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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Monthly Archives: April 2017
Monday

In the Sacred Scriptures of the New Testament, we never find Jesus asking anything for himself. Whether entering the synagogue or a person’s home, he never says, “I deserve the place of honor.” 

Never from his lips do we hear him saying to his apostles, his disciples, or the great crowds that came to him: “What are you going to do for me? What will you give me for all I am doing for you?” That was never part of his vocabulary.

Maybe that’s why his life so resonates with the words of the prophet Isaiah in today’s first reading. Maybe that’s why so many people are drawn to his warmth and tenderness and selflessness. Maybe that’s why Mary took such costly perfume and anointed Jesus’ feet.

Perhaps she knew he would not be with us for long, and she wanted to offer a visible sign in return for all the good he had done for her, for Martha, and for Lazarus.

Maybe that’s why, during this most Holy Week in your life and my life, we will find the time to sit with him in foot washing, in Eucharist, in his passion and his resurrection, just to let him know we have not forgotten and to say once again, “Thank you.”

Father Denis J. Sweeney, C.Ss.R.
Boston

Scripture readings for today: Isaiah 42:1-7; Psalm 27; John 12:1-11

Sunday

There is no more important week in the life of all Christians than Holy Week. It begins on Palm Sunday, with the Lord entering Jerusalem on a donkey. Many people proclaim him king and Lord. It is a day of celebration that won’t last long.

This king and Lord knows what is and will be in people’s hearts and minds. The Lord will soon enter into his passion, crucifixion, and death. People will scream out, “Crucify him!”

We can enter into Holy Week proclaiming who Jesus is for us. We can begin by praising and worshipping him as our Lord and savior.

We can also be aware of the ways we deny and even betray him by what we say and do. We can say, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.” We can thank the Lord for all his blessings, mercy, generosity, and love for us every day of our lives.

This is a true love story, and Jesus’ love and mercy never end. He died on a cross as proof of that love. 

This week we can walk with Jesus in his triumphal entrance into Jerusalem and in his passion, crucifixion, and death. Then we can celebrate his glorious resurrection and his resurrected life in us. May this be the best Holy Week of our lives, beginning with Palm Sunday!

Father Kevin Moley, C.Ss.R.
Newton Grove, N.C.

Scripture readings for today: Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14–27:66

Saturday

Our first reading today points out how God has a plan for his people that includes bringing them together and having an abiding presence with them: “My dwelling shall be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Ezekiel 37:27).

The Gospel presents us with Jesus, God’s loving presence made incarnate yet rejected by the Jewish leaders. The chief priests and Pharisees are more concerned with their own position, authority, and ambition than with recognizing God’s saving presence in their midst. “So from that day on they planned to kill him” (John 11:53).

I pray during this Lenten season for the ability to recognize God’s presence as I see the face of Jesus reflected in those who may not think like me, look like me, speak like me, or act like me—especially those who are less fortunate. It’s my hope to go beyond my comfort zone, leave behind my pride and indifference, and make a difference in their lives—and in mine.

Father Robert Wojtek, C.Ss.R.
Annapolis, Md.

Scripture readings for today: Ezekiel 37:21-28; Jeremiah 31:10-13; John 11:45-56

Friday

Like millions of other Christians, I have made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem I touched the rock traditionally reverenced in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus died for our salvation. I touched the stone slab where the body of Our Lord was prepared for burial.

I prayed at the Wailing Wall, the remaining stones of the Temple, perhaps the holiest place for the Jewish faith. I saw the large stone mountain in Galilee where Jesus called Simon to be the rock of the Church.

Rocks have traditionally been holy, solid foundations, and today’s psalm calls God our rock and our fortress. Rocks have also been used as weapons. 

In today’s Gospel the tension in the Temple area continues to grow. Some want to use rocks to stone Jesus for what they call blasphemy because he told them the truth about himself.

We are close to Holy Week. The rocky mountain of Calvary will be a place of great suffering and great love. We will make that journey with Jesus to Calvary.

We will walk with Joseph of Arimathea and bury Jesus in a rock-hewn tomb. We will experience the finality of his death as the stone is rolled across the entrance to the tomb.

But Holy Week is a journey from suffering and death to the Resurrection. The rock has been rolled away. “Why do you look for the living one among the dead? He is not here. He has been raised.”

Father John McKenna, C.Ss.R.
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Scripture readings for today: Jeremiah 20:10-13; Psalm 18; John 10:31-42

Thursday

Someone once said that in the first three Gospels Jesus’ preaching emphasizes what the kingdom of God is, or as Dominican theologian Father Albert Nolan prefers to call it, the family of God. And in St. John’s Gospel, Jesus emphasizes who the Father of this family is.

The Gospels teach us that we are not alone. We belong to a large, extended family, and our Father is none other than the loving Father of Jesus.

There are certain truths we have to hang onto in life, especially when times are difficult and we feel that no one is holding us close or holding us up. 

That’s when we need to remind ourselves, no, I am not alone. I am part of a large family. Jesus is my brother; Mary, my mother and sister; Joseph, my foster father—and the apostles and saints are all part of my extended family. Above all, I have a loving Father who will never abandon me and who always pardons me. He is like the father of the prodigal son, running toward me to give me his loving embrace and to welcome me back to his family again.

Father Thomas Travers, C.Ss.R.
Esopus, N.Y.

Scripture readings for today: Genesis 17:3-9; Psalm 105; John 8:51-59