JESUS CHRIST is RISEN from the Dead ! ALLELUIA ! ALLELUIA ! ALLELUIA !
Our proclaiming Christ Resurrected is our connection with the most profound, ongoing mystery of our faith. JESUS LIVES ! ! !To proclaim that truth with our lips is relatively easy.To proclaim and give witness to that truth with our lives is a struggle and a challenge.Are we up to the struggle and the challenge to be human witnesses of theLiving Christ?
Jesus, the Son of God, accepted taking on our humanity. Through His humanity, He revealed to us the ” Face of God”. He witnessed for us the way to live as graced human beings. Through the precious gift of our baptism, we are dipped into the very life of Christ. (The word Baptism comes from the Greek word – “to be dipped into”)Being plunged into the Living Waters of Baptism, and rising up from its waters connects us with, and indeed makes us one with the Living Christ! We are in fact life long recipients of all the grace we need to live, love, and yes suffer, die, AND be raised up to new life with Jesus!
Yes, the Easter Message – JESUS LIVES – becomes a reality through us !Yes, the Easter Message – JESUS LIVES – continues now , and for all time, even beyond time Into eternity for us !Remaining in the waters of Baptism, the Living Waters of Christ, will lift us up andstrengthen our will to stay with Jesus. The decision is ours.Do we say “Yes” to the challenge?
Do we accept the companionship of Jesus?
Do we believe, and find strength in the promise of life to the fullest?
With faith and hope in God’s love, mercy and forgiveness, we can say “Yes” to all of the above . And with joy, love and peace, we can proclaim:Yes, Jesus Christ is Risen from the Dead!
Yes, Jesus Christ lives!
Yes, Jesus Christ has lifted up our humanity and has called us to be His sisters and brothers, has given us the joy of being daughters and sons of God the Father, and has formed us into a community of love in the Holy Spirit.
And to this, most powerful, ongoing mystery of our faith, let us proclaim -Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia ! ! !
Have a blessed and joyous Easter. Sister Gerrie Contento, MPF
Please Show Me How
“Yahweh has opened my ear and I have not resisted. I have not turned away.” Isaiah 50:5.”He will show you.” Mark 14:15.
Palm Sunday begins Holy Week or Easter Week. As I meditated on the readings for this day, I thought about my Lent thus far. The words from Isaiah made me wonder if my sacrifice of giving up wine and sugar, the donations I made, the retreat I attended, having participated in the sacrament of reconciliation, and extra prayer periods (reading scripture or being silent) did in fact open my ear. The purpose of Lent is to grow closer to Christ and become his true disciple. The Lenten practices of self-denial, generosity, and prayer are not an end in and of themselves; but spiritual practices to allow us to grow in holiness. Hopefully, we begin to break attachments, increase our desire for the Lord, and learn to love by softening our hearts with alms giving, and service. It begs the question as we approach Palm Sunday, where am I?
As I read the Lord’s Passion, I reflected how at different times I am or have been each of the characters in the narrative. Like Peter, I can rely on my own strength and not realize how I can so easily fall if I am too self- reliant and do not ask for God’s grace. Like Pilate, I can compromise my values or integrity to ensure success or to avoid conflict. I can be like Judas who lied to himself as well as lying to others. I can betray someone who is close to me by sharing a secret, gossiping, or slandering them. I can be Caiaphas and Ananias wanting to maintain the status quo at the risk of someone’s “life” for “the good of all”.
Or I can be Simon the Cyrene who reluctantly helped carry Christ’s cross, and by so doing, was forever changed. I can be the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with oil, who did what she could to show her love for Christ. I can be Mary Magdalene searching for Jesus but not recognizing him. Where are you in the passage?
The words that most struck me was Jesus’ instruction to the disciples, to go to the city and find a man who will show you a large upper room. We have been invited to the upper room. Have we opened ourselves to Christ’s voice? More importantly, have we listened and not turned away? He is inviting us to join him in the upper room. He tells us that He will show us the way. He wants us to worthily partake of the Eucharist and become a healthy member of His body, the Church.
As I receive my palm and celebrate Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, will I take my palm home and return to my old ways; or will I stay with Christ through Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and truly celebrate the resurrection on Easter Sunday with my own spiritual rebirth? Will I be forever changed?
A Whole Lot of Trouble
“I am troubled. ” John 12: 27″Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” John 12:21″He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”Hebrews 5:9
Today throughout the Dioceses of the United States crosses and images are covered in the church. Crosses remain covered until Good Friday. Images and statues remain covered until the beginning of the Easter vigil. When this is carried out during lent, I always feel ill-at-ease. I am so familiar with the images surrounding the church, and not having the cross to venerate while meditating, praying the rosary, or the divine chaplet affects me. The cross gives me a sense of stability and rootedness in an otherwise crazy world. What does the cross mean to me? It is a sign of sacrifice, salvation, and a reminder that Jesus is the mediator between God and man. The source of eternal life.
I, like the Greeks in the gospel reading today, would like to see Jesus. The thought of not having Him is something I cannot comprehend. It gives me great comfort to bring my woes, hurts, problems, and love to the foot of the cross. Lent during the pandemic last year, left me spiritually wanting. It made me even more grateful for the church and especially the Eucharist. To be in His presence in the Tabernacle and being able to receive the body, blood soul and divinity of Christ during communion is such a gift.
The Greeks knew Jesus had the answer to eternal salvation and they sought Him out. Jesus was “troubled” because he knew what he would have to experience in his Passion. There was a price to pay and Christ paid it. Obedient to death on a cross.
In our own lives, we may be afraid, or dreading the pain or experience ahead of us in any given situation, Christ shows us to have courage and see it through, if it is indeed God’s will. Christ understands what being troubled is and that is why we can bring our own troubles to Him. Suffering and sacrifice is necessary to grow in the spiritual life.
In the second reading of Hebrews we are told that Christ was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him. Obedience, dying to self, discerning and doing God’s will is the way to perfection and everlasting life. This is the way of the saints. This is the way of Christ. Troubled or not it is the way we must follow if we wish to see Jesus
“All Sisters have an unending trust in our holy Father Joseph. Besides the Mother of our Lord he was confident and is also our greatest advocate and protector. May this love and this trust never be diminished in the Sisters of the Congregation.”(Chronicle, I., November 1, 1876)
“Sisters, honor good Saint Joseph especially during this month, and commend the Society’s intentions to his intercession.” (Mother Franziska Lechner, Circular 3-2-1885)Memorare to St. Joseph
Remember, O most chaste spouse of the Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who implored your help and sought your intercession was left unaided. Full of confidence in your power I come to you and beg your protection. Despise not O Guardian of the Redeemer my petitions, but in your goodness, hear and answer me. Amen. St. Joseph, Intercede for us!
God Bless and keep you in His loving embrace,
Sister Mary and Sisters
A Blooming Orchid
“And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light because their works were evil … but whoever lives the truth comes into the light.”John 3:19-20
Today is the Laetare Sunday which comes from Isaiah 66:10 Laetare Jerusalem which means (Rejoice, O Jerusalem) in Latin. It is a day of celebration at the midpoint of Lent. The rigors of the penitentialpractices are relaxed as we wait with joyful hope for Easter Sunday which is only three weeks away. This promise of eternal life is the reason for our joy as Christians. The purple vestments are replaced with the color rose and flowers are allowed on the altar. Light, rebirth, and renewal are evident.
Sunlight floods St. Ann’s, my parish church, and the golden tabernacle behind the altar glistens under the stained-glass window depicting Christ’s Passion. His presence is evident to me and the light brightens my soul and comforts me. I never want to be without that divine light.
This year Laetare Sunday coincides with the return of Daylight savings time. Light and joy are ever present. The gospel reading from John recounts Christ’s own words that He is the Light who came into the world to illuminate our lives. Light and truth are one in the same. The light allows us to see the shadows blocking the light from reaching our souls and penetrating our lives. What see and transform the shadows with the help of God’s grace. This grace is received in the sacrament of Reconciliation the Eucharist, and through prayer, fasting, and conversion.
Jesus is quite clear. Light is needed to see the truth. Darkness obstructs the light. The more our souls and lives become dark by perpetual sin (which is missing the mark in our relationship with God, ourselves and others) the more difficult it is to see the truth of Christ. This is the hardened heart repeatedly referred to in scripture. Our souls need the light.
I have an orchid that sits on top of a wardrobe in my bedroom. The orchid is directly across from the window. The orchid’s growth is where the sunlight streams through the window. The orchid reaches for the sun and every day it becomes healthier and more beautiful as it buds and blooms in the sun. We are like that orchid. We will only become what we were created to be with the help of the light.
Are you in the path of the light?