Tag Archives: Paschal Mystery

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.

***************

Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

***************

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

***************
Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


Daily Mass: Our Lady of Sorrows. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – Our Lady of Sorrows

Following immediately after yesterday’s Feast of the Holy Cross, the readings today focus on Mary as she endured the “sword of sorrow” as she stood at the Cross of her son.  Her sorrow reaches out through time and space to all people who have been overwhelmed by grief.  May her example help us to face our moments of pain with a sure and steadfast faith in Jesus Christ.

***************

Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

***************

The Descent from the Cross, Rogier van der Weyden, 1435, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid.

Note: This is one of the most moving paintings I have ever stood before.  


The Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

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 Paschal Mystery – the death and resurrection of Christ – speaks to the heart 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.

***************

Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


Daily Mass: Who do you say that I am? Catholic Inspiration

padre-pio

Fr. Andrew’s Daily Mass Homily Podcast

Mass Readings – Friday of the 25th Week of the Year (St. Pius of Pietrelcina)

The Lord asks his disciples “Who do you say that I am?”  After hearing their responses the Lord offers an intense answer: he is the Christ who will suffer, die and be raised on the third day.  May the example of Padre Pio inspire us to embrace the intensity of our lives with the grace and guidance of Jesus.

***************

And if you are looking for some prayers that were important in the life of Padre Pio, check out these two links:

General information about Padre Pio

Prayers that were important to Padre Pio

 


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!

HarringtonWed_422

 


Good Friday – The Cross of Christ – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s Good Friday Homily Podcast (10 minutes)

This homily was given on April 3, 2015 at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI.

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 appreciate the price that was paid for our salvation.

We look to the Cross and allow Christ’s Passion to touch our lives.  We unite with Jesus and give grateful thanks that he has redeemed us in every aspect of our lives.

Come to the Cross and unite your heart to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.

Be redeemed by Love Himself, who gave his life to save and set us free.

 


Good Friday – Sacrifice & Support

Crucifixion

Study:  Where have I made sacrifices in my life?  What do these sacrifices reveal about my values and priorities?

Pray:  Reflect on those who are suffering right now.  Draw near to them in your prayer, asking the Lord to give them strength.

Serve:  Who is carrying a cross in your life today?  How can you help them?

Good Friday Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast (10 minutes)

For what would you give your life?  For who?

Perhaps this is too extreme as a starting point.  Perhaps the first question should be where in my life have I made consistent sacrifices?  Where in my life have I given up something because I believed in something more important?

Sacrifices reveal the depth and character of our heart.  They show our values, principles, and convictions in straightforward and direct ways.  Our sacrifices quickly point out the hidden parts of our soul – either to be confirmed/denied by the words we speak – and proclaim to others our inner self.

In general sacrifice means giving our lives – sometimes in simple service, minor inconveniences, labors of love, seasons of selflessness, or in extreme cases: offering our lives.  We make sacrifices all the time.

So did Christ.

As we read the Passion of the Lord today we discover the love Christ has for every human soul; the Lord willingly hung upon the Cross for our sins – sacrificing his innocent life for the pains and hurts we have inflicted upon one another.  His sacrifice reveals his love for us (even on our worst days) as something so precious that it is worth all the pain and humiliation that the devil could provide.

Where do we see ourselves in the Passion?  What crosses have we been given to carry – participating in some small way with the Cross of Christ?  Or are we like Simon of Cyrene or Veronica – assisting with others in their own journey to Calvary?  Are we making sacrifices or offering support for others in their need?  We read the Passion every year on Good Friday to remind ourselves not only of what the Lord has done for us, but also that we, too, have a part to play.  Our crosses participate in the Cross of Christ; our support for one another shares in the comfort which others offered to Jesus.

May this Good Friday drive us to our knees – thanking the Lord for what he did for us, and inspiring us to walk willingly with others in their need.

**********

The crucifixion, Pieter Lastman; 1616, Museum het Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam, Netherlands.


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?

**********

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.


Catholic Inspiration – Walking with the Lord in Holy Week – All Talks

Three Great Things

Below are all the recorded homilies and presentations offered at the Parish Mission for Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church in Green Valley, AZ from March 7-12, 2015.  Special thanks to the wonderful people at OLV for their hospitality – what a joy to be among you!

Sunday Homily Podcast – 3rd Sunday of Lent (Year B) – Saturday, March 7, 2015.

Monday Homily Podcast – Monday of the 3rd Sunday of Lent (Year I) – March 9, 2015.

Holy Week Presentation Podcast #1 – Palm Sunday – March 9, 2015.

Tuesday Homily Podcast – Tuesday of the 3rd Sunday of Lent (Year I) – March 10, 2015.

Holy Week Presentation Podcast #2 – Holy Thursday – March 10, 2015.

Holy Week Presentation Podcast #3 – Good Friday – March 11, 2015.

Thursday Homily Podcast – Thursday of the 3rd Sunday of Lent (Year I) – March 12, 2015.

Holy Week Presentation Podcast #4 – Easter – March 12, 2015.

In addition, I wish to thank the parishioners at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Solon Springs, WI who welcomed me to preach a concentrated version of this Mission on Saturday, February 28, 2015 – thank you for your kindness…these presentations grew out of our day together!