Happy 4th of July! May God bless America and every inch of this precious Planet Earth!
May is a month when many parishes celebrate First Holy Communion. The sanctuary is adorned with wheat and grapes and beautiful Easter flowers. Little girls in white dresses and little boys in suits come forward to receive Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time.
Last week I was in church for daily Mass the day after First Communion. As I knelt and prayed before Mass began, an image of St. Angela’s came to mind. In one of her prayers she refers to “the dazzling face of Jesus.” Yes, we receive Jesus in the form of bread and wine, but in my mind’s eye, I see his dazzling face. How often at Mass we hear the prayer May we become what we eat. This means that all of us wear that dazzling face and are signs of the living Christ to the world. Join me in praying that all new (and longtime!) communicants may live fully into a growing awareness of the dazzling face of Jesus.
Easter Peace to All! May your lives truly be BACKLIT WITH JOY!
Most of us don’t have problems recognizing our friends, unless we haven’t seen them in a long time or they’ve changed a lot due to age or health. But shortly after the first Easter, as two people fled the scene of all that had happened, we’re told “Jesus himself drew near and walked with them.” But they were prevented from recognizing him.
They had just witnessed all that had happened, so why did they not know him? Were they so distracted and disillusioned? Well, yes, probably. We, too, often don”t realize Jesus is walking with us. When wrapped up in the way we think things should be, or when discouragement, fear or grief take our hearts hostage, it’s easy to have eyes closed to the ones nearest to us.
The Emmaus travelers poured out their pain to Jesus, the stranger. Something made them trust him. And when it was evening, they begged him to remain with them. We know the rest. “While he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” Jesus, friend and companion, help us recognize you each day as you bless and break open the bread of our lives and yours.
We’ve arrived at Holy Week and stand in the doorway of the most sacred of days. I offer this link to a 3-Minute Retreat from Loyola Press—The Passion of the Lord—for your reflection.
Pilate said to Jesus, ‘What is truth?’ – John 18:38
It’s 49 years ago today that Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis. He remains in our memories as a young man, filled with passion for justice and dreams of reconciliation and harmony among all people. He would be 88 years old this year.
As we move toward Holy Week to commemorate the sacred Passion of Jesus, the words of Martin Luther King are as challenging as ever: “We need to pledge ourselves anew to the cause of Christ. . . Wherever the early Christians went, they made a triumphant witness for Christ. Whether on the village streets or in the city jails, they daringly proclaimed the good news of the gospel. . . With this powerful gospel we shall boldly challenge the status quo.”