Thursday, March 31, 2016

Friday in the Octave of Easter "Fire of Mercy, Fire of Love"


Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathaniel from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee´s sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We also will come with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" They answered him, "No." So he said to them, "Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something." So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you just caught." So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come, have breakfast." And none of the disciples dared to ask him, "Who are you?" because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the source of all life because you are life itself. Your resurrection gives me the hope of being raised from the dead to rejoice with you forever in heaven. I need to dwell more often on the good you have done for us and on your promises to those who put their trust in you. Thank you, Jesus, for taking up your life again and leading the way home to heaven. I love you, and I want to follow after you with all my heart. I want to cooperate more fully with you in bringing many others there with me.

Petition: Lord, grant me the grace to seek your mercy and offer it to others.


  1. I’m Going Fishing: In a meditation earlier this week we saw how the two apostles, Peter and John, entered into the tomb. Scripture notes that John believed, yet it is silent on the subject of Peter’s faith (cf. John 20:8). Peter had to resolve something in his life before his faith would completely commit him to Our Lord. In his heart Peter is mulling over his past infidelities. When men feel uncomfortable in situations, they tend to seek out familiar, daily securities that can restore their self-confidence and worth. For Peter, that security was fishing, and so he goes, inviting along the other apostles who had also abandoned Our Lord in his passion. Perhaps their own discomfort is why they so readily joined Peter…. Do I have the interior wherewithal to turn back to Our Lord when I have offended him? Do I have a spirit of reflection, humility and courage?



  1. True Friends Bring Us Back to Our Lord: Perhaps John entered the boat with different intentions than did Peter and the rest of the disciples. Perhaps this fishing trip reminded him of the previous trip that brought Peter to repent and declare, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (cf. Luke 5:1-11). Acting on this inspiration, John may have entered the boat to stay close to Peter until an opportunity of reconciliation would arise. The opportunity came suddenly when John spotted Jesus on the shore and shouted out, "It is the Lord." John did not abandon Peter. Neither are we to abandon each other. We all have “baggage” in our lives. It’s comforting to have a friend who brings us back to the Lord. We also need to know how to approach others with humility and understanding to bring them back to the Lord. Am I friends to others like John was a friend to Peter?



  1. From the Fire of Betrayal to the Fire of Mercy: As Peter arrived on shore he saw the charcoal fire. How it must have rekindled his sorrow of the night before Our Lord’s passion when, as he warmed himself by a fire, he denied Jesus by saying, “I don’t even know the man” (Matthew 26:72-74). How he must have wished he had said other words, like when he declared, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). Peter’s history, like ours, wasn’t always written with constant fidelity. But Our Lord invites all to the rich banquet of his mercy: "Come, have breakfast." Our Lord returns kindness for evil, leaving us with a real and eloquent illustration of the Beatitudes (cf. Luke 6:27-38). The disciples didn’t need to ask him, "Who are you?” Three years of seeing Jesus forgive sins and cure the sick helped them to know Jesus as the Merciful One. Do I know him by that name?


Conversation with Christ: Lord, may I always understand that your act of redemption doesn’t end just with the forgiveness of my sins. It ends with my heart changed and willing to forgive and even to serve those who have wronged me. Allow me to spread your charism of love everywhere.

Resolution: I will do a significant but hidden act of charity to someone whom I find difficult to be with, perhaps even someone I consider to be my enemy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Thursday in the Octave of Easter "You Are Witnesses of These Things"


The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, it is really I. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have." And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. He said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. And he said to them, "Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the source of all life because you are life itself. Your resurrection gives me the hope of being raised from the dead to rejoice with you in heaven forever. I need to reflect more often on the good you have done for us and on your promises to those who put their trust in you. Thank you, Jesus, for taking up your life again and leading the way home to heaven. I love you, and I want to follow after you with all my heart. I want to cooperate more fully with you in bringing many others to heaven with me.

 

Petition: Lord Jesus, bring me your Easter peace. Let me share in your victory over sin and death. May I live for you alone.


  1. The Disciples’ Mixed and Changing Reaction to the Resurrection: The Gospel narratives manifest the disciples’ volatile situation. They want to believe, but lack confidence. They experience the sincere joy of seeing Christ resurrected, but have not completely overcome their cautious disbelief. The two from Emmaus recount their encounter, and Christ himself appears to them. Yet even when he is right there in front of them, they are slow to believe. Our Lord’s patient, accepting attitude is encouraging. He did not come for a meal, but takes a piece of fish to help them believe. We all have our moments of light and generosity, and our moments of sluggishness and inner resistance. I want to believe, but because it implies letting go of my false securities, I need detachment and purification. Christ aids my weakness by his closeness.



