Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 4/24

Holy Family Easter Vigil Fire: Photo by DupontMediaWorld
There were times in Holy Week, Lord,
when my faith burned as bright and as strong
as the new fire blessed at the Easter Vigil...

Lighting a taper from the Paschal Candle: Photo by DupontMediaWorld
And there were times when I knew
your light alone was the source
of all light in my life...

Sharing the Light of Christ: Photo by DupontMediaWorld   
And times when sharing your light
seemed the greatest possible joy...

Holding the Light of Christ: Photo by DupontMediaWorld
And there were times when I saw
your light aglow
in the lives of all those around me...

Singing the Exsultet at the Vigil: Photo by DupontMediaWorld

Keep the light of Easter bright in my heart, Lord...

Keep the light of your truth burning within me...

Keep the joy of your light ever before me...

Keep the light of your wisdom alive in our parish...

You are the light of the world, O Lord,
a light no darkness can extinguish...


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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Out for dinner

Above, a delightly frothy cappuccino at The Naked Oyster (below) in Hyannis, served up by Brianne.  This followed a crab cake appetizer (made with plenty of crab) and a larged stuffed pork chop accompanied by scalloped potatoes and perfectly prepared asparagus.  A great dinner to bring my Cape break to an end...


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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 4/23

On the Church calendar Easter is more than a day, it's a season that last 50 days - leading us to Pentecost.  Plenty of time to celebrate Easter, plenty of time to share the joy and peace and to lift up the hearts and spirits of those who are down.


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Word for the Weekend: APRIL 27

Still Doubting by John Granville Gregory

Every year on the Sunday after Easter we hear the story of Thomas, the doubter... who is ultimately Thomas, the believer...  The painting above is a contemporary rendition of the familiar piece by Caravaggio.

I know you know the story, so let's lead off here with a few starter questions:

What doubts will you, with Thomas, bring to the Lord this Sunday?
What keeps you from believing?
What kind of proof do you look for?  wait for?
What needs affirmation and confirmation 
in your believer's mind and heart?

The liturgical weight and solemnity of Holy Week is behind us but every Sunday is a "little Easter" and so it's time to begin reading, studying and pondering the scriptures for the Second Sunday of Easter, also known as "Divine Mercy Sunday."

The scriptures for Sunday and background material on them can be found here and hints for helping children prepare this coming weekend's Word can be found here.

The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles gives us a snapshot view of the early Christian community and sets the bar high for those of us who would take it as our model.

In the Easter season, all three Sunday readings are taken from the Christian scriptures, the only season in the Church year when the Hebrew scriptures are not part of our spiritual nourishment. I hope that a future revision of the lectionary might rethink this practice. In the second lesson, then, we will hear from the First Letter of Peter and the caution that believers can expect to undergo some trial on account of their faith.

The gospel is the witness of John and tells story of Thomas, the doubter. Embedded in this story is the Lord's word,"Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." This is the scriptural warrant for our understanding of the sacramental forgiveness of sin.


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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 4/21

Photo by Marcy Cunkelman

This past winter was a long one and spring took its own sweet time before finally pulling into town.  Along with others, I did my own share of complaining about the snow and the cold while I waited for
longer, warmer days and a greening of the landscape.  Well, spring is here, just in time for Easter, and a new season's budding, growing, unfolding all around me.  It struck me yesterday afternoon that my springtime gratitude doesn't nearly measure up to all my wintry longing and complaint.  Have I taken the season's change for granted?  Have I imagined I'm owed this better weather?  Have I thanked God that sooner or later the promise of spring is always kept?

Of course there's much more spring to come: even warmer days, gardens in bloom, green fields and flowering trees.  But I'm grateful for this first, if tardy blush of April's gift and for sureties like spring that never disappoint.

I ask for a lot, Lord, and I complain
when I think you've been slow
to hear my prayer and answer me
just the way I want...

And often I'm not satisfied
when you send hints and buds of promise
telling me: you're on the case,
you've heard my plea,
that you're answering my prayer
in your wisdom and good time...

