Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter Sunday

Acts 10: 34 a, 37-43
Ps 118: 1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Col 3:1-4
Jn 20:1-9

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.”
"To je dan , ki ga je Gospod, naredil, veselimo se ga in se radujmo"

These joyful words have been circling the globe and stirring the universe for hours.  First in Australia, then Taiwan and the underground Churches of Mainland China.  After passing through Asia and Russia they are being proclaimed here in Slovenia.  By the end of this day, the joyful command from the psalms will have been repeated in: Mandarin, Swahili, Tagalog, Slovenian, Croatian, Portuguese, French, English, and every other tongue in the known world, as the news of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is proclaimed yet again.

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.” 

The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles summarized Jesus’ life, beginning with His baptism and ending with His death on the cross.  We heard the commission to the apostles to preach the message of salvation.  It is the same commission we received: Preach the message of salvation through Jesus! That message is the reason we are to rejoice and be glad.  Jesus IS the one set apart. Those who believe in him have  forgiveness of sins through His name.

"To je dan, ki ga je Gospod naredil, veselimo se ga in se radujmo"

As St. Paul so memorably wrote in the Letter to the Romans:  “God showed his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”  While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.  Jesus, fully Divine and fully human, Son of God and Son of Mary, like us in all things but sin, died for our sins, because of our sins, and to save us from those sins.  We are sinners.  But, we are sinners passionately loved by God.  We are redeemed by Jesus’ passion and death in a redemption made manifest in His resurrection from the dead.  What more can we say than?

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.” 

In the proclamation of John’s Gospel we heard of the disciple’s astonishment, confusion, sorrow, and fear upon discovering that the tomb in which Jesus had been placed was empty. The burial cloths were rolled up and lying off to the side.  The last line of this Gospel reading is the most instructive:  “Remember, as yet they did not understand the Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.”  ". . . they did not yet understand.  Despite the years that they had followed Him the disciples did not really understand who this Jesus was.  But that was going to change at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended.

The apostle’s confusion and lack of understanding about Jesus mirrors our situation.  Despite Jesus’ action in our lives, we don’t always understand.  Unlike the apostles who lived the events recounted here in real time we have scripture and the tradition of the Church to instruct us and help us understand.  Still, we don’t always get it.  We sometimes fail to understand how great a gift Jesus is to us.  We sometimes fail to appreciate the gift he gave us. Thus, it is today, and every day, we are called to pray, to meditate on scripture and to receive the Body and Blood of Christ so that unlike the apostles, we will understand, we will see, and, through understanding and seeing ,we will believe.

Last night, we gathered to bless the new fire and to light this paschal candle.  The words repeated while inscribing the paschal candle explain everything.

“Christ yesterday and today the beginning and the end.  Alpha and Omega; all time belongs to him, and all the ages; to him be glory and power, through every age for ever.” 

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad.”
"To je dan, ki ga je Gospod, naredil, veselimo se ga in se radujmo"


The main stained glass window in the Jesuit residence chapel at The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.  Excellent school.  Taken while on retreat there a few years ago.

The tabernacle at St. Joseph Abbey, a Trappist monastery not too far from Holy Cross.  The abbey church is beautiful.   The grounds of the enclosure exquisite.  

The rose window at the back of St. Joseph.  The window faces directly west.  I've been in the choir there often to appreciate the effect of the light at various times of the year at vespers.  Vespers is celebrated at 5:30.  Very different light in the summer than in the winter. 

The Abbey Church at St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, PA.  The archabbey is the first Benedictine house in the U.S. over 200 years ago.  It was the recent location of Arnold Palmer's funeral.  The archabbey grounds include the monastery, alas a brutalist architecture design to replace the original abbey that burned, a college, and a seminary.  
The reserved holy oils at the archabbey.
 The cross at Old St. Joseph Church on Willing's Alley in Philly between Walnut and Locust and between S 4th and S 3rd.  National Historic Landmark.  Exquisitely architected and done building.  Because it is a landmark it cannot be updated (I use the term with a bit of sarcasm).  The altar rail remains intact and echoes the curve of the balcony.  It is a gem. 

The sacristy at Old St. Joe before Mass.

The "Red Cathedral" in Saigon, Vietnam (aka Ho Chi Minh City).  Photography is allowed but no one is allowed to wander.  One views the cathedral from the back. 

A simple village church in rural Viet Nam somewhere in the Mekong Delta just outside My Tho. 

A shrine to Our Lady in Lyon, France.  Unfortunately the sanctuary of the cathedral was blocked off for major repair.  Apparently there was some subsidence.  

Candles reflected in the metal on a wall.  Taken in the lower chapel of The Basilica Notre Dame de Fourviere, in Lyon, France.  Different from the cathedral.

Saint-Martin d'Ainay.  The site of a Benedictine monastery founded in the 9th century

May you have a Blessed Easter
+ Fr. Jack SJ, MD