Today we may be called to nurse a sick child, spouse or in so many cases today a sick aging parent. You are challenged to journey with a loved one through the lack of and the loss of a child, a spouse, a partner, health, financial security, status, social acceptance, emotional trauma, the list is endless. The Suffering One has many, many disguises, so this demands that we be alert, become aware of His different appearances. For Easter, begin to think about the situations of struggle that you face where you are more likely to flee from rather become an actual compassionate presence. Children are called to be Simon in so many, many different ways. They are challenged to reach out to and help to carry the heavy load of a struggling parent or sibling. We are being challenged, tested as never before in our lifetime. So we need new solutions, new ways of acting so we can, and will be led into new ways of thinking. This can only happen through the faith, religious celebration of our present encounter and struggle with The Mystery Of our Faith, "Christ has died, Christ is risen" and now we celebrate Christ's coming again and again in the place we are presently. Are we really present to to place of feet are Planted?. In order to encounter That same Christ we have to develop new lenses, new levels of awareness of what it means to really have Holy Week, and the celebration in a new way of the central mystery of our faith. We will have to meet the challenge of real meaning-full liturgies in all of our " little churches of the home.
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Friday, March 27, 2020
First there is Simon to be met and embraced. The six foot rule does not count here, but we wish with all of our being it was not so for us. We are pretty much never ready for Simon. Simon it appears was having a good day. He was back to the city from the country. Walking along when suddenly his life changed. He was grabbed by Roman soldiers and brought to a badly beaten, blood soaked wreck of a man stretched out on the road surrounded by a bloodthirsty mob. His first thought must have been, why me Simon? What have I done to be forced into this ugly horrendous situation? They want me to carry that wooden beam to Calvary so that crucifixion can take place. I better do what these Romans want. They really want this man to suffer. So reluctantly he followed the Suffering One to the place of crucifixion, and death. Simon left that place a changed man.
Now we get to meet Veronica. Veronica was in the crowd. How she got there we do not know. What we do know is she saw the terrible features of The Suffering Carpenter and was moved to compassionate action. She moved towards this so called criminal and wiped His face. Where did she get the courage to move away from this hate-filled crowd and minister to the object of their hate? What was the sufferings she endured that did not harden her, as it happens in so many cases, but gave her the strength of character to risk hostility so as to what was needed. Veronica knew the depths of pain, loss and crucifixion but out of all the horrors of her life she was moved to do what she did. She would have met pain and suffering long before she encountered it physically incarnate right before her eyes.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
We have about 20 days here in 2020 to look at the vast choices that lie before us. The goal is a personal, particular family centered celebration in the "little church of the home." This will ask for the cooperation and participation of all the family members. If individual and families chose to celebrate together this will bring out more of the communal dimension of our shared faith. I see singles, and couples choosing their "faith community" for this year. This year you are going to have the choice of who you are going to prepare and celebrate with. For those in mixed faith relationships, this offers you the great opportunity to have a celebration that will reflect the beliefs of both faith traditions. I always admire those of other faith traditions who accompany their Catholic partners to our Catholic Easter Sunday celebration. This year you are being given the opportunity to have a blended faith celebration of your everyday experience of The Easter Mysteries.
When I was preparing couples for the celebration of the Sacrament of Matrimony I used to ask them to do the following. Write out where they saw The Suffering Christ, within their intended spouse. That Suffering Presence must be recognized so that when That Suffering Presence is reveled in the days, weeks, and sometimes years to come there are no surprises. Many many couples fought me on that one. They want to see only the presence of The Risen Christ wanting no part of the suffering One within aching to be ministered to In the reflective celebration of Jesus’ last hours as seen in the stations of the cross we encounter as The Suffering Servant did two very significant people. We are presented for our reflection Simon of Cyrene, and Veronica. Have you ever met both Simon and Veronica within your contemporary Gospel story? They are there deep inside waiting to be a source of strength and encouragement.
Monday, March 23, 2020
The previous blog was written 18-March-2020. This is written on the 20-March-2020. When it was announced that the parish, communal, celebration of The Easter-Paschal Mystery was not going to be celebrated. This is a radical move to deal with the radical nature of today’s great challenges. That celebration was plan "A." When plan "A" does not work then we go to plan "B." I see your personal celebrations as plan "B." The Easter-Paschal Mystery being planned, and celebrated by and with the "little church of the home." It is not going to be celebrated by the gathering of the whole community, but the gathering of that same community within the basic cell of Mother Church, the individual families. The individual family units as individual, or the gathering of less than ten of those who have a desire to make the celebration this Easter a journey that personal and particular. When we are in the personal and particular we are dealing with reality. In reality it is both hidden and revealed Reality itself. This Reality’s essence was revealed in the life and ministry of Jesus, Who became The Christ. His story as written in the Gospel stories is to be seen as our story today(O’Shea). How terrifying, awe-full, wonder-full and exciting this 2020 journey will be as we begin to discover anew our personal, and communal daily, moment to moment, encounters with, The Jesus of the Gospels, Who is now The Risen Christ dwelling in the depths of each person, not the chosen few. So let's get to work. "we are burning daylight"(John Wayne).
Sunday, March 22, 2020
For the first time in my lifetime, but not in the history of the Irish people, there is a ban on Sunday mass. For us as there will be no Sunday gathering of the whole community for the communal celebration of The Eucharist. It is good to remember this historical fact, we the Irish people were prevented by law from having mass celebrated. It was a death sentence for the presiding priest if he was caught. There was a bounty on his head, so you are rewarded for the killing of a priest. Those Penal Laws were in effect for 400 years. That is for 400 years, not 400 days or 400 months. Turning to today’s great challenge, we do not know how long the the ban will last, but we are not looking at 400 years. Thank the good Lord for that. We will be forever in the debt of our devoted scientists, doctors and research assistants who are working nonstop to find a solution. We must thank all those who are risking their lives to provide all that is necessary for our day to day survival. There sure has been a radical change on how those who were previously taken for granted are now the focus of our deepest gratitude. This is only the very tip of the iceberg, when it comes to radical changes. These changes will reverberate over the next 30-40 years.
For those of you who are reading this effort you will have to make a decision. Are you going to remain as part of the problem or are you going to contribute your unique talents to the ever evolving solution. I have been a witness to the destructive effects of those who are so afraid of change that fight to their deaths, and as a consequence cause the deaths of innocence individuals, rather than surrender and contribute. What a death dealing condition denial is? Let us pray for and embrace acceptance.
When the solution will come is not known for certain. So then we will journey as individuals, as couples, as families, and as a global community of families into the great unknown. We are all caught up on this journey whether we like it or not. There are no exceptions to this very challenging journey of being healthy and staying healthy. For those who are infected by the virus we must pray that The Great Comforter and Healer may be a source of healing and tender care.