The Silence of the Tomb:    April 11, 2020

Today, there is a great silence.  The Savior has died.  He rests in the tomb.  Many hearts were filled with uncontrollable grief and confusion.  Was He really gone?  Had all their hopes been shattered?  These and many other thoughts of despair filled the minds and hearts of so many who loved and followed Jesus.

        It is on this day that we honor the fact that Jesus was still preaching.  He descended to the land of the dead, to all the holy souls who had gone before Him, so as to bring them His gift of salvation.  He brought His gift of mercy and redemption to Moses, Abraham, the prophets and so many others.  This was a day of great joy for them.  But a day of great sorrow and confusion for those who watched their Messiah die on the Cross.

It’s helpful to ponder this apparent contradiction.  Jesus was accomplishing His act of redemption, the greatest act of love ever known, and so many were in complete confusion and despair.  It shows that God’s ways are so far above our own ways.  What appeared to be a great loss actually turned into the most glorious triumph ever known.

So it is with our lives.  Holy Saturday should be a reminder to us that even those things which seem to be the worst of tragedies are not always what they seem.  God the Son was obviously doing great things as He laid in the tomb.  He was accomplishing His mission of redemption.  He was changing lives and pouring forth grace and mercy. 

 

 

 

The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”

Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,

“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered,

“You have said so.”

 

 

Denial, if written out as an acronym, has been said to mean that I “don’t even know I am lying.”  Perhaps Judas was so steeped in his own sin that he couldn’t even admit to himself, let alone to others, that he was lying and preparing to betray Jesus for money.  

 

This is an important lesson for us this Holy Week.  Sin is never fun to look at and takes great courage to do so.  But imagine if Judas would have actually confessed to what he was about to do.  Imagine if he would have broken down in front of Jesus and the other Apostles and told them the whole truth.  Perhaps that act of honesty would have saved his life and his eternal soul.  It would have been painful and humiliating for him to do so, but it would have been the right thing to do.

      Reflect, today, upon Judas saying to Jesus, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”  This sad statement from Judas must have deeply wounded our Lord’s Heart as He witnessed the denial of Judas.  Reflect, also, upon the many times that you deny your sin, failing to sincerely repent.  Make this Holy Week a time for honesty and integrity.  The Lord’s mercy is so deep and pure that, if you would understand it, you would have no need to remain in any form of denial of your sins.( Source: My Catholic Faith)

 

 

 

 

Aril 7, 2020 Tuesday of the Holy Week:

Lord, who is it?

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”  John 13:21

It’s very important to note here that Jesus was “deeply troubled.”  This shows His humanity.  Jesus had a human heart and loved Judas with a divine love through His human heart.  As a result of this perfect love of Judas, Jesus’ heart was deeply troubled.  It was “troubled” in the sense that Jesus could do nothing more than He had already done to change the mind and heart of Judas.  It’s not that Jesus was personally offended or angered by Judas’ betrayal.  Rather, it’s that Jesus’ heart burned with a deep sorrow at the loss of Judas whom He loved with a perfect love. (Source: My Catholic Faith)

 

God has gifted us with our free will, free to love Jesus, free to do good and avoid evil, free to help etc. But sometimes because of our hardened heart, we refuses to do so especially to accept the love of Jesus for us. We let evil block this great love of Jesus for us, this is what happened to Judas, he rejected that great love of Jesus for him, and he allowed the evil one to use him.

 With our sincere prayer, we will never refuse the love of Jesus for us, being in communion with Him always will surely bring us to embrace this love and the grace of being one in the banquet He is giving us, especially in the Eucharist, in His very own Body and Blood.

 

      During this Holy Week, let us continue reflecting on the journey of Jesus on the road to where He will offer Himself as sacrifice for saving us of our sins, the very act of Embracing His Cross. What a sacrificial and generous way of giving Himself. Let us imitate our Lord as we continue our earthly journey.

 

 

 

Gospel for today; April 6, 2020 

Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.  John 12:3

What a humble and beautiful act of love toward

Jesus.  This perfume was worth 300 days’ wages.  That’s a lot of money!  It’s interesting to note that Judas objected to this act by claiming that he thought it should have been sold and the money given to the poor.  But the Gospel states clearly that Judas was really only interested in the money himself since he used to steal from the money bag.  Of even greater note is Jesus’ response to Judas.  Jesus rebukes Judas and states, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”(My Catholic Life)

This Gospel account invites us of what we really need. We need to worship Him, honor Him, and make Him the center of our lives. We know that Jesus does not need these from us, but we need Him to treat Him this way with all our humbleness and love. Making Him the center of our lives will surely give meaning to it. This is what we all desire and look for in our daily living, that in everything, even in the smallest act of our love towards other is has meaning.

