Category Archives: Lent

It is Consummated

The following thoughts are taken from His Excellency, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi’s homily during the Good Friday service before the veneration of the Cross.

We must remember that the Cross was an ignominious instrument of death, one that Jesus dominated for the salvation of the world. The most joyful words, “It is finished,” took tremendous strength for Jesus to say in his weak state, but it signals the end of His suffering. Those three words were actually translated from one word in Greek, tetelestai. The meaning of that Greek word is more clear before its translation into Latin or English. Jesus is triumphantly declaring that everything has now been paid in full, and that His mission has been completed with the rewards to come.

As it is now Holy Saturday, we wait in great anticipation for His Resurrection

May the joy of the Risen Christ be with you forever.

A.M.D.G.

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Good Friday, The Altar is Bare

The tabernacle is empty, the altar is bare, and this sacred space is now focused on the absence of the living Christ. “’It is finished.’ And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. – John 19:30″
Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence from carne(meat). Traditionally at 3PM on Good Friday, the hour at which Jesus died, Christians gather to rehear the Passion of Christ according to John, venerate the cross with a simple beautiful kiss, and receive Communion even though there is no Mass on this day. And then, all depart in silence and await the celebration of the risen Christ at Easter.
A.M.D.G.

Catholic Traditions on Holy Thursday

On Holy Thursday, we commemorate “Last Supper” in which Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist.  Jesus, a Jew, was celebrating the feast of the Passover on the night he was betrayed.

The Apostle Paul, many years after Jesus’ death, sternly warned the Church in Corinth not to celebrate the Eucharist unworthily. Although already emphasized in the Gospel, he retells them in his letter, “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” –I Corinthians 11:23-26.

Chrism Mass: Traditionally on the morning of Holy Thursday, the Bishop will celebrate Mass with priests from all over his diocese and consecrate and distribute the holy chrism(oils) used for baptism and confirmation for the year.

Mass of the Last Supper: In the evening, Catholics gather at their local church to celebrate a very special Mass. At this Mass, the priest washes the feet of twelve selected men(sometimes altar boys or even all of the men present) to take part in  an act of humility and service that Jesus did on that holy night two thousand years ago. After Mass, the Eucharist will be taken in a long procession around the church as the Pangue Lingua and Tantum Ergo are sung. The altar will be stripped of any decorations and cloths and the Eucharist will be placed somewhere else in the church for adorers to pray until Midnight when it becomes Good Friday.

The Pange Lingua, which includes the Tantum Ergo, was written by St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century to sing about the glory of the Eucharist.

Procession of the Eucharist at the Archbasilica of St John Lateran, the Pope’s Cathedral in Rome.

A.M.D.G.

This Week the Church will Welcome Thousands Into Its Communion

Happy Holy Week! This is a time of intense spiritual reflection and self-denial as we prepare to unite ourselves with the Passion of Jesus Christ and ultimately look to joyfully celebrate His Resurrection and victory over death. Per tradition, the “elect”, those who will be welcomed into the Church, will make their conversion at the Easter Vigil.

Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington has a message for those being welcomed into the Church.

“You’re going to be making a special public statement that you are ready to continue now on through to the Easter mysteries. This Lent is very unique and special for you…For you, this Easter is going to be the first wonderful glorious Easter when you are completely and totally caught up in the mystery of salvation, the sacraments, the Eucharist above all. A couple of the Apostles when they first heard Jesus, they said “where do you live, where can we find you?” Jesus said, “Come and see, come to my house.” And the Church continues to offer that same invitation to us. The Church is where Jesus lives today.”

St. Paul Tells the Early Church about the Ministry of Reconciliation

It is no accident that Christ spent his first moments with the Apostles after the Resurrection instructing them on the forgiveness of sins. Jesus came to reconcile the world to Himself, and now the Church has to continue sharing this great love.

St. Paul tells us that the ministry of reconciliation is not an invention of man. He and the other Apostles understood from the first time they saw Jesus after the Resurrection that the imparting of God’s peace and reconciliation as a core aspect of their mission to spread the Gospel.

In the Second Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, he reaffirms this to the early Church:

“But all is of God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18

But the Apostle Paul does not leave us with just that,

“For certainly God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not charging them with their sins. And he has placed in us the Word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, so that God is exhorting through us. We beseech you for Christ: be reconciled to God. For God made him who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the justice of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:19-21

How does St. Paul know that he has this mandate from Christ?

In Genesis, God breathed onto man, giving him divine life.

God does this only one more time in the Bible when he appears to the Apostles after the Resurrection and gives them the power to forgive… Continue reading

Lent: The deeper meaning of our obligations

Ash Wednesday is only a few days away. Know that you are invited to use this Lenten season to go to Confession, practice self-denial, and ultimately free yourself of the past and look forward to the resurrection of Christ that we celebrate on Easter Sunday.

Catholics should take great pride in the fact that we are called to make sacrifices in unity to bring ourselves closer to Christ as a community. The Holy Season of Lent is not a time to complete our New Years Resolutions, nor is it a time to cut a bad habit. But Lent is also joyful in the sense that we are seeking freedom, and not seeking guilt. 

50 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, this was the grand Palace of Caesar. When you receive ashes on Wednesday, remember that "you are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Gen 3:19), but the Kingdom of God is eternal.

Deep Rooted History The very first Christians fasted. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus instructs His disciples to fast after the bridegroom departs(USCCB, Lk 5:35). According to the Didache, a first century Christian manual written in Greek, the fast is on the “fourth day and the Preparation day”, which would be Wednesday and Friday. (A good online translation to English can be found here). And Bishop St. Irenaeus, a 2nd century bishop of what is now the Archdiocese of Lyon in France, wrote Pope St. Victor of Africa to discuss the already established 40 day preparation for Easter (CatholicEducation.org).  Continue reading