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Pre-Lent through Easter Prayer and Reflections -- 2007
various ^ | 02-18-07 | various

Posted on 02/18/2007 8:47:01 PM PST by Salvation

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Tuesday of Holy Week

From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachtani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “This one is calling for Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge; he soaked it in wine, and putting it on a reed, gave it to him to drink. But the rest said, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him. Mt. 27:45-49

Darkness was a sign of God’s wrath. It need not be literal darkness, but could be like saying about someone, “All of a sudden his face darkened with anger.”

Jesus cried out the opening words of Psalm 22. It begins on a note of desperation (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) and ends on a note of hope (“I will live for the Lord.”)

Jesus grew up with the psalms. They were part of Jewish prayer, and Psalm 22 would easily come to the lips of a pious Jew in a time of distress.

Although he had not abandoned hope, Jesus felt abandoned. And he told God so. It helped Jesus get through the ordeal.

To be able to express our honest feelings to someone is a sign of a good relationship.

Any honest feelings I’ve been holding back from God?

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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101 posted on 04/13/2007 10:42:38 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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April 4, 2007

The Triduum

In Jewish traditions, the day ends at sunset, and evening is the beginning of the next day. Liturgically, the Church follows this same tradition, which is why Sunday Mass can be on Saturday evening.

Lent ends on Holy Thursday evening (which is the beginning of Friday.) The “Triduum” (Latin for three days) begins with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, and ends with evening prayer on Easter Sunday. These are the three holiest days of the year.

The Triduum is “all one piece” – one single celebration of the dying and rising of Christ.

The Holy Thursday evening Eucharist recalls the Last Supper, the entry – way of the Lord into this suffering, dying and rising.

The heart of the Good Friday liturgy is the Passion according to John and the public veneration of the cross.

Holy Saturday is not like a regular weekend with a “Saturday evening Mass.” Instead there is the Easter Vigil during which we experience the “passing over” of Jesus from the darkness of death to new life. It begins after dark with the blessing of the new fire.


102 posted on 04/13/2007 10:45:42 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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Wednesday of Holy Week

But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit. Mt. 27:50

War movies sometimes show a battlefield in hushed silence. The battle is over and all is still. We see the wreckage of tanks, artillery, plus bodies lying still. Total silence.

Then there is a flashback to the battle. The air is suddenly filled with deafening sounds – the pounding of artillery, blazing machine guns, rifle fire, planes overhead, the screams of the wounded.

When Jesus dies, we hear his loud cry, and then all is still and silent. We look at the cross and see the wreckage of what happened.

If there was a flashback, the most striking thing would be the sounds. Eyewitnesses of crucifixions have written that the air was filled with horrible screams – screams of rage, despair, pain, desperate prayer. They say that the sounds echoed in their ears for days, even years.

In Matthew’s account, Jesus screams. Twice. Then he dies, and all is silent.

In his suffering and dying Jesus experienced the worst of human existence. He went to the very bottom. Total darkness. Helpless. Abandoned.

But he never abandoned hope. And so . . . . . he “gave up his spirit” to God.

He did this for us, so that we could join him in going through death to life.

At Eucharist we can take the hopeless, helpless, dark parts of our lives, join him on the cross, and with him entrust it all to the Lord.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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103 posted on 04/13/2007 10:47:49 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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April 5, 2007

The Holy Oils

In cathedrals around the world, bishops bless the holy oils at the “Chrism Mass” celebrated on Holy Thursday morning (or earlier in Holy Week.) The Church uses these sacramental oils”

The Oil of Catechumens: Used to strengthen those who are preparing for Baptism.

The Oil of the Sick: Used for the healing of mind, body and spirit.

The Holy Chrism: Used at baptism, confirmation, ordination and the dedication of a church building.

The holy oils are kept in a chest called the “ambry” which comes from a Latin word meaning an “armory” – a place to store arms.

In recent years the Church, returning to a fuller expression of its sacred symbols, displays these oils in an ambry that is more ornate and prominent.

The Holy Thursday evening Eucharist recalls the Last Supper, the entry – way of the Lord into this suffering, dying and rising.

* * * * * *

On this day the collection taken at Mass is always for the poor. It’s also the day when people usually bring their Rich Bowl donations to church.


104 posted on 04/13/2007 10:49:45 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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Thursday of Holy Week

And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many.

The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said, “Truly, this was the Son of God.” Mt. 27:51-54

Immediately after the death of Jesus, Matthew symbolically brings out its meaning:

• The veil of the sanctuary barred entrance to all but the Jewish priest. Now it is torn in two and all people have access to God through Jesus

• The earthquake indicates that the foundations of the earth are shaken. The reign of God is beginning.

• The rising of the dead gives evidence that the death of Jesus is life-giving.

• The profession of faith by the Roman centurion is a sign of the Gentiles becoming disciples of Jesus.

