June is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart and the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is centered on the heart of Jesus as the emblem of Divine love. This Feast has been a Solemnity in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar since 1856, and is celebrated 19 days after Pentecost. Even though there has been the devotion to the sacred Heart from the early days of the church we have from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the first unmistakable indications of devotions to the Sacred Heart in the Benedictine or Cistercian monasteries. The most significant source for the devotion to the Sacred Heart is from the revelation to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), who claimed to have received visions of Jesus Christ. The revelations were numerous, and the church has accepted these to be real and deeply spiritual. In one of the apparitions, Jesus allowed Margaret Mary to rest her head upon His Heart during which time He revealed to her the wonders of His love, telling her that He desired to make them known to all mankind and to diffuse the treasures of His goodness, and that He had chosen her for this work.READ MORE
Today, we are celebrating the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. This special Feast is celebrated inremembrance of Jesus who gave His life for our salvation and commanded us to celebrate the Sacrament of theHoly Eucharist in his memory. There are two feasts in the liturgical calendar that invite us to meditate on the mystery of the Eucharist: Maundy Thursday and the Feast of the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus, that is, today. The Feast owes its existence to Blessed Juliana of Liege, who began devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in around 1230. Largely through her insistence, in 1264 Pope Urban 1V commanded its observance by theuniversal church. The Feast sums up three important confessions about our Faith. First is that God becamephysically present in the person of Christ, True God and True Man. Secondly, God continues to be present inHis people as they form the Mystical Body of Christ in his church. And thirdly, the presence of God under theform of bread and wine is made available to us on the altar at Mass and preserved there for our nourishment andworship. Our liturgy today recalls the scriptural origins of this devotion.READ MORE
The Feast of the Holy Trinity is a mystery and humanly speaking difficult to comprehend. In our daily life we begin every one of our prayers, activities, programs or works with the sign of the cross and call upon God, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Even though we remember the Trinity several times a day, it is difficult to understand the full meaning because the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit we invoke constitute a unity and yet separate. The Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity consists of this: the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods, but only one God with three attributes. We have Father who is the creator, Son, the redeemer and Holy Spirit the sanctifier and the counselor. This is the Mystery of the Trinity of Persons in the one God.READ MORE
Today we celebrate the birthday of the universal church. We celebrate the presence of the Spirit in this believing community today, just as it was present among the community in Jerusalem. In some countries this day is celebrated as the feast of the laity. It is the feast of every believer. The liturgy of the Word on this day suggests the theme of unity of the Church.
I would like to develop this reflection focusing on three possible meanings of this feast, exploring also what the Spirit – the Holy Spirit – and his presence can mean for us today.READ MORE
The feast of the Ascension of Our Lord is a Mystery. Scriptures tell us that Jesus left his disciples to go back to the heavenly Father and promised to return at the end time. He concluded his earthly ministry and with this began the mission of the church. In today's gospel the disciples were saying goodbye to Jesus and we heard the intimate moment of farewell between friends. As he prepared to depart from the earth he offered them his parting gifts: the gift of understanding so that they were able to comprehend the meaning of the Scriptures. He did promise that they would receive the power of the Holy Spirit and gave them his final loving blessing and told them that he would not abandon them but remain with them till the end of times. The reaction of the disciples shows a striking transformation. Luke tells us that they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, praising and worshiping God. They were now certainly different from the frightened little band that had gone into hiding, run away from all authorities in Jerusalem particularly after the crucifixion.READ MORE
