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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Hope. Peace. Joy. Easter Sunday 2020

   Hope. Peace. Joy.
Easter Sunday 2020
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April 12, 2020
Acts 10:34-43; Psalm 118; Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-9

The disciples were filled with the horror of the death of the man they thought would be the Messiah, but the story for them ended in tragedy. They find themselves in a graveyard in front of a tomb that was empty. As if the crucifixion was not enough, their minds are baffled because the tomb was empty, but it did not appear as if a robber had approached because the burials cloths were delicately set aside in a separate place. They were not able to comprehend the unusual events.

We, likewise, are beset by baffling events and lots of unknowns, and stories of illness and death punctuate our news cycles. The immensity of the pandemic weighs heavily upon our hearts as we continue to put at risk the good health of dedicated essential medical and service workers. We do not understand how this life-threatening illness can be tamed or what its future direction looks like. How can we celebrate a feast like Easter in the midst of doom and gloom.

This Easter Day is our celebration of our trust in God. Throughout Holy Week, we watched terrible events that were balanced by stories of God’s fidelity and steadfastness. Today, we celebrate that this is God’s moment. This is the day when eternity invades time, and God emerges on earth specifically for us. The God, who always worked for our good, has made clear that God is actively working to care for us. The God of eternity enters into our world and sets everything right. Easter morning is the sign of God’s tremendous love, that he returns to us Jesus, who becomes our Christ, to never leave us. His is the victory over death. His is the victory over sin. There is one thing we can know about today: Nothing can ever separate us from the love of God.

We worship God from our homes and through the absence of liturgy, but we can still celebrate. This day allows us to retain three qualities: peace, hope, and joy. A serene peace keeps our composure held together even though there will be worries about worldly matters, like this plague. Peace allows our inner tension and drama to be diminished. Peace allows Christ to fill our human weakness and to exercise our power and control over the essential matters of faith. Peace. With God’s love, we can accept all turmoil with serenity including those things that wound the heart and baffle the mind. Hope. Despair is easy for us, but for a Christian, there are no hopeless situations, only people who have grown hopeless, but no individual is hopeless as long as there is the Christ. Hope endures all things. Joy. Joy is not dependent upon anything that comes from the outside. Joy is the certainty that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

What are we to do then. Celebrate in joy. Live those happy moments as fully as you can, even in matters of turmoil. A good belly laugh cures much. Good food, quality conversations reveal to us how much we love one another. Pray a serenity prayer because we will endure, because we always have hope, as long as we trust in God. And practice deeply breathing the peace of God into your lungs and your soul. St. Paul writes at the end of his Letter to the Romans, “The God of peace will soon crush and overthrow Stand, the power of evil.” This is an active peace, a peace that has overcome the world.

If we practice these three virtues: hope, peace, and joy, we will trust in God and will fall in love with God, who is the lover of human souls, and whose love stands forever fully displayed in the person of Jesus Christ, the one God has raised from the dead. Alleluia. Alleluia. Our celebration today is a song of praise to the ones who love us.

Scripture for Daily Mass

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 on the calendar during this octave of the Lord’s Ressurection.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Apr 12, 1671. Pope Clement X canonized Francis Borgia, the 3rd general of the Society.
·      Apr 13, 1541. Ignatius was elected general in a second election, after having declined the results of the first election several days earlier.
·      Apr 14, 1618. The father of John Berchmans is ordained a priest. John himself was still a Novice.
·      Apr 15, 1610. The death of Fr. Robert Parsons, the most active and indefatigable of all the leaders of the English Catholics during the reign of Elizabeth I.
·      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.

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