Tag Archives: Passion of the Lord

Palm Sunday: Christ dies that we may live. Catholic Inspiration

We read the Passion of Jesus Christ so that we remember each year the Lord’s sacrifice for our eternal salvation.  May the Precious Blood of the Savior wash us clean and renew our hearts for this life…and the life to come.

Mass Readings – Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


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.


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.

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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?

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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.


Palm Sunday – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast – Palm Sunday

Christ comes to Jerusalem – knowing that he will suffer and die – that through his Cross and Resurrection we might be saved from sin and death.  Like a firefighter, he approaches the fire to rescue us.  He invites us to take his hand, that he might lead us into a freedom of faith and eternal life.

Our invitation is to let go of the sins and hurts that have bound us; to unclench our hands from past injuries and allow his saving grace to set us free.

This homily was given on March 29, 2015 at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI.


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!