that we are an Easter people, and He invites us, like Mary, to live and love and hope as an Easter people.  May each of us, in the words of the great Easter hymn, “Dance, then, wherever you may be!”  Jesus invites us to the dance, and because of Easter, the dance goes on...for all of us!
Ever Risen Christ, help us to live as an Easter people, and inspire us to be bearers of faith, hope, joy and love to the world.  Amen.
Jason Moore, ‘01, Associate Director of Retreat Ministry and Interfaith Coordination
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 or Luke 24:1-12 or Luke 24:13-35

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil)
The Easter Vigil is so dramatic in its symbolism—darkness and light, fire and water—so grand in its vision of salvation history unfolded in the Scriptures—that we easily overlook the bees. “O holy Father, accept this candle, a solemn offering, the work of bees…this gift from your most holy Church,” we hear chanted in the Easter Proclamation, the Exultet.  “Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven, exult, let Angel ministers of God exult!”   Angels and “your most holy Church” and bees: the tall Paschal Candle joins them all together to greet “the Morning Star who never sets.”  This song is for all creation to sing, from angels to bees, highest to lowest, and humanity in the middle given voice by “your most holy Church.”  The bees are not at all incongruous with the Vigil’s drama. They are necessary to complete the vision of all creation renewed by Christ’s Resurrection.  But what about that “most holy Church?”  Is that the real incongruity here?  The bees, after all, have done their job; the candle stands there as witness.  But what about “most holy Church?”  Is our job done and that “most holy” deserved?  No, not done and not deserved.  But still we can claim that “most holy.” It is ours because the Church singing this is the Body of Christ, joined to its Head and living by His Spirit.  It is by the Resurrection (not by our own doing!) that we are raised up to that “most holy.” 
O Risen Christ, by the power of your Resurrection, raise us up!
Fr. Richard Berube, S.S.E. ‘66, Saint Michael’s College Edmundite Community
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday
Good Friday is a co-equal cornerstone of the Church. If the faith of Christianity blossoms in the joyous celebrations of Easter, then Good Friday is its necessary prelude. It is a difficult day to grapple with; we see the anguish of the crucifixion foretold in today’s reading from Isaiah, replete with wrenching language: marred, smitten, crushed, pierced. In our own daily travails, we may at times feel the world is taxing us in similar ways. The psalm challenges us to put our whole trust and being in the hands of God, a God who chose to take our own frailties and foibles upon Himself, as the letter to the Hebrews strives to remind us.
The Gospel reading from John outlines the whole trial, Passion, and death of Jesus, a passage that continues to shock and provoke us if read and listened to carefully. Good Friday is one Holy Day that will never succumb to the secular imposition of crass commercialization that threatens so many others on the calendar; the story, widely known throughout our culture, remains too stark a rendition. As Christians, we believe that the brutal punishment senselessly being meted out to a just man (which alone would make the reading difficult), is in fact being meted out to our God, a burden He freely bears for our benefit. The poet Dante writes that the worst type of betrayal is betrayal to one who is a benefactor to you. I myself ruefully reflect on the selfish or self-serving petty cruelties that my own wants or desires have caused me to inflict on others. If nothing else, this humbling passage is a call for the most intense reflection and repentance.
Lord God, You are the Truth that the powerful Pilate would not see, yet You were evident to the humble St. John and St. Mary Magdalene. On this Friday of your Passion and death, help us to feel the rays of Your Truth bring light to our hearts even in this darkest hour. We earnestly beseech You through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Michael Carter, ‘11, Edmundite Novice

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 28, 2013

Holy Thursday
The Holy Thursday liturgy teaches us a most important lesson about the Sacrament of the Eucharist and about Service, both of which are essential to what Christianity is or should be all about.  In the Celebration of the Eucharist or Mass, Christ is present to us as Food and Drink, or as Nourishment, for our spiritual life or our life with Christ and, in and through Christ, our life with one another. In this sense, the Eucharist ideally is a major source of unity among Christians and an ideal or model of unity among all of God’s people.
The Celebration of the Eucharist is meant, as well, to be connected with our life outside of our participation in the Mass. This point is dramatically made in the Holy Thursday liturgy. We should note in John’s Gospel account that there is no explicit mention made of the institution or origin of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, as there is in the Gospel accounts of Mark, Matthew and Luke, and also by St. Paul.
What we do have in John’s account, however, is the telling of Jesus’ performing the very humble act of washing the feet of His friends at the “Last Supper,” an action that would be seen as a form of extraordinary humble service, which disturbed the apostle Peter who, evidently, considered such a service beneath Jesus. Yet, Jesus made it absolutely clear to Peter and to us, as well, that Service is essentially connected with the Eucharist: we, like the apostles, are to depart from our celebrations of the Eucharist to serve God and the world about us in whatever way or ways we can and should.
We pray, then, that we will come to an ever deeper appreciation of the connection of the Mass with Service, and that we will, with the help of the Holy Spirit, use our gifts and our talents and our love to serve God and God’s people.  
Fr. Raymond Doherty, S.S.E. ‘51, Campus Minister
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 27, 2013