  1. It Is I Myself: Christ is not a ghost. He is not a figment of my imagination, nor the result of my wishful thinking––something too good to be true. Christ is more real than my fears; his grace is stronger than my weakness, more powerful than sin and death itself. As the disciples have mixed reactions to his presence, he invites them to get a grip on themselves and reflect in faith. Reflection and contemplation in faith always lead to the truth of Christ. Am I living in an illusory world of my own making because I’m not reflecting in faith on the realities and experiences of my life? All I need to do is overcome my incredulity with faith and trust in the Christ.



  1. Thus It Was Written: The Cross was not a mistake. Christ does not see it as a necessary evil. Rather, “it was written”. In other words, it could not have been any other way. Without the Cross there is no resurrection. Without the Resurrection there is no experience of the fullness of life, no hope for things to come. My life too has its own experience of Christ’s cross. What for me might be an unexpected twist, an obstacle or a problem, is for the Lord a means of purifying my heart and bringing me to the Resurrection.


Conversation with Christ: At times Lord, I fear I am seeing a ghost, just like the disciples. Your plan and will are so far beyond me that at times I have difficulty distinguishing my own wishful thinking or false hopes from your will and your call. Help me to find in you the only source of my hopes and the One who will never fail me.

Resolution: Today I will speak of Christ’s resurrection and the hope which it brings us.

Wednesday in the Octave of Easter "Unexpected Company and Personal Reassessments"



That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, "What are you discussing as you walk along?" They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?" And he replied to them, "What sort of things?" They said to him, "The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see." And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, 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, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?" So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the Eleven and those with them who were saying, "The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!" Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the source of all life because you are life itself. Your resurrection gives me the hope of being raised from the dead to rejoice with you forever in heaven. I need to dwell more often on the good you have done for us and on your promises to those who put their trust in you. Thank you, Jesus, for taking up your life again and leading the way home to heaven. I love you, and I want to follow after you with all my heart. I want to cooperate more fully with you in bringing many others there with me.

Petition: Lord Jesus, walk by my side. Open up my person to the meaning of Scripture and the events of life. Make my heart burn within me with your words .


It is Over: These two disciples had been badly shaken by the events of the last few days. They had courageously left home and family to follow the Lord. They had listened to his words, witnessed his miracles, and even generously gone out and preached in his name. They had expected Jesus to be the longed-for Messiah. And it was precisely at the moment Jesus referred to as “his hour”, when he was accomplishing his greatest work, that these disciples broke with Jesus. What went wrong? God worked in a way and with a power these disciples had not expected, and which they did not accept. The cross and suffering had not entered into their plans. A gloriously triumphant path, they could accept, but not a crucified Lord. As long as there were miracles, encouraging crowds and the high of emotion, following Christ was their thing. But when the Cross cast its shadow, they threw in the towel. And so, they are on their way back home, back to their old lifestyle, hopes shattered and faces downcast. Their conversation was a self-pitying reconstruction of events, without faith, without a sense of God, sunken in their own sorrow.

Intrusion by an Innocent Bystander: The two disciples are so centered on their own woes and wounds that they do not recognize who walks alongside them. Feeling sorry for ourselves does not help us go to God, but only immerses us further in our own impotence. What breaks through this situation? An unexpected question that destroys the incorrect assumptions of these two malcontents and invites them to look more deeply at their own situation. Reflection on the obvious, on the real events of our life (and not our own broken, limited plans and hopes) is what begins to open the door to a reborn hope. What are you talking about? Why? Did you fail to grasp something?

Sharing our Bread with a Stranger: Christ is the shepherd that seeks out these two stray sheep. As always, he masterfully and gently enlightens their consciences and leads them to the truth. Listening to Christ prepares these two disciples to recognize him when he takes, breaks, blesses and gives them “bread” – the same actions of the Last Supper. After recognizing Our Lord in the “breaking of the bread”, their entire dispositions change. Even their way of assessing events and situations changes. They had stopped for the evening, but after experiencing the Lord, they raced out in the middle of the night to share their experience with the others.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, teach me detachment from self, and acceptance of your glorious plan. Walk always by my side, and help me realize that as long as I am in conversation with You, even without my realizing it, there is always hope and salvation.

