Tag Archives: Holy Week

Holy Week for Marriage

6 Apr

Praise, temptation to despair, indignant questioning from one who does not understand His mission, rejection, and eventually death . . .

While all of these descriptions certainly apply to Our Lord’s experience during Holy Week, they also apply to the lived experience of every married couple.

St. John Paul II said, “Married couples are a permanent reminder to the Church of what happened on the Cross.” Jesus called Himself the Bridegroom, and His Bride was the Church, so we can imitate Christ in our marriages when we:

  • Accept praise from others with humility and thanksgiving to God.
  • Allow grace to strengthen our hope when we are tempted to despair over financial situations or the choices our children make.
  • Choose to courageously witness to the beauty of marriage even though friends or extended family may not understand our vocation.
  • Forgive generously when we are hurt.
  • Lay down our lives, in ways big and small, for our spouse.

For other ways to joyfully witness your marriage, go to www.JoyfulMarriageProject.com

The foregoing is this week’s installment of the “Marriage Minute,” produced by the Marriage and Family Life Office of the Archdiocese, which attempts to view the Sunday readings through the lens of the Sacrament of Marriage.

 

“What are you waiting for, Jesus?”

28 Mar

Crosses for married couples come in all different shapes and sizes. Whether in the form of death, illness, financial troubles or conflict, the “bad times” can really test our resolve!

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus waited two days before setting out to help His dying friend Lazarus, and the delay resulted in His friend’s death. In our suffering, we can often feel like Jesus is taking forever to help, and we fear He may come too late.

We can keep two important things in mind in these situations. First, “Jesus wept” over His friend’s death, and therefore we know that He suffers with us. Second, He allowed Lazarus to die in order to bring about a greater good.

As we approach Holy Week, let’s offer our pain to our merciful Savior, trusting in His wisdom and confident that the trial we bear will produce great fruit!

For help in finding joy in the midst of trial, go to www.JoyfulMarriageProject.com

The foregoing is this week’s installment of the “Marriage Minute,” produced by the Marriage and Family Life Office of the Archdiocese, which attempts to view the Sunday readings through the lens of the Sacrament of Marriage.

I’m Waiting for You

15 Mar

aaa“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you” (Lk. 22:15). Jesus, fully human and fully God, has an eternal perspective, so think about the thousands of years God had been waiting to reveal the fullness of His love through the first Eucharist. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us of the preparation on a human level that went into that first Eucharist, but think of the centuries of preparation that went into it from a divine perspective. Jesus desired that moment because it was the moment in which He could invite His disciples to share in His very life and love in the most intimate of ways.

That same eager desire Jesus had for sharing His life and love with the first disciples is the same eager desire He has to share His life and love with our family. Jesus has been planning to share the Eucharistic meal for centuries with us and our children, and it is the place where we can be most reassured of His presence and protection. The Eucharist is where our desire for God meets His desire for us, and it is the most important lesson we can pass along to our children.

As we enter into Holy Week this Palm Sunday, let us seize the opportunities to teach our children about the desire God has to meet with us through the Mass. If we are able, let’s take an extra 15 minutes to stop by the adoration chapel before or after work, to bring our children there, or even to attend the great liturgical celebrations of this Holy Week. Jesus is waiting to encounter us!

The foregoing is this week’s installment of the “Marriage Minute,” produced by the Marriage and Family Life Office of the Archdiocese, which attempts to view the Sunday readings through the lens of the Sacrament of Marriage.

Sheep and Goats

2 Apr

In the past I’ve spilled perhaps an inordinate amount of ink on the Holy Thursday foot-washing rite, which surely has been the cause of some controversy in recent years. At the same time, though, the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper has never ceased to be one of my favorite liturgies of the year, and my family is eagerly looking forward to tonight’s celebration, grateful that there is no conflict with “March madness” or youth sports!

One aspect of this beautiful liturgy that always captures my attention is the first reading, from chapter 12 of Exodus, in which the Lord gives the instructions for the Passover to Moses and Aaron. I tend to zero in on the part about the lamb being taken from either the sheep or the goats. The Lord isn’t particular on this point–the blood of either a sheep or a goat on the doorposts and lintel of the house will save the family’s firstborn from death.

In other contexts, there is a huge difference between sheep and goats. The example that immediately comes to mind is Matthew 25, where Our Lord says that at the judgment He will separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep obviously are those in a state of grace, those who are being saved, while the goats are those who are destined for eternal fire.

I don’t want to make too much of that, because these are two distinct passages with their own distinct messages. But on the night in which we celebrate and praise God for the gift of the New Covenant priesthood, we are reminded that ”in the old days” the Lord made use of both sheep and goats in the rite that prefigured the Mass. I find that to be a reminder of the efficacy of God’s salvific economy irrespective of the holiness or sinfulness of His ministers. When the New Covenant “instructions” are followed, Our Lord is true to His promises, and He becomes the living bread from heaven bearing everlasting life. What an awesome reality!

At the same time, whether we are sheep or goats does have eternal ramifications. And isn’t that what the Last Supper, and more specifically, the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, is all about?  The Good Shepherd, through the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, gives us the means to be recognized as His sheep, enabling us in turn to recognize and serve Him in the least of our brethren (cf. Mt. 25:31-46) and so come to enjoy the fullness of life with Him.

What Happened on Holy Saturday?

19 Apr

Our Lord’s descent into hell, under whose aegis Holy Saturday stands liturgically in the Church’s year, is an article of faith that is of particular significance to modern man. On Good Friday we contemplated Christ on the Cross, and beginning on Easter Sunday we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection.

