Immersed in Christ Reflections Sun Apr 30

April 30, 2017 THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER (Year A) View Today's Readings The Joy of Life in Christ Questions to Ask Yourself What gives me the most joy in life? Have I ever sat down and tried to figure out the formula for a joyful life? What, in fact, do I do to find joy in life? Do I think of my religion primarily as a source of joy? What do I think religion is? How do I experience my own religion? Ideas to Consider The Entrance Antiphon declares that the whole world should find joy in God: “Let all the earth cry out to God with joy…. Proclaim his glorious praise.” And in the Opening Prayer we ask God to give us the kind of live, conscious hope in our own resurrection from the dead that, wh

Immersed in Christ Reflections Sat Apr 29

April 29, 2017 SATURDAY, Easter week two View Today's Readings The Responsorial Psalm is a prayer of trust based on relationship with God: “0 Lord, let your mercy be upon us, as we place our trust in you” (Psalm 33). Remember, to “have mercy” is to “come to the aid of another out of a sense of relationship.” In Acts 6: 1-7 the Church is facing a “crisis” — that is, a moment in which a decision must be made, one which will affect the well-being of the community. The response was given by the Twelve or “college” of the Apostles (represented now by the worldwide “college of bishops.” A “college” is a “permanent assembly” with certain collective powers and responsibilities: see Catechism of the

Immersed in Christ Reflections Fri Apr 28

April 28, 2017 FRIDAY, Easter week two View Today's Readings The Responsorial Psalm seems to be an unlikely echo to the first reading: “One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord” (Psalm 27). In Acts 5: 34-42 the Jewish authorities wanted to kill the Apostles. After Gamaliel spoke, they “had them flogged” instead, “ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.” Flogging is better than dying, but neither one seems anything to rejoice in. But that is what the Apostles did: “As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.” Even after suffering for their faith — and because of it! — they were able t

Immersed in Christ Reflections Thur Apr 27

April 27, 2017 THURSDAY, Easter week two View Today's Readings The Responsorial Psalm tells: “The Lord hears the cry of the poor” (Psalm 34). He pours out on them his Spirit and bears witness through them. Acts 5: 27-33 shows us the Apostles, ordinary, weak men without any human power or resources, standing up to the highest authority in Israel, the Sanhedrin (council of seventy-one elders, chief priests and scribes, presided over by the high priest). Their strength came from the certitude of their faith about two things: 1. God had raised Jesus from the dead and “exalted him… as leader and savior.” 2. They were doing God’s will: “We must obey God rather than any human authority.” Ultimately

Immersed in Christ Reflections Wed Apr 26

April 26, 2017 WEDNESDAY, Easter week two View Today's Readings The Responsorial Psalm assures us that God can deliver us from anything that holds us back from the fullness of life: “The Lord hears the cry of the poor” (Psalm 34). In Acts 5: 17-26 God sent his angel to deliver the Apostles from a physical prison. But he did it to send the Apostles themselves as “angels”(messengers) to “tell the people everything about this life.” What really delivers people is the life of grace, especially when lived with the mutual support of a community of faith. That is to “be Church.” We are all imprisoned — to a greater or lesser extent, but still deeply and dangerously — in our “culture.” We can’t see

Immersed in Christ Reflections Tues Apr 25

April 25, 2017 TUESDAY, Easter week two View Today's Readings The Responsorial Psalm is a proclamation of victory: “The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty” (Psalm 93). And this is what Christianity is: a proclamation that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and won the gift of divine life for all who believe in him. The prophets make this proclamation credible by visibly embodying the teachings of Jesus in their lifestyle. They make the living Jesus visible in their bodies. Acts 4: 32-37 shows us the first Christians as a community making the divine life of Jesus visible in their lifestyle: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed anything as a personal po

Immersed in Christ Reflections Mon Apr 24

April 24, 2017 MONDAY, Easter week two View Today's Readings The Responsorial Psalm shows us how to deal with fear when we are threatened because of the witness we bear to Jesus: Happy are all who put their trust in the Lord” (Psalm 2). In Acts 4: 23-31 Peter and John seek support from the faith of the community after they have been commanded by the priests and elders “never to mention that man’s name [Jesus] to anyone again.” The response of the whole community is first to recall and proclaim the sovereignty of God “who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them.” Next they affirmed God’s power and the certainty of his triumph over his enemies: “Why did the Gentiles rage, the pe

