In August 1993, the Catholic youth of the United States and the world were given a gift. St. John Paul II came to Denver, Colorado for World Youth Day. During the week of celebrations, catechesis and liturgy, the media covered the event. Many of them had a recurring theme: the youth loved John Paul II but not the teachings of the Catholic Church. The media tried to get many of the youth to say that on television or for the newspapers, but they failed miserably. One young lady responded that they were there because they believed in what the Church taught. Many reporters were left scratching their heads. A hint into this rationale comes from today’s Gospel, which was the theme of the 1993 World Youth Day: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”READ MORE
Why were the two disciples heading to Emmaus? They had heard that Jesus had resurrected and yet they made the seven-mile journey to Emmaus. They were downcast, sad, disappointed. They had believed that Jesus would be the Messiah but then Good Friday happened. In their minds, it was over. They had heard the good news of the Resurrection but in their grief, they did not believe it.
Jesus then chastises them for their lack of faith, but he does not give up on them. He breaks open the Word of God for them, starting with Moses and the prophets, to show them all of this had been foretold. He gives them the impression that he is going to keep walking, but they ask him to stay with them. It was like a test, to see if his words had any effect, and they did. They wanted more. Then he took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them. He gave them the Eucharist to fortify their faith.READ MORE
What would you say to your closest friends if they betrayed you? If you were having a very difficult time, a severe illness, lost your job, going through a breakup or another kind of traumatic experience and they were not present to you, what would you say after it was over? There are many responses: “Where were you? How could have abandoned me? I thought you loved me! You are dead to me! I will never forgive you!” For how many of us would the response have been “It is okay, I understand?”READ MORE
Alleluia, the Lord is risen! Alleluia, indeed he is truly risen! The darkness and sadness of Good Friday gives way to the glory of Easter for our Lord Jesus Christ is truly victorious, he has conquered the power of death and open the gates of heaven for us. The liturgy helps us to raise our voices and cry out “Alleluia” after not singing it for forty days. This a time of rejoicing as our churches our decorated with Easter lilies and other beautiful flowers, a new Paschal candle is lit, like a pillar of fire to show us that our Lord is with us. Let us rejoice in the glory of Easter and cast behind us the darkness of the world.READ MORE
The African American spiritual, “Were You There?” is deeply moving and widely used especially at this time in the liturgical year. We’ve heard it so often in churches over the years, but I fear that some (perhaps even me) have lost touch with the meaning behind this spiritual. We will participate venerating the cross during the Good Friday liturgy, but I fear that others (perhaps me included) may have fallen into the mechanics of the ritual without heartfully reflecting on the deeply piercing question from the song, “were you there?”READ MORE