Category Archives: Feasts & Solemnities

Good Friday. Catholic Inspiration

Today the world stands silent at the foot of the Cross.  Only the unconditional love of God could remedy human sin, and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ gives us hope for eternal life.

Mass Readings – Good Friday 

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


Holy Thursday. Catholic Inspiration

We begin the Sacred Triduum with the solemn gathering around the altar.  Receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, we are strengthened by God’s grace for service in the world.

Mass Readings – Holy Thursday

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


Holy Week Preparations

Holy Week

Pastoral Note: This post was originally given on April 12, 2014.  I share it once again in the hope that all of us will enter more fully into the gift of this sacred time.  Fr. Andrew

Study:  Recall a time in your life when you experienced death and new life.  Where did you find the strength?  Who helped you through this time?

Pray:  Spend some time reflecting on the death and resurrection of Jesus this week.  Read Mark 14-16; Matthew 26-28; Luke 22-24; and John 18-21.  Take in as many prayer opportunities as possible in your parish.

Serve:  Who in your life is dealing with life and death issues right now?  How might you be present to them to offer help, comfort, or strength?

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We enter into the heart of the Christian mystery: Holy Week offers us a time to pause, reflect, and pray as the Church ponders on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This mystery, often called the Paschal Mystery, recalls us to the saving work of the Lord.  His death frees of from the burdens of sin and death, and his resurrection opens for us the path to eternal life.  This mystery is profoundly experienced over the Triduum – the 3 Great Days:

  • Holy Thursday – the Mass of the Lord’s Supper
  • Good Friday – the Passion of the Christ
  • Easter (Vigil/Day) – the Resurrection of the Lord

On Holy Thursday we find ourselves in Jerusalem, eating with the disciples at the Lord’s Supper and feeling awkward as he washes their feet – wondering how we would react if he did that for us.  We might identify with Peter or Judas – especially when we consider the times we have willingly betrayed or turned our back on the Lord.

On Good Friday we experience the physical pain, emotional abandonment, and personal humiliation on the path to Calvary (also called Golgotha or Skull Place) and look on with horror at the cruel death of Jesus.  We might also consider the times we have helped others – as Simon did when he was forced to carry the Cross of Christ.    And then we stand in profound sorrow with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, helpless as the innocent suffer injustice.

On Easter we wait in vigil and rise early in the morning with Mary Magdalen, only to find to our wonder and joy that the tomb is empty:  Christ is alive!  Our world, like that of the apostles, is changed forever as we experience new hope and life.

A word to the wise – we get out of Holy Week what we put into it.  Here are some simple ways for an incredible experience.

  • Make church services a top priority – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter (Vigil or Day).
  • Take time to read and reflect on the scriptures (see at the top under “Pray”).
  • Make Holy Thursday an opportunity to offer a special act of service or kindness to another.
  • Make Good Friday fasting extra special with a gift to a particular charity that helps the poor.
  • Make Easter a time of gratitude – take a quiet moment to count our blessings and thank the Lord.
  • Find some time throughout this week to tell the people in our lives how much we love them.

May this be a time for all of us to grow closer to the Lord and one another.

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Walking with the Lord in Holy Week (March 9-12, 2015 – Our Lady of the Valley – Green Valley, AZ) This parish mission takes the listener on a journey with Christ – from his entry into Jerusalem, through the Last Supper, his Passion, and his Resurrection.

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Catholic Inspiration Archives

 


Palm Sunday: The Cross of Christ is God’s love story for us. Catholic Inspiration

The Passion of Christ is the greatest love story ever told.  As we reflect on the depth of the Lord’s sacrifice for our sins, may we encounter the compassion, mercy and forgiveness of Jesus, who gave his life that we might be with him in Heaven.

Mass Readings – Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


Palm Sunday: The Passion of the Christ

Station - Jesus in Crucified

Study: Read the Passion narrative again; put yourself in the drama of the Lord’s death. Stand with Mary at the foot of his cross.

Pray: Take time to gaze at the cross. Look beyond the art to the reality of the Lord’s passion. Dwell upon his wounds and thank him for his sacrifice.

Serve: Consider who is in need of healing in your life. Are there people who are carrying a heavy cross? Might you be like Simon of Cyrene – perhaps able to help them with a part of the load?

Mass Readings – Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

How many times throughout our lives have we made the sign of the Cross? Stop and think: at Mass; meal prayers; morning & evening prayers; special gatherings; and moments of blessing and grace. This simple action, which we teach to children at an early age, invokes a connection with the passion of Jesus.

We adorn our homes with the Cross. A crucifix is a common gift to a new home; they are placed in bedrooms and common areas as a reminder that Jesus is the source of our help and strength.

We adorn ourselves with the Cross in many ways: a crucifix on a chain; a cross in our pocket; earrings; rings; bracelets; and all the extra cards, bookmarks, figurines, and miscellaneous items that remind us that Jesus died on a Cross.

The passion we read every year on this day focuses our attention on the central mystery of our faith. Out of love for us God sent Jesus, who gave his life on the Cross that we might have eternal life. Through his suffering and death, we recognize that God has made a pathway possible that we might all journey through this life to the gates of Heaven.

The Cross teaches us many lessons:
* Life is difficult, and at times painful
* Weakness and sin are part of our experience
* God identifies with our pain
* God dies that we might have life

At the core of our teaching the Cross stands as the testament of God’s love for us. On one hand the Cross is an embarrassment – after all, why would God (all powerful, all knowing, supreme) choose to be humiliated? Does that not mean that God is weak? Why could God not take away our sins in a way that showed majesty and splendor?

Yet on the other hand, the Cross is a statement that God meets us where we are in life. In our weakness, in our humiliation, in our low moments of doubt and sin God comes to us. Jesus, like us in every way but sin, understands our pain because through his Cross he shares in the suffering of the world. He knows us, and loves us even more.

Every time we make the sign of the Cross may we recall what the Lord endured for us. May the Cross be our strength as we trust in God’s love, and may we seek to follow that love as we journey through this life toward the world to come.

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Catholic Inspiration Archives

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Note: this post was originally published on March 18,  2013.


St. Joseph, the Husband of Mary. Catholic Inspiration

We know very little about St. Joseph: he makes no speeches; indeed, he says nothing at all.  Yet this hard working, faithful man carried out the task appointed for him by God…showing us that in the last analysis our actions are crucial as we follow Jesus Christ.

Mass Readings – St. Joseph, the Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


Daily Mass: St. Peter’s confession of faith in Jesus. Catholic Inspiration

On this feast of the Chair of St. Peter, we hear how Peter acknowledges that Jesus is the Christ.  The Lord affirms that Peter is the rock upon which the Church will be built, and while Satan will try to destroy it, the gates of the netherworld will not prevail.

Mass Readings – Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Apostle

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Catholic Inspiration Archives