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Lenten and Easter Reflections by Fr Thomas Rosica   Year B

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Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ: Food and drink for the journey

Feast of the Holy Trinity   Today's Gospel links Jesus' death with Israel's great feast of liberation, the Passover. At the first Passover, the blood on the doorpost prevented the death of the firstborn. The bread broken at the Last Supper symbolizes the disciples' sharing in Jesus' self-offering. Drinking from the cup of his blood creates a new and dynamic common bond. Jesus' blood sanctifies and revitalizes each of us. The Eucharist has something that distinguishes it from every other kind of memorial. read more

Feast of the Holy Trinity: God puts relationship and community first

Feast of the Holy Trinity   One of the important dimensions of our Trinitarian God is the community of love and persons modeled for us in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. For Christians, the Trinity is the primary symbol of a community that is held together by containing diversity within itself. If our faith is based in this Trinitarian mystery that is fundamentally a mystery of community, then all of our earthly efforts and activities must work toward building up the human community that is a reflection... read more

Pentecost: Set free the gifts of the Spirit

Pentecost   Christian theology of the Holy Spirit is rooted in Judaism. The term Spirit translates the Hebrew word (ruah) and even in the pronunciation of it we detect God's wind and breath. The wind of God, the breath of God, the presence of God are all ways of referring to God's presence. The expression "Holy Spirit" was used only seven times in the Old Testament, whereas the terms "Spirit of God" or "Spirit of the Lord" occurs 67 times in the Hebrew Scriptures... read more

The Ascension: Fulfilling the gospel dream

Ascension   The angels' words to the "men of Galilee" in the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles for the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord (1:1-11) are painfully blunt and leave little room for misinterpretation: "Why do you stand here looking up at the skies? This Jesus who has been taken from you will return, just as you saw him go up to the heavens." Jesus' disciples are given a last bit of instruction. "Don't keep trying to stare into the future. Don't be overly concerned about which..." read more

Sixth Sunday of Easter: Goodness and friendship through the ages

5th Sunday of Easter   On this Sixth Sunday of Easter, I wish to offer some reflections on the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles (10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48), and then some thoughts on friendship flowing from John's Gospel (15:9-17) and Benedict XVI's teaching. Christianity demands that the believer not only grasp intellectually the main tenets of the faith, but also act on them in daily life. The extraordinary story of Cornelius' conversion in today's first reading certainly illustrates this message... read more

Fifth Sunday of Easter: Making our home in Jesus

5th Sunday of Easter   In John's Gospel (15:1-8) for the 5th Sunday of Easter, we have the image of the vine and its branches to express the relationship between Christ and his disciples. We should not be surprised that at one level it seems utterly simple, but that at other levels it fills us with a sense of mystery, awe, and beauty, always leaving us wanting more. The branches of a vine have an intimate relationship with the vine, depending on it at all times and forming one living... read more

Fourth Sunday of Easter: Jesus, the Beautiful and Noble Shepherd

4th Sunday of Easter   In the Bible and in the ancient Near East, "shepherd" was a political title that stressed the obligation of kings to provide for their subjects. The title connoted total concern for and dedication to others. Tending flocks and herds is an important part of the Palestinian economy in biblical times. In the Old Testament, God is called the Shepherd of Israel who goes before the flock (Psalm 68:7), guides it (Psalm 23:3), leads it to food and water (Psalm 23:2), protects it... read more

Third Sunday of Easter: Luke's Resurrection symphony in four movements

2nd Sunday of Easter   I often consider Chapter 24 of Luke's Gospel to be a Resurrection Symphony in four brilliant movements. The first movement is the story of the women at the tomb, which ends with Peter's visit to the tomb to check it (v 1-12). The second movement tells the great story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, culminating in their learning that the Lord had also appeared to Peter (v 13-35). The third movement is the appearance of the Lord to his disciples at a meal... read more

Second Sunday of Easter: Allowing the presence of the risen Jesus to make a difference

2nd Sunday of Easter   There is a proverb that says: "When the heart is not applied, hands can't do anything." It sesems as if this were written for Thomas the Apostle in today's very familiar Gospel story that provides us with an archetypal experience of doubt, struggle and faith. John's second appearance of the Risen Lord to the disciples is both intense and focused. It is evening, the first day of the week, and the doors were bolted shut. Anxious disciples are sealed inside... read more

Easter Sunday: The silence and courage of the resurrection witnesses

Holy Saturday Biblical Reflection   Easter is the promise that death will visit each of us. But more important, it is the assurance that death is not the last word. The Resurrection of Jesus prompts us to recall, from the darkest moments of grief to life's smallest trials, how much God comforts us and gives us the strength to persevere. The Easter mysteries give us a new identity and a new name: we are saved, redeemed, renewed; we are Christian, and we have no more need for fear or despair. read more

