Category Archives: Feasts & Solemnities

Pentecost

Study:  Reflect on a time when you encountered a difficult experience.  Where did you find your strength?

Pray:  Ask for the Holy Spirit to help you, especially to unite with others in challenging situations.

Serve:  How can you help foster unity in your life?  What can you do to bring people together?

Mass Readings – Pentecost Vigil

Mass Readings – Pentecost Day

It can be somewhat confusing to know what readings to follow – depending on the day and the options available a person can hear a number of different Scripture readings this weekend.  Stepping back for a moment, however, we can tease out some major themes that surface on this important feast of the Church:

  • Power – to face what comes before us with God’s strength
  • Unity – to join together beyond boundaries and divisions

In many respects this feast marks the birthday of the Church.  The disciples, having watched the Lord ascend to Heaven, are now “on their own” to carry out the Good News of Christ.  The point, of course, is that they are not alone!  Filled with the Holy Spirit their hearts are transformed and their lives forever changed.  They have become willing instruments empowered by the Spirit to speak and act for the glory of God.  They don’t look anything like their former selves – timid, fearful, and self-serving; they now fearlessly engage the world with the conviction that Jesus is Lord.

And as they are strengthened by the Spirit one sign increasingly becomes apparent – the unity of believers as a self evident sign that God’s grace is at work.  Several approaches underscore this sense of unity:

  • Understanding one another beyond the challenge of language
  • Working together as a body does with its many parts
  • Becoming spiritually fruitful
  • Forgiveness with one another

Language, cooperation, fruitfulness, and forgiveness are all hallmarks of the Spirit’s presence in our lives.  All are crucial and take an enormous amount of effort – supported by the POWER of the Holy Spirit!

Is there a place in our lives today that would benefit from unity?  Are there relationships and situations that require healing and strength to grow?  Do we recognize circumstances (perhaps beyond our control) that cry out for the Lord’s intervention?  If so, then we can confidently turn to the Spirit for the grace we need to face what lies before us.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.  O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of the faithful , grant that by the same Spirit we may be truly wise, and ever rejoice in his consolation.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen!

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Catholic Inspiration Archives

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Note: This post was first published on May 19, 2015.


The Ascension of the Lord. Catholic Inspiration

The Lord’s ascension into heaven marks a shift for the disciples as they transition from their experiences with Jesus to proclaiming the Gospel on their own.  Life offers us many such transitions as opportunities that help us grow in wisdom and strength…for this life and the life to come.

Mass Readings – The Ascension of the Lord

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Catholic Inspiration

Mary’s offers a proclamation of praise in her Magnificat, as she glorifies God and offers thanks for the blessings she has received.  May we echo her words as we call to mind in our prayer and daily practice how the Lord has touched our hearts and fostered our faith.

Mass Readings – Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


The Feast of the Ascension

Study:  Reflect on a moment of profound change in your life.  What lessons did you learn?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for guidance to proclaim the Good News in your current situation.

Serve:  Do you know someone who is experiencing great change right now?  How can you help them?

Mass Readings – Feast of the Ascension of the Lord

About this time of year students experience transition.  The academic year is coming to a close, classes are wrapping up, papers are written and exams taken.  It is a time where one can clearly see change: teachers and classmates conclude their studies and look to new opportunities and experiences in the summer.

For some it might be work; others might attend summer school; still others might experience a move to a new location.  Change takes many forms, but through it all some key points emerge:

  • New People
  • New Locations
  • Opportunity to apply learning to life

The Feast of the Ascension is one such moment of profound change in the early Church.  Rejoicing with one another over the Resurrection, the apostles were flying high – the Lord is risen!  In this moment of enthusiasm and hope, the Lord (truly in the role of Teacher) shares with them a new lesson – it’s time to change and grow.

Now they are the ones who must teach; they are the ones chosen to proclaim the Good News; through their efforts the Holy Spirit will empower them to heal and drive out demons.  Simply put, the Ascension of Jesus clears the way for the disciples to apply the Lord’s teaching in their own lives as they continue Christ’s mission in the world.

We are part of that mission.  We received our faith from those who came before us, and today we have an opportunity to proclaim the Good News to those in our lives.  Here are some thoughts:

  • Family – who often see us in unguarded moments
  • Friends – sustained and strengthened by our efforts
  • Coworkers – witness our character and conviction
  • Classmates – supported and encouraged in learning
  • Neighbors – perceive our actions and effort
  • Strangers – 1st impressions that point to Christ
  • Enemies – encounter justice and mercy with forgiveness

The Good News takes many forms, and in our moments of transition we are given new opportunities to act.  May the Ascension of our Lord inspire us to look for change in our own lives and seek ways where we can live joyful lives as disciples of Jesus Christ!

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Catholic Inspiration Archives

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Note: This post was first published on May 12, 2015.


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