Open up my eyes to see
the ways you slowly, surely move
within my heart and in my days:
help me notice every sign
of how you're with me,
how you're walking by my side,
how you're answering my prayers...

Keep me grateful for the gifts you've given
and mindful of the ways you keep your word
to guard and guide me, keeping and holding me
within the palm of your own hand...

Give me a grateful heart, Lord,
for all I have and all you promise me,
especially the gift of your abiding love...


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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Monday Morning Offering: 4/21

Image: George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

It's Easter Monday, Lord,
and time to look back a bit...

I'm thinking of the three women who came to the tomb
expecting to find you dead
but finding that you had already risen
from the dead...

I'm thinking of the apostles
hiding behind locked doors in fear...

I'm thinking of the two disciples
walking with you on the road to Emmaus
and not recognizing you until...

Seems like your closest friends
didn't get it right away, Lord:
even when you were right in their faces -
they didn't understand what had happened...

It took time for it all to sink in...

It took time for them to understand,
to believe, to act on what they believed...

It takes me time, too, Lord...

All these years,
and the message of Easter
is still sinking in, making itself known,
making itself real in my life...

I still don't understand everything about Easter:
often it seems I get the dying part
much better than I get the rising part...

I want you in my life
but sometimes I hide from you
because I'm not sure what having you in my life
will cost me...

I believe you're always with me, Lord,
so I'm sure I miss you lots of times -
even when you're right in my face...

So this Monday morning, Lord, I offer you
the ways I think, I hope I "got Easter"
a little more this year than before...

I learned that I need to wrap a towel around my heart
as you wrapped a towel around your waist:
I need a heart wrapped and ready to serve
others' needs before my own...

I learned my sins added
to the burden on your shoulders
on the cross:
my sins made your load heavier...

And I learned that you are always just ahead of me,
drawing me out of myself,
out of my darkness into your light,
calling me to be closer to you,
beckoning me to follow where you lead
so that I will find you
even though I know you're always right by my side...

Help me to understand when I don't understand, Lord;
to "get it" when I'm confused;
to take the time to let the Easter story sink in
to the depths of my mind, my heart, my life,
into my words and deeds...

And because I so often miss you
even when you're walking by my side, Lord,
open my eyes and ears and heart
to those in need around me
and help me to find you in them,
to serve you in them...

It's Easter Monday, Lord,
and I'm looking back:
draw me out of the darkness into your light,
always closer to your risen face...


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I need a rock movin' angel!

Image source
Homily for Easter 2014
(Scripture for today's Mass)

Audio for homily


Anyone know where I can “get me” an angel
like the one in the gospel here?
An angel who’d show up just when and were I need him?
And I’m not looking for one of those Christmassy angels,
floating up above, playing a harp and singing “Silent Night.”
I want an angel like the one here at the tomb,
an angel who comes down from the heavens,
an angel who looks like he just worked out at Gold’s
and has the guns you’d need to roll back that big-old stone
standing between Jesus and me.

I want an angel who rolls back that stone and then sits on it!
How sweet is that?
An angel who rolls back the stone of fear and worry,
grief and loss, disappointment and difficulty that weigh on me -
and then plunks himself down on it like it’s a park bench.
I want an angel who’ll do all this for me and then tell me,
Don’t be afraid!
Don’t be afraid – because if you think you got problems –
see, Jesus was dead: dead as a doornail
and buried in this tomb.
Me rolling back the stone? That was nothing!
Jesus rose from the dead! Now that’s something.
And you might want to get moving because he’s waiting for you,
just down the road apiece – he’s waiting to see you.
That’s the kind of angel I want in my life.
Maybe you’d like that kind of guardian angel, too.
Well, I believe there’s an angel like this one waiting for each of us
but the place where he’s waiting
might be a place we’d rather not visit.