Resolution: I will let God break my own limited plans and expectations. I will talk to Christ about what goals he wants me to set for my life, impossible though they may seem.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Tuesday in the Octave of Easter "From Tears of Sorrow to Tears of Joy"


Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken my Lord, and I don´t know where they laid him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" She thought it was the gardener and said to him, "Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabboni," which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, "Stop holding onto me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ´I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.´" Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and what he told her.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the source of all life because you are life itself. Your resurrection gives me the hope of being raised from the dead to rejoice with you in heaven forever. I need to reflect more often on the good you have done for us and on your promises to those who put their trust in you. Thank you, Jesus, for taking up your life again and leading the way home to heaven. I love you, and I want to follow after you with all my heart. I want to cooperate more fully with you in bringing many others there with me.

Petition: Lord, grant me a faith that is alive, operative and fruitful.


  1. Blinded by Love, Mary Stayed Weeping: St. John observes that “they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead” (John 20:9). Because the reality of the Resurrection had not yet entered into the mind, and much less the heart, Mary stayed weeping outside Christ’s tomb. Take this moment to contemplate this moving scene which shows Mary’s deep love for Our Lord. Even angels could not persuade her with their questioning: “Why are you weeping?” Admire her love; imitate her love; want what she wanted – to be with her Lord, always! May our love for Our Lord give us the same fortitude in love that Mary showed at the tomb.



  1. They Had Taken Her Love Away: Poor Mary! The sorrows of her life were so mean and pitiful. One sad day, desperation had led her into a life of prostitution. With her dignity gone, her empty soul seemed suited only to be a haven for roaming devils (cf. Luke 8:3; Mark 16:9). The world, the flesh and the devil saw her only with contempt and selfish opportunity. But Our Lord had seen her differently and loved her differently. The love that he had restored to her life, however, was now trampled upon as she contemplated his empty tomb. See her heart, already heavy with grief and horror as she had witnessed her Lord mistreated, beaten and crucified. All these thoughts welled up in her mind and caused her to conclude, “They have taken my Lord.” Feel the depths of her helplessness as she finished her thought: “And I don´t know where they laid him.”



  1. “Why Are You Weeping?” Mary’s love was at the right time, in the right place and for the right person. Her tears were for her Lord. Jesus, moved by Mary’s expression of love, would not let her remain in such a state. It is now Christ who asks her, “Why are you weeping?” In effect, Jesus is saying, “The sins of your past will no longer have power over you. Nor will those cruel men, or the devil. I am here and I am the Resurrection, the Way, the Truth and the Life! Sin, evil men, the devil, and death itself might stake their claim on you, but they cannot have you, for you are mine! I have bought you with the price of my own blood; I have laid down my life for you, my friend!” Our Lord sums up this great truth with but a simple, tender utterance of her name: “Mary”. Yes, Jesus knows us personally and loves us in a personal way. We must come to our senses and believe in the truth of the Resurrection. We must believe in Jesus.


Conversation with Christ: Lord, you lead me to life everlasting. Let me draw ever closer to you, trusting always in your ways and never fearing the cross. May I love you from the little cross of my life, whatever its form or character may be.

Resolution: I will seek out a friend I may have alienated by my bad example or lack of self-control, and I will strive to be reconciled through a generous act of charity and understanding.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Monday in the Octave of Easter "The Supreme Measure of Paschal Joy"


Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” While they were going, some of the guards went into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. They assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, "You are to say, ´His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.´ And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the source of all life because you are life itself. Your resurrection from the dead gives me the hope of being raised from the dead to rejoice with you forever in heaven. I need to dwell more often on the good you have done for us and on your promises to those who put their trust in you. Thank you, Jesus, for taking up your life again and leading the way home to heaven. I love you, and I want to follow after you with all my heart. I want to cooperate more fully with you in bringing many others there with me.

Petition: Lord, as a fruit of my experiencing your love, grant me the grace of witnessing to you.

Coming into the Light of the Resurrection: Contemplate the women at the tomb. Feel their distress upon entering an open and empty tomb. Experience their fears for where the body might be. Share in their joy because their faith, and ours, awakens to the reality of Our Lord’s resurrection. Indeed, it is true! He has truly risen! Alleluia! Approach him and bow down, then adore and embrace the loving feet of Our Lord. He wants to be our strength, our light and our love. He wants to be our Lord.

