This is the 3rd 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 #3 – Good Friday (33 minutes)
Carrying his Cross for the salvation of the world, the Lord reveals two key insights for Christians:
SACRIFICE – giving up something for the sake of something more important – becomes self evident as the Lord offers his life as a perfect offering. Innocent and without sin, he takes our place and helps us to recognize our own sacrifices as a participation in his Cross.
SUPPORT appears when we look at two familiar figures in the Stations of the Cross – Simon of Cyrene and Veronica. We read about Simon in the Scriptures, and Veronica has been a part of the tradition of this devotional prayer for centuries; both of them show that even the smallest of actions proclaims the value of human life in our relationships with one another. Running toward suffering and sacrifice, we can (like a Firefighter) be agents in great and small ways for compassion, mercy, and tenderness.
2 Comments | tags: Catholic, Cross of Christ, Holy Week, Inspiration, Parish Mission, Passion of the Lord, Sacrifice, Support | posted in Podcast
This is the 2nd 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 #2 – Holy Thursday (33 minutes)
At the Last Supper on the night before he died, the Lord Jesus imparted two key commands that he gave to his disciples:
In SERVICE the Lord taught with through his example of washing the disciples’ feet. Found in John 13:1-15, Christ shows his disciples in a clear and direct way that following Jesus demands a call to serve one another. Service is the path that invites us to give our lives, sharing the unique skills, resources, experiences, and talents we have for the good of others.
In SACRAMENT the Lord defined the bread and wine as his body and blood. In addition to the Institution of the Eucharist found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke – St. Paul writes of this in 1st Corinthians 11:23-26. Jesus teaches his disciples about his Body & Blood, and then commands his followers to eat and drink. The Sacrament of the Eucharist is a crucial way in which we receive the Lord into our lives – providing us with the strength and grace we need to serve as his disciples.
Leave a comment | tags: Catholic, Eucharist, Holy Week, Inspiration, Jesus Christ, Lord's Supper, Parish Mission, Sacrament, Service, Washing the Disciples' Feet | posted in Podcast
This is the 1st 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 #1 – Palm Sunday (32 minutes)
This presentation sets the stage of Holy Week by discussing several key points:
- Passover – the feast celebrating the deliverance of the people of Israel from their bondage in Egypt
- Sabbath – the “7th Day” of the week (Saturday) which is dedicated to the Lord, beginning on sundown on Friday and running through sundown on Saturday
- Temple – the great structure, a holy place sacred to the Jews but also a lightning rod for political unrest against foreign rule
- Roman Empire – controlling the unstable region for its strategic position in commerce and military rule, constantly on the watch for rebellion and instability
- Jesus of Nazareth – the great teacher, healer, and prophet – the Son of God who initiates the encounter, knows what will happen, and embraces his mission (like a firefighter who runs toward the danger, not away)
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Study: What sacrifices do I currently face in my life? Do I recognize the presence of Christ as I carry my Cross?
Pray: Reflect on the Passion of the Lord. Recall the sacrifice of Jesus and take a moment to express gratitude for his love.
Serve: How might you help others face their sacrifices? Are there people you can comfort or assist as they carry their crosses?
Palm Sunday Readings (with Year B reading for the Procession with Palms)
Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast
On the road to Jerusalem the Lord was dropping hints to his disciples:
“See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised.” Matthew 20:18-19
He knew it was coming…and he went through with it.
And just so we’re clear: not because we’ve been good and deserve it. Because we’ve sinned and cannot continue without his saving grace. The sacrifice of Christ on the Cross reveals God’s love for humanity: the fundamental value which the Lord places on ALL human life and demonstrates how love is the greatest of all commandments – for sacrifices reveal quickly and bluntly what we value, respect, cherish, and love.
And Christ sacrificed his pure and sinless life…for our sins. The more we reflect on the Passion of the Lord, the more we understand the depth of God’s love that knows no limit or boundary – a priceless gift that flows from the heart of Heaven.
Which means that as his disciples the example of Christ becomes our model. Where do we see our sacrifices today? How do we – through a sincere and genuine desire to love others – participate in the great sacrifice of Jesus? What are the Crosses in our lives, and how might we carry them with the help of one who understands the weight of the Cross?
His Cross becomes a gateway that leads to abundant life; may the crosses we carry today be received as our path that the Lord sets before us:
- To grow in Grace
- To face our Fears
- To live in Love
Have a blessed Holy Week.
Leave a comment | tags: Catholic, Christ on the Cross, Cross, Holy Week, Inspiration, Mass, Palm Sunday, Passion of the Lord, Sacrifice, sacrifices | posted in Lent, Podcast
Study: Where do you find strength in your spiritual life?
Pray: Ask the Lord for guidance and wisdom to recognize his face in the poor, the suffering, and those in need.
Serve: Are you being drawn to help another right now? How can you serve those God has placed in your life today?
Holy Thursday Readings
Growing up in rural northern Wisconsin, I had the opportunity to work on several dairy farms. The work was hard, but we were always well fed. Many times I recall hearing the words, “Eat up, we’ve got work to do.”
It’s a simple message really. There is work to be done; it will be demanding and require a lot of energy. If you don’t have the necessary strength you won’t be able to follow through.
The same holds true for the spiritual life. Life makes many demands upon us, and as we serve and love others we, too, require sustenance for the work before us.
The Lord knew this. He left us the Sacrament of his Body and Blood – food that nourishes our souls and gives us the grace and strength of Jesus himself. Receiving Holy Communion, as the apostles did at the Lord’s Supper, is the primary way that we are fed spiritually.
But this grace has a purpose. At the Lord’s Supper, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and gave them an example of service to direct their actions toward one another. As modern day disciples, we witness our faith every time we genuinely serve others with sincerity and respect.
- We receive the Body of Christ (Holy Communion) to become the Body of Christ (the Church).
- As the Body of Christ is transformed (at the altar) we are transformed (in the world).
- As the Body of Christ is broken (in shared communion) we are broken (sharing our lives in service for others).
- As the Body of Christ nourishes us (in communion) we nourish others (in action that brings help, strength, and comfort).
In other words, receiving Holy Communion – instituted at the Lord’s Supper – strengthens us for the Lord’s work as his disciples. May our next reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood give us the grace we need to recognize the face of Jesus and respond with loving service.
1 Comment | tags: Catholic, Holy Communion, Holy Thursday, Holy Week, Inspiration, Mass, Sacrament, Service, spirituality | posted in Lent
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?
Holy Week audio retreats from the US Bishops
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.
Leave a comment | tags: Catholic, Death, Faith, Holy Week, Hope, Inspiration, Jesus Christ, Love, Mass, Paschal Mystery, Resurrection, spirituality | posted in Lent