April 26, 2009
Today’s readings for Mass are very similar to last week’s when Jesus visits the disciples who locked themselves in a room for fear of the Jewish authorities. Only this time, Luke is stressing the tangibility of the Risen Christ. He emphasizes that Jesus is not a ghost and actually was raised from the dead. As he reveals his wounds he also asks for something to eat to prove that he is truly alive. He then calls the disciples to be witnesses to his resurrected state and he spends time with them to teach them how to read scripture in light of this glorious event. Luke, always the doctor, wants his readers to notice the healing and forgiving aspects of Christ’s life.
In Acts, Luke (the same author) sternly accuses the Jewish people of the time of killing the “author of life.” He does not try to soften his message and he does not justify or excuse their actions, but Luke notes that they acted out of their ignorance. Instead he stresses God’s power in raising Jesus. Luke realizes that acknowledging the wrongs that one has done more directly leads to repentance. If we own our sins, we allow ourselves to feel remorse for that which we have done. The metanoia, the change of heart, that we experience with repentance is the only adequate response to God’s gift of new life that is offered in the restored relationship with the Risen lord. It is only at this time that we can receive the “peace” that the Risen Christ offers us.
For all the sins we have committed in life, we really do not understand why we act as we do. During the sacrament of reconciliation, most people say they want forgiveness, but they may actually want healing even more. After a sin is forgiven, one still must heal and be restored to right relations with God or another person. Our genuine sorrow for our rightly claimed actions can lead us to depend upon God more fully. When God heals us of what is broken, we are called to be witnesses to the amazing power that the author of life continues to create in us.
This Week’s Liturgies
Our Lady – On April 22nd, Jesuits honor Mary as the Mother of the Society of Jesus. In the Gesu church in Rome, a painting of Our Lady of the Way (Maria della Strada) is portrayed to represent Jesuit spirituality. Mary had been a central figure to Ignatius’s spirituality. In 1541, seven months after papal approval of the Jesuit Order and two weeks after his election as the first general, Ignatius celebrated Mass at Our Lady’s altar in the basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls in Rome.
This week’s readings will focus on the first deacons of the Church, Stephen and Philip, who witness their dedication to Christ through service and suffering. Saul, later Paul, finds out that Christ loves him even though he is an avid persecutor of the new Christian sect. In the Gospels, we hear how Jesus became incarnate for us and gives his life and body to us as the new bread that will sustain us and bring us to eternal life. Saints Peter Chanel and Louis de Montfort: [yes, the Chanel perfume-maker is a descendant of Peter Chanel] Chanel was a Marist missionary who cared for the poor and the sick in the Pacific Islands, but was martyred when a local chief’s son asked to be baptized. Montfort preached missions on Mary and the Rosary in the early 18th century. Catherine of Siena, a doctor of the Church and a great mystic, offered the church her spiritual reflections. Pope Pius V implemented the reforms of the Council of Trent, revised the Roman prayer books, published a catechism, and restored moderation to the papal court. Quote from Catherine of Siena: If you are what you are meant to be, you will set the world on fire.
Come to the Portland Community Chorus’s concert this Friday, May 1st at 7:30 p.m. at South Portland Auditorium. Tickets are $12.00 pre-sale and $15.00 on the night of the concert. The entertainment though is priceless.
Missa Brevis and Laudate Dominum, Mozart; Cantate Domino, Pitoni; Hallelujah Amen, Handel; Keep Your Lamps, arr. Thomas; Set Me As a Seal, Clausen; If You Believe in Music, Fry; As Torrents in Summer, Elgar; Home on the Range, arr. Mark Hayes; The Storm is Passing Over, arr. Baker; and Route 66, Troupe/Shaw.
Our seniors take their final exams this week and prepare for their Pedro Arrupe Service projects for the last month of the year. On Tuesday, our partners will join us for a chance to meet the seniors who will work with their staffs for the next four weeks.
Trip to Downeast, Maine – Washington County
A week ago I traveled to Washington County in Downeast, Maine to begin planning for a service/immersion trip to the poorest region on Maine. My travels took me to the cities of Machias, Eastport (easternmost city), and Calais, and to towns such as Lubec (easternmost town.) The juxtaposition of the poverty in the region and the wealth of natural resources are striking. The seacoast and the forests are incredibly pristine, but it stands in stark contrast to the hopelessness of the people that has been passed on for generations. More on this later, but if you would like to assist us with connections or funding sources for this project, please contact me as you are able.