Tag Archives: Easter

Easter Day

Easter Lily

Study:  When have you experienced a profound moment of change and growth?  What brought it about?

Pray:  Open your heart to Jesus Christ.  Let the joy of the resurrection transform your life.

Serve:  Claim your faith!  Let your love for the Lord direct your thoughts, words, and actions – in whatever you face today.

Easter Day Readings        Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast (posted April 20, 2014)

In the early hours of that first Easter Day we celebrate an incredible hope as word spread through the city of Jerusalem – Jesus is alive.

His followers had been crushed by the agony of the Cross.  Lost – beyond all sense of pain, sorrow, and grief – from the darkness of their fear and despair they passed on the message: we have seen him, we have touched him, we have eaten with him – the Lord has been raised!

I have always been struck by the transformational effect the resurrection of Jesus had upon his disciples:

  • Fear to Faith
  • Helplessness to Hope
  • Lament to Love
  • Cowardice to Courage

The same disciples who once fled for their lives will now go out into the world to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.  They will face persecution, suffering, and martyrdom in order to testify to the truth of Easter Day: the Resurrection of Christ.  What’s more, they will do this with an overwhelming sense of conviction and strength.

No one can ignore the power of this effect.  The encounter with the Risen Lord changes everything.  What is there to be afraid of?  Jesus has broken the chains of sin and death – we can face anything in this world with confidence.  Jesus has triumphed, and in the light of Easter Day we now draw on his strength to face our battles with joy.

The death of Jesus on the Cross was for our sins; the resurrection of Jesus was for our lives.  The power of Easter Day directs our attention to the sacred and precious gift of life.  Life is worth fighting for, worth dying for, and worth living for – in this world and the next.  The resurrection reveals God’s love for our lives; we are worth the sacrifice of the Cross and empowered to live with faith, hope, and love.

How will we live this great promise of faith?  How will we allow the power of Easter to transform us?  For remember: the moment we acknowledge the truth of the resurrection our lives fundamentally change.  Directed by the saving work of Christ we now engage the world on new terms: we witness through word and action the love of Jesus each and every day.  With our eyes fixed on heaven we boldly walk this earth as his disciples.  We live our lives with real truth and power.  We live our lives as God’s sons and daughters.

The authentic witness of our faith is THE WAY that people truly discover Jesus.  It was true for the disciples on that first Easter Day, and it is true for disciples today.

Perhaps today is the day that our faith takes on a deeper meaning and purpose in our lives – placing Jesus first in all that we say and do.  May this Easter Day fill our hearts with grace and power to live in the light of Christ.  May we let the Lord into our hearts and allow our lives to be transformed by his love.

Christ is alive!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!


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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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


Daily Mass: Strengthened by Christ in tough times. Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s Daily Mass Homily Podcast – Friday of the Octave of Easter

Daily Mass Readings

This is now the third day in a row where we perceive the same pattern: An encounter with Christ in the Gospel and the response of the disciples in the first reading.  Today’s response highlights persecution – those moments when our faith comes at a cost – and we witness the change in Peter who acts very differently in the light of Easter joy.

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Podcast Resources for a Powerful Lent

Three Great Things

There are many ways to get the most out of Lent.  This gift that the Church celebrates every year provides an opportunity for spiritual renewal.  Below you will find a short summary of some of the Homilies, Presentations and Retreats that I have offered over the last couple of years with themes that might speak to your own Lenten journey.  Feel free to try any of these podcasts; if they are helpful, you are welcome to share them with others.  After all, the purpose of the season is to draw our hearts to Jesus Christ!

Homilies

Preparing for Lent (13 Minutes) – This homily podcast offers some general helpful hints to consider as you get ready to enter into the season as a whole.  Given at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI on March 2, 2013.

Ash Wednesday (4 Minutes) – This short homily shows how messy, dirty, grimy ashes on the outside remind us of the messy, dirty, grimy reality of sin in our hearts.  As we repent and believe in the Gospel, may we call upon the Lord to wash us clean with the grace of Jesus Christ.  Given at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI on Feb. 18, 2015.  

Holy Thursday (8 Minutes) – At the Last Supper Jesus teaches and commands his disciples to receive his Body & Blood and give your life in service to others.  In our reception of Holy Communion may we be strengthened and renewed to offer our lives, following the example of Christ.  Given at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI on April 2, 2015.

Good Friday (10 Minutes) – The Cross of Christ – ugly, filthy with the blood of countless victims, jagged, and splintered – becomes the sign of the depth and breadth of agony Jesus endured.  As he embraces his suffering, the Cross becomes a bridge whereby he unites with all humanity, meeting us in our most profound moments of weakness and sin, and gives us hope through his triumph over death.  We must understand the Cross in the light of Easter joy: For if we only focus on the Cross then we have no hope – life becomes dark and filled with despair; and if we only focus on Easter joy then we have no respect for the gift of the Lord’s Passion – we do not value the price He paid for our salvation. Given at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI on April 3, 2015.

