Saturday, April 08, 2023

Today is Easter Sunday 2023.


"On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. 

"So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”

"So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. 

"When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. 

"Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead." (John 20: 1 - 9).

Easter Sunday 9th April 2023, Easter Sunday of the glorious Resurrection of the Lord.

When Peter and John entered the empty tomb, they saw what gave them a pause and serious matter for reflection. 

Jesus was not in the tomb. But the burial clothes were neatly arranged as if the person simply slipped through the clothes without disturbing them in any way. 

John observed this and concluded that there could be only one explanation: Jesus has risen from the dead.

This incident explains why Jesus forecast His passion and death and none of the disciples remembered this. 

"They did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead." (John 20: 9).

Have you observed anything that make you believe that Jesus is risen and alive?  For me, there are two incontrovertible reasons to believe in the Resurrection of Jesus:

#1. The existence of the Church. The Church is born of Easter faith. 

#2. The self-sacrificing work of missionaries all over the world for over 2000 years. The faith of Mary Magdalene, Peter & Paul is the same Easter faith that animates millions of missionaries today all over the world. 

How about you?  Has your faith grown in Lent 2023?

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Friday, April 07, 2023

Holy Saturday Mass of the Great Easter Vigil.

Jesus Christ is Risen Indeed. 

“After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning,

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.

And behold, there was a great earthquake;

for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven,

approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.

His appearance was like lightning

and his clothing was white as snow.

The guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men.

Then the angel said to the women in reply,

“Do not be afraid!

I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.

He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.

Come and see the place where he lay.

Then go quickly and tell his disciples,

‘He has been raised from the dead,

and he is going before you to Galilee;

there you will see him.’

Behold, I have told you.”

Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples.

And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.

They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.

Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.

Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,

and there they will see me.” (Matthew 28: 1 - 10).

Saturday April 8th, Holy Saturday at the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter. 

My brothers and sisters, we celebrate tonight the Great Easter Vigil.  The mother of all feasts. The Church allover the world will be trembling with excitement and joy when the great Easter Proclamation (Exsultet) rings out. Let us note for our reflection some key truths from the Great Easter Proclamation:

#1 "This is our Passover feast, when Christ, the true lamb is slain, whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers."

#2 "What good would life have been to us if Christ had not come as our Redeemer?"

#3 "The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy; it casts out hatred, brings us peace and humbles earthly pride."

#4 "Therefore heavenly Father, in the joy of this night, receive our evening sacrifice of praise, your Church's offering."

#5 "May the Morning Star which never sets find this flame still burning:

Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead, and shed his peaceful light on all mankind, your Son who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen."

This is our Passover Feast.

“God raised up Jesus, freeing him from the pains of death” (Acts 2:24).

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Thursday, April 06, 2023

God had the last laugh on Good Friday.


“Look, I am bringing him out to you, so that you may know that I find no guilt in him.”

"So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak. And Pilate said to them,

“Behold, the man!”

When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out,

“Crucify him, crucify him!”

Pilate said to them,

“Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him.” (The Passion of the Lord according to St John).

"We do not have the right to execute anyone.” (John 18: 31).

Friday 7th April 2023, Good Friday of the Lord's Passion. 

The Jewish leaders see the death of Jesus on the Cross as the execution of a criminal. 

“If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.”

How do you see the death of Jesus on the Cross?

"It is love "to the end" that confers on Christ's sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered his life. Now "the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died." (CCC 616).

"But he was pierced for our sins,

crushed for our iniquity.

He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed." (Isaiah 52: 5).

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Wednesday, April 05, 2023

Holy Thursday, Holy Example.

Holy Thursday, the Beginning of the Easter Celebrations.

"If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. 

 I have given you a model [example] to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do." (John 13: 14 - 15).

Thursday 6th April 2023, Holy Thursday, Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper.

Jesus gives us a new commandment this evening:  "Love one another as I have loved you." (John 13: 34). 

This new commandment is now enfleshed in an unforgettable Example. Consider for a moment the power of example, testimony and biography. The three which are synonymous are unparalleled way of teaching. It works for kids. It works for their parents.

Today is Holy Thursday.  According to ancient tradition, the Church celebrates this evening the Mass of the Last Supper.  

When Jesus celebrated the first Mass at the Last Supper, the Apostles did not understand what He was doing.  The narrative of today's Gospel is dominated by the event of the washing of the feet of the apostles, an event so significant that it was incorporated into the Holy Thursday liturgy from ancient times.  What does this event mean for us?

Jesus the Lord and Teacher of the Apostles just washed the dirty feet of the astounded Apostles and then called it an example.

Whose feet will you prefer to wash?

"If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.  I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do."  (John 13: 14 - 15).

We pray to the Eternal Father that we may experience the effects of the salvation which is pledged to us by these mysteries.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2023

Wednesday in Holy Week - Betrayals Wednesday.


"One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” 

"They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over....

"When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

"Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” He said in reply, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” 

Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”

 He answered, “You have said so.” (Matthew 26: 14.... 25).

Wednesday 5th April 2023 in Holy Week.

Towards the end of His life, Jesus reveals more and more the testimony of Sacred Scripture about the gathering storm of His passion and death.

About Judas, he said, "The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed." (Matthew 26: 24).

The Gospel of today presents for our reflection: Sin, Betrayal and Repentance.

The word "Betrayal" is used in today's Gospel, Matthew 26: 14 - 25 six times.  You may call it:  Betrayal Wednesday in Holy Week. 

So what do you think of the mystery of sin and betrayal?

Every single sin is a betrayal of someone.  

The price of Judas to betray Jesus is 30 pieces of silver. 

What is your price? What is it that you love and prefer to Jesus? That is the price you ask for your sin or betrayal.

Jesus' ministry is framed around "appointed time," "fullness of time." There may be a number of reasons why Jesus at this time wants to anchor His disciples on the testimony of Scripture about Him and His mission.

#1. His death would shatter whatever faith the disciples had in Him. It therefore became necessary that they learn that He is the Lord of history and knew everything that would happen in His passion.

#2. The disciples would see too that He entered His passion and death freely of His own accord. He was not trapped in Gethsemane and arrested as a helpless fugitive from justice.

Paul wrote that Christ died and rose from the dead according to the Scriptures, that is, according to the plan of God predicted in the Scriptures.

As we approach the Easter Triduum, our faith in Jesus as both God who knows the past and future and as Man who manifested fear in Gethsemane of His suffering should grow.

"There are graces destined for My priests in this the night of My agony and of My betrayal that are not given at any other time. I am bound tonight. I have already been taken, and My captors led Me away as a lamb to the Slaughter. I am silent but My Heart watches and waits for My priests. If only they would come to Me, I would undo the bonds that hold them in slavery. I would give them light in the spiritual darknesses that oppress them. I would speak to them words of comfort and of compassion." (IN SINU JESU, Maundy Thursday Night March 20, 2008).

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Monday, April 03, 2023

God is my refuge and my strength.

The LORD called me from birth.

"Hear me, O islands,

listen, O distant peoples.

The LORD called me from birth,

from my mother's womb he gave me my name.

He made of me a sharp-edged sword

and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.

He made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me.

You are my servant, he said to me,

Israel, through whom I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,

and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,

Yet my reward is with the LORD,

my recompense is with my God.

For now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb,

That Jacob may be brought back to him

and Israel gathered to him;

And I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,

and my God is now my strength!

It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,

to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel;

I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth."  (Isaiah 49: 1 - 6).

Tuesday 4th April 2023, Tuesday of Holy Week.

In the first Reading from Isaiah 49: 1 - 6, God reveals His plan for you and for me if we are thirsty and ready to receive divine favors. God is searching every day for priest, prince and prophet to help proclaim the Good News and bring about the rapid return of Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. 

Abba Father, give me the light and illumination of the Holy Spirit that I may be a light for You everywhere.

You are so true and so faithful my God. Your precious and faithful promises are my security and protection.

"In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.

Be a rock where I can take refuge,

a mighty stronghold to save me; for you are my rock, my stronghold."

(Cf Psalm 71: 1 - 17)

Like Isaiah on this Tuesday of Holy Week, we pray with expectant faith for the grace to be a light that shines for Jesus in our homes and work.

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Sunday, April 02, 2023

Mary of Bethany anoints the feet of Jesus.

Do not criticize Mary. I approve of what she is doing.

"Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 

"They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.

"Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. 

"Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said, “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?” He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions. 

"So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

"The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him."  (John 12: 1 - 11).

Monday 3rd April 2023, Monday of Holy Week.

In six days, it will be the Passover. Jesus visited the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, His very good friends. Perhaps to enjoy one last good meal and wine in Martha's Vineyard before His Passion. The star of the story today is not the matriarch, Martha whose hospitality is proverbial nor their apparently recluse brother, Lazarus.

The star is Mary who performed an outlandish gesture to demonstrate her love for Jesus. 

She broke a vial of what may be considered the very top line of precious and exquisite perfumes and poured the oozing aromatic liquid on the feet of Jesus and wiped the feet with her long hairs.

While some guests like Apostle Judas criticized this apparent waste, Jesus was very pleased and spoke up for Mary.

Who is Mary? Mary is the sister of Martha and Lazarus. They hail from the village of Bethany a couple of miles from Jerusalem. We want to focus here not on Mary of Bethany but on Mary, a type of female passionate follower of Jesus who is marked by the following characteristics:

#1 Absolute and radical commitment.

#2 Total self-giving.

#3 Deep consecration (set apart) to Jesus and His cause.

Consider the following female saints who fit this profile:

  1. Mary of Nazareth, the Mother of the Son.

  2. Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles.

  3. Margaret Mary, the Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

  4. Mary Faustina, the Apostle of Divine Mercy.

We are today in the last week of Lent 2023. Where are you in the Journey of knowing Jesus more intimately so that you can love Him more passionately and follow Him everywhere.

I share below a powerful inspiration I received from the SENDING FORTH Song today at the Mass of the Passion of the LORD.





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