Tag Archives: Paschal Mystery

The Passion of the Lord

The Face of Christ

Study:  Reflect on a time you experienced weakness and suffering.  Where did you find the strength to continue?

Pray:  Gaze upon a crucifix and offer to Christ any struggles you are facing right now.  Bring the needs of your loved ones to the foot of the Cross as well.

Serve:  Is there someone in your life who is carrying a heavy cross right now?  How can you offer comfort and assistance?

Palm Sunday Readings (with Year A reading for the Procession with Palms)

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; crosses 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 as well:  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 His Son, 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.  Yet the Cross appears to be 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?

In reality, the weakness revealed in the Cross uncovers our frailty, not God’s.  Jesus endured the Cross because of our broken, wounded nature.  He carried the Cross because we were unable to – as St. Paul writes “The wages of sin is death” in Romans 6:23 – and he bore the suffering, pain, and grief that are the natural result of our sinfulness.  God is not weak, rather God takes on our weakness so that we can be made whole.

The Cross proclaims the truth 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, loves us, and saves us through his Cross.

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

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.  Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!

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Catholic Inspiration Archives

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Note: This post was first published on April 3, 2017.


Daily Mass: The lesson of a grain of wheat. Catholic Inspiration

The Lord teaches a key concept – the Paschal Mystery of death to new life – through the example of a grain of wheat. What needs to “die” in us today so that God’s grace can raise up something new and blessed in our hearts?

Mass Readings – Saturday of the 18th Sunday of the Year (St. Lawrence)

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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


Daily Mass: The sacrifice of the one for the many. Catholic Inspiration

The prophetic words of Caiaphas reveal an insight into God’s plan for our salvation, “it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people.”  Jesus Christ takes our place by his death on the Cross so that our sins might be washed clean by his blood.  May this fact bring us to our knees in grateful thanks for what God has done for us.

Mass Readings – Saturday of the 5th Week of Lent

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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.


Daily Mass: Service and suffering out of love for Christ. Catholic Inspiration

The Lord offers us a profound insight into the path of discipleship: through suffering and service we conform our lives to Christ as we pour out our lives in love for one another.

Mass Readings – Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Lent

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


Daily Mass: The Cross of Christ directs our lives. Catholic Inspiration

The interaction between Jesus and the Apostles offers an important spiritual insight.  When we keep the Cross of Christ before our eyes we are able to dispel petty disputes, irritations, and inconveniences as we focus on what is truly important.

Mass Readings – Tuesday of the 7th Week of the Year

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


Palm Sunday: Behold the Cross of Christ

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?

Mass Readings – Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

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.

For us.

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.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

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Note: This post was originally published on March 22, 2015.


Daily Mass: Who is Jesus? Catholic Inspiration

The Gospel of John reveals that people are questioning the identity of Jesus and trying to kill him.   Who is he?  He is Christ the Lord, the Son of God who comes from the Father to save and set us free.

Mass Readings – Friday of the 4th Week of Lent

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts