April 27, 2014

Pineapples and Full Circles

About five years ago, when this old blog was going strong and I was in the middle of my assignment as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart in Yonkers, my Provincial Minister came to me with some pamphlets and asked me if I might think about going to our International College in order to study in Rome.

April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

As sleepy as this old blog has become, I can't let it go without an Easter post to greet the kind visitors who still check in here as well as those who come by way of links and search traffic.

The Resurrection is the dawn of the new creation of which Our Lady's Immaculate Conception was the first light. It is the good news that the death of sin--earned for us by our first parents--has been defeated by the Son of God in the humanity he borrowed from us through her consent. As citizens of this new creation by baptism and conformed to the death and Resurrection of Christ by Holy Communion, we can begin to live in freedom from the works of death and "seek the things that are above" (Colossians 3:1)

I was fairly pleased with at least some of what I did for Lent; I think it left me more open, more willing, quieter. More and more I know--beyond just saying it--that this is what prayer is about: willingness, openness, consent, surrender. An acceptance of what God gives, the wonder at how his presence to you has always been broader than you knew or reflected upon in what you called your prayer or 'spiritual life', consent to letting go even of ideas about him and your ideas of what it meant to be faithful.

So to all the believers who come by this post, I wish a blessed celebration of Easter and the hopeful awareness of the new life that wills to be born in you.

April 16, 2014

Spy Wednesday

Today it was my turn to preside at the community Mass. It was my turn on Wednesday of Holy Week last year as well, and I think this was the first time I presided the second time on a liturgical day in Italian.

In thinking about what to say--for I thought it only right to preach, it being Holy Week--I took the brief and simple approach that the brothers seem to appreciate, noting the parallel between the words of Judas in Matthew 26:15 and that of the disciples in general in verse 17. The disciple-traitor asks how much he can get from men, while the faithful disciple asks the Lord what he can do for him.

That was the best I could do in Italian, challenging myself to preach in Italian without notes for the first time. Four phrases. Perhaps I ought to be more advanced than that as I start to approach two years in Italy.

But here in my own language, I confess that there's more to it. Judas intrigues to hand Jesus over to his trial, condemnation, and Passion. The disciples ask where they can prepare for him to "eat the Passover." But what does it mean for Jesus to "eat the Passover" but to enter into the mystery he will reveal in parallel at the Last Supper and on the Cross, becoming himself the Passover Sacrifice such that, as John Chrysostom will remind us in the Office of Readings on Friday, his blood on our lips saves us from death just as the blood of the Passover sacrifice on the doorposts of the Hebrews' homes saved them from the Tenth Plague, the death of the first-born?

It all enters into the mystery of how God means to save us: the betrayal of Judas, without whose treason the Spirit is not handed over to us from the Cross, and the solicitude of the disciples, without whose devout preparation of the Passover we do not have the living memorial of the Passion that is the Eucharist.