Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Sunday
This is my favorite Easter story, which I never mind retelling: “A journalist who wrote about the bombing of London during the Second World War said that the picture which remained most vividly impressed on his mind came early one morning. He was out looking around after a night of heavy bombing. He came to a small house. Its windows had been blown out by bomb blast, the torn curtains were fluttering in the breeze; the tiny front garden was littered with roof tiles. At the door was a young woman with a baby in her arms. She stood there with all the devastation around her. The journalist stopped at the gate. ‘A terrible night,’ he said. ‘Yes, but what a wonderful morning,’ was her magnificent reply.”
Easter is the wonderful morning after the terrible night of the cross.” (Experiencing Jesus, Gerald O’Collins, S.J., p. 108)
A key theme of the Easter Season is joy, joy even in the midst of devastation. Easter is “the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!” We rejoice that Jesus can now say, “Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever,” and we rejoice that we can share in Jesus’s victory over death and confidently look forward to life and happiness without end, after our own earthly death.
So, rejoice! Christ is alive and well, and He is with us!
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your victory over sin and death, and making it possible for us to share in Your triumph. Alleluia!
Fr. Raymond 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 or Luke 24:1-12 or Luke 24:13-35

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil)
It is often difficult to see the workings of God in our lives.  Even those who walked and talked with Jesus had trouble recognizing him.  Perhaps they were looking for someone or something else at the time.  When the women returned from the tomb with their witness, the Apostles thought "their story seemed like nonsense."
Often it is helpful to look back and, hopefully, come to realize that the Lord was with us all along.   During this Holy Night, we retell the biblical stories of the mystery of God in creation, in the lives of the people of Israel, and in the hearts of the first disciples.
We are reminded that God is ever present in our lives, and in our Church.  May this Easter season help us to open our eyes, our ears, and our hearts to the Risen Lord Jesus who promises that He will never leave us. 
Happy Easter.
God our Father,
by raising Christ Your Son,
You conquered the power of death
and opened for us the way to eternal life.
Let this Easter raise us up
and renew our lives that we may recognize the Spirit within us.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.
Very Rev. Michael Cronogue, S.S.E., Superior General of the Society of Saint Edmund
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday
When I celebrated Holy Week in the U.S. for the first time, I was puzzled because the Friday during Holy Week was called Good Friday. In Venezuela, we plainly call it, as we do with the other days during Holy Week, Holy Friday. So, what was good about it? Or, what makes it holy? That day, Jesus was betrayed, imprisoned, judged, sentenced, tortured, crucified, and pierced with a lance. Jesus’s death was the result of various sins: the arrogance of the Pharisees, the greed of Judas, and the indifference of Pilate. So, I ask myself again. What was good about it? What makes it holy?
After reflecting on the Scripture readings for this day, I found an answer to why these two adjectives are used. In this moment of darkness, there are some rays of light on Jesus’s path. Jesus, even though He is abandoned by His disciples and faces crucifixion, is acting in the same way He has acted throughout his life. He, instead of caring about His own suffering, cares for those around Him. The Gospel tells us that Jesus promised salvation to the one being crucified next to Him.  Jesus, while hanging on the cross, asks one of His disciples to care for Mary, His mother. Jesus is also the recipient of compassionate gestures from other people such as Joseph of Arimathea who got permission to arrange for Jesuss burial. And ultimately, the act of suffering and crucifixion, was not for Jesuss sake, but for the sake of all humanity in an act of great love and sacrifice.
So, this Friday is good or holy because, as in Jesus’s story, we can be certain that in the darkest moments of our lives, God will be there to give some rays of light in the darkness and love that will never abandon us.
Merciful God, help us to be able to see the light in the darkness of our difficulties and help us to be light for those who are going through a dark path in their lives.  
Deacon Lino Oropeza, Society of Saint Edmund