From Contemplatives to Missionaries: From our contemplation we must become missionaries. This is the instruction Our Lord gives these privileged women: “Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” From their adoration, Our Lord calls them to be witnesses to the world, beginning first with the apostles. These women, insignificant in the eyes of the world, have become irreplaceable heralds of the Gospel. Why? It is not because of any social class or role they had had. Rather, it is because of the faith and love with which they would live and accomplish the mission entrusted to them. They were faithful to Our Lord in spreading the Good News of the Resurrection to the apostles and the world.



Obedience of Faith Allows Us to See: Our Lord asks the apostles to obey his command: “Go to Galilee … there they will see me.” Christ requires our obedience in order for us to see him in faith and experience his resurrection. Without obedience, we might not recognize him. The guards at the tomb were obedient to the orders of the chief priests. Yet the guards lacked faith, so they did not believe what they saw and thus did not adore. We all obey someone. However, it is obedience to Christ that leads to faith which leads to life: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36).

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for this time I have spent with you in prayer and contemplation of your resurrection. Help me always to grow and mature in my faith. Without it I am lost. Without it I am unable to see you, and if I cannot see you, how will I be able to follow you? I place my trust in you and your promise of eternal life.

Resolution: I will make a special effort to speak well of others today, especially those with whom I may disagree.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter Sunday "Empty Tomb, Expectant Heart"


On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran off to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and told them, "They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him." So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter, and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down to look in and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not lying with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he had to rise from the dead.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the source of all life because you are life itself. Your resurrection gives me the hope of being raised from the dead to rejoice with you forever in heaven. Thank you for your presence in my life. I love you, and I want to follow after you with all my heart. Be with me now, and inspire my prayer.

Petition: Lord Jesus, grant me the joy of seeing my hopes constantly kindled by your power over sin and death. May the strength of your resurrection overcome the weaknesses of my human nature.


  1. Confusing Signs: Without faith, realities that should inspire hope and expectation only cause confusion. Jesus’ empty tomb is the sign of the most complete victory, the most extreme love and the most powerful presence. Mary Magdalene, Peter and John all see the empty tomb. But their limited faith needs time to grow and completely accept the great gift that is offered to them. In approaching the mystery of God, I must stoke up my faith. Otherwise, what should cause hope and courage will only wind up becoming a stumbling block for me. Only a sincere and generous faith in Christ enables me to take the circumstances of life in hope, confidence and security.



  1. Running to the Experience of Faith: Running is an integral part of this Gospel. Mary Magdalene runs. Peter runs, and John outruns Peter. Love for the Lord creates a sense of urgency. What they saw at the tomb could have been seen without running at all. But promptness is a sign of love for the Lord. If I wish to experience Christ and the power of his resurrection, I need to have a sense of urgency in my relationship with the Lord. I must strive to meet him and give myself to him in my here and now. I can’t wait for the “ideal” moment. If I don´t give myself to Christ now, under the present conditions, there is no reason to think I ever will.



  1. Faith Begins with the Experience of the Senses, but Does Not End There: John, Peter and Mary Magdalene will eventually have an unshakeable conviction in the Resurrection, and become messengers of the Resurrection. But they first need to see the empty tomb and pick up the wrappings. They would also need to see and touch the risen Christ. All this would cause wonderment, reflection, and eventually a growing realization that would induce faith. God works in the same way in my life. First there are the lived experiences of my life: people I meet, circumstances I face, events that occur… Then my wonderment and reflection on what it all means; Then the slow dawning of faith.
  2. “It is clearly evident that Christ´s resurrection is the greatest Event in the history of salvation, and indeed, we can say in the history of humanity, since it gives definitive meaning to the world. The whole world revolves around the Cross, but only in the resurrection does the Cross reach its full significance of a salvific Event. The Cross and Resurrection constitute the one paschal mystery in which the history of the world is centered. Therefore Easter is the Church´s greatest Solemnity. Every year she celebrates and renews this Event, fraught with all the prophecies of the Old Testament, beginning with the "Protoevangelium" of the Redemption, and of all the eschatological hopes and expectations projected towards the "fullness of time", which was realized when the Kingdom of God definitively entered human history and the universal order of salvation” (Saint John Paul II, General Audience, March 1, 1989).

