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March 2021

Holy Thursday -Liturgy of the Hours...Office of Readings


From an Easter homily by Saint Melito of Sardis, bishop

Melito-of-sardis


The Lamb that was slain has delivered us from death

 and given us life

 

Door blood
There was much proclaimed by the prophets about the mystery of the Passover: that mystery is Christ, and to him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 
    For the sake of suffering humanity he came down from heaven to earth, clothed himself in that humanity in the Virgin’s womb, and was born a man. Having then a body capable of suffering, he took the pain of fallen man upon himself; he triumphed over the diseases of soul and body that were its cause, and by his Spirit, which was incapable of dying, he dealt man’s destroyer, death, a fatal blow.

  Swacrificial lamb 

 

He was led forth like a lamb; he was slaughtered like a sheep.

 

 

 

 

 

 He ransomed us from our servitude to the world, as he had ransomed Israel from the hand of Egypt; he freed us from our slavery to the devil, as he had freed Israel from the hand of Pharaoh. He sealed our souls with his own Spirit, and the members of our body with his own blood. 

 

Moses

He is the One who covered death with shame and cast the devil into mourning, as Moses cast Pharaoh into mourning.  

He is the One who smote sin and robbed iniquity of offspring, as Moses robbed the Egyptians of their offspring.

He is the One who brought us out of slavery into freedom, out of darkness into light, out of death into life, out of tyranny into an eternal kingdom; who made us a new priesthood, a people chosen to be his own for ever.

He is the Passover that is our salvation.

It is he who endured every kind of suffering in all those who foreshadowed him.

Able

In Abel he was slain,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Issac bound

in Isaac bound,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jacob

 

in Jacob exiled,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sold joseph

in Joseph sold,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in Moses exposed to die.

He was sacrificed in the Passover lamb,

persecuted in David,

dishonoured in the prophets.

 

Mary

 

It is he who was made man of the Virgin,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crucified j

he who was hung on the tree;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burried

It is he who was buried in the earth, raised from the dead, and taken up to the heights of heaven.

 

 

He is the mute lamb, the slain lamb,

the lamb born of Mary,

the fair ewe.

He was seized from the flock,

dragged off to be slaughtered,

sacrificed in the evening,

and buried at night.

On the tree no bone of his was broken;

in the earth his body knew no decay.

 

He is the One who rose from the dead,

  Jesu ressur


and

 

who raised man from the depths of the tomb.

Death overdcome



 


Good Friday Reading From Liturgy of the Hours

From the Catecheses by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop
The power of Christ's blood

  Swacrificial lamb

If we wish to understand the power of Christ’s blood, we should go back to the ancient account of its prefiguration in Egypt. “Sacrifice a lamb without blemish,” commanded Moses, “and sprinkle its blood on your doors.”

Door bloodIf we were to ask him what he meant, and how the blood of an irrational beast could possibly save men endowed with reason, his answer would be that the saving power lies not in the blood itself, but in the fact that it is a sign of the Lord’s blood.

 

 

In those days, when the destroying angel saw the blood on the doors he did not dare to enter, so how much less will the devil approach now when he sees, not that figurative blood on the doors, but the true blood on the lips of believers, the doors of the temple of Christ.
   

Blood
If you desire further proof of the power of this blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood.

Christ side wound
Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy Eucharist. The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own. So also with the lamb: the Jews sacrificed the victim and I have been saved by it.

    “There flowed from his side water and blood.” Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you.

Immersion

 I said that water and blood symbolized baptism and the holy Eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, “the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit,” and from the holy Eucharist.

 

Eucharist
Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim: “Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh!”

  Eve adam
As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death.

    Do you understand, then, how Christ has united his bride to himself and what food he gives us all to eat?

By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with his own blood those to whom he himself has given life.


Palm Sunday Cycle B

March 28, 2021

 

 

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Review the Readings Palm Sunday

Listen to the Readings Palm Sunday

 

 

 

 

 

 Holy Week Readings Check Below

Holy Week

 

Review Holy Thursday Readings

Listen to Holy Thursday Readings

 

Review Good Friday Readings

Listen to Good Friday Readings

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Reflection 

As we approach the holiest season in the Church calendar it is important to let each celebration speak to our current lives.  It is so easy to get caught up in the sentimental aspect and not really apply what the Lord is trying to teach each of us about our spiritual journey.  There is nothing wrong with the sentimental aspects but the real substance is what the readings are saying to us.



 

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The first reading speaks of what has been called, "The Suffering Servant".  Early Christians identified this with Jesus Christ.  The Jews, throughout their history, have identified this image with their own struggles.

