The story of two disciples of Jesus. On the road, dry and dusty, despair and discouragement at every turn. On the road away from Jerusalem. Their leader, their teacher, their friend: arrested, tried, and killed. All in the span of a couple of days. Hopes and dreams dashed.
We all have been on that road-at one time or another. Some of us are there right now, trying to walk away from something that weighs upon the heart: a conflict that cannot be resolved, a career that fizzled, a family member lost to illness, a friend who has left us dazed and confused, physical abilities that have diminished, certain familiar routines or connections at church that seem to have disappeared. There are many reasons to be on the road that leads away from Jerusalem.
Notice, however, the end of this story. What occurs? The disciples "returned to Jerusalem". What causes the change in direction? The presence of Jesus. Jesus meets them in their despair, and touches them deep in their hearts-beyond their awareness. Such is why they do not initially recognize him. It is with the breaking of the bread, an early Eucharist, that their eyes are open. And, in the hope of "open eyes", the disciples rejoin those to whom Jesus had connected their hearts: "the eleven and their companions".
We gather each Sunday, as disciples of Jesus, sometimes walking the road away from Jerusalem. And, Jesus meets us right where we are, with whatever heaviness of heart there may be, to touch us deeply, to fill us with hope. In a special way, it is in our Eucharistic encounter with Him that this occurs, that our eyes are opened in faith.
Let us be open to a fresh encounter with Christ, Who resets us on the road to "Jerusalem", that is, to the Church, to one another, sisters and brothers in Him, to all those to whom He has connected our hearts.
Yours in our Risen Lord,
Happy Easter to you!
On this glorious feast of everlasting life overflowing into our daily lives, I wish you much joy, the joy of our Lord.
Yours in Him,
From a "Paschal Homily" by St. John Chrysostom (+407), read aloud Easter morning in the Eastern part of the Church
If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in nowise be deprived thereof. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.
Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior's death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it.
O Death, where is your sting? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.
Palm and Passion Sunday, a day of great awe and gratitude: Our Lord journeys to the complete gift of Himself, to the Father, for us.
We begin our celebration by recalling the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, cloaks and palm branches covering His pathway...
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!
This is what we proclaim at each Mass, as we move to the altar and prepare to receive the particular triumphal entry that is the Eucharist. Indeed, we can understand the Eucharist as a “triumphal entry” of Jesus.
During our Eucharistic celebration, our King comes to us, reigning as He does, as only He does. How does He reign? He reigns in and with love. Loving implies giving oneself. Jesus is King in laying down His life for us, for “no one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Indeed, “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
Jesus comes not to reign by “lord it over us.” (Cf. Matthew 20:25) Jesus comes to reign from within, not from without, in our hearts. This is not always easy to grasp, for such is not really the case with worldly kings. Moreover, kings normally do not die. This king dies. Jesus dies in order fully to exercise his kingship. Divine love knows no bounds.
In His love,
This Sunday's gospel (John 11:1-45) is the moving story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead, in which Jesus reveals Himself as "the Resurrection and the Life", the One by Whom, as St. Thomas Aquinas says in "Commentary on the gospel of Saint John" (chapter 11), at the last, "everyone will rise in their souls and in their bodies". In the same Commentary, St. Thomas underscores two things about friendship with God, in considering the sisters' initial message to Jesus, "Lord, he whom you love is ill."
We are called to be friends with Christ, Who knows what we need and in Whom we can have complete confidence. He the friend par excellence, Whose love knows no bounds and Whose faithfulness is perfect. Lent is about divine friendship.
From the desk of the Rector