Reflect, today, upon the depth of your own adoration of our Lord.  Are you willing to do what Mary did to pour out her livelihood for Jesus? Is Jesus the center of your life? Do you worship Him with humble heart in prayer?

 

Let us today imitate Mary’s humble act of worship. Let us ask Jesus to draw us humble before Him in our simple act of worship.

 

  

 

April 5, 2020 - Palm Sunday

 

And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?”  And the crowds replied, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.” Matthew 21:10–11

As Jesus entered Jerusalem, just four short days before He would be arrested, He was received with great joy.  As He entered, riding a donkey, the crowds spread their cloaks, strewed palm branches before Him and cried out, “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest” (Mt. 21:9).  Jesus was the King of  Kings and Lord of Lords, and He was given a Kingly welcome.

He entered this new Holy of Holies as a King and Priest, and He died as the Sacrificial Lamb.  He was greeted with shouts of “Hosanna” only to soon hear “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”

What a turn of emotions.  What a contrast of experiences.  What a shock to the minds and hearts of all of His first followers.  How could this be? How could something so glorious become so painful in such a short amount of time?  From an earthly perspective, what would soon follow made no sense, but from a divine perspective, it was the beginning of the most glorious act ever known.

Reflect, today, upon how willing you are to embrace sacrifice in your own life.  No, your sacrifices are not able to save the world by their own merit, but if you face your crosses in life, be they big or small, and if you intentionally and wholeheartedly unite them to the actions of Jesus that first Holy Week, then you can be certain that you will suffer with our Lord.  But you can also be certain that your suffering will be transformed by the power of this Holy Week and lead you to a glorious sharing in His triumph over all sin and suffering. Sacrifice yourself with our Lord this Holy Week so that you, too, will rise victorious with our Lord.

Prayer:

My glorious Lord, I cry out to You, “Hosanna!”  You are the King, the High Priest, and the Spotless Lamb of Sacrifice.  As I enter into this Holy Week, enable me to walk with You and to offer my own life as a sacrifice in union with Your own perfect Sacrifice.  May Your Holy Week transcend time and permeate every aspect of my life so that, as I die with You, I may also share in the glory of Your Resurrection.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

 

April 4, 2020 

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent (April 3, 2020)

But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.”  John 11:49–50 

As in the previous day’s reflection, it’s important for us to start putting our focus on the suffering and death of Jesus.  Holy Week begins this Sunday, so this is the time of year when God wants us to look intently at His Cross.  It’s important to look at it from all angles,  to try to understand what was going on, what Jesus was experiencing, what the disciples were experiencing and even what the Pharisees and high priests were experiencing.  

In today’s Gospel quoted above, we see the thinking of Caiaphas, the high priest.  His words are interesting in that they are both sad and prophetic at the same time.  He, along with the other chief priests and the Pharisees, were beginning to plan and plot Jesus’ death.  But what’s insightful is the apparent motivation of Caiaphas and the others.

Reflect, today, upon the coming commemoration of the persecution of our Lord.  Let your mind begin to ponder the many reactions and experiences people had that first Holy Week.  Put yourself in their shoes and try to live it with Jesus.  The goal is to find ourselves there at the foot of the Cross with Him on Good Friday with love and courage, standing by Him and loving Him every step of the way.

 

Prayer:

Lord, may I follow You this coming Holy Week.  May I have the love I need to love You even in Your rejection and pain.  Help me to shed all envy and selfishness and to see You especially in the sufferings of others and in their goodness.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

 

April 3, 2020

Gospel – John 8:51-59 

Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent (April 3, 2020)

 

“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”

 

The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?”  John 10:31–32

 

 

 

When confronting evil and persecution, we should do so as Jesus did.  He faced it without fear.  He faced it with the truth and never accepted the lies and calumny that so many threw at Him.  

 

One key to holiness is that in the midst of persecution, suffering, hardship and sorrow, we stand firm in the truth.  It’s always tempting to think that we must be doing something wrong when things do not go our way.  It’s easy to be confused by the lies and calumny that the world throws at us when we try to stand for goodness and the truth.  One thing God wants of us, in the midst of our own crosses, is to purify our faith and resolve to stand firm in His Word and Truth.  (My Catholic Life)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning - John 1:1-2 NIV