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, you know how to prepare your disciples to experience your presence deeply and know you intimately. I ask today for a deepening in my faith in your resurrection. Let all the events of my life point me to the truth that you are alive.

Resolution: I will be prompt in meeting the duties and responsibilities of today, in the truth of the risen Christ.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Holy Saturday "Looking for Jesus in the Wrong Place"


At daybreak on the first day of the week the women 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. They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They 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.

Introductory Prayer: Heavenly Father, I contemplate the tomb of your Son who has loved us to the end. In the silence of this Holy Saturday, I meditate and prepare myself for the Resurrection. I come to you in quiet, expectant prayer, patiently awaiting the new dawn of Easter, knowing that what seems like defeat is really the victory of life. Help me to grasp the magnitude of your death and resurrection.

Petition: Jesus, grant me the grace to understand in a deeper way the glory of your resurrection.

A Day with Mary: Much has happened in the last few days. The Sabbath dawns serenely, quietly. Today is a day to wait quietly with Mary, to meditate slowly with her, to go to a lonely place and contemplate the Lord’s death while holding her hand. Holy Saturday is a day to take it all in. It is a day of sorrow and of hope. We must not let Holy Saturday pass by as just another day, as just the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is a day of quiet contemplation with the Mother of God.

The Other Side of the Resurrection: From our vantage point, it’s easy to forget that for the apostles and the disciples of the Lord, all seemed over. Jesus was dead. There was something powerfully definitive about that “It is finished” Jesus had pronounced from the cross. They would no more hear his voice, feel the power of his preaching, or see the marvels of his works. For them there was no resurrection, only passion and death. The women were preparing everything to finish the task of anointing Jesus’ dead body. We must contemplate this day from the other side of the Resurrection.

Prayer Gives us the Answers to Life: Only in this silent contemplation will the apostles be able to see how it all fits together. Jesus had told them all that would happen to him, including his resurrection. Jesus had spoken plainly to them, yet their minds were not prepared to understand. It is only in the silence of this day, accompanied by Mary, that they could hope to understand what Jesus had told them. It is the same for us; we must remember Christ’s words with Mary because oftentimes our minds too are closed. Many times we think we know who Jesus is and what he is teaching us, but really it doesn’t enter our heart. We must listen carefully to what he tells us in the Gospels so as to comprehend the deeper meaning of his words. We must do this with Mary and allow her to help us.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, the silence of this day helps me to ponder in my heart all you have accomplished for me during the past few days. I know that the silence of Holy Saturday is not a silence of despair and hopelessness, but rather a silence of great expectation ready to burst forth in the overwhelming joy of Easter. I will go to the tomb with the holy women, not to anoint your dead body, but to rejoice with the angels as they proclaim, “He is not here. He has risen!”

Resolution: I will try to keep as much prayerful silence as I am able today in order to prepare well for the joy of Easter.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion "Invitation to Intimacy"


When he had said this, Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered. Judas his betrayer also knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards from the chief priests and the Pharisees and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and said to them, "Whom are you looking for?" They answered him, "Jesus the Nazorean." He said to them, "I AM." Judas his betrayer was also with them. When he said to them, "I AM," they turned away and fell to the ground. So he again asked them, "Whom are you looking for?" They said, "Jesus the Nazorean." Jesus answered, "I told you that I AM. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill what he had said, "I have not lost any of those you gave me." Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest´s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave´s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into its scabbard. Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?" So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus, bound him, and brought him to Annas first. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews that it was better that one man should die rather than the people. Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Now the other disciple was known to the high priest, and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus. But Peter stood at the gate outside. So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest, went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in. Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter, "You are not one of this man´s disciples, are you?" He said, "I am not." Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire that they had made, because it was cold, and were warming themselves. Peter was also standing there keeping warm. The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his doctrine. Jesus answered, "I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the Temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said." When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, "Is that how you answer the high priest?" Jesus answered, "If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?" Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, "You are not also one of his disciples, are you?" He denied it and said, "I am not." One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, "Did I not see you in the garden with him?" Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, Good Friday is the day when you conquered sin by your death on the cross. You showed your mercy to be indestructible. The more the offenses thrown against you, the greater the forgiveness that came from your Sacred Heart. Thank you, Lord, for your humble