 

At our baptism, we were anointed and impregnated with the Holy Spirit.  We were given the mission to make Christ present for others that we meet on our own spiritual journey, and that certainly means the description of the Suffering Servant in this reading can also apply to each of us.

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None of us like suffering, difficulties, rejections, etc. but they are a part of our lives as they were for Christ.

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 Christ gives us an example so that we can know what to expect in our own spiritual journey.  

Each of us will have to carry the cross and it does help to know that it is a part of our journey to make Christ present in the world today.  

 

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Christ realized that all the ups and downs and the extreme suffering were a way to win salvation for all humans.  It can be so easy to reject our own struggles and say, "Well I am not really Jesus and besides He is God and I am not."  

But by our Baptism we have all been to make Christ present in the world for others.  We are called to be in some way the presence of Christ for all we encounter

 

Philipians.
St. Paul dealt with this when he addressed the Christians Community of the Philippians and their struggles, rejections, and sufferings. Many bible scholars believe this was an early Christian liturgical hymn.  It points out, as we will hear, that Christ is God, but was also fully human and does not reject or turn away from human suffering because He is God.  He understood these struggles were a part of his journey to bring the forgiveness of God to all humanity and we too have been called to be a part of his mission.

  Mark


As we listen to the reading of the Passion,  we need to call to mind, that like Jesus, our suffering is not for nothing.  It is a part of our journey and all of humanity's journey to eternal life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jesus recognized it was part of the will of the Father and the way obtain eternal life for all humanity.

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All of these readings should help us to see that suffering is a part of our journey, too.  

And we need to continually pray for the grace to accept that it is a part of our life's spiritual journey from time to time.  

Suffering

We do not go out looking for suffering, but for sure, it will come.  The question becomes, will we use it in our spiritual journey, or will we reject it just as the world teaches us.

 

 



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On Palm Sunday, Jesus was welcomes as a hero.  He could have just hung on to that of being a hero, but He does not.  He freely enters into His Passion and Death.

 

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We live in a world that doesn't see any value in suffering, yet Christ has shown us differently, and He invites each of us to enter it when it comes and to realize it is part of our journey to eternal life.

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Below is a link to an ancient readings used

in the the Liturgy of the Hours 

It can be a good reflection to use during Holy Week

 

Melito-of-sardis

Saint Melito of Sardis

Click here to read the ancient homily by St. Melito of Sardis

 

 

 

 






 

 

 

 

 

Fifth Sunday of Lent Cycle B

March 21, 2021

Review the Readings

Listen to the Readings

 

Photo Mar 10, 8 15 20 AM 

Lets-Review  

Last Sunday was Laetare Sunday which means Rejoice because Easter draws nearer.  

Now is a good time to look at our spiritual journey during this Lent;

the readings from this Sunday will help us to do exactly that.

 

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  CrucifictionGoodFri2

CrossBackground

These images are not easy to consider..  

Why was this the role of the Messiah???

And why is this to be part of our journey to eternal life?

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We all know the above story that will we hear on Palm Sunday.

Photo Mar 16, 3 22 35 PMJesus is proclaimed as Messiah by the crowds.  Hosanna in the highest.  

So it is easy to see why the Apostles found it so difficult to comprehend what Jesus says to them after the Palm Sunday experience; that is where the Gospel reading for this Sunday picks up, after the Palm Sunday experience where Jesus was proclaimed Messiah.

The apostles all  had their ideas of what it was to be the Messiah, and what Jesus  told them was devastating. They had the wrong idea of Messiah.  

What about us?  

What image to we have of the Messiah?  

Is it that He will take away all our difficulties and problems;

or cure all our diseases?  

 

We can be in shock also, when we hear what Jesus tells us in this Sunday's Gospel...

 

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Photo Mar 13, 3 05 35 PM

 

For each of us, our person died in the waters of our baptism, and we were born again.  

How-receive-holy-spirit1

We were impregnated by the Holy Spirit, and so we are to make Christ present in the world as were the apostles.  

We are called to follow the example of Christ, to give our lives for the other.  

Boy, it is so hard to give our lives for the other, even for the enemy as Jesus did; and that seems to make little sense in today's world.  

We can find ourselves in the same puzzlement held by the Apostles.

 

Photo Mar 16, 1 21 04 PMIn the Letter to the Hebrews, written in the second century to converted Jews, shows what it means to be a Christian.

This Hebrew community was told that Jesus was obedient to the will of His Father in all that was happening to Him, and that included both the good times and those times of great suffering, even His passion and death.

 What about us in the world today? 

We certainly like the good times,

but what about the times that are so difficult.  

Can we be obedient to the crosses, the struggles, we have in our own lives?


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Can we really believe that God is at work in both the good times and

those times that are such a struggle and such a suffering?

