We are the Easter People

“Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven, exult, let Angel ministers of God exult, let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!” ~From the Exsultet, or Easter Proclamation

Dear friends, we have made it.

The 40 days lost in the desert are over.

On Palm Sunday we processed with Christ, palms in our hands, into Jerusalem.

On Spy Wednesday we saw Christ anointed by a woman from Bethany, reminding us that all we must do must be done in accordance to Him. We also saw Judas prepare his imminent betrayal.

On Holy Thursday, we saw Christ’s institution of the Mass. We saw bread and wine become fully body, blood, soul, and divinity of God the Son. We saw the institution of the priesthood, men called to be priests forever, in the line of Melchizedek. We were then mandated by Christ to do for others what he has done for us. Little did we know the depth of what that actually meant.

On Good Friday, we shouted “Crucify Him!” We were not ready for what Christ had in store for us. We crucified Him because we believed it was impossible to love in the same way He loved. We denied Him and abandoned Him because the world wallowed in its sin. We found it easier to deny and abandon Him. We found it easier to sin than to love.

On Holy Saturday, we waited. We wondered where we were going. We were lost.

And on the Easter Vigil, we witnessed the miracle we most definitely did not deserve. We saw Christ triumph over death and sin. We saw the tomb empty, stone rolled away.

Why did He do it? Why did he defeat death and show himself to us who denied Him, abandoned Him, crucified Him?

“O happy fault, that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!”

Christ defeated death so that we may have hope to defeat death.

Christ took on sin because we could not hope to atone for our sins by ourselves.

Christ died so that we may live for others.

We did not deserve this, and yet we are here as witnesses to the King’s triumph.

It is time to roll away our own stones of sin so that we may join in the beatific vision of the many countless Saints who have lived for others and for God.

It is time to recommit ourselves to Christ’s mandate.

It is time to show ourselves and others that we are made in the image and likeness of God, and thus deserving of the divine love Christ showed us.

And when we do so, may we sing our praises together with the angels.

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Palm Sunday; We are Almost There

Collect: Almighty ever-living God, who as an example of humility for the human race to follow caused our Savior to take flesh and submit to the Cross, graciously grant that we may heed his lesson of patient suffering and so merit a share in his Resurrection.

Sorry dear readers; I was out of the country last week and could not post about last week’s Mass.

But anyway, Palm Sunday is here.

Holy Week, the week of weeks. We have walked with Christ to Jerusalem.

Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!

Let us set aside some time to follow our King, not just to Jerusalem, but to the Glory of His Resurrection.

We are almost there.

Fourth Sunday of Lent, or Let’s Take a Break

Collect: O God, who through your Word reconcile the human race to yourself in a wonderful way, grant, we pray, that with prompt devotion and eager faith the Christian people may hasten toward the solemn celebrations to come.

Laetare, Ieursalem!

Rejoice, O Jerusalem!

We are now past the halfway point of Lent.

Holy Mother Church asks us to rejoice! But why during this season of Lent?

We rejoice because this is now the time we step back and examine how Lent has been for us.

If you promised yourself to do something, or if you are lacking in your own personal fasts, this is the time to rejoice!

Because you now know that you cannot do this along; you can only do this by the grace of God.

If you are one of the blessed ones who have kept your Lenten promises, rejoice!

Because God has given you the grace to do more.

We take this to take a step back and look at ourselves in the context of eternity.

Are we truly preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ?

Can we do more to spread the love of Christ to others?

Can we do more to show the people around us what is true, Christian love?

In the end, this is our calling.

Let us take a step back, and see how it is we can properly love.

Let us take a step back, and see how much it is God loves us.

And then may we move forward, nourished by the same very love we are called to spread.

May we move forward for Christ is coming.

Rejoice.

Have a blessed Lent.