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Holy Week Festivities

14 Apr

Yesterday was Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, or more simply “Palm Sunday.” Thus began the period of time known as “Holy Week,” which culminates this Sunday with the celebration of Easter. In between these two Sundays, however, the Church invites us to enter more deeply into the mystery of Christ’s suffering and death through various devotions and liturgical practices.

One major event during Holy Week is the Chrism Mass, where the bishop blesses the oils that will be used throughout the coming year. While it’s traditionally celebrated on Thursday, there is some flexibility when it comes to the date, and most dioceses hold the Chrism Mass in the cathedral on the Monday or Tuesday of Holy Week. Archbishop Naumann will celebrate the Chrism Mass for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas on Tuesday, April 15th, at 11:00 a.m. at the Savior Pastoral Center chapel.

The chrism and the oil of catechumens blessed at the Chrism Mass will then be used in the celebration of the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil.

Wednesday is known as Spy Wednesday because on this day Judas made a bargain with the high priests to betray Jesus for 30 silver pieces (Mt. 26:14-16; Mk. 14:10-11; Lk. 22:1-6).

On Thursday evening, known as Holy Thursday, the Church celebrates the anniversary of the Last Supper, when Christ instituted the Eucharist, the Sacrifice of the Mass, and the sacrament of the priesthood. It’s also known as Maundy Thursday, because at the Last Supper Christ instituted the new commandment (Latin, mandatum) to love one another (cf. Jn. 13:34). The call to serve others in imitation of Christ is brought out in the foot-washing ritual during Mass.

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Holy Week 2013

25 Mar

Holy WeekAs we begin our observance of Holy Week, I thought I would offer our readers a selection of seasonal archived articles and posts I have composed in recent years:

Holy Week Festivities

Merry Chrism Mass! This year’s Chrism Mass will be celebrated tomorrow (Tuesday) at 11:00 a.m. at Savior Pastoral Center.

Choosing the Twelve, Again

Sheep and Goats

To Whom Shall We Go?

Meditation for Good Friday

He Descended into Hell

He Is Alive!

In addition, the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops provides a helpful Q & A regarding the celebration of Holy Week liturgies. Be sure to consult your parish’s bulletin and/or website for the days and times of the special Holy Week and Easter services.

On behalf of everyone here at the chancery office of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, I want to wish and your loved ones a meaningful and blessed celebration of the mystery of God’s love for us as it unfolds in Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection!

Merry Chrism Mass!

2 Apr

This week, the bishop of each respective Catholic diocese throughout the world, in the company of many of his priests and deacons, will celebrate the Chrism Mass. This Mass typically takes place at the cathedral or some other central location that will accommodate a large number of concelebrants. Archbishop Naumann will celebrate the Chrism Mass for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas tomorrow (Tuesday) at 11:00 a.m. at the Savior Pastoral Center chapel.

At the Chrism Mass, the bishop blesses the oil of the sick, the oil of catechumens, and most notably the chrism that will be used throughout the diocese in the coming year.

Our family likes to attend this Mass whenever we can. Not only does it prepare us for the rest of the Holy Week liturgies, but it is a singularly beautiful manifestation of the local Church in all its splendor and richness. I recommend it highly to you and yours.

And if you are unable to attend this year, it still might be fruitful to privately contemplate some of the prayers and blessings used at this Mass. Just to give you a taste, here is just one of the forms of the consecratory prayer used in blessing the chrism:

Rite of Consecrating the Chrism

Let us pray that God our almighty Father will bless this oil so that all who are anointed with it may be inwardly transformed and come to share in eternal salvation.

God our maker, source of all growth in holiness, accept the joyful thanks and praise we offer in the name of your Church.

In the beginning, at your command, the earth produced fruit-bearing trees. From the fruit of the olive tree you have provided us with oil for holy chrism. The prophet David sang of the life and joy that the oil would bring us in the sacraments of your love.

After the avenging flood, the dove returning to Noah with an olive branch annouced your gift of peace. This was a sign of a greater gift to come. Now the waters of baptism wash away the sins of men, and by the anointing with olive oil you make us radiant with your joy.

At your command, Aaron was washed with water, and your servant Moses, his brother, anointed him priest. This too foreshadowed greater things to come. After your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, asked John for baptism in the waters of Jordan, you sent the Spirit upon him in the form of a dove and by the witness of your own voice you declared him to be your only, well-beloved Son. In this you clearly fulfilled the prophecy of David, that Christ would be anointed with the oil of gladness beyond his fellow men.

And so, Father, we ask you to bless + this oil you have created. Fill it with the power of your Holy Spirit through Christ your Son. It is from him that chrism takes its name and with chrism you have anointed for yourself priests and kings, prophets and martyrs.

Make this chrism a sign of life and salvation for those who are to be born again in the waters of baptism. Wash away the evil they have inherited from sinful Adam, and when they are anointed with this holy oil make them temples of your glory, radiant with the goodness of life that has its source in you.

Through this sign of chrism grant them royal, priestly, and prophetic honor, and clothe them with incorruption. Let this be indeed the chrism of salvation for those who will be born again of water and the Holy Spirit. May they come to share eternal life in the glory of your kingdom.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Died for Me

29 Mar

closing scene, Saving Private Ryan

My daughter Gianna, like her brother before her, had a rare genetic disease called Mitochondrial Depletion Disorder. Essentially, the cells in her liver could not make the energy they needed to stay alive, so her liver started to shut down. As a result, the doctors recommended a liver transplant. The chances of her getting a liver were slim (she needed half of a toddler’s liver, as she was only 3 months old) and the long term outcome of the risky surgery was questionable at best for her diagnosis. But it was the only chance we had, so we waded through all the blood tests and paperwork and waited for the phone to ring. Continue reading