Wednesday of Holy Week
Today’s Gospel reading sets the stage for Jesus’ betrayal by Judas.  I have often wondered what was the root cause for betrayal by such a trusted and loyal disciple; did Judas become disillusioned with the way in which Jesus conducted himself, maybe hoping for a more aggressive message that would incite rebellion against the Romans?  Was he hoping to become a leader within the “Kingdom” that Jesus frequently spoke of, having a place of power within the new government? It is amazing that as close as Judas was to Jesus, the years he spent hearing Jesus’ message and witnessing His miracles, that he was not able to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God.  Due to his closed mindedness and narrow vision, Judas was never able to accept Jesus for who He was. Judas had his own agenda and wanted Jesus to conform to that agenda.  Judas did not understand that he was the one who needed to change.  By opening his heart to the message of God, he could have been transformed thus recognizing God as the center of his being.  But Judas made the choice to betray Jesus, and in doing so, made the choice to reject God.
How often do we as Christians attempt to shape God to our agenda instead of allowing God to shape us?  How frequently do we use God for our own purpose instead of changing ourselves to fit God’s purpose?  God cannot be changed; we must allow God to change us.
May the strength of God pilot us.  May the power of God preserve us.  May the wisdom of God instruct us. May the hand of God protect us.
Margaret Briand, M‘12, Student Health Services
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 26, 2013

Tuesday of Holy Week
Today’s first reading reminds us that God knew us even from before we were born; He made us all that we are, He made us His servants. The responsorial psalm is our prayer that asks God to be our refuge, our rock and our fortress to rescue us from evil. With this prayer, we call the Lord our hope and our salvation. We proclaim His eternal justice and praise His wondrous deeds.
These grandiose readings are conceptually abstract and other-worldly. They suggest a relationship that would be easy to bear—about flawed humans who will forever sing the praises of an omnipotent God who will protect us from harm.  We are weak; we need the refuge of the fortress that God provides.
But then we return to earth in today’s Gospel and find Jesus at the dinner table with His disciples and are reminded that even the Son of God is about to be betrayed, and suffer a horrible death at the hands of  great evil. Where is God’s fortress to protect His only begotten Son? How can this be?
God, help all of us to more deeply understand the mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection. His betrayal by Judas is easy for us to believe, but why did the Son of God have to suffer and die? Help deepen our faith so we will always believe that in spite of all that we suffer, we too can know our own resurrection and life in the world to come.
Vince Bolduc, Professor of Sociology
First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6
Psalm 71:1-4a, 5-6ab, 15, 17
Gospel: John 13:21-33, 36-38

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday of Holy Week
Having faith is never an easy thing, especially these days, where everything is so uncertain, and human rights are being violated every waking minute. It is very easy to experience despair and doubt. We may find ourselves slipping into those states of spiritual and emotional decline without remembering how we got there. In many ways, this Scripture reading is a reminder of why we are here and why we get out of bed each day — to be soldiers for Christ. It is our duty as followers of Jesus to be light to this world, and to continue to fight for justice tirelessly. This may mean defying popular opinion, which often serves selfish motives or material wealth.  Mary models this for us when she bathes Jesus’ feet with the expensive oil — she shows us that we are called to serve Christ first, and to disregard the Judases of this world. By keeping our sight trained on Jesus and following in His lead, we will be able to overcome the doubts and negative voices that threaten to drag us down into despair. If we remain pure of heart and clear of conscious, then we will truly be living manifestations of the peace and justice we so crave.
Lord, strengthen me in faith and spirit so that I may follow closely in Your footsteps and be able to continue the battle to preserve the dignity of human life. Help me to be a living manifestation of Your light.

Sarah Fraser, ‘14 

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


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Passion Sunday
This week is about remembering.  We shout with joy as Jesus enters Jerusalem.  We walk with Him on His way to the cross.  We hear the cries of the people to “crucify him” and remember our own sinfulness. 
This week we ask Jesus to remember us.  We pray that we may be better than we are, and receive better than we deserve. We pray that we, who often deserve to be forgotten, may be remembered.
And we mark the days leading up to Easter, we remember, too, that we are called to something else — as a people and as a church.  As we journey forward this Holy Week, let us look at these palms and remind ourselves of this beautiful, hopeful truth: We may be the voice of the crowd — we may too often act like thieves. But we have it within ourselves to be more.  We can sing Hosannas.   We can act like angels. This is the mystery we celebrate.
Almighty God, help us to journey with Jesus during this Holy Week.  May we come to a greater understanding of Your love, and celebrate the gift of eternal life that You offer to each one of us.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.
Very Rev. Michael Cronogue, S.S.E., Superior General of the Society of St. Edmund
Procession Gospel: Luke 19:28-40
First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11
Gospel: Luke 22:14-23:56 or 23:1-49
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday of the Fifth Week
During the 2012 NFL season, the Kansas City Chiefs tragically lost a team member due to a tragedy that many people felt was linked to a mental illness.  Chiefs’ quarterback Brady Quinn provided some profound perspective on the situation:
“We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook, and that’s fine, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half the time we are more preoccupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual relationships that we have right in front of us.  Hopefully, people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they are revealing on a day-to-day basis.”
For me, I feel as though Brady’s message really resonates with Jeremiah 31:10 from today’s readings.  Jeremiah 31:10 says, “Hear the word of the Lord, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: 'He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over His flock like a shepherd.’” The second half of this verse is what really appeals to me because it preaches a message of unity.  Jesus served as a unifier through both His ministry and sacrifice, and we continue to celebrate His life and sacrifice today because of how it selflessly brought us together in Christian brotherhood. However, at times, I feel that we all become distracted by the furious pace of life, which can cause us to lose focus of the communal bond that we have through Christ. Lent provides us with a great opportunity to remind ourselves of the important and unbreakable bond that we share through Christ.  Much like Brady Quinn, I pray that we can all take some time during the Lenten season to reflect on and truly rejoice in the bond that we share as brothers and sisters in Christ.
God, please help me today to be mindful of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that Your spirit will move me to reach out to those that may be struggling or in need of support and that by becoming closer to those around me I will also become closer to You.
David Walsh, ‘10, Member of the Worshipping Community
First Reading: Ezekiel 37:21-28
Psalm: Jeremiah 31:10-13
Gospel: John 11:45-56
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website