Mar. 30: Second Sunday of Easter, Year A

Luca Signorelli (1441-1523), Doubting Thomas, La Basilica di Santa Maria, Loreto

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 2:42-47
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
Second Reading: First Peter 1:3-9
Gospel: John 20:19-31

Thomas answered Jesus, “My Lord and my God (NRSV, Jn 20:28)!”

Let us pray.

Father, how often when we seek to find you we look outside of ourselves to the world around us. We seek evidence of your presence in your “footsteps,” your effects, in the world. We even prove your existence from your physical creation. Like Thomas we must be shown.

Father, you love us so much that your Word has become flesh to dwell among us in our Lord Jesus Christ. But that same Word who walked the earth also dwells within each one of us, even the most abject of sinners. Your Word calls us all into existence and remains always present to us challenging us to grow in your life that you share with us or, if we have rejected that life, to accept forgiveness and to start afresh.

Father, when we doubt, remind us to turn inward to find your Word closer than we are to ourselves. We may abandon you, Father, in sin but, in your Word always present to us, you never abandon us. You are there at every moment revealing yourself to us in him before whom we can only prostrate ourselves and declare: My Lord and my God.

Alleluia. Amen.

Mar. 29: Saturday of Easter Week

Parmigianino, St. Peter and St. John Healing the Cripple, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, c.1530

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 4:13-21
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 118:1, 14-15, 16-18, 19-21
Gospel: Mark 16:9-15

“We cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard (NRSV, Acts 4:20).”

Let us pray.

The ministry of the bishop of Rome, successor of Peter, is especially a teaching ministry. That ministry, Father, is shared with all of the faithful. Every one of us is charged to join with Peter and John as they declared before the Sanhedrin: “We cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Father, you speak your one Word to all of us at every moment. No one is excluded from that revelation. But our rehearsing aloud of what we have experienced at the depth of our being enables us all to clarify our understanding and for many of us it prompts us to turn within and discover what we have perhaps hitherto ignored or even misunderstood.

Father, we give thanks for the ministry of St. Peter for awakening us to a fuller discussion of gospel truth and its meaning for all of our lives.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Mar. 28: Friday of Easter Week

Konrad Witz, The Miraculous Draught of Fish, Musée d'art et d'histoire, Geneva, 1443-44

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 4:1-12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 118:1-2, 4, 22-24, 25-27
Gospel: John 21:1-14

Jesus said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish (NRSV, Jn 21:6).

Let us pray.

Father, the one mediator between you and us is the Word, made flesh in our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Word, constantly present to us, even in the midst of sin, always offering forgiveness and newness of life, who defines our existence as human beings. Every moment then is a saving moment for us.

As we share in the one life that is yours, Father, we also share in the mediating role of the Word. The life that we share with you, Father, we also share with one another. We are therefore challenged in every situation to encourage one another and to bear witness to one another.

As Jesus was sent to proclaim the good news of salvation, so we also are sent, all of us, to proclaim the gospel to our fellow human beings. We are all called to be fishers of our sisters and brothers.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Mar. 27: Thursday of Easter Week

William Blake: Christ Appearing to his Apostles, Tate Gallery, London, c.1795

Readings for Mass

First Reading: Acts 3:11-26
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 8:2, 5, 6-7, 8-9
Gospel: Luke 24:35-48

Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem (NRSV, Lk 24:45-47).”

Let us pray.

Father, you reveal yourself to us in every moment in your one act that is your being, even from our first moment in the womb. Throughout our lives we long to grow in understanding of the Word spoken to us. Some of us, we call them prophets, see more clearly than the rest of us and show us the way to deeper understanding of your revelation made to all through the Word always present to us.

Father, our sisters and brothers, disciples of the Lord Jesus, only came to grasp who Jesus was in the experience of him raised from the dead. Their response as the risen Jesus opened their minds was that they should have realized it all along. Even then the understanding of those gathered in the Church continued to grow over the decades with further reflection, prayer and discussion.

Father, may we, in this Easter season, to come to a fuller understanding of the reality of our Lord Jesus Christ, your Word made flesh, and of the life in which you always, through him, call us to grow. May we live the resurrection even now in this world in preparation for the world to come.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Mar. 26: Wednesday of Easter Week

Caravaggio, Supper at Emmaus, The National Gallery of Art, London, 1601-02

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 3:1-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9
Gospel: Luke 24:13-35

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight (NRSV, Lk 24:30-31).

