Sunday, March 18, 2018
(This homily was inspired by a talk given by Father William Bausch)
For centuries, the three great Pilgrimage destinations were Rome, Santiago de Compostela and Jerusalem. Rome – to the tomb of St. Peter & all the holy sites. Santiago – to the tomb of St. James. And Jerusalem to the holy places, but most especially the tomb of Jesus Christ.
These trips were costly and dangerous. But the Franciscans came up with a great idea – we will bring Jerusalem to the people – and the Stations of the Cross were born. Artists began to sketch the holy places, and they were hung in churches. The number went from 7 to 24, but eventually they settled on 14.
They are called Stations – stationary standing places. We are invited to stand before each Station for 2 reasons: First – to meditate upon the scene. Second – to enter into it. That is, to become a participant!
1) Pilate Condemns Jesus to death. Did he have to? He seems to have some understanding that Jesus is innocent. He thought, let’s torture Jesus for a bit. Maybe that will be enough. Not good enough. Well, let’s release 1 prisoner, but they chose Barabbas. Now what? – I wash my hands. Should know better! Should stand up for the truth but I did not.
4) Jesus meets his Mother. Mary’s heart is broken. She wants to help him but she can’t. She would have gladly changed places with Him. Mary is every parent who tried to save their children. She is every parent who stands watching in a hospital or at a drug treatment center. Every parent who has prayed that their child would end a sinful lifestyle or who has left the faith. They instead stand silently offer their prayers and their tears.
5) Simon is forced to carry the cross. Simon stands for all the people who carry crosses they did not want or bargain for – cancer, addiction, sick parent or child, divorce, job loss, depression. Yet Simon, first forced to carry the cross, then began to understand, then he began to love this man, and his whole family would become followers of Jesus.
6) Veronica – she stops and shows compassions. She walks with Him even when nothing else can be done. She could have run away, but she did not.
9) Jesus falls a 3rd time. You may say I know this station from experience. I keep falling. I am trapped in this habit of sin. I keep gossiping, quick judgments, anger, misuse of internet. I keep falling Stations should say – Jesus GETS UP the third time.
12) Jesus dies on the cross – Father forgive them, they know not what they do. Help me to get rid of grudges and holding on to a hard heart. Jesus had a deeper love. Might I learn the same love?
14) Into the Tomb – I am empty, there is no hope. All is darkness. A loveless marriage, a dead end job, a bad relationship. Where is God? Faith is routine and empty. The stone has been placed over the tomb. But is that stone going to stay there forever.
And now we understand – unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat – but if it dies, it produces much fruit – 1 grain can produce 70 grains.
The Stations of the Cross – a wonderful way to prepare for Holy Week and Easter!
Monday, March 12, 2018
I will be seeing my 7th doctor who will attempt to diagnose my foot pain on Friday, March 23. He is at NYU Langone in NYC. Doctors at NYU fixed my afib a few years ago. Let's hope they can get a handle on my foot!!! Thanks for your prayers!
For some reason our Convent is on 2 circuits. One circuit is still out and affecting additional homes on 376. Thankfully, our Sisters have heat and power in some locations in their home. However, some power is still out, including the lights in the Adoration Chapel. So, we can only open in daylight hours until this problem is fixed. We will be open until further notice from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thank you for your patience!
John 3:16 – Memorized by most Protestants, perhaps we should too! – for God so loved the world – central teaching of the NT. That we might have eternal life!
Today’s Gospel Recalls the Exodus story – snakes biting people – Moses was told: mount the snake on a pole and anyone who looks at it will be healed. Became symbol of medical profession. Caduceus
Strange – that which caused death now becomes the instrument of life?! A sign of what was to happen later: Jesus nailed the snake – the Evil One – to the cross. He took the weight of all sin upon His shoulders!
The cross – In the early Church, Christians DID NOT want to pray in front of one or wear one. Go to catacombs - no crosses – more like Xst the Good Shepherd or the Lamb of God. It was simply too close in time to Jesus’ Crucifixion – plus Romans still used crucifixion.
Only after 300 years could they look at it again. Devotion began to take off when St. Helen discovered the True Cross in Jerusalem.
So developed the idea of a crucifix - cruci fixus – fixed to the cross. INRI Today we expect to see one in a Catholic Church. Many of us have one hanging over our bed.
Other devotions began to develop:
Sign of the Cross: around the 200’s – in the name of the Father Orthodox: 3 fingers: Trinity – Two fingers: divinity and humanity of Jesus. Mother had holy water font at door: bless yourself. Do it morning at night – Bless children as well!
Stations of the Cross Via Crusis – Via Dolorosa (sorrow) Began obviously in Jerusalem – Franciscans had idea of bringing it to churches “We adore you O Christ and we praise you. Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.” St. Francis
Pilate washing hands, Soldiers mocking, Meeting his mother, Simon steps in to help, Veronica wipes his face, Mary Magdalene & John stay close by, Joseph of Aramethea gives own tomb.
So why the Cross?
1) Look what he did for us - God so loved the world . . .
2) We all have a share of the cross Church is a meeting of cross bearers . . . look around you, no one here without splinters in shoulders.
3) Difference we can make .. help others carry cross a support group for people with weighty crosses.
So, we live by sign of the cross – prayer, around our necks, meeting rooms, homes, offices, classrooms.
John 3:16 -
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
The Cleansing of the Temple
This is actually the Third temple
- 1st - Solomon
- 2nd – Was destroyed and rebuilt After Babylonian Exile 539 BC
- 3rd - Temple of Herod. Destroyed in 70 all left is Western or “Wailing” Wall.
Our Jewish friends were and still are people of the Covenant – try to live by the 10 commandments
First three – honor and worship God. One of the ways was to come to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice, especially on Passover.
1) Some had to come a long way. Could bring their own animals for sacrifice but they had to be without blemish – also, priests would not quickly certify animals from outside – so they had a cornered market. Kept prices high.
2) Also – the money had to be changed into shekels - Roman money was unclean - could not use money that had pagan images. They would charge a high rate of exchange.
3) All the buying and selling could get out of hand. - who could even pray with all the noise????
All this gave Jesus a righteous anger - things are not in right relationship with God - some anger is good anger – can be for a good purpose – like the students in Florida or the Me Too Movement.
On this day, Jesus flipped the tables and said: “my house shall be a house of praye!.”
He cleaned out the temple. It was Time for a radical cleaning.
This Scripture has a significant place in Lent
St. Paul wrote - “Are you not a temple of the Holy Spirit?”
Lent is a time for cleaning of OUR temple!
The Perfect Instrument - Sacrament of Reconciliation
Why not? Some excuses:
1) Feelings of guilt and shame - face truth. Truth is difficult I may have to change. Like maybe I have to put software filters on my home Internet to keep bad stuff out.
Remember – all about the mercy of God who forgives & welcomes us back!
2) There were changes for those of us who are a bit older - do I have to go face to face, how about old act of contrition Listen: go the way you always did!
3) May not know what to confess - Sometimes children say – I have no sins . What if we were to ask Mom??? examine your conscience every day. Look to 10 commandments as a helpful guide.
4) Why tell a priest? Not an intermediary, but a mediator – a channel of the power of the Holy Spirit - You leave knowing, without question, you are forgiven!
Don Corleone tells the Cardinal – a legitimate deal with the Vatican bank gone sour
Cardinal picks up stone “It has been lying in water a very long time. The water has not penetrated it. He smashes the stone Look – perfectly dry. Same has happened to the men of Europe – surrounded by Christianity for centuries, but Christ does not live in their hearts.”
This is what we call a hardened heart.
Why not invite Jesus into our hearts for Lent? Cleanse the Temple – Get ready for Easter!