The first Glorious Mystery is The Resurrection. It appears in all the Gospels and I am positive that it is mentioned in a couple of other New Testament books as well. The fruit of this mystery is faith. Jesus after dying on Good Friday and being placed in a tomb on the first day of the week, the day after the Sabbath, women came to anoint the body, but the stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty. They were told to go tell of the good news. We should be reminded of the Story of Doubting Thomas, who wouldn’t believe that Jesus had risen until Thomas himself could see the hands and put his hand in the side. When Jesus finally appeared that second time with Thomas in the room Jesus said to him “because you’ve seen you believe. Blessed are those who have not see but believe.” This is faith, it is one of the theological virtues written about in the Encyclical Lumen Fidei.
This is interesting as it is a complement for the Stations of the Cross. I hadn’t heard of these at all and for good reason they were proposed in 1988 by Father Sabino Palumbieria as a new set of stations, centered on the Resurrection and the events following from it, to emphasize the positive and hopeful aspect of the Christian story. Which he said are obscured by the emphasis on suffering in the Stations of the Cross. The first time this devotion was done was in 1990, in 2001 the Holy See said that the Via Lucis (Way of Light) was a nice thing and that it has potential to restore a “culture of life” which is open to the hope and certitude offered by faith.
The list of Stations has not really been set so the station seem to be widely varied but they cover the events from the Resurrection to the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The list provided on Wikipedia not that in spite of continuing local variability, there appears nevertheless to be an increasing convergence upon the following as a recognized list of Stations of the Resurrection:
- Jesus is raised from the dead
- The finding of the empty tomb
- Mary Magdalene meets the risen Jesus
- Jesus appears on the road to Emmaus
- Jesus is known in the breaking of bread (Emmaus continued)
- Jesus appears to the disciples in Jerusalem
- Jesus gives the disciples his peace and the power to forgive sins
- Jesus strengthens the faith of Thomas
- Jesus appears by the Sea of Tiberias
- Jesus forgives Peter and commands him to feed his sheep
- Jesus commissions the disciples upon the mountain
- The Ascension of Jesus
- Mary and the disciples wait in prayer
- The Holy Spirit descends at Pentecost
They all indicate that different stations that are used are as follows. The first couple all surround the resurrection itself with the Earthquake that occurs at the time of the Resurrection or when the women are the first to come and anoint the body and the find the tomb empty with an angel of Jesus there asking them what/who they are looking for or Mary Magdalene proclaims the Resurrection to the disciples. The other ones are after resurrection appearances of Jesus like when he appeared to the 500 as mentioned in Corinthians or appeared to Saul.
It would be interesting if this turned into a regular devotion like Stations of the Cross but it has only been about 30 years since it was created and it took about 60 or so year before the Chaplet of Divine Mercy became popular, you also had a Pope who really backed the prayer.
I was looking at poems about Easter and sure there were a bunch that were classic and about the Resurrection but then there was this one. It seemed to be on every list that I looked at. This poem is by Matthew Arnold, the so called third greatest Victorian poet behind Tennyson and Browning. In college I took a Victorian poetry class and this was the poem that we read from Arnold and it is fairly long.
The Forsaken Merman by Matthew Arnold
This week in the Eastern Church is known as Bright Week. It’s a continuation of the celebration of the Resurrection and according to the Quinsext Council (Council in Trullo), that one between the third Constantinople and second Nicean, “for a whole week the faithful in the holy churches should continually be repeating psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, rejoicing and celebrating Christ, and attending to the reading of the Divine Scriptures and delighting in the Holy Mysteries. For in this way shall we be exalted with Christ; raised up together with Him. For this reason on the aforesaid days that by no means there be any horse races or any other public spectacle”
The week itself liturgically is considered like a single day. Bright Week ends on Thomas Sunday when the story of the apostle Thomas is read. Now this in itself is a rather interesting idea that Easter last more than one day it is just the beginning of a larger season of the liturgical year. In most of the Western world Easter is celebrated and then quickly forgotten about, sure in some places Easter Monday is a big to do as well, with like the Easter Egg Roll at the White House, Dyngus Day or Wet Monday. However this is a more commonly low key event and secular. Sure a week later we arrive on Divine Mercy Sunday but Easter is 50 days long not only seven Sundays. So if we could do little more to celebrate the season that would be great, crack open some of the Post-Resurrection Gospel stories and reflect on them in these next 49 or so days.
This week the readings come from the beginning of Acts 1: 1-11, Psalm 47, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 1:17-23 or Letter to the Hebrews 9:24-28, 10:19-23; and Luke’s Gospel 24:46-53.