Let us pray.

Father, there are moments when even the holiest and the wisest among us becomes confused as to your presence in our lives. Your Holy Spirit, who enlivens us whenever we accept him into ourselves, can often seem so far from us. Even your Word, who never abandons us, can, in the midst of our sinfulness, seem absent. Because of the sin of world and our own tendency to selfishness, bewilderment can overcome us and we can sense ourselves as lost.

It is then, Lord, that the blessing of the Eucharist becomes clear. It is in leaving the workaday world and entering sacred space to listen to the rehearsal of your written word and in breaking bread together that it can all become clear. Like the disciples on the way to Emmaus we too can become lost on the way only to find ourselves and you, Father, when we share the body and blood of Christ your Son and our brother in the Eucharist.

We believe, Father, that every moment is the saving moment and that we can find you in every situation but we remain grateful to you nevertheless for the tangible presence of the Word in holy scripture and in the breaking of bread, the Word who is always for us the Way and the Truth and the Life.

Alleluia. Amen.

Mar. 25: Tuesday of Easter Week

Lavinia Fontana, Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalene, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, 1581

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 2:36-41
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
Gospel: John 20:11-18

Jesus said to Mary Magdalene, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God (NRSV, Jn 20:17).’”

Let us pray.

Father, even as in Matthew’s gospel, for John, the first appearance of Jesus risen from the dead is to a woman. Here it is not the three Maries but Mary Magdalene alone. She is, for John, the first apostle, the first one, not only to have seen the risen Lord, but the first to be sent to bring the good news to the others. Mary is the proto-apostle.

Jesus speaks to Mary of his ascension which we so often, Father, fail to understand. To begin, all of the paschal mystery (Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension and the sending of the Spirit) is one moment that is anchored in space and time but also transcends it. The ascension of Jesus, to isolate an aspect of this one mystery, speaks, not of Jesus’ final departure from us, but of his definite presence among us.

In the ascension of Jesus, the Word, your eternal Son, always present to us in the depth of our being, calling us to growth in divine life, defining our very existence as human beings, is recognized as being hypostatically united to one of us in our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus not only lived on this earth and walked among us. The Word made flesh, Jesus, enthroned with you in heaven, Father, lives as well in the depth of our being, never abandoning us, even when we sin, but always challenging us to repentance and the acceptance of new life.

This, Father, is the message given to Mary to bring to the others. Many we always be faithful to it.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Mar. 24: Monday of Easter Week

Jerome Nadal, Christ Appears to the Women, Adnotationes et Meditationes in Evangelia, 1595

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 2:14, 22-32
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 1
Gospel: Matthew 28:8-15

Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me (NRSV, Mt 28:10).”

Let us pray.

Father, your apostle Paul teaches us that an apostle is one who has seen the risen Lord and is then sent to bring the good news to others. Paul understood himself as the least but also the last of the apostles, one born out of undue time.

In Matthew’s gospel, then, the first of the apostles are the three Maries, the holy women who went to anoint the body of Christ, who encountered Jesus in his risen body and were told to bring the good news of his resurrection to the others.

Father, as the holy women were blessed who were the first to be sent, may we respond to your blessing as well who have received the good news of Jesus’ resurrection in our time that we also may be effective instruments of your grace to all of our sisters and brothers.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Mar. 23: Easter Sunday

Piero della Francesca, The Resurrection of our Lord, Pinocateca Communale, Sansepolcro, 1463-65

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 10:34, 37-43
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-4, or First Corinthians 5:6-8
Gospel: John 20:1-9

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God (NRSV,Col 3:1).

Let us pray.

Father, as we reflect on the mystery of this most import day on which we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, it becomes clear that Jesus was not resurrected only after his crucifixion, death and burial. Jesus was truly resurrected throughout his entire human existence. The life and the power which brought him through death was indeed his from the very beginning. That life was a gift from you, Father, to your Son, the Word, from all eternity and that life filled Jesus from the very first moment of his existence. It is because of that life that healing power went out of Jesus to others, that he was indeed the Way, the Truth and the Life.

