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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Easter Sunday

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

Easter Sunday
April 16, 2017
Acts 10:34, 37-43; Psalm 118; Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-9

            This is a happy day for many reasons. First of all, Jesus Christ has been raised by God from the dead and will never leave us. Second, God has remained faithful to us and has delivered us from our exile and bondage. Now, we are free from the grips of sin and death because we can have eternal life with God. Third, you are here. We, as church, are only complete when you are here. For many of us, we have spent a whole year together – through trials, tribulations, and moments of joy – and we have a shared history. Let’s face it: we like each other and we are glad that we are together as one community, and we are blessed that family and friends have joined in today. We can be in communion with each other when we are here together. Thank you for coming. It makes me very happy.

I ponder two questions that arise from the readings today. The first question comes from the events that happen within the tomb of Jesus when the Beloved Disciple enters and immediately comes to belief after seeing the burial cloths neatly arranged. It takes Peter more time to process the significance of the events. Each person comes to their own understanding of the Resurrection on their own time. Just like for the first disciples, everything has to be nicely arranged, just like the cloths, in order for us to grow in our belief. Of course that first Easter morning would be confusing to anyone. Even Scripture says, “They did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.”

            We have the benefit of over two thousand years of testimony and scripture study. So my first question is: What do you need in order to believe more deeply? Of course, we can find fault and be critical and provide many reasons for not engaging in church more fully, but what do we need to construct to build bridges within our faith? It is more advantageous to build up rather than to deconstruct. Which way do you want to go? You are here because there is something more profound in these events than we comprehend.

            Be aware there are different styles to express what we believe within the church. Which of these statements rings true for you? (a.) I believe because it doesn’t make sense, (b.) I believe that I may understand, (c.) We believe, are transformed, and we move forward – onward and upwards, or (d.) We believe. Let’s celebrate. Let’s dance.

            The second question is of more interest to me. Each year, do you have a personal experience of the Resurrection? We celebrate the feast at the end of Lent as a corporate body, but is Jesus Christ resurrected for you personally each year? It may not happen on Easter Day. It did for the Beloved Disciple, but for Peter, it happened days later. For you, for me, it may happen in late spring and summer, but it is real and we experience it. Do we name it as such? Of course, we each have personal issues we are carrying deeply inside us – grief, loss, shame, failure, disappointment, anger, and impatience. When Jesus touches these areas, we experience a personal resurrection. When we feel relief, joy, peace, gladness, or achieve modest reconciliation, we experience the resurrection. Let’s name it as such. Let’s make the resurrection real. It happens around us all the time. Let us honor it so we can celebrate God’s presence among us.

            Christ has been raised from the dead and our sorrows are lessened when we recognize that Christ is among us in a new way. Our personal troubles can be touched by his gentle compassion. Christ is alive to us now. He rose from the dead so he would never leave us. Christ is never going to give up on us. He broke the chains of death and sin so that we can be attached to him as he is attached to God. Together, we are one, so let’s celebrate this great victory. Let’s believe, and let’s dance.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Acts 2) Peter stands up on Pentecost to proclaim to Jews in Jerusalem that Jesus of Nazareth who they put to death has been vindicated by God and raised to new life.
Tuesday: (Acts 2) When the Jews realize the significance of their actions, they petition Peter to be baptized in the name of Jesus.
Wednesday: (Acts 3) Peter and John heal the crippled man at "the Beautiful Gate" at the temple.
Thursday: (Acts 3) All who witnessed the healing recognize that the man used to be the crippled beggar. Peter and John preach to the Jews gathered at Solomon's portico and tell them all that the prophets and scripture say about Jesus.
Friday (Acts 4) The priests, temple guards, and the Sadducees confront Peter and John and hold them in custody. The religious authorities question their teaching and healing power. The Sanhedrin dismissed them with instructions not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Saturday (Acts 4) Peter, John, and the healed man persevere in their boldness. The Sanhedrin wait to see if this is of God or of another source of power.

Monday: (Matthew 28) In Matthew, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary meet Jesus on the way and he exhorts them not to be afraid. The chief priests hire soldiers to say, "the disciples came and stole the body of Jesus."
Tuesday: (John 20) Magdalene weeps outside the tomb and thinks Jesus is the gardener, until he speaks to her familiarly.
Wednesday (Luke 24) Two disciples heading towards Emmaus meet Jesus along the way and he opens the scripture for them.
Thursday (Luke 24) As they recount their story to the Eleven, Jesus appears before them, beckons them not to be afraid, and eats with them.
Friday (John 21) Six disciples are with Peter as they fish at the Sea of Tiberius. After a frustrating night of fishing, Jesus instructs them to cast their nets wide and they catch 153 large fish. The beloved disciple recognized the man on the beach as the Lord and they rush to meet him.
Saturday (Mark 16) Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene who told the Eleven about him. Two other disciples on the road returned to speak of their encounter, and then Jesus appears to them while they were at table.

Saints of the Week

No saints are remembered during the Easter octave.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Apr 16, 1767. Pope Clement XIII wrote to Charles III of Spain imploring him to cancel the decree of expulsion of the Society from Spain, issued on April 2nd. The Pope's letter nobly defends the innocence of the Society.
·      Apr 17, 1540. The arrival in Lisbon of St Francis Xavier and Fr. Simon Rodriguez. Both were destined for India, but the King retained the latter in Portugal.
·      Apr 18, 1906. At Rome, the death of Rev Fr. Luis Martin, twenty-fourth General of the Society. Pope Pius X spoke of him as a saint, a martyr, a man of extraordinary ability and prudence.
·      Apr 19, 1602. At Tyburn, Ven. James Ducket, a layman, suffered death for publishing a work written by Robert Southwell.
·      Apr 20, 1864. Father Peter de Smet left St Louis to evangelize the Sioux Indians.
·      Apr 21, 1926. Fr. General Ledochowski sent out a letter De Usu Machinae Photographicae. It stated that cameras should belong to the house, not the individual. Further, they should not be used for recreation or time spent on trifles rather than for the greater glory of God.

·      Apr 22, 1541. Ignatius and his first companions made their solemn profession of vows in the basilica of St Paul Outside-the-Walls.

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