We are fast moving towards the end of the Eastertide. Next Sunday will be the feast of Ascension. The liturgy of the word is preparing us for the farewell of Jesus. The gospel text for this Sunday comes from the farewell discourse of Jesus after the last supper (John 14:23-29). Jesus says, "Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me say: I am going away and shall return." Though the going away of Jesus is a preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit, the absence of Jesus could be agonizing. We might all go through moments of absence of God/Jesus, just as St John of the Cross, a Carmelite mystic who lived in the 16 century in Spain, is known for his mystical poems. His famous "Spiritual Canticle" (written in 1678) opens with these lines: Where have you hidden Yourself, and abandoned me to my sorrow, O my Beloved! You have fled like the hart, having wounded me. I ran after you, crying; but you were gone.READ MORE
During the Easter season the liturgy brings us closer to the resurrected Jesus and makes us realize that we are always united to him and he is united to us. He gives the invitation to all of us to enter into the true discipleship but in the context of the community. On his mission he sends his disciples two by two and teaches them to proclaim his kingdom as a community.READ MORE
Sunday of Easter is celebrated as the Good Shepherd Sunday. Happy Mother's day. We think of the 'pastoral' love of God, as we also pray for vocations to priesthood; priests are the 'pastors' of the church. Each year, for the gospel reading, we hear one part of John 10. This year, being Year C, we listen to the third part of that chapter. Today, Jesus says, "I know them and they know me; and I give them eternal life." These two themes form the two parts of my reflection today.READ MORE
In the liturgy, since the beginning of the Easter Triduum (the three days before Easter), through the Eastertide we hear so much from the Gospel of John. In the passion narrative and in the resurrection accounts of the Gospel of John, suddenly we have a new disciple who is introduced as: "the one whom Jesus loved" (Jn 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20). He is unique to the Gospel of John, and he is unnamed. Being anonymous there is something mysterious about him; there is something mythical about him; and in fact, there is something divine about him. Interpreting this figure within the general style of the Gospel of John – that this Gospel is highly symbolic – I have always looked at this 'Beloved Disciple' as a symbolic person. In this way, I find it possible to identify myself with that disciple, and to seek the intimacy granted to him by Jesus.READ MORE
Happy feast of Easter! Easter is the prototype of all Christian feasts. It is such a great event that one day ofcelebration does not suffice. We needed eight days of liturgical celebrations. Yes, today we conclude theOctave of Easter.
On this 2nd Sunday of Easter, every year, we have the same gospel reading, though the other two readings vary.The gospel passage of today begins with the narration of the first appearance of the Risen Lord to his apostleson the day of Easter, it goes on then to narrate the appearance of the Risen Lord to Thomas who was absent onthe day of the Easter. The latter incident takes place on the eighth day of Easter (like today). Thus the gospeltext of today from John (20:19-31) really links the Easter Sunday to the Octave. A very apt reading indeed toconclude the Octave of Easter!READ MORE
We cannot live Easter without entering into the mystery. It is not something intellectual, something we only know or read about… It is more, much more! "To enter into the mystery" means the ability to wonder, to contemplate; the ability to listen to the silence and to hear the tiny whisper amid great silence by which God speaks to us ( 1 Kings 19:12).READ MORE
Today the Church is celebrating the Palm Sunday which is also known as Passion Sunday to commemorate thebeginning of Holy Week and Jesus’ final agonizing journey to the cross. The word passion comes from a Latin wordPassio meaning “to suffer,” and we meditatively go with the sufferings of Jesus. Here we have the rejoicing with thecoming of Jesus and at the same time a reminder of his suffering that is to come in a short time. In the liturgicalcalendar Holy Week begins with the Sixth Sunday in Lent. Palm Sunday reminds the faithful of the glorious andtriumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. As Jesus entered into Jerusalem the crowds greeted him with shouts of joyand proclaimed him as the messianic king. They spread their cloaks on the ground and placed the palm branches onthe street and shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David” and “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”.READ MORE
We are just one week away from the Holy Week and away from our celebration of God’s love shown in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. For us Christians this season of Lent is a time of special grace in which we experience the presence of a personal God who cares and loves us. Our response is to transform ourselves and live according to his will. We want to do something new and come to him in obedience and freedom. We ought to change our lives during Lent and come closer to him. Therefore the Church calls this season as a joyful time, because it is our preparation for the future joy of Easter that approaches us bringing his blessings, mercy and forgiveness. As we approach to the end of our Lenten season, we are reminded of our last opportunity to cooperate with God’s graces and his benevolent love.READ MORE