The life which you have given to the Word from all eternity, Father, you share also with every one of us, if we accept it, even from the womb. It is the life that you give to us in baptism and that we celebrate and share with one another in the Eucharist. Because of our participation in this life, we too are resurrected beings from the beginning. This life and power enables us to face all of life’s difficulties, as Jesus faced them, and to be victorious over them. As healing went out from Jesus to others, it can also be shared by others with our sisters and brothers.

And most of all, death, which so often seems the enemy and our undoing, can be seen as passage, as an hour of glory, summing up everything we have been, and leading us to fuller life, Father, with you.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Mar. 21: Good Friday

Matthias Grünewald, The Small Crucifixion, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., c. 1511-20

Celebration of the Lord's Passion
First Reading: Isaiah 52:13--53:12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25
Second Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel: John 18:1--19:42

When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, "It is finished." And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit (NAB, Jn 19:30).

Let us pray.

Father, so often the passion and death and death of your Son Jesus are presented as momentary defeat that is then definitively reversed in the resurrection. But Jesus’ death, even in the midst of such terrible pain and suffering is really, as John puts it, his hour of glory. This is true, Father, not only in John’s gospel, in which Jesus is clearly in triumph on the cross, but in the other gospels as well.

In Mark’s gospel, the pagan centurion is able, for the first time for anyone to grasp the divinity of Jesus: this, not in spite of Jesus’ suffering but radiating out through his suffering. “This is truly the Son of God.”

In Luke’s gospel, healing goes out to the women of Jerusalem and forgiveness to Jesus persecutors and the good thief.

In Matthew’s gospel all of nature is convulsed by Jesus death. The earth quakes and even the dead rise from their graves.

But it is in John’s gospel that Jesus’ crucifixion is truly presented as victory. The Church begins from the cross and the sacraments of the Eucharist and baptism have their foundation in the blood and water that flows from Jesus side. Even the Holy Spirit is handed over to the Church as Jesus breathes his last.

Father, through Jesus the Word, may death may be for us as well not even temporary defeat and undoing but a glorious passage to a fuller life in you.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Mar. 20: Holy Thursday

Ford Madox Ford, Jesus Washing Peter's Feet at the Last Supper, Tate Gallery, London, 1865

Readings for the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper
First Reading: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18
Second Reading: First Corinthians 11:23-26
Gospel: John 13:1-15

“So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet (NRSV, Jn 13:14).”

Let us pray.

Father, your being and your act which are one consist in giving life, receiving life and sharing life in love. At every moment you invite everyone human to take part in that life, to share in it. In our Lord Jesus Christ, beyond inviting us to share in your life, you take upon yourself our human life and make it your own. In Jesus your life of giving, receiving and sharing is made visible for us in this world.

Father, your Word is always present to every one of us at our innermost being. He also remains present for us in a visible way in the sacred meal he has left as a memorial of his physical life, death, and resurrection. Whenever we gather to remember that last meal which Jesus shared with his disciples, we are aware that it is Jesus himself who is present with us blessing the bread and the cup and in these visible signs giving of himself so completely to us that as we partake of what appears to be bread and the wine we can say in faith that they are truly the body and blood of Christ.

At every moment when we say “yes” to you, Father, at the depth of our being, we are caught up more fully in the true sacrifice of sharing that is your life. Whenever we celebrate the Eucharist that life which we are called to share with you at every moment becomes ritually visibly and acted out in this sacred meal.

Father, we are grateful for your gift of your life always offered. We are grateful to you as well for loving us so much that you also in your Word take upon yourself our life and a human nature, and for remaining visibly present for us in your Church and the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist in which we ritually share under the appearances of bread and wine in everything that is our Lord Jesus Christ.

As Jesus shared everything that he is with us even to death, may we who partake of the Eucharist and his body and blood also serve one another.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Mar. 19: Wednesday of Holy Week

Giotto di Bondone, Judas Betraying the Christ, Cappella Scrovegni, Padua, 1304-06

Readings for Mass

First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34
Gospel: Matthew 26:14-25

Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him (NRSV, Mt 26:14-16).

Let us pray.

