Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"Why Are You Weeping?"

Mary Magdalene is the first person to see Jesus after discovering the empty tomb with the other women, yet in her grief, and now in her pessimism, the body is gone and she'll never be able to see it again. She can't recognize Jesus through her tears. The angels ask her why she is weeping and so does Jesus. Twice the same question! She was evidently really "down". Yet, Jesus does not chide her for her lack of faith, her grief, her discouragement, but reveals himself to her as he calls her name, recognizing her current state, accepting her as she was, and comforting her with his presence.
Isn't that the way he treats us? Even in our deepest depression or slightest incapacitation, he is always there.
I am in a state of partial immobilization after a serious fall in Cleveland which tore my right "quad" from my kneecap. Walking gingerly with the aid of a crutch...no driving, naturally, forced to sit. But, what a gift of time, not to weep with Mary, but to know the presence of Jesus in a special way, especially this week, and be able to "cling" to him, listen to him and receive his comfort. There is always a blessing in the worst of challenges.
Bro. Rene

Monday, April 21, 2014

This Is The Day The Lord Has Made

We continue to celebrate Easter Sunday this entire week, the Octave of Easter, as if were still Easter Sunday itself. For the next 50 days, the Easter Season, we will ponder the resurrection of Jesus and our own baptismal resurrections in a effort to appreciate the magnitude of our salvation.
The newly baptized and confirmed adults who are now in full communion with the Catholic Church can look back at the events that led them to take this big step. Infants and young children will someday realize the treasure they were given as they are nurtured by their families and parish communities and some day make their confirmation. It is all mystery, all gift, as to why some are so chosen; yet Christ died for ALL. May we spend this week praising and thanking God for his universal as well as personal love.
Bro. Rene

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Empty Tomb

NB. Thank you for your patience the past few days...I was not able to connect with the blogspot that powers these slices of bread.

The women found the tomb empty. What further emptiness did they need after the awful scenes of Friday, when the cruel death of the One they loved, believed in and followed with blind loyalty? Perhaps still numb and wondering if it had all been a dream, they mechanically made their way to the tomb to finish the burial process, and not the last link to Jesus, his body, was gone.
Often in our lives when we think we've reached our limits, that "we can't take any more", "more" comes and our emptiness goes deeper. But then, as the women experienced, something happens to assure us that we have not reached the bottom, but have been brought to this place to experience more fully what it means to "rise from the dead", to have new life, new sense of purpose, to be reborn. Jesus comes alive on the Easter skies of our life! So it was with the women whose hearts must have pounded doubly as they ran back to tell the Eleven what they had seen and heard...that their hero had risen from the dead as he promised. What chills in their spines, what tears of joy in their eyes, what wonder in their minds: this had never happened before, coming back from the dead! May the empty tombs, the emptiness of depression and unhappiness we experience from time to time be replaced by new insights and the reassurance that this had to be so that we may know for real that All Shall Be Well.
Bro. Rene

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Just A brief Word

Time will not allow more than just a reminder that Lent transitions to the Triduum which begins on tomorrow, Holy Thursday.  Participation in the Liturgy of the Lord's supper followed by adoration is the best way to spend this day.  I will be on retreat at St. Anselm's  Abbey praying for all.
Bro. Rene

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

False Self-Image

As the Last Supper proceeded and Jesus spoke of a traitor,  Peter vehemently affirmed that he would never betray or deny knowing Jesus, even if it meant death. and the rest of the Eleven said the same thing.  (Mt 33-35). Jesus rightly predicted that before the cock crowed, Peter would have denied him three times.  What an awakening call that cock made at dawn, one that shook Peter to his bones and led to enormous guilt, pain, and desire for forgiveness.

How often do all of us think of ourselves as "on the right track", only to be reminded of how badly we have strayed into insensitivity, or even outright hostile behavior toward others.  Denial seems to be part of our "fallen nature", and on this 102nd anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, I can't help thinking of the over-confidence of the architect, Thomas Andrews and the owners of the White Star Line, who proclaimed her "unsinkable".  Those words came around to strike them in the face on this invulnerable ship's maiden voyage.

It would be helpful to pause today, this week, to look into our hearts to find the Peter or the Thomas Andrews in us, who protest that we will never deny Jesus, or that we are "unsinkable", lest the cock crow and reveal who we really are.  And if it does crow, so much the better, may we, like Peter, seek full forgiveness.
Bro. Rene

Monday, April 14, 2014

Who Am I?

Six days before Passover, while eating at the home in Bethany of Lazarus, Martha and Mary, two contrasting figures stand out:  Mary and Judas. Mary expresses her love for Jesus by anointing his feet with precious ointment, displaying without shame who she is, a woman of deep love.  No false face, no mask.   Her love is out in the open.
Judas protests this waste of precious oil, the price of which, he said, could have been given to the poor. The Evangelist, John, is quick to point out that Judas said this not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief who regularly stole from the common fund that enabled the Apostles to eat.  Again, in Gethsemane, he feigns friendship with Jesus kissing him with the betraying  kiss that led to the arrest of Jesus.  The Judas who appeared in public as one of the Twelve becomes clear in this final week.
It is easy for us to dismiss Judas as the instrument of evil, but he might be worthy of reflection, particularly this week, as we walk with Jesus to his passion, death and resurrection.  We live in a culture of lies, the fate of our fallen nature, and though we are appalled by the lies of public officials, how about our own lies, our own false fronts?  Not to be negative or pessimistic, but there might be a mixture of Mary and Judas in each one of us.  Let us look deeply, admit, and ask for the help of Jesus.
Bro. Rene

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Sprig of Palm

As part of the ambiance in our chapel during Lent, we've had a plain wooden cross on a pedestal covered with a sheer violet cloth flowing from the pedestal to the floor.  Today a sprig of palm below the cross, against the cloth, stands out as an arrow pointing to it, a vivid reminder that today's triumphal entry into Jerusalem included death on the cross. There's no escaping the pain that being a follower of Jesus entails, yet, this is our calling.  It means, as Jose Pagola reminds us, "committing ourselves to humanizing life and so contributing little by little to making a reality of his project of a world in which God and his justice reign.  This means that we, the followers of Jesus, are sent to bring truth where there is deceit and lies, justice where there is injustice and cruelty to the weakest, and bring back compassion where there is indifference and passivity at the sight of those who suffer. This entails building communities that unite on the basis of the project of Jesus while living his spirit and attitudes." (Pagola, Following in the Footsteps of Jesus, Year A)
As we wave our palms in procession and listen to the reading of the Passion, let us recommit ourselves to this project.
Bro. Rene