Thursday, March 29, 2018

He has sent me

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As I Have Done, So You Must Do

Pope Francis washes the foot of an inmate during the Holy Thursday Mass at Casal del Marmo prison for minors in Rome in this March 28, 2013, file photo. Following a request by Pope Francis, the Vatican issued a decree Jan. 21 specifying that the Holy Thursday foot-washing ritual can include women. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Perhaps no action by Pope Francis has generated as much astonishment as his washing the feet of prisoners—men, women, Christian, Muslim. It is a return to what Jesus intended: As I have done, so you must do. The Holy Thursday liturgy is marked by the ritual gesture of the washing of the feet. The central action of service reminds us that our communion is more than a meal, more than nourishment for our bodies and souls. It's the act of taking on the mission, the ministry, the very body of Christ. And it is a challenge to us to remain in communion not only with one another.

—from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek
franciscan media


"Pray, hope and don't worry. Anxiety doesn't help at all. Our Merciful Lord will listen to your prayer."
— Saint Padre Pio

"Free me from evil passions and heal my heart of all disorderly affections, that being healed and well purified in my interior, I may become fit to love, courageous to suffer and constant to persevere. Love is an excellent thing, a great good indeed, which alone maketh light all that is burdened and makes all that which is bitter sweet and savory. The love of Jesus is noble and generous; it spurs us on to do great things and excites us to desire always that which is most perfect."
— Thomas รก Kempis, p. 89
Imitation of Christ

On Thursday of Holy Week (Maundy Thursday) the Church celebrates the three pillars of the Catholic Church instituted by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper: the priesthood, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and the Holy Eucharist. This is the traditional day for priests to gather with their bishop at the Chrism Mass, to receive oils blessed by the bishop and to publicly renew their priestly promises. In the evening the Church celebrates the Mass of the Lord's Supper. After this Mass the altar is stripped bare and the Blessed Sacrament is removed from the Tabernacle and processed to a separate altar of repose. Here the Blessed Sacrament is adored until late in the night to commemorate the time Jesus spent in Garden of Gethsemane in agonizing prayer, the start of his Passion. The Blessed Sacrament is then taken away and hidden until the Easter Vigil in memory of Our Lord's death and burial.


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Saint Ludovico of Casoria

(March 11, 1814 – March 30, 1885)

Born in Casoria, near Naples, Arcangelo Palmentieri was a cabinet-maker before entering the Friars Minor in 1832, taking the name Ludovico. After his ordination five years later, he taught chemistry, physics, and mathematics to younger members of his province for several years.

In 1847, he had a mystical experience which he later described as a cleansing. After that, he dedicated his life to the poor and the infirm, establishing a dispensary for the poor, two schools for African children, an institute for the children of nobility, as well as an institution for orphans, the deaf, and the speechless, and other institutes for the blind, elderly, and for travelers. In addition to an infirmary for friars of his province, he began charitable institutes in Naples, Florence, and Assisi. He once said, "Christ's love has wounded my heart." This love prompted him to great acts of charity.

To help continue these works of mercy, in 1859 he established the Gray Brothers, a religious community composed of men who formerly belonged to the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later, he founded the Gray Sisters of St. Elizabeth for the same purpose.

Toward the beginning of his final, nine-year illness, Ludovico wrote a spiritual testament which described faith as "light in the darkness, help in sickness, blessing in tribulations, paradise in the crucifixion, and life amid death." The local work for his beatification began within five months of Ludovico's death. He was beatified in 1993 and canonized in 2014.

Saintly people are not protected from suffering, but with God's help they learn how to develop compassion from it. In the face of great suffering, we move either toward compassion or indifference. Saintly men and women show us the path toward compassion.


Holy Thursday - Chrism Mass

Reading 1 Is 61:1-3a, 6a, 8b-9

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly,
to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
To announce a year of favor from the LORD
and a day of vindication by our God,
to comfort all who mourn;
To place on those who mourn in Zion
a diadem instead of ashes,
To give them oil of gladness in place of mourning,
a glorious mantle instead of a listless spirit.

You yourselves shall be named priests of the LORD,
ministers of our God shall you be called.

I will give them their recompense faithfully,
a lasting covenant I will make with them.
Their descendants shall be renowned among the nations,
and their offspring among the peoples;
All who see them shall acknowledge them
as a race the LORD has blessed.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 89:21-22, 25 and 27
R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
"I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him.
That my hand may always be with him;
and that my arm may make him strong."
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
"My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him;
and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
He shall say of me, 'You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior!'"
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2 Rv 1:5-8

[Grace to you and peace] from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his Blood,
who has made us into a Kingdom, priests for his God and Father,
to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

Behold, he is coming amid the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him.
All the peoples of the earth will lament him.
Yes. Amen.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God,
"the one who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

Verse Before the Gospel Is 61:1 (cited in Lk 4:18)
The Spirit of the LORD is upon me;
for he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.

Gospel Lk 4:16-21

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
"Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."


Meditation: John 13:1-15

Holy Thursday: Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper

Jesus knew that his hour had come. (John 13:1)

It was time. Throughout John's Gospel, we read that Jesus' "hour had not yet come" (John 2:4). Jesus himself says it several times. In fact, it's his excuse to Mary at the wedding at Cana. But now, today, his hour has come, and he knows it.