Father, when Judas heard Jesus calling him to be his disciple, he did not realize that the voice he heard was one that spoke to him constantly at his innermost being, every moment from the first within his mother’s womb. It was the voice of your Word, Father, which speaks to every one of us in every moment, the voice of your Word who became a human being in our Lord Jesus Christ.

When Judas, for money, thirty pieces of silver, succumbed to betraying Jesus, he thought that Jesus would just vanish from his life. But the Word, always present to us at the depth of our being, is who defines our being. We are humans called to share in your divine life, Father, because the Word is always there pressing in upon us, inviting us, challenging us, to greater growth. Or if we sin, calling us to accept forgiveness and to redirect our life.

Father, Judas thought that we would betray Jesus and it would be done with but there was no way in which he could banish the Word from his life. Nor is your Word ever vindictive, Father. No, in the face of Judas’ great sin, your Word only continued to offer the gift of life and Love that is the Holy Spirit.

Poor Judas! How unfortunate we all are in our sinfulness! Choosing evil but still having to live in the embrace of Love! May we, Father, through the Word in the Holy Spirit never to turn away from you but always to accept your gift of a fuller life that you offer us in every moment.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Mar. 18: Tuesday of Holy Week

Michiel van der Borch: Last Supper Christ gives a piece of bread to Judas
Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague, 1332

Readings for Mass

First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15,17
Gospel: John 13:21-33, 36-38

After Judas received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do (NRSV, Jn 13:27).”

Father, how easy for us to keep our distance from Judas. To us, he is the consummate doer of evil. But, if we read on just a bit, we find Jesus confronting Peter and warning him, against Peter’s protests, that he will deny him. And then, shortly afterwards, in the garden, every one of the others flees. Jesus goes to his death betrayed, denied and abandoned. In the first three gospels there is no one at the foot of the cross to comfort the dying Jesus. Only the holy women watched from afar. True, in John’s gospel, his mother, the beloved disciple, and the two other Marys are there but their presence is clearly for a symbolic reason. John has the Church begin, not on Pentecost, but from the Cross.

And so Jesus was alone as he lay dying, with only you, his Father, to comfort him as you vindicated the just man in the 22nd psalm. It was not only Judas but all of Jesus’ disciples who finally turned away from him. And we too betray, deny and abandon, every time that we turn away in sin.

Yet in our sinfulness, Jesus never abandons us. The Word remains ever present to us, in the worst of sin, always offering us your forgiveness, Father, and challenging us to accept the Holy Spirit once more into our lives.

Father, keep us ever mindful of the great love that you show us in your Word who became a human being to be with us, not only at our innermost being, but to be present visibly showing us the way to you.

Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Mar. 17: Monday of Holy Week

Master of Jean Rollin II, The Supper at Bethany, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague, c. 1455

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-7
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14
Gospel: John 12:1-11

Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair (NRSV, Jn 12:3a).

Let us pray.

Father, you speak to us, everyone of us who has every lived, at each moment of our lives, through your Word at the depth of our being. But that one Word is also made manifest and visible in many particular situations.

In the great sacrament of human existence, your Word is made flesh; he becomes a human being, in our Lord Jesus Christ. He shares our life, everything we are; he teaches us and heals us; he even passes through death with us.

Your Word is also visibly present in the world through the gathering of those who believe in him, your Church, as it proclaims your written Word contained in Sacred Scripture and celebrates your one saving work among us in sacramental actions, especially in baptism and the Eucharist.

Father, even from ancient times, kings and priests were set aside for your service through sacred anointing with oil. Prophets were understood to be anointed immediately by your Spirit.

The evangelists are in agreement that the Lord Jesus, after his baptism by John, was anointed by the Holy Spirit who descended upon him in the form of a dove. In baptism, and when we are confirmed in our ongoing faith in you, Father, we, your daughters and sons, are anointed with oil as a visible sign of our calling in the Holy Spirit. Your presbyters are likewise anointed with oil as are the sick and those facing the great passage through death.

Father, we are ever grateful to you for your presence in the Word and in the Spirit at our innermost being, uniting us all in one divine life, and for your visible presence in the Word made flesh and in the Church, in which we celebrate your sacraments.

As Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointed the feet of Jesus in preparation for his death, may we too anoint our sisters and brothers as they prepare for the journey through death and thus encourage them to join with the Word on this passage which can be for all their hour of glory.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Mar. 16: Passion (Palm) Sunday, Cycle A

Giotto di Bondone, The Entry into Jerusalem, Cappella Srovegni, Padua, 1304-06

Readings for the Entrance
Gospel: Matthew 21:1-11
Psalm 24;Psalm 47

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11
Gospel: Matthew 26:14--27:66 or 27:11-54

“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven (NRSV, Mt 21:9b)!”

Let us pray.

Father, in the gospel of Luke, Jesus’ physical life here on earth begins with a pilgrimage from Nazareth to Bethlehem. For Matthew, there is also pilgrimage, to save the infant from death, pilgrimage from Bethlehem to Egypt and eventually to Nazareth. In the entire synoptic tradition, Jesus’ public ministry is a great pilgrimage from Galilee to Jerusalem where the paschal mystery of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection then unfolds.

So much, Father, of our story as your people is pilgrimage: out of Egypt through the desert and into the land. Centuries before Moses, Abraham also went on pilgrimage leaving his home in Mesopotamia in search of you on a quest that brought him to the land.

Today, Father, we celebrate Jesus’ final ceremonial pilgrimage over the crest of the Mount of Olives down across the Kedron Valley into Jerusalem. It was a day of triumph for Jesus leading, however, as the days went on, to his eventual betrayal, arrest, passion, and crucifixion; his passage through death, which John describes as his hour of glory.

Father, all of human life is pilgrimage, from that first moment, still in the womb, when in response to your Word, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we say “yes” to your gift of life, human and divine. All of life, from that moment on, is an everlasting journey towards you, Father, who are our only true Future.

Whenever we foolishly turn away from you in sin, you are always there in your Word challenging us to accept your forgiveness and renewal of your life in the Holy Spirit. You are there with us especially as the Word guides us through physical death as he himself, during this Holy Week, passed through it in his human nature. The Word is our Way to you, Father, on a journey that never ends but leads on and on into an ever increasing share in your life.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Mar. 9: Fifth Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

Juan de Flandes, The Raising of Lazarus, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1514

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Ezekiel 37:12-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
Second Reading: Romans 8:8-11
Gospel: John 11:1-45 or 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33-45

Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die (NRSV, Jn 11:25-26).”

Let us pray.

Father, today, in preparation for the coming celebration of the great solemnity of Easter, we rehearse the wonderful story of the restoration to physical life of Jesus’ friend Lazarus. It gives us the opportunity to reflect in advance on the true significance of death.

We realize, to begin, Father, that the story of Lazarus involves not a true resurrection at all but rather a resuscitation, not a passage through death to a new and fuller life, but rather a summons back to this earthly life with all of its magnificence but also all of its limitations. A person who is resuscitated (if that were possible) would once again be subject to the restrictions of space and time, of knowledge always conditioned by a point of view, of being misunderstood, of injury, further sickness, yes, and inevitably death again. Yes, Lazarus brought back to this life would still have to pass through physical death for a second time.

At every moment, Father, your Word, present to us from the womb, his presence defining our human existence, calls us to accept a share in divine life. Over and over again, he challenges us to die to self and selfishness, everything we have been up to that moment, to become something truly new. Physical death is not our undoing but the culmination of everything that has gone before. In physical death, everything must be let go in a complete emptying of self. Physical death is not defeat but can be the final hour of glory in which a definitive choice for you, Father, is made.

Through your Word, Father, continue to enlighten us so that we may realize that it is only the blindness brought about by sin that makes us afraid of death as defeat, that in reality death is passage to a life that can be more complete, that it is the final act of our earthly existence and should be for us, as for Jesus, an hour of glory.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Mar. 5: Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Anonymous German Master, Altarpiece with Mercy Seat (central panel) Staatliche Museen, Berlin, 1260-70

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Isaiah 49:8-15
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 145:8-9, 13-14, 17-18
Gospel: John 5:17-30

Jesus said to them, “For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself (NRSV, Jn 5:26).”

Let us pray.

Father, we are grateful for your gift of the Word made flesh in your only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. In him, we see the expression of your great love for us in taking upon yourself a human body and becoming one with us and showing the way to the fullness of everlasting life by passing through death with us.

