Let all the devout, all who love God rejoice in this beautiful, bright Feast. Let the wise servants be glad and enter into the joy of their Lord. Let those who have borne the burden of the Fast, now receive their pay. And those who have toiled since the 1st hour, now receive their just reward. Let any who came after the third hour, gratefully join in the fast. And those who have come after the sixth hour, let them not doubt, for they shall suffer no loss. If any have delayed to the ninth hour, let them not hesitate, but also come. And they who have arrived only at the 11th hour, let them not be afraid because they delayed, for the Lord is gracious and He receives the last even as the first. He gives rest to those who come at the eleventh hour as well to those who have worked from the first. [Read more…] about Easter Sunday Reflection: St. John Chrysostom’s Easter Sermon
In the first part of this series, we took a look at what it means to be loved by our Heavenly Father. In this second post, we’re going to take a deeper look at what it means to be loved by the Son. Of the three persons in the Holy Trinity, the love of the Jesus may be the most apparent: for God so loved the world, He sent His only Son that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Our eternal life was given to us at a high cost – Jesus died for us. Our Lord pointed out that this is the supreme act of love – to lay down one’s life for his or her friends (John 15:13).
When you consider that Jesus not only died for his friends, but for the sake of every human who has ever lived (including you and I), we discover an act of love beyond our greatest imagining. When in 1941, St. Maximilian Kolbe offered his life in the place of Franciszek Gajowniczek in Auschwitz, it was a moment Franciszek would never forget (and he testified as much during the process leading up to Fr. Kolbe’s canonization.)
But unlike Franciszek’s experience, we didn’t see Jesus die. This sacrifice happened long ago and far, far away – and it leaves us wondering what something that happened in Israel nearly 2,000 years ago has to do with us today. Fortunately, it’s simple. Jesus’ dying on the Cross and rising again represents two monumental tenets of our faith: hope and hope.
(Yes, I know I just wrote the same thing twice.) [Read more…] about (Be)Loved by the Son
With the celebration of Palm Sunday this weekend, we set off into the holiest week of the Church year. This is a week that culminates with those events that make our faith what they are: Jesus’ suffering, death, and His resurrection. These events are marked by a three part celebration we call the Triduum – 3 days – which take place on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday (with the Easter Vigil late Saturday night.) I strongly encourage you to get to all three celebrations – because each one brings to light a little about who we are as Christians and what we believe about our faith.
This will be a bit of a longer post – trying help you see the beauty of each of these days – but hopefully it will help bring them to life for you.
In the Bible (and in the biblical era), the concept of “sonship” is an important one. A son is more than an heir to the possessions of his father – there are titles, rights, and responsibilities that come particularly to a firstborn (or only) son. The understanding or claim that Jesus was (is) the only begotten Son of God puts Jesus on equal footing with God – and to many of his first century audience, this was a scandalous claim. Judaism has an understanding of the sacred that may seem foreign to many Christians – they treat even God’s name with the utmost care and respect. For a living, breathing human being to claim to be God’s Son was blasphemy, and those who called for Jesus’ execution did so with the intention of safeguarding that which is sacred:
“We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.” -John 19:7
While on the one hand, Jesus’ death came about for these very real reasons, the fact is that those who made up the mob crying out crucify him! couldn’t possibly have understood what was happening. Certainly, Jesus was sentenced to death on a cross for claiming to be God’s son – but He died for a much bigger reason – one which dramatically impacts our claim to live as God’s children. [Read more…] about Why did Jesus have to die?
Every lifetime is filled with pivotal moments – things we are either subjected to (events beyond our control) or things we subject ourselves to (choices we’ve made) – that come to define who we are. These pivotal moments can happen at any time, and can be something as simple as the moment your parents signed you up for hockey (or not), to the tragic loss of a loved one, the first time you ignored your conscience and did something you knew you shouldn’t do, or the moment you dared to try something new and be something different. Looking back, you’ll see how that moment acts like a hinge, pivoting your life in a wholly new direction.
When I look back on those “hinge” moments in my life, there are many (going on a first date with my wife, picking the guitar back up again, deciding to go to Bible school…) – but one of the most memorable was one of my most embarassing moments. If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know there’s no shortage of embarrassing moments to choose from: trying to run through a plate glass door at age ten (and breaking my glasses); my first day of grade 7, when I walked into the girls washroom, then tried to explain to a pair of grade 10 girls that THEY were in the wrong washroom (the pink tile & lack of urinals should have been my first clue); or the day Deacon (now Father) Jim Corrigan caught me sleeping during his Sunday homily, and proceeded to announce it to our entire congregation.
No, this particular embarrassing (hinge) moment occured on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, in my first year of parish youth ministry (2002-03). [Read more…] about My Most Embarrassing Memory