We’ve got options but the main deal this week is the Ascension. If you forget that’s what’s being celebrated this week it’s when Jesus ascends into heaven. We get a double dose of Luke this week, with Acts and the gospel reading. The message of the two men dressed in white is something we need to remember and live by. The men in white ask “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky?” Sure we can remember Jesus but he will be coming back someday but we don’t know when. All too often we live our lives looking up at the sky reacting to events out of our control or just shut down when things aren’t going our way, these angels are reminders to us to not be stuck in our head but to focus on the world around us and what we can do in it so as to make it a better place for Jesus to return to.
This week the readings come from Acts 14:21-27, Psalm 145, Revelation 21:1-5a, and John’s Gospel 13:31-33a, 34-35.
The big focus this week is what Jesus says in the Gospel, where he issues a New Commandment. It isn’t that ground breaking it is to love one another, as in the Golden rule. “Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another.” It’s a simple idea but so hard in practice since this is talking about everyone and there are some people that we hate in the world. However, Jesus is here telling us to love one another. If we just followed this advice just imagine what the world would be like. Pope Benedict XVI reminded us that the foundation of the world is love and in a homily that “Love is the only force capable of changing the heart of the human person and of all humanity, by making fruitful the relations between men and women, between rich and poor, between cultures and civilizations.” Let us go out and try to live this “New Commandment” loving one another as the Lord has loved us.
This week the readings come from Acts 13:14, 43-52; Psalm 100; Revelation 7:9, 14b-17; and John’s Gospel 10:27-30.
This week we hear about the Good Shepherd it is sort of a continuation of Paul and Jesus “Feed my sheep” from last week although it come from earlier in the Gospel. Sure the metaphor is rough today as not many of us know shepherd but they were rough around the edges and as Pope Francis has said they would smell of their sheep. Being like the Good Shepherd is a goal that we should all be willing to attain. We need to go out into the world and work with others for the betterment of the world. Priests and Bishops need to listen to the words of Pope Francis and take on the character of the people that they serve.
This week before getting to the readings Pope Francis released his second Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) I will be following His Holiness advice and taking my time to read through the whole thing and will offer some comment about it soon.
The readings the week come from Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41; Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11-14; and John’s Gospel 21:1-19.
It seems to me that the common thread of the readings this week is vocation. This is clearly seen in the Gospel where we have the part where Jesus asks Peter “Do you love me?” Peter replies “Yes, Lord you know I do” Jesus answers back “Feed my sheep” and asks Peter again “Do you Love me?” Peter answers the same Jesus replies “Tend my sheep” then asks Peter a third time “Do you Love me?”. Peter is livid at begin asked a third time and says “Lord you know everything, you know that I love you” Jesus replies “Feed my sheep” then this reading end with Jesus telling Peter to “Follow me.” This is an experience that we all have when we go to Mass we encounter Christ and he asks us “Do you love me?” and tells us to Follow Him. Let us go out to feed and tend the sheep out in the world and follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
This week the readings come from Acts 5:12-16; Psalm 118; Revelation 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19; and John’s Gospel 20:19-31.
In case you missed it this is the Second Sunday in Easter or more commonly known as Divine Mercy Sunday, your church might be praying the Chaplet today at 3pm, they are go and pray it. Today the readings focus on Faith with the story of Doubting Thomas in the Gospel. “Blessed are those who have not seen and have still believed.” This gospel reading is the only one across all three years of the cycle. If you look at the Divine Mercy image you understand it right away, as in the image Jesus is blessing us with his left hand pointing toward his chest with red and pale (white) rays coming from his heart. Just like at the Crucifixion blood and water flow from Jesus, below the image is usually the phrase “Jesus, I Trust in You.” We need to put our trust in Jesus, we don’t get to be like Thomas and ask to see his hand and feet and side to prove that it is actually Jesus but we will know it is him through love.
“Today bring to Me the Souls who especially venerate and glorify My Mercy, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.”
Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God:
Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen.
This should be all individuals especially this year as we celebrate the Year of Mercy. We are constantly focusing on the suffering, death and resurrection of the Lord that mercy should become second nature for us all. On Easter, Pope Francis in his Urbi et Orbi said that “Before the spiritual and moral abysses of mankind, before the chasms that open up in hearts and provoke hatred and death, only an infinite mercy can bring us salvation. Only God can fill those chasms with his love, prevent us from falling into them and help us to continue our journey together towards the land of freedom and life.” We all need mercy in our lives and should be willing to show mercy to others and the same is true with love.