April 19, 2014

Easter Sunday


Commentary
John 20: 1 – 9

Signs of Life

On that first day of the week, Mary sees “the stone removed from the tomb.”  Peter and the other disciple find “the burial cloths and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.”

Compare what they find at the tomb of Jesus and the tomb of Lazarus when Jesus raised him from the dead.  The stone still covered the cave when Jesus and the people arrived.  And when Jesus called, Lazarus came out, his hands and feet were “tied with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth.”

It was Jesus who “said to them, ‘Untie him and let him go.’” (John 11:44)

Yet, after seeing the tomb of Jesus, “they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.”

How about us?  Do we see the signs of God’s life in us and around us?  

Easter Sunday - A (April 20, 2014)


Readings

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April 18, 2014

Good Friday


Jesus' death brings courage
 


"Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body.  
Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds.
They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom." (John 19: 38-40)

Joseph used to follow Jesus in secret "for fear of the Jews." Now, he even goes to Pilate and ask for the body of Jesus.

Nicodemus "was a Pharisee [and] a ruler of the Jews." (John 3:1).  He "had first come to to Jesus at night" probably because he did not want people to know.  Now he comes bringing "a mixture of of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds." It would be pretty difficult trying to hide something that heavy.

Do I want to be known as a follower of Jesus? Why would I keep my relationship with Jesus secret?

May his passion and death out of love for me give me the courage to profess and live my faith in him.

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April 12, 2014

Palm Sunday - A


Commentary


The  Slave Who Sets Us Free

Christ Jesus “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave…. He humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:7-8)

This core of the Christian faith is expressed in some of the details of the various readings selected for this celebration of Palm Sunday.

-         Jesus is the Savior who brings peace.  It is evident in the manner of his entering the city to bring to fulfillment God’s plan of salvation.  He does not come as a warrior king riding on a horse, but as a humble prince of peace, on a young donkey. 

-         He was crucified, the most undignified capital punishment. 
             (1)   In the Roman society, crucifixion was never used for a free Roman citizen, but “on the lower classes, that is, slaves, violent criminals, and political rebels.” [1]   

      (2)  In Jewish tradition, there is no crucifixion as such.  Nevertheless, hanging is for a criminal who has committed a “capital offense.”  Moreover, “who is hanged is accursed by God.”  So much so, that Moses commanded the people to remove the corpse.  Otherwise, the corpse, if it “[remains] on the tree overnight” would “defile the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you as a heritage.” (Deuteronomy 21: 22-23) [2]

Yet, that is the manner of death the Son of God accepted out of obedience to the Father, and out of love for the human race.  In this way, the Son of God enables us, who are slaves to sins and death, to be free children of God forever.

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[1] & [2]  Daniel J. Harrington, S.J.  The Gospel of Matthew.  Sacra Pagina Series.  Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 397.

Palm Sunday - A (April 13, 2014)


Readings

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April 5, 2014

5th Sunday of Lent - A


Commentary

Lazarus and Jesus

When Jesus arrives at Lazarus’ tomb, the stone still covers it.   And it is Jesus who orders it to be taken away.

And Lazarus is still in there.  He comes out only when Jesus calls him.   His “hands and feet [are tied] with burial bands, and his face [is] wrapped in a cloth.”  He still needs others’ help to “be freed from the trappings of death to go his way.” [1]

On the day of Jesus’ Resurrection, when Mary of Magdala comes to Jesus’ tomb, the stone has been removed (John 20:1).

Later, when Peter arrives, he finds the tomb empty.  Jesus is no longer there.  Inside the tomb, Peter finds the different burial cloths folded separately (20:6-7).  These “trappings of death” can no longer hold Jesus. 

While Lazarus is restored to life, it will be temporary.  He will die again.

Jesus will never die again.  He has conquered death for ever. 

And the life he gives us is everlasting. 

As we near the end of our Lenten journey, what remnants of sin and death do I still hang on to?  And what remnants of sin and death do I still allow to tie me down?  With Jesus’ power, I can conquer them all, and rise with Him to new life.
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[1] Francis J. Moloney.  The Gospel of John.  Sacra Pagina Series.  Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998; p. 333.

5th Sunday of Lent - A (April 6, 2014)


Readings

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