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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Sunday

April 4, 2010

Alleluia! Alleluia! He is risen as he said. Alleluia. Indeed! I write this note to you from Sevenhill, Australia (a place filled with the glory of God) where I am in the final week of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. Easter in the southern hemisphere has a different feel to it. It is autumn so the nights are getting colder and the days shorter. On Holy Saturday, we turn our clocks (back!) to gain an extra hour to the day. The harvest has occurred and the earth is turning towards its winter slumber. It awaits the winter rains to replenish the dry earth. Oh, such a contrast to life in the northern hemisphere where new life is returning to the earth. But as much as it is different, Easter is very much the same. The world, all of creation, awaits the arrival of the Savior. The whole of creation waits in awe just groaning for God to produce his saving act through the fidelity of Jesus. The wonder, the awe, the stillness remains the same.

John’s Gospel brings us to the faithful Mary Magdala who came to the tomb while it was still dark and she saw the stone removed from the tomb. John uses the darkness as a symbol of not quite understanding what is happening. Mary runs away in terror, not realizing what has transpired. She remains in the dark. Peter and the beloved disciple run to the tomb and see the care with which the burial garments were treated. The beloved disciple comes to partial belief for it was still dark and they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The sudden, shocking event of the Resurrection takes time to understand when you are filled with grief, disillusionment, guilt and shame – perhaps the state of the mind of the disciples on that third day. Scripture holds the key for us in understanding the Christ event. For us, just like the disciples, it does not always rush to us in a moment of clarity.

We hear Peter speak weeks after the Resurrection about what God has done for us through Jesus of Nazareth. Notice his amazing boldness and clarity once he had a time to re-read Scripture and digest the meaning of the Resurrection. This was the same man who cowered in fear and publicly denied knowing his teacher, but it sinks it after a while. It courses through our veins. No one knows for sure what happened at this time, but the power and lives of the disciples and the early Christian community point to the surety of God’s saving act. Let’s take time this week to praise God for what he has done for us in saving us through Jesus Christ. Let’s ask God to reveal to us the meaning of this event for us personally. It will probably be a private moment. And when Easter does come for us, may we have the bravery of the first disciples to boldly proclaim God’s goodness for all the world to hear! Alleluia! He is risen indeed!

Quote for the Week

From the Easter Sunday morning sung Sequence preceding the Gospel proclamation:

Christians, to the Paschal Victim offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems; Christ, who only is sinless,
reconciles sinners to the Father.

Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous:
The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.

Speak, Mary, declaring what you saw, wayfaring.
“The tomb of Christ, who is living, the glory of Jesus’ resurrection;
Bright angels attesting, the shroud and napkin resting.
Yes, Christ my hope is arisen; to Galilee he goes before you.”

Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning! Amen. Alleluia.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: The readings from the Acts of the Apostles describe how the disciples proclaim the Easter message of salvation through their words and works. We first hear Peter stand in front of the crowds with the Eleven at Pentecost to proclaim that God raised Jesus, whom you killed, from the dead. They are witnesses. As the people repent, Peter urges them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins so they may receive the Holy Spirit. Peter and John then demonstrate their power to heal by raising up a crippled man to walk in the name of Jesus. The prophets and scriptures point to the coming of Jesus as the Messiah. However, these great deeds raise the ire of the temple authorities and religious leaders. They bring John and Peter in for questioning who point to the power of Jesus in healing the once-lamed man. The leaders despise the boldness of Peter and John and order them not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus, to which they respond that they must obey God who will judge the faith of the world.

Gospel: Mary Magdalene and the other Mary run away from the empty tomb when they encounter Jesus who tells them “Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” In another account, Mary Magdalene weeps outside the tomb until Jesus calls her by name. She tells the others that she has seen the Lord. The two disciples, despairing because of the failure of Jesus’ mission, head for Emmaus when they encounter the Lord on their journey and during the breaking of the bread. As the disciples are recounting what has occurred, Jesus stands in their midst to wish them peace and forgiveness. It was written that the Christ would suffer and be raised again. In John’s account, the disciples encounter the risen Jesus as they return to their livelihood fishing. Jesus eats with the disciples the third time this week. In Mark, Jesus visits the disciples and instructs them to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

Saints of the Week

Each day of the Octave of Easter is a solemnity and these days take precedence over any saint’s days.

This Week in Jesuit History

• Apr 4, 1534. Peter Faber was ordained a deacon in Paris.
• Apr 5, 1635. The death of Louis Lellemant, writer and spiritual teacher.
• Apr 6, 1850. The first edition of La Civilta Cattolica appeared. It was the first journal of the restored Society.
• Apr 7, 1541. Ignatius was unanimously elected general, but he declined to accept the results.
• Apr 8, 1762. The French Parliament issued a decree of expulsion of the Jesuits from all their colleges and houses.
• Apr 9, 1615. The death of William Weston, minister to persecuted Catholics in England and later an author who wrote about his interior life during that period.
• Apr 10, 1585. At Rome, the death of Pope Gregory XIII, founder of the Gregorian University and the German College, whose memory will ever be cherished as that of one of the Society's greatest benefactors.

Renewal of Baptismal Promises

During the Easter season, we renew our Baptismal promises while new members are baptized into our faith community. Typically, we recite our profession of faith each Sunday, but during the Easter season it is customary for the priest to ask the faithful to renew their promise to reject sin and to live according to our baptismal promises. It evokes a more active participation of the faith we believe.

Dear friends, through the paschal mystery we have been buried with Christ in baptism, so that we may rise with him to a new life. Now that we have completed our Lenten observance, let us renew the promises we made in baptism when we rejected Satan and his works, and promised to serve God faithfully in his holy Catholic Church.

Do you reject sin so as to live in the freedom of God’s children? I do.
Do you reject the glamour of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin? I do.
Do you reject Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness? I do.

Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth? I do.
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? I do.
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting? I do.

God the all-powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and forgiven all our sins. May he also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ forever and ever. Amen.


I am on my long retreat and may not be able to send out the weekly email, but I will update my blog regularly. Access predmore.blogspot.com for weekly and daily updates or predmoresj.blogspot.com for my tertian program news.

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