Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pope Francis' Easter Vigil Homily

Jesus Christ

"Go back to 'Galilee',
that place where you first met Christ. 
Return to your First Love.
Rekindle that fire." ~ Pope Francis

Pope Francis' homily at the Easter Vigil this evening in St. Peter's basilica:
"The Gospel of the resurrection of Jesus Christ begins with the journey of the women to the tomb at dawn on the day after the Sabbath. They go to the tomb to honour the body of the Lord, but they find it open and empty. A mighty angel says to them: "Do not be afraid!" (Mt 28:5) and orders them to go and tell the disciples: "He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee" (v. 7). The women quickly depart and on the way Jesus himself meets them and says: "Do not fear; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me" (v. 10).
After the death of the Master, the disciples had scattered; their faith had been utterly shaken, everything seemed over, all their certainties had crumbled and their hopes had died. But now that message of the women, incredible as it was, came to them like a ray of light in the darkness. The news spread: Jesus is risen as he said. And then there was his command to go to Galilee; the women had heard it twice, first from the angel and then from Jesus himself: "Let them go to Galilee; there they will see me". 
Galilee is the place where they were first called, where everything began! To return there, to return to the place where they were originally called. Jesus had walked along the shores of the lake as the fishermen were casting their nets. He had called them, and they left everything and followed him (cf. Mt 4:18-22).
To return to Galilee means to re-read everything on the basis of the cross and its victory. To re-read everything – Jesus’ preaching, his miracles, the new community, the excitement and the defections, even the betrayal – to re-read everything starting from the end, which is a new beginning, from this supreme act of love.
For each of us, too, there is a "Galilee" at the origin of our journey with Jesus. "To go to Galilee" means something beautiful, it means rediscovering our baptism as a living fountainhead, drawing new energy from the sources of our faith and our Christian experience. To return to Galilee means above all to return to that blazing light with which God’s grace touched me at the start of the journey. From that flame I can light a fire for today and every day, and bring heat and light to my brothers and sisters. That flame ignites a humble joy, a joy which sorrow and distress cannot dismay, a good, gentle joy.
In the life of every Christian, after baptism there is also a more existential "Galilee": the experience of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ who called me to follow him and to share in his mission. In this sense, returning to Galilee means treasuring in my heart the living memory of that call, when Jesus passed my way, gazed at me with mercy and asked me to follow him. It means reviving the memory of that moment when his eyes met mine, the moment when he made me realize that he loved me.
Today, tonight, each of us can ask: What is my Galilee? Where is my Galilee? Do I remember it? Have I forgotten it? Have I gone off on roads and paths which made me forget it? Lord, help me: tell me what my Galilee is; for you know that I want to return there to encounter you and to let myself be embraced by your mercy.
The Gospel of Easter is very clear: we need to go back there, to see Jesus risen, and to become witnesses of his resurrection. This is not to go back in time; it is not a kind of nostalgia. It is returning to our first love, in order to receive the fire which Jesus has kindled in the world and to bring that fire to all people, to the very ends of the earth.
"Galilee of the Gentiles" (Mt 4:15; Is 8:23)! Horizon of the Risen Lord, horizon of the Church; intense desire of encounter… Let us be on our way!"

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fr. Cantalamessa's Good Friday Homily

 Full text of Fr Cantalamessa’s homily:

Good Friday homily: Judas' story ‘should move us to surrender' to Christ

"Peter had confidence in the mercy of Christ, and Judas did not! Judas’ greatest sin was not in having betrayed Christ but in having doubted his mercy."

Jesus the Bridegroom

"Friday of the Passion of the Lord

"There is an excellent new book by Brant Pitre on Jesus the Bridegroom (Image 2014). It has helped me understand the mystery we celebrate today and I'd would like simply to summarize the major points of his reflections, offering them to you for your prayer and meditation on this holy day...."  

 Good Friday Homily: Jesus the Bridegroom


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

King of Kings

This is the  movie that changed my life!

 Having grown up in an unhappy athesist family, I had no religious instruction. Though fortunately,  I was baptized Catholic, due to the insistence of my grandma and the grace of God.

The movie "King of Kings" came out in 1961, but I did not see it until 1969 when I was blessed to live with a Catholic family.

When I first saw this movie during Holy Week of that year, my heart was burst wide open!  I had never seen such love as Christ's Love.

 During the last scene on the shore, with the Resurrected Jesus Christ speaking as his large shadow moved slowly across the shore, I was overwhelmed!  I remember crying from the deepest depths of my soul.

 Christ's words, "I am with you always, even to the end of the world.",  spoke to a burning hunger within me, I didn't even know was there.

Since that day in '69, I always watch "King of Kings" every year during Holy Week. It never grows old, and the final scene still.... always brings tears.

Happy Birthday Benedict XVI

April 16th,  Pope B16 celebrates his 87th Birthday! We wish him many, many more! 

Join me this Holy Week in reading his outstanding book about this week in history,  what it meant to the world, and what it means for you and I today. 

"Jesus of Nazareth,  Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection"

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Where is My Heart

The question we must reflect on throughout Holy Week, 'Where is my heart?'
 Who am I as I stand before Christ?

"(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square calling on the faithful to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives.
With the some 100,000 people present to be with the Pope and mark the beginning of Holy Week, the Pope listened to the Gospel account of how Jesus’s disciples fell asleep just before he was betrayed by Judas before his crucifixion and then said: “Has my life fallen asleep?'' “Am I like Pontius Pilate, who, when he sees the situation is difficult, washes my hands?''
And speaking off the cuff instead of following his prepared homily, Pope Francis asked: “Where is my heart?'' pinpointing it as the “question which accompanies us'' throughout Holy Week.
After the ceremony Pope Francis disrobed of his red vestments, chatted to those close to him, and posed for “selfies”' with young people from Rio de Janeiro who had carried a large cross in the square.
For the occasion the Pope used a wooden pastoral staff carved by Italian prison inmates."

Full Text of Palm Sunday Homily by Pope Francis

Unconditional Love

Palm Sunday Reflection

From a sermon by Saint Andrew of Crete, bishop
(Oratio 9 in ramos palmarum: PG 97, 990-994)
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.
Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today he returns from Bethany and proceeds of his own free will toward his holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation. He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with himself, we are told in Scripture, above every sovereignty, authority, and power, and every other name that can be named, now comes of his own free will to make his journey to Jerusalem. He comes without pomp or ostentation. As the psalmist says: He will not dispute or raise his voice to make it heard in the streets. He will be meek and humble, and he will make his entry in simplicity.
Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward Jerusalem, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish. Then we shall be able to receive the Word at his coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us.
In his humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and he is glad that he became so humble for our sake, glad that he came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order to raise us up again to himself. And even though we are told that he has now ascended above the highest heavens—the proof, surely, of his power and godhead—his love for man will never rest until he has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with his own in heaven.
So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children’s holy song: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Holy Week

Father in Heaven,
ever-living source of all that is good,
keep me faithful during this Holy Week.
Help me to drink of Christ's Truth,
and fill my heart with His Love
so that I may serve You in faith
and love and reach eternal life.
In the Sacrament of the Eucharist
You give me the joy of sharing Your Life.
Keep me in Your presence.
Let me never be separated from You
and help me to do Your Will.


Be Thou My Vision

Many hymns are like prayers.  This is my favorite.

Friday, April 11, 2014

'Extraordinary Faith' Promo

Extraordinary Faith Channels have been created on both Vimeo (for quality) and YouTube (for reach).

Have a look at the promo created for EWTN:

Pope Francis calls abortion an ‘abominable crime’


Pope Francis calls abortion an ‘abominable crime’ in strongest remarks to date |

Everybody to Pope Paul: Drop Dead



Everybody to Pope Paul: Drop Dead

 Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae vitae

Jesus said, " My thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Beautiful Marriage

Nathan Trapuzzano’s widow: “He said, ‘I want us both to be saints…’”

 From "The Deacon's Bench"

"I don’t think you’ll read anything more heart-rending this week than this: an exclusive interview with Jennifer Trapuzzano, the pregnant widow of Nathan Trapuzzano, the 24-year-old young man killed while taking his morning walk last week. She describes her last hours with her husband—and a marriage that was beautifully full of grace and hope."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Catholic Family Communities

Intentional Catholic Communities of Families Forming 

This Is What We Do

This would be my 'dream' way of living!

 Never having been part of a loving family unit, let alone a Catholic family I love the idea of Catholic family communities!   This would be a great way for single people to feel like a part of a family, and be able to contribute to that Christian love and way of life.

What could be more fun than being part of a Catholic family? 

 Being part of a community of Catholic families!!! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Cross... A Mystery of God's Love

“Christianity is not a philosophical doctrine, it’s not a programme for life survival or education, or for peacemaking. These are consequences. Christianity is a person, a person raised on the Cross, a person who annihilated himself to save us, who became sin. Just as sin was raised up in the desert, here God who was made man and made sin for us was raised up. All our sins were there. You cannot understand Christianity without understanding this profound humiliation of the Son of God who humbled himself and became a servant unto death, even death on a cross, in order to serve us.”

“The Cross is not an ornament that we must always put in the churches, there on the altar. It is not a symbol that distinguishes us from others. The Cross is mystery, the mystery of God who humbles himself, he becomes ‘nothing.’ He becomes sin. Where is your sin? ‘I don’t know, I have so many here.’ No, your sin is there, in the Cross. Go and find it there, in the wounds of the Lord and your sins will be healed, your wounds will be healed, your sins will be forgiven. The forgiveness that God gives us is not the same as cancelling a debt that we have with Him, the forgiveness that God gives us are the wounds of his Son on the Cross, raised up on the Cross. May he draw us towards Him and may we allow ourselves to be healed by him.”

~ Pope Francis

Excerpt From Scott Hahn's "Evangelizing Catholics"

St. Francis didn't even say that: Evangelization means more than a silent witness An excerpt from 'Evangelizing Catholics: A Mission Manual for the New Evangelization' Scott Hahn