The death – resurrection of Jesus is the turning point of history. During the three days of the Sacred Triduum (which begins this evening,) I enter into the dying and rising of Jesus. Let this be my prayer:

O God, as Jesus did in his dying, I place myself entirely in your hands, to live as you would have me live, to do what you would have me do. I trust, as did your Son on the cross, that this is the path to life.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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105 posted on 04/13/2007 10:53:49 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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April 6, 2007

The Legend of the Praying Hands

Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) is recognized as one of the great artists of his time. Many of his works have survived including the familiar “Praying Hands.”

The story is told that Durer and another struggling young artist named Franz Knightstein worked together as miners to earn money for their art studies. But this hard labor left them little time to study art. They decided to draw lots. One of them would continue to study full-time while the other worked to support him until he became a successful artist who would then be able to support the other in his studies.

Durer won. After he became a famous artist, he returned to keep his part of the agreement. By then, however, the years of hard labor had caused his friend’s hands to become twisted and snarled, and he could no longer use them for the delicate brush stroked of an artist. Franz told Durer that he was happy that his labor had helped to produce such a great artist.

Durer looked at the hands that had supported him all those years, and sketched them. “The sketch because his popular masterpiece, “The Praying Hand.”

Albrecht Durer died on this day in 1528.


106 posted on 04/19/2007 10:27:28 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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Good Friday

There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him. Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. Mt. 27:55-56

It is late Friday afternoon. Jesus is dead.

Only the evening before he was at the Last Supper table celebrating the Passover with his disciples.

After supper, things began to go very, very badly. One of the Twelve went off to betray Jesus. All of them fled when he was arrested and they haven’t been seen since – except Peter, who returned only to deny Jesus three times.

The disciples will be seen just one more time in Matthew’s Gospel – after the resurrection – and it isn’t entirely laudatory.

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him they worshipped, but they doubted.

That is their final appearance in Matthew’s Gospel.

By contrast, the women followers of Jesus are there when Jesus dies, and they are there when he is buried.

Faithful to the end. May it be said of me when I die.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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107 posted on 04/19/2007 10:29:15 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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April 7, 2007

The Tomb

All four Gospels describe the burial of Jesus and indicate that he was buried in a cave-like tomb, which was common at that time. Some can still be seen in the Jerusalem area.

Such caves, carved out of rock, were designed for the burial of more than one family member. When someone died, the corpse was laid out in one of several niches cut into the wall – something like the bunks on a large ship

After about a year, when the body had decomposed and only the bones were left, these would be placed in a much smaller box which was put in another part of the cave leaving the niche free for another corpse.

In this way, one tomb could be used not only for an entire family, but for succeeding generations.

The entrance into the cave was closed off by a large circular stone that could be rolled away when it was necessary to enter the tomb.


108 posted on 04/22/2007 3:06:12 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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Holy Saturday

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciples of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed.

But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary remained sitting there, facing the tomb. Mt. 27:57-61

The book of Deuteronomy stipulates: “If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his corpse hung on a tree, it shall not remain on the tree overnight. You shall bury it the same day.

Joseph of Arimathea comes to see that this is done. It’s interesting. In the space of three sentences he arrives and departs, never to be heard from or spoken of again. He’s somewhat like Simon of Cyrene, or the unnamed woman who anointed Jesus at the beginning of the Passion account. They are front and center only briefly, and we know nothing about them before or after

Each of us is created and placed here by God, at this particular time in history, in this particular place, and given a role by God that is given to no one else.

The disciples will be seen just one more time in Matthew’s Gospel – after the resurrection – and it isn’t entirely laudatory.

My life’s work may not appear in the history books. But God uses a different book.

Holy Saturday is a good day for thoughts like that. Sit there facing the tomb with Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, and see what thoughts come your way.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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109 posted on 04/22/2007 3:09:12 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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April 8, 2007

Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciples whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken Jesus from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciples went out and came to the tomb. Jn 20:1-3


110 posted on 04/28/2007 10:09:54 AM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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Easter Sunday

In a Garden

It all began in a garden.

Listen to John’s Gospel as Jesus leaves the upper room to begin his passion and death: “When Jesus had said this, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron Valley to where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered.” Jn. 18:1

This is ithe garden where Jesus would pray a sorrowful prayer, be betrayed by one of his own, and arrested by enemies. In this garden, his disciples would abandon him.

It all began in a garden . . . . . and it all ended there too. Listen to John as Jesus’ body is taken to the grave: “Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried. So they placed Jesus there . . . ” Jn 19:41-42

Not only is this the garden of burial, it is also the garden of new life. This is the garden Mary Magdalene came to early Sunday morning. After going to tell the disciples that the tomb was empty, she returned to this garden and stayed there alone. It is here that the risen Lord appears to her. She thought he was the gardener.

In fact, everything began in a garden: “Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and he placed there the man whom he had formed.” Gen. 2:8

The Garden of Paradise is where it all began and where we shall all be again with the Lord. Listen to the last chapter of Revelation, the Bible’s last words: “Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God. On either side of the river grew the tree of life that produces fruit twelve times a year. Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever and ever. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.”

Banner: He is Risen
 
 

111 posted on 04/28/2007 10:15:13 AM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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