Easter (7 Minutes) – Their lives were changed; the sorrow cast from the shadow of the Cross is now transformed by resurrection glory…He’s alive!  The grace of Jesus Christ inspired the disciples to go out to the world – carrying their crosses – with the power the Lord’s triumph.  Christ brings this transformation to us today; his power continues to work in the world.  May we open our hearts to the resurrection…and be transformed!  Given at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI on April 5, 2015.

 

General Presentations

Personal Prayer: Making it Real (46 Minutes) – How do we make our personal prayer real?  This homily podcast highlights practical tips that bring power and meaning to our personal prayer. Given at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI on April 11, 2015.

Personal Healing & Renewal (44 Minutes) – The presentation explores a four step process of personal healing and renewal: Acknowledgement; Diagnosis; Prescription; and Follow through.  By examining four quadrants of human life (physical, intellectual, relational, spiritual) this presentation guides the listener toward personal growth in practical ways. Given to the Northern Waters Parish Nurse Group on October 9, 2015.

Christ Renews Our Lives! (31 Minutes) – This talk was presented to Confirmation students from the Cathedral and St. Francis Xavier parishes. Note these four points: God made us to be united with Him; Sin destroys our relationships with God and one another; Christ restores the relationship through his life, death, and resurrection; Each of us can choose to accept the gift of Christ and live as his disciple. Given at the Cathedral of Christ the King on November 11, 2015.

Extraordinary Life! (36 Minutes) – This “Theology on Tap” presentation asks some big questions:  Are you looking for some practical ways to transform your life?  Do you long for something special, filled with power, purpose, and meaning?  Fr. Andrew looks at 3 areas (Self, Others, God) and applies them to the ordinary and routine elements of daily life. Given at VIP in Superior, WI on October 22, 2015.

Prayer: Practical Pointers to Grow Closer to God (30 Minutes) – This “Theology on Tap” reflection offers some practical ways to strengthen your prayer life and grow closer to God.  Some topics include: Time, Space, Location, and Preparation; Dealing with Distraction; Using resources – including Scripture and Devotionals; Finding what works for you.  Given at Dubh Linh’s Pub in Duluth, MN on November 11, 2013.

 

Retreats

Knights of Columbus Men’s Retreat (September 13, 2014 – St. Joseph Church – Hayward, WI)  This Catholic Men’s Retreat explores three ways we draw near to Jesus Christ and one another: study, prayer, and service.

Eucharist (March 8, 2014 – St. Dominic Church – Frederic, WI) This parish retreat focuses on Eucharist as the central expression of our Catholic faith.

Christian in a Changing World (February 22-24, 2014 – Cathedral of Christ the King – Superior, WI) This parish mission looks at three key concepts: Our direction in life; our spiritual fitness; putting our faith into practice.

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.

May this Lent be filled with grace and power – God bless you!

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Easter – Transformed by the Resurrection – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s Easter Homily Podcast (7 minutes)

This homily was given on April 5, 2015 at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI.

Their lives were changed; the sorrow cast from the shadow of the Cross is now transformed by resurrection glory…He’s alive!  The grace of Jesus Christ inspired the disciples to go out to the world – carrying their crosses – with the power of the Lord’s triumph.

Christ brings this transformation to us today; his power continues to work in the world.  May we open our hearts to the resurrection…and be transformed!

 


Walking with the Lord in Holy Week – Easter – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

This is the 4th of four presentations given at a Parish Mission on March 9-12, 2015 for Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church in Green Valley, Arizona.

Fr. Andrew’s Presentation Podcast #4 – Easter (33 minutes)

The power of the Resurrection and subsequent outpouring of the Holy Spirit transforms the disciples – they have encountered the Risen Lord and no longer fear sin and death.  Rather, they engage the world with Good News and share the gift of their lives with power and joy.  This transformation must always be understood through the double lens of the Cross/Resurrection; only with a clear understanding of the sacrifice of Christ can we begin to truly appreciate the gift of Eternal Life.  Two key concepts surface:

  • Strength
  • Sunrise…of Hope!

Our STRENGTH comes from the Lord.  Through our daily encounter with Christ through prayer and sacrament we our empowered to choose our attitude and seek opportunities to live our faith in the unique and precious moments of each day.

Furthermore, the Good News of Christ leads to a SUNRISE of HOPE.  We recognize that our personal witness is most authentic when our lives exude the hope and joy that come from Christ’s resurrection.  Guided by the Fruits of the Spirit, we can honestly look within our hearts and cast out anything that keeps us from God and one another.