This is a hint that we should pay special attention. Jesus is fully aware that his mission is about to be fulfilled. He knows that he is about to "pass from this world to the Father" (John 13:1). This insight into Jesus' thoughts provides a sense of urgency. It emphasizes that we are about to witness his final actions and words. So let's ask, "What does Jesus do with his hour? What does he say?"

Today's readings don't give us a lot of dialogue, but they do give us vivid and memorable pictures of Jesus' actions. He washed his disciples' feet, even the feet of Judas, the betrayer. He joined them in a Passover meal that hung heavy with anticipation and dread. He offered them his own Body and Blood in the first Eucharist.

It was love that drove these actions, just as love inspired Jesus' words. It was a love that wants to rescue the lost, a love that pours itself out so that we can be forgiven. It's a love that never questions, never wavers, and never fails.

What Jesus expressed to his disciples he wants to demonstrate to you. So try putting yourself in the scene. Imagine you are in the upper room as Jesus begins to wash the disciples' feet. He wants them to know that he loves them right then and there. He also wants them to remember this gesture in the days to come so that they can hold on to that love, even as Jesus hangs on the cross.

You will hear this Gospel passage at Mass this evening as the Easter Triduum begins. Pay close attention to it. Try to grasp the immensity of Jesus' love. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you new insights. Humbly receive the grace that God has for you tonight—the love that he has for everyone, to the end of time.

"Jesus, thank you for loving your friends until the end. Thank you for the love you have for me."

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
Psalm 116:12-13, 15-18
1 Corinthians 11:23-26


"You yourselves shall be named priests of the LORD, ministers of our God shall you be called." Indeed, as baptized Catholics, we are baptized as priests, prophets, and kings. Venerable Fulton Sheen said in a talk on Youtube about "wasting time" towards the end, he says something that caught my attention. All his talks are good, and in this one he said the world has been left with lots of little Jesus's. We make up the body of our Lord.

"I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him.
That my hand may always be with him; and that my arm may make him strong." For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord." As confirmed Catholics, another Holy Sacrament, we are annointed with oil blessed by bishops and bishops have been lay hands upon all the way back to the apostles.

"To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his Blood, who has made us into a Kingdom, priests for his God and Father, to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen." What does it mean to be freed from our sins? It means everything. It means to be freed from what sin leads to...death. Eternal death. This is why Easter is a big deal. We have been opened the doors of Heaven. And the song from inside says "come". Come one, come all, be freed from sin so that you may enter the narrow gate, not wide like the gates that lead to hell. Narrow for us who have set our sites on the cross. Narrow because few people enter. Protestantism has declared false things about our Catholic faith, and even about those who will enter Heaven. They say just say these magic words and "you're in". No matter what you say or do, you are automatically in Heaven. No matter what atrocious sin you commit, you are in. False. Absurdities. I even got some lashing on this from a 9th grade student last night, because I said "we can't go around saying we know this deceased person is in Heaven". "Oh but it's comforting words when people are suffering" they said. Of course they are comforting words, lies are comforting too. Like when a couple is fighting and the devil says comforting words like "you don't need to take this from anybody, just leave" Just leave your family, and then your faith. I've seen it. And it is devastating.

Truth doesn't feel good, but it is good. It is the truth of the cross. and Truth begins with a t (shape of a cross) .

In the Holy Gospel our Lord and our God stands up in the temple, is handed a scroll and He reads words written about Him centuries before. He says:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me"- and He left us each His Holy Spirit.

"because he has anointed me"- and He anointed us in Holy Confirmation.

"to bring glad tidings to the poor."- and we are asked to bring Good News of salvation to the entire world.

"He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives"- we are called to set captives free, those enslaved and caught in sin, trapped in a death trap.

"and recovery of sight to the blind"-, for those who once could see and are now blind, like the youth that grow up and out of faith, so that they may see that God is still there, waiting for repentance and to follow the Way.

"to let the oppressed go free"- this is a big one, because it means things like forgiveness. Us in need and those in need. We need to forgive. We need to be forgiven. We need to forgive to be forgiven.

"and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord."- And the year begins with our resurrection. Once we wake up, we are alive. The day of the year begins. Our resolution should be like His when He sets His sight on Jerusalem. He shows us the Way.

And the only way to know the Way is to get on the Way.

Tonight we celebrate the first Supper, the Last supper they call it. Like the first Communion, for some kids it is their last communion. When will your last communion be? And so the communion, the Eucharist, you take is the greatest. This common union with our Lord Jesus. He serves. Himself. He serves Love.
He gives loves where there is none.
He gives forgiveness where there is none.
He gives life...where there is none.
And it begins today, a year acceptable to Him is a year of accepting Him as King over any one and any thing. I love you more if I love God more....



Holy Thursday

"Nothing apart from God can satisfy the human
heart that is truly in search of God."

"Accept no substitutes" advertisers have often told
us. Although many people pride themselves on
recognizing "the real thing," they often pay dearly
for counterfeits—especially the counterfeit freedom that every sin represents.
In the Eucharist, Jesus, the world's greatest
servant leader, points us toward genuine freedom,
the kind we were always meant to enjoy as people
made in God's image and likeness.

Praying with Saint Anthony

O God, we thank you for the gift of the Eucharist
and for the example of Jesus, who did not find
washing feet beneath his dignity. Show us the paths
we must follow in order to share life with you.

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