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 17, 2014

Holy Thursday
Most often when I prepare a homily or a reflection such as this one, I will take a moment to actually re-write the Scriptural readings for the day in my own shorthand.  I cannot explain scientifically what happens in doing this, but it is as though the words travel through my body or I was able to grasp their meaning so that I can almost feel them.  The outcome is an understanding of the Scriptures in a way that is different from just reading it off the page with the eyes of your head.
When I did this exercise with the Lord’s Supper Mass readings, I recalled celebrating Seder with Jewish friends around this time last year.  I felt it an honor to be in the presence of persons who still vividly identify themselves with the Passover event in Egypt so many centuries ago.  The experience helped me understand the kind of presence we have in the Eucharist, of which St. Paul speaks in today’s reading from First Corinthians: “I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night He was handed over, took bread…and said, ‘This is My body…do this in remembrance of Me.’”
Today’s dramatic washing of the disciples’ feet by Jesus has a similar sense of presence.  Whereas the rituals of the Jewish feast of Passover of Jesus’s Last Supper situate us in relationship with God, the act of the washing of the feet complements and connects love of neighbor with love of God in a way only Jesus was able to do.  Heaven and earth do indeed come together as one. 
Gracious God, grant us the grace to feel Your presence among us as we celebrate the Passover Mystery.  May Your Holy Spirit of love be with us both in worship and in the daily living out of our faith.  We make our prayer in the name of Jesus, our Lord.  Amen.
Fr. Marcel Rainville, S.S.E. ‘67, Director of Formation for the Society of St. Edmund

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 16, 2014

Wednesday of Holy Week
Persecution, surrender to humiliation, and violent imagery characterize today’s readings from Isaiah and Psalm 69. These Scripture passages use prophetic language which connects our hearts and minds to Christ’s suffering and passion.  Psalm 69 also becomes a beautiful prayer for deliverance from persecution with “Lord, in Your great love, answer me.”  The legalistic language used by the Prophet Isaiah calls the faithful to endure persecution and to challenge the oppressor knowing that God is our final vindicator. Surrendering to the power of God’s love is easier said than done, however, as we can make poor choices that distances ourselves from our God and our neighbor.
The Gospel passage from Matthew tells the familiar story of Judas’s betrayal of Christ for 30 pieces of silver. While greed appears to be the motivation, Biblical scholars tend to debate many possible complicated reasons.  Matthew’s description of the disciples’ preparation for Passover is an important reference in the Gospel reading as Passover remembers the deliverance of Israel from Egypt which was the central act of redemption in the Hebrew Bible. Jesus is about to provide a new center of redemption through His suffering and resurrection.  God’s gift of grace indicates that we are fully loved, apart from what we do or fail to do.
When Jesus responds to Judas’s, “Surely it is not I Rabbi,” with “You have said so,” He is calling Judas to repentance. Judas is unable to confess his betrayal.
Gracious and loving God, may the doors to our hearts swing gently open, so that we may receive your goodness, your loving-kindness, and Your grace. Give us the strength to endure suffering, and the heart to confess our sins.  Amen.
Michael Samara, Coordinator of Peer Tutoring and Campus Minister

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 15, 2014

Tuesday of Holy Week
The readings for each of the days in the first half of Holy Week place us on the edge, the rift, the tipping point. There is a sharp disconnect between light and darkness; betrayal and constancy; death and glorification. Today, in particular, there is a sharp turn at the very center of things. The first reading is full of promise as we read Isaiah foreshadowing Jesus, not just a Servant of God, but a Light to the Nations, the One who brings salvation. The Psalm takes up the refrain of trust in God’s rock-solid protection.
And then, with these glorious words still ringing in our ears, the Gospel opens with Judas’s betrayal. It is as if Jesus too has these words ringing in His ears as the fateful events are set in motion and the inexorable path to Calvary beckons. “And it was night.” At the edge of the coming night, He speaks very little of betrayal – both by Judas and by Peter – but speaks instead of the promised glory. Though “deeply troubled” by the betrayal by His friends and by the events to come, Jesus seems to possess an inner calm, based on the confidence that the God who has formed Him from the womb will be an unfailing support and will fulfill the promise.
We too, must ultimately face our death. And in the meantime, life often brings fears, betrayals, and pain. Let us learn from Jesus to keep our focus on the glory of life and God’s promise to be with us always. 

“In you, O Lord I take refuge…Be my rock of refuge;
A stronghold to give me safety, for You are my rock and my fortress.” (Ps.71 1;3)
O Lord, grant that, even in dark times of pain and betrayal, we may find the strength to move forward with the promise of glory ringing in our ears and confidence in God our Father/Mother in our hearts.
Zsuzanna Kadas, Professor of Mathematics
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