The two women in the gospel went to the tomb of Jesus.
They went to the place of their loss, the grief,
their disappointment, their worries and their fears.
They went even though they knew it was dangerous to go there.
There were armed guards there and some pretty powerful people
were glad that Jesus was dead.
But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were
 “holding the death of the Lord deep in their hearts…”
and they needed to visit the place of their grief.

If such an angel will descend from heaven in my life
I suspect he’ll meet me in a place I fear or avoid.
An angel might meet me in my past and tell me to move on from it
or meet me in my pride and tell me to “get real.”
An angel might meet me in my self-pity  and tell me to “get a grip.”
or meet me in my lies and show me the truth.
Perhaps an angel will meet me in my greatest difficulty
my deepest fear and tell me:
Be not afraid…
Be not afraid because Jesus lives
and he knows what’s troubling you
and he’s waiting to meet you, down the road,
he’s going ahead of you and he wants you to follow him.
He’s leading you to healing and peace
and if you’ll walk in his footsteps,
you, too, will rise from what keeps you down.

And the risen Jesus isn’t just sitting at the end of the road,
waiting for us to get there.
Rather, he will meet us, as he met the two women  - along the way -
because he wants to walk with us and show us the way
to his healing, his peace, to his life.
Jesus didn’t spend long in the tomb himself
and he doesn’t want us to hang around there, either.
He wants to bring us from fear to confidence,
from hopelessness to trust, from grief to joy,
from confusion to understanding, from depression to serenity,
from loss to fulfillment  - and from defeat to victory.

The message of Easter is this: “Don’t be afraid…”
The Lord has walked our road already and walks it with us now;
he goes before us and will meet us along the way
and tell us at every step,  “Be not afraid…”


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Saturday, April 19, 2014

A musical Pause for Prayer: HAPPY EASTER!

Mary Magdalene telling the apostles of Jesus' Resurrection

At daybreak on the first day of the week 
the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus 
took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
but when they entered,
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were puzzling over this, behold,
two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. 
The men said to them,
“Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
He is not here, but he has been raised.
Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, 
that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners
and be crucified, and rise on the third day.”
And they remembered his words.
Then they returned from the tomb
and announced all these things to the eleven
and to all the others.
The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James;
the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles,
but their story seemed like nonsense
and they did not believe them.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb, 
bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone;
then he went home amazed at what had happened.
- Luke 24 

A story some 2,000 years old - and yet, good news today!

We're still often afraid and we still need to hear the angel's message... w'ere still among those seeking Jesus, crucified and risen... we still have questions about his life, his death, his rising... we're sometimes afraid and sometimes joyful... Like Peter, we're often not easy to convince and dismiss so much as nonsense...What will help us grow in faith and belief as we celebrate Easter this year?

Happy Easter to all!

Listen to the whole piece - it's beautiful and one of my favorite Easter songs!

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The flying bells of Easter: les cloches volantes!

Several years ago I was having dinner on Easter Sunday afternoon with friends in the parish who were hosting a guest from France. When I asked Yves if the Easter Bunny would be a character known to French children he told me the wonderful story of les cloches volantes, the flying bells!
Because many villages and cities across France have at least one church with a bell, it has been customary since about the 12th century to silence the bells of churches every year on the Thursday before Good Friday in acknowledgment of Jesus’ death. Legend has it that the bells of every church around France fly to Rome starting on Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday). Because the bells of every church have supposedly departed for Rome, bells in churches across France stay silenced until the day before Easter. On Sunday, church bells are once again sounded and it is believed these Easter bells (les cloches de Pâques) bring with them Easter eggs, chocolates and other treats, dropping them on their passage back from Rome. (Julie Blakely)
To our American sensitivities, the thought of flying bells delivering Easter sweets may seem outlandish.  Stranger, do you suppose, than the notion of a rabbit delivering baskets of eggs!

Yves has since passed over to life with the Lord - keep him in your prayers this Easter and remember him with joy!

Joyeuses Pâques!

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Veneration of the Cross at Holy Family

Four of our high school youth processing the Cross to the sanctuary for Veneration at the Good Friday liturgy...


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