Jesus remains present to believers in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in which we share his body and blood, under the appearance of bread and wine, and are ritually caught up in the one, true sacrifice which is your own inner life of giving, receiving and sharing in love.

We are also grateful, Father, for your Word as he is present at the innermost being of all of your daughters and sons. It is through your Word that you challenged us even in the womb, still without the benefit of language or logic, but in the power of the Spirit, to accept the gift of your divine life, Father, and become human beings.

Your Word remains ever present to us in each subsequent moment always summoning us to grow in your divine life. We may turn away from you, Father, in sin but your Word remains present to us calling us to accept forgiveness and renewal of divine life.

Everything we are, Father, that makes us to be your daughters and sons, is through your Word. It is through your Word that we receive life from you, Father, and it is through your Word, in the Holy Spirit, that we are caught up in your inner being of giving, receiving and sharing. It is through your Word that in every moment we can move forward toward you who are our only future.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Mar. 4: Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Artus Wolfart: Christ at the Pool of Bethesda, Ontario Art Gallery, Toronto, 1620-30

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
Gospel: John 5:1-3, 5-16

Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk (NRSV, Jn 5: 8-9a).

Let us pray.

Father, so often healing comes about in our lives and we are not explicitly aware of how it is taking place. I am not referring now, Lord, to the usual physical healing that occurs following causes within the physical order of things. I mean the deeper spiritual healing that brings forgiveness of sin and which overcomes the alienation which always accompanies sin. This deeper spiritual healing often has effects as well within the physical order, effects which puzzles the natural scientist.

Before the coming of Jesus, no one recognized that we are called to share in your divine life, which life always brings healing to us. So many then have, through your Word, said “yes” to you, Father, at the depth of their being without being conscious of the full significance of their response. Such it was with our parents who preceded Jesus and our sisters and brothers who have come after him, never having heard his name or not fully understanding the gift that he shares with us. Even those who openly reject you, Father, and your Son, often do so out of confusion and really embrace you at their innermost being.

Your healing, Father, is accessible to all who accept your life even implicitly. It is available in a tangible way in your sacraments but, even when the sacraments are not to be had or are not appreciated; there is no moment in human experience that is not the saving moment.

Your healing power, made our own, brings forgiveness and new life. It overcomes the alienating effects of sin and is sufficient for us to greet death, with Jesus, as our hour of glory. No wonder then that spiritual healing often brings with it physical healing that confounds the wise of this world.

Father, you heal us and make us whole.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Mar. 2: Fourth Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

Duccio di Buoninsegna: Healing of the Blind Man
National Gallery, London, 1308

Readings for Mass
First Reading: First Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6
Second Reading: Ephesians 5:8-14
Gospel: John 9:1-41 or 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38

Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind (NRSV, Jn 9:39).”

Let us pray.

Father, as you called your people out of slavery in Egypt and we first recognized you as God for us, we were so sure that we knew exactly who you are. We came away from the encounter in the storm at Mt. Sinai certain that you had made a covenant, a sort of treaty, with us. You promised us the land as our destiny and you demanded that we should accept you as our God, and you alone, and that, as you love us, we should love you and one another. How certain we were then of the behavior that you required of us. The provisions were carved in stone, written once and for all, to be your commandments for us.

We thought we saw clearly, Father, but how blind we were. Gradually over the centuries, even without our acknowledging it, the provisions of the moral code by which we lived gradually changed and were transformed. It was only with the resurrection of Jesus, the Word made flesh, your Anointed One sent to announce the end time, that we realized our blindness. It was not the land at all that you promised. It was eternal life shared with you, a future that began already here, a future that we had already been living without even realizing it. And your people? Not the narrow tribe that we had thought even though we were the first ones to recognize you as God for us. No, your people included everyone who had existed and would exist in every time and place. All called to share your life into eternity. And all called to grow not only in your life but also in your love, life and love which for you, of course, are one. Whenever we are sure that we see, whenever we are certain of who you are and the life that you call us to lead, you are there, through your Word, summoning us to a greater understanding and a more perfect morality than transcends what had gone before.

Father, we think we see but we are really blind as to the possibilities to which you call us. May our response to you in each moment help us to see.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen