Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

Alleluia! Jesus is risen! His tomb is empty! “Death has no more power over Him” (Rm 6:9). Alleluia!

Because we’ve been baptized into Christ, we have died with Him (Rm 6:4). “If we have been united with Him through likeness to His death, so shall we be through a like resurrection” (Rm 6:5). This very day we have already “been raised up” with Jesus to share in His glorious, heavenly, risen life (Col 3:1).

For many in the United States, the joy of Easter means returning to the things we gave up for Lent. It’s back to chocolate, sweets, soft drinks, ice cream, etc. Yes, we do have to “celebrate and rejoice” on Easter (Lk 15:32), and these treats help us to celebrate. However, if we find our joy simply in returning to the old life we lived before Lent, we will have missed Easter.

Jesus is the Reason for the season! He is risen! We are invited to a risen life with Him so new, powerful, and exciting that we can’t sufficiently celebrate it with the “old yeast,” that is, our old joys and lifestyle (1 Cor 5:7). Let us “be intent on things above rather than on things of earth” (Col 3:2). Let’s celebrate the fifty-day Easter season by immersing ourselves in God’s Word, which is sweeter than the tastiest candy (Ps 119:103), and in the Eucharist, the “bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor 5:8).

 

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

Today begins “Holy Week.” The Lord wants this week to be unlike any other week in our lives — a week of grace, sorrow, repentance, and love. The week begins with the praises of Palm Sunday, changes into the screams of the crucifixion, and ends with the dead silence of the tomb. Throughout the week, we hear the sounds of crying, whipping, hammering, and blaspheming. The sounds of Holy Week are piercing and thunderous. “Jesus cried out in a loud voice, and then gave up His spirit. Suddenly the curtain of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, boulders split, tombs opened” (Mt 27:50-52).

Eventually the roar subsides, and it’s our turn to join the choir. What sound will we make? Will we be sound asleep? (Mt 26:43) Or will we betray Jesus with a quiet kiss? Will we cry: “Crucify Him”? (Mt 27:23) Or will we make an act of faith and say: “Clearly this was the Son of God”? (Mt 27:54

The Lord God will give us a well-trained tongue to speak to the crucified Jesus a word that will proclaim His Resurrection and His divinity (see Is 50:4). Dare to hear the sounds of Holy Week. Make the sounds of loving praise and faith-filled commitment. Jesus listens for you. ”

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Jesus says to Lazarus “Come forth!”  Every time we  participate in the Mass that same call is issued to you and me. Come forth from the grave of our sins and our self sufficiency. Jesus wants us to share in the glory of the resurrection.                                                                                                                 ~ Fr. Matt

 

Fourth Sunday of Lent

The world is divided into two groups: those who know they’re spiritually blind and ask for and receive sight from Jesus, and others who refuse to admit they’re blind and are even blind to being blind (Is 29:9). Jesus said: “I came into this world to divide it, to make the sightless see and the seeing blind” (Jn 9:39). Many take offense at being called blind. “Some of the Pharisees around Him picked this up, saying, ‘You are not calling us blind, are You?’ To which Jesus replied: ‘If you were blind there would be no sin in that. “But we see,” you say, and your sin remains’ ” (Jn 9:40-41).

We were born spiritually blind. We inherited this from our first parents Adam and Eve. Our sight was restored when we were reborn in the waters of Baptism. Nevertheless, we continue to have eye problems because of our sins, which originally caused our spiritual blindness (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 588, 1791). We keep bumping into things, crashing into brick walls, and having terrible accidents. What does it take to wake us up to reality?

We must confess our sins, and Jesus will again restore our spiritual vision. “Awake, O sleeper, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Eph 5:14). “So the man went off and washed, and came back able to see” (Jn 9:7).  ”

Third Sunday of Lent

The Samaritan woman gradually learns more about Jesus and what he offers her. Her journey reflects our own journey of faith. The dialogue begins with Jesus seeking a drink and then offering ‘living water’ to the woman. Water gives life. The ‘living water’ given by Jesus points to eternal life. As the dialogue continues it is established that Jesus is not only a prophet, but the Messiah. The woman’s eyes are gradually opening, enough for her to go and tell her townspeople. At the end they too come to believe, not simply due to her testimony but because they have themselves heard the preaching of Jesus.

 

Third Sunday of Lent

It’s an appropriate time to restore in our own personal lives the motif of water. In Pennsylvania we have an abundance, even cleaning the local waters from industrial contamination.  However people who have well water can find it undrinkable because of fracking. In Flint Michigan it’s been years for people to drink from the tap. We witness the Hoover Dam drying up, likewise the west coast feeling the effects of lack of rain.  People in third world countries are walking miles to find consumable water. Jesus‘ word and example hits home by our need to drink in who he is and how he changes our life.    ~ Fr. Matt