 

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Recall that Jeremiah, called at the young age of twenty three, was to take the word of God to the Chosen who had turned away from God and believed that it was more important to make political friends with worldly military powers, such as Egypt, They had lost trust in God.

 

 

Prophet-jeremiah

Jeremiah tells them they are wrong and that God would make a new covenant with them.

Life will come from death.  

He assured them that God would forgive their many doubts and fears and sins.

Certainly, the same is true for each of us today.

 

Trust-your-struggle-500x332

 

None of us want the struggles, yet they a part of our journey to eternal life.

Bible-Sunlight

 

These Sunday readings, once again, let us know that God loves us, and often works in ways that are not how we would work.  

 

Now is a good time to continue to pray for the grace to continue the journey, even when the cross, the struggles, appear, as they will for each of us.

 

Let's not listen to that inner voice saying to us...

...the struggles, the Cross, have no value...

...What a lie..

 

Take_up_your_cross_and_follow_me_by_hdchristianimages-d4px5cv

The Way To Eternal Life

 

 

 

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Holy Saturday Liturgy of the Hours Office of Readings


From an ancient homily for Holy Saturday


The Lord's descent into the underworld

 

Something strange is happening... there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness.

3cross


The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

  Tomb jesus

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

  Hell jesus

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. 
Garden jesus

For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.



Scourged Hands nail
Jesus on crwoss   See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

 Rise, let us leave this place.

HELL LEAVE

JESUS EMBRAQCEThe enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. 

I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open.


The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.



Fourth Sunday of Lent Cycle B

Fourth Sunday of Lent

March 1,2021... also known as...

 Laetare Sunday...

Click here for info on Laetare Sunday

 

Review the Readings

Listen to the Readings

 

 

 

God work

...How does God work in our lives?

...In ways that make us feel warm and fuzzy?

...Through situations that are hard and difficult? 

 

 We all have heard that God loves each one of us and wants us in eternal life with Him.  That is really what our Lenten journey is about.  

Bible

The readings from this Sunday help us to appreciate how God works in our lives.

 

 

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We all remember the struggles with trusting God for the people in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament.  God's Chosen were sometimes following God, then complaining, then rejecting Him and turning to other pagan gods.  This happened not once, but again and again, generation after generation; and it happens to each of us even today.

 

 

 

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The first reading gives us some idea of how God worked in the history of this wayward people.  God worked in all the ups and downs throughout human history.  He never gives up.  Even out of what seems like betrayal and disaster, God is still able to work to bring about his kingdom.  

This people had lost everything and had been taken into the Exile in Babylon.  All seemed hopeless...

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But God worked through the pagan king Cyrus who would let the people go and return to the destroyed Jerusalem and it Temple and to begin to rebuild.  

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How could God work through a pagan...But he did and does. 

 

He can certainly do the same for each of us today. Their story is our story and God will never give up on us either.  It is so easy to forget and give up on ourselves.  Something God will never do.  

 

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In the Gospel Nicodemus wanted to believe in Jesus and came  to talk with him secretly in the night.    Jesus told him that He is God.  Still Nicodemus was not willing to give himself totally to Jesus.  But Jesus never gives up on Nicodemus.  

 

 

 

At times, we can be like Nicodemus; we want to do the right things for Jesus, but we also want to continue to be a Christian in secret. 

 

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In the second reading St. Paul, while imprisoned in Rome, wrote to the Ephesians  who were faced with struggles, persecutions, threats of death, and rejections. Paul encouraged them  to not be afraid.  

 

 

 

 

No matter how often we may sin and turn from God, as did the Ephesians, God is always there waiting for us to return.

 

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The key for each of us is to be able see our sins and to return to God again and again.   And that means to seek forgiveness rather than giving excuses or blaming  the other.  

It is so hard to understand that this process is the way God works in our lives, just as He has throughout all of human history.

 

 

 

 

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It seems impossible that God would put up with us time after time, and yet, He does.  

He can even use our mistakes and sins to lead us back to Him.

 

 

 

 

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St. Paul writes the following to the Ephesians when they are close to giving up...

 

 

 


 

When we see that at times we sin, we don't love the enemy, we don't have compassion and mercy even toward the person who we think does not deserve it, etc. is the time God is there loving us and forgiving us.  

It is so difficult to see that this is exactly how God works.

  Crooked_lines21 (1)

He can write straight on crooked lines.  

 At times, we are the crooked lines.

 

Lent is the time when we have discovered that we are the crooked lines, and that, even so, God can work with each of us in ways we would not believe...

The struggle is to see ourselves as crooked lines and then to...

  Laetare per sito transp 2

 which means...

Rejoice-1

 

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