Holy Saturday: Between the sadness of the Cross and the joy of Easter

Holy Saturday Biblical Reflection   Holy Saturday is a day of grief and mourning, of patient waiting and hoping. With Mary and the disciples, we grieve the death of the most important member of our Christian community. The faith of Mary and the disciples was strongly challenged on that first Holy Saturday as they awaited the resurrection. When the full impact of the death of friends and loved ones fully hits us, it has the potential to stun, dull, and crush the human heart. It can immobilize us from action... read more

Good Friday: Embracing the true science of the Cross

Good Friday Reflection   Each year on Good Friday we read the Passion according to St. John. Throughout this hauntingly moving narrative, there is an emphasis on Jesus' sovereignty even in death. As we contemplate the mystery of Jesus crucified, we learn in his suffering and dying how vast a person he was among us. We are invited to realize the tragedy of Jesus' death in the context of our own trials, sorrows, and deaths. Jesus' cross is a message, a word for us, a sign of contradiction... read more

Holy Thursday: The bare facts and bare feet of the Last Supper

Holy Thursday Biblical Reflection   Both the Jewish and Christian traditions view eating and feasting as more than simply an opportunity to refuel the body, enjoy certain delicacies, or celebrate a particular occasion. Eating and feasting became for both traditions, encounters with transcendent realities and even union with the divine. In the New Testament, so much of Jesus' own ministry took place during meals at table. Some say that you can eat your way through the Gospels with Jesus! read more

Palm Sunday: The Passion of Jesus is our reason for hope

Palm Sunday   The Passion, suffering, death and resurrection of the Lord are the very themes that unite us as a Christian people and a Church during Holy Week. This year on Palm Sunday, we listen attentively to Mark’s Passion story of Jesus’ final days and hours on earth. It is a story of striking contrasts. As we hear anew this moving story, Jesus’ passion penetrates the numbness of our lives. This week in particular, we have a privileged opportunity to learn... read more

5th Sunday of Lent: Gazing upon the face of Jesus

5th sunday of lent   The Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year B) invites us to fix our gaze upon Jesus, the model priest of suffering, compassion and human solidarity. First, let us consider John’s Gospel story from Chapter 12 – a fitting climax to Jesus’ public ministry. It is the last official act before the events of his passion next Sunday. There are Gentiles, non-Jews, who seek Jesus out for the first time. They do not come simply to catch a glimpse of him, to have some general audience with him... read more

4th Sunday of Lent: Nicodemus’ search for the "Soul of Theology"

4th sunday of lent   The Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year B) features a nocturnal conversation between two important religious teachers: on the one hand a notable “teacher of Israel” named Nicodemus, and on the other, Jesus whom this Nicodemus calls a “teacher from God.” Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. His prominent role and position in the national cabinet called the Sanhedrin made him the custodian of a great tradition. He was expected by many to be... read more

3rd Sunday of Lent: A burning love for the Father’s house

3rd sunday of lent   In the Scripture readings for the Third Sunday of Lent (Year B), I would like to focus our reflection on two powerful images present in the texts: that of Jesus purifying Jerusalem’s Temple, and St. Paul’s message of the cross of Jesus Christ. Both the purifying action of Jesus and Paul’s understanding of the cross can be of tremendous help to us as we grow in our knowledge and love of Jesus Christ this Lenten season. John’s account of Jesus’ cleansing of the temple.. read more

2nd Sunday of Lent: Moriah, Tabor, Calvary: Darkness can be radiant

2nd sunday of lent   Moriah. Sinai. Nebo. Carmel. Horeb. Gilboa. Gerizim. Mount of Beatitudes. Tabor. Hermon. Zion. Mount of Olives. Calvary. Golgotha. Mountains are often used in the Bible as the stages of important encounters between God and his people. Though we may have never visited the lands of the Bible, we are all familiar with these biblical mountains and the great events of our salvation history that took place there. Today’s Old Testament and... read more

1st Sunday of Lent: The ways of the desert

1st sunday of lent   Does anyone really look forward to Lent? What is it about Lent that excites us? What aspects of the Lenten journey test us? The Scriptural readings for this season are carefully chosen so as to replay salvation history before our very eyes. Let us begin with Jesus in the desert – the Gospel for the first Sunday of Lent. The desert sun and the pangs of hunger and thirst conjured up the demon for him. Mark presents Jesus wrestling with the power of Satan... read more

Ash Wednesday: The ways of the desert

40 days   On Ash Wednesday the Church begins her great Lenten journey with Jesus on the road to Jerusalem. For centuries, Lent has been a very intense spiritual journey and experience for the followers of Jesus Christ. Why are there 40 days in Lent? It took 40 days for sinful-ness to drown in the flood before a new creation could inherit the earth. It took 40 years for the generation of slaves to die before the freeborn could enter the Promised Land... read more

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