Immersed in Christ Reflections, Sun Ap 23

THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER, Year A View Today's Readings Experiencing and Expressing the Risen Life Questions to Ask Yourself When do you experience yourself as most alive by grace? Does this usually depend on what other people are doing (or doing together with you)? How much of it depends on what you yourself are doing? What have you done that has given you the experience, the felt conviction, of being alive by grace? Ideas to Consider The Entrance Antiphon counsels us, “Rejoice to the full in the glory that is yours.” The way to appreciate this glory is to “Give thanks to God who has called you to his kingdom.” Just remembering it makes us add, “Alleluia.” The Opening Prayer reminds us th

Immersed in Christ Reflections Sat April 22

April 22, 2017 SATURDAY, first week of Easter View Today's Readings The Responsorial Psalm gives us one source of the assurance we need to have if we are going to stand up as prophets in spite of rejection and opposition: “I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me” (Psalm 118). The whole Psalm is a hymn of confidence based on the experience of calling on God and being rescued. What gives confidence to prophets is the experience of following inspirations that were proven — by their fruits, usually — to have been true. Acts 4: 13-21 shows us Peter and John standing up to the highest authorities in Israel, daring them to tell them whether “it is right in the sight of God for us to obe

Immersed in Christ Reflections Fri. Apr. 21

April 21, 2017 FRIDAY, first week of Easter View Today's Readings Our life has to be built on interacting with Jesus, consulting his mind, responding to his inspirations, relying on his strength. The Christian life is a life of constant interaction with the living person of Jesus Christ, who is with us and within us. Acts 4: 1-12 contrasts Israel’s “leaders, elders and scribes… and all who were of the high-priestly caste” with the disciples of Jesus. For the authorities and those publicly recognized as leaders in Israel, Jesus was “the stone rejected by the builders.” But for those who believe, he “has become the cornerstone” — of the Church, of life, and of that “life to the full” which is

Immersed in Reflections: Thur, April 20

April 20, 2017 THURSDAY, first week of Easter View Today's Readings The Responsorial Psalm is our response of faith to Jesus’ death and resurrection: “O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8). The theme of Acts 3: 11-26 is that through the resurrection of Jesus — as made manifest in the Church, his risen body on earth today — God “has glorified his servant Jesus” and made clear to all that he “has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets.” God’s promise to Abraham was, “In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” This was not the blessing of prosperity through political justice and p

Immersed in Christ Reflections, Wed Apr 19

April 19 2017 WEDNESDAY, Easter, week one View Today's Readings The Responsorial Psalm tells us the path to joy: “Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord” (Psalm 105). Those who seek will find; and what they find will give them the fullness of joy. In Acts 3: 1-10 the lame man found something he did not seek. Instead of money he received healing. And his cure brought others to find something they were not seeking. There is a three-step pattern in the Apostles’ preaching of the Good News. First, there is an event that shocks— like the cure of the lame man or the enthusiasm of Pentecost. The event is something that raises a question (Acts 2: 1-13; 3: 9-11; 4:7). This is called pre-evangeliza­tion

Immersed in Christ Reflections, Tues April 18

April 18, 2017 TUESDAY, first week of Easter View Today's Readings The Responsorial Psalm insists: “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (Psalm 33). In the darkest times the earth is full of light if we look for it. When we feel like saying, “We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader” (Daniel 3: 25), the truth is, the Church is filled with prophets and leaders. We ourselves have the gifts of prophecy and leadership. We just have to use them. In Acts 2: 36-41 Peter proclaims Christ’s defeat on the cross as his victory: “God has made him both Lord and Christ [Anointed, Messiah]…. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” St. Paul reaffirms this: “To each is given the

Immersed in Christ Reflections, Mon April 17

MONDAY, first week of Easter: 1 View Today's Readings The Responsorial Psalm is a key to the readings: “Keep me safe, O God’ you are my hope” (Psalm 16). Acts 2: 14-33 says that because David was a prophet “he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,” and that when he wrote (in Psalm 16) “you will not abandon my soul to the nether world, nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption,” he meant the Messiah would be raised from the dead. This is true, but we should not be simplistic about it. We don’t have to say that David was consciously aware of this. He could have been talking about himself, and only meant that God was not going to let him be killed anytime soon. But actu

We are Prophets

April 16, 2017 EASTER SUNDAY OF YEAR A-B-C (Morning Mass) View Today's Readings Questions to Ask Yourself What do you see that needs to be changed — reformed or renewed — in our society? What do you see “the Church” doing about it? Stop. When you asked what “the Church” is doing, were you thinking of what the bishops and clergy are doing? Or were you spontaneously thinking of the whole Church — bishops and nuns, laity and priests — all working together? Do you think of the “Church” as guided and directed “from the top down”? Or do you assume that most of the leadership and Take Initiatives are coming “from the bottom up,” and that those in authority are just accepting and encouraging these T

Holy Saturday Reflections

View Today's Readings The liturgy teaches us to meditate on the word of God by giving us examples of meditation. One of the most all-inclusive meditations on the mystery and gift of the death and resurrection of Jesus is the Exsultet or “Easter Proclamation.” First the presiding priest lights the Easter candle from the new fire that was kindled in darkness at the doors of the church as a symbol of the new light Jesus brought into the world. He prays in the name of all: “May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.” The victory of Christ is a victory of Truth over error. His light is the “light of life.” God’s word is a light to “walk in.” We reflect

Good Friday

The Responsorial (Psalm 31) expresses the choice our whole lives should lead to: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” The readings show us the faith, hope and love we need to do it. Both Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12 and Hebrews 4:14 to 5:9 are reflections on the Passion Narrative, John 18:1 to 19:42. Isaiah looks ahead to it; Hebrews looks back on it. Both are meditations. Isaiah tells us Jesus’ life had value “because he surrendered himself to death.” The same is true of ours. By “dying” in Baptism to everything life on this earth offers and promises, we entered into Life. But we have to live out that death. In this fourth and last “Song of the Servant,” Isaiah says the life of Jesus and

Mass of the Lord's Supper

April 13, 2017 Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper View Today's Readings The “Easter triduum” are three days that constitute one single celebration. Any one of them without the others is incomplete. The Easter Vigil celebrates the resurrection of Jesus as the mystery that gives meaning to all human life and history. But without the celebration of Christ’s sacrificial death on Good Friday, Easter would be unintelligible. And without the institution of the Eucharist, celebrated on Holy Thursday, Christ’s death and resurrection would be a thing of the past — reported, remembered and relied-upon – but present only to God in the transcendent “Now” of eternity; not present to us in the time

“Lord, in your great love, answer me.”

April 12, 2017 Wednesday of Holy Week View Today's Readings The Responsorial (read all of Psalm 69) is the constant prayer of the servants of God: “Lord, in your great love, answer me.” Isaiah 50: 4-9 is the third Song of the Servant. The Servant neither depends on human support nor fears human opposition. His confidence is in God. • God has equipped him: “The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue.” Think of how God has equipped us in the Church. But for our “tongue” to serve, it must be “trained” through use of “word and sacrament.” • Training is ongoing: “Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear.” The Servant is a continuing disciple. He listens. Daily. “The Servant must

In the Absence of the Human, the Divine is Revealed

April 11, 2017 Tuesday of Holy Week View Today's Readings Isaiah 49: 1-6 is the beginning of the second Song of the Servant. These songs portray the ideal Servant of God, the perfect Israelite, whose consecration to the divine will, even in the midst of overwhelming suffering, ‘takes away the sins of many.’ The Servant’s identity is complex: The Servant is “Israel, alive in all of her great leaders and intercessors.... But the collective interpretation leads to an individual Servant of supreme holiness, greater than any single Israelite of the past.... It was Jesus who clearly identified himself as the Servant.... The Servant is both a collective personality and an individual messiah.[1] For

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