Third Sunday of Lent; God’s Inexplicable Mercy

Collect: O God, author of every mercy and of all goodness, who in fasting, prayer and almsgiving have shown us a remedy for sin, look graciously on this confession of our lowliness, that we, who are bowed down by our conscience, may always be lifted up by your mercy.

And today we have finally reached the Scrutinies, readings during Lent where we basically scrutinize those in the conversion process checking that they truly want to be received into the Church in Easter.

With that, today’s Gospel is the famous story of the Samaritan woman at the well. This story is one of the most important stories in the Gospel because it shows God’s mercy towards a sinner.

We see a woman at the well at noon, when it is the hottest during the day. Why? Because she is an adulteress, shunned by the community. And yet Christ, a Jew, asks her for water. Already then we see God reaching a sinner where she is at, no matter where it is. She is a Samaritan, she is a woman, she is an adulteress. There is no reason for a practicing devout Jewish man to even look at her, and yet Christ asks her for drink.

God’s mercy is open to everyone. Afterwards, Jesus reveals that he is the Son of Man, and the woman goes to the village to proclaim the Good News.

This is what happens when we are totally open to God’s will; we should be able to spread the Good News with joy and without fear.

May we all be open to God’s will, and may we all be open to the people around us, for everyone is made in the image and likeness of God.

Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

Have a blessed Lent.

 

First Sunday of Lent

Collect: Grant, almighty God, through the yearly observances of holy Lent, that we may grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ and by worthy conduct pursue their effects.

And so we officially reach the first week of Lent.

This year’s Gospel reading is from Jesus’s temptation in the desert. Lent’s 40 days is from Christ’s 40 days of fasting in the desert. One of the reasons why we fast is because our Lord fasted as well, and we try to model our lives after Christ’s.

One of the intriguing lines of the Gospel is when it says that Jesus was tempted by the devil. What does this mean to us, when it says God was tempted?

Without getting into a deep discussion about Christology, we as Catholics believe in what is called the hypostatic union, which is that Jesus was fully God and fully human, and both of those natures unified in one existence. This means that Jesus was exactly like we are, except for sin. Jesus’s humanity is what our humanity would have been without sin.

Temptation is not sin; acting on our temptations is where the sin is. We are always surrounded by temptation, but that does not mean we have to succumb to sin.

We protect ourselves from temptation through the continued blessings of fasting, prayer, and alms-giving. These three are the trinity of actions we can do to avoid sin.

And at its pinnacle, by praying the life of the Church and loving others as Christ loved us, we can avoid sin and be at peace.

In the end however, it is hard, but that is why we are blessed with the Sacraments. God does not ask us to do; he asks us to try. It is in the efforts of our faith and in our seeking of forgiveness that we can experience that vastness of God’s love.

And so let us pray that we can try to live how Christ lived. And when we fail, let us seek his forgiveness and keep on going. May we gain the strength to fight temptation.

Have a blessed Lent.

Late Stuff: Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Collect: Grant, O Lord, that we may always revere and love your holy name, for you never deprive of your guidance those you set firm on the foundation of your love.

Sorry for the late postings, everyone. Class, work, and the job hunt has been taking up a lot of my time. Luckily, I still have time for Mass throughout the week, so that’s good.

“Quiet! Be still!”

“Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

Thus were the words of Jesus Christ in Sunday’s Gospel. Many of us experience the Church in the following manner: we work throughout the week, then take an escape by going to Mass on Sunday. But then right afterwards we are back to worrying about everyday life. Even after receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we are still afraid.

And once again, Jesus asks us, why?

There is really no reason to be afraid. There is no reason for us to hold back from loving one another truly and authentically.

That brings us back to why it is so hard to be a Catholic. It is so hard to love because we are afraid. We are afraid of hurt, rejection, and pain. And yet Christ loved us in spite of that.

Let us take the time to be quiet and be still. Then let us ask ourselves why are we afraid. Then let’s overcome the fear and love everyone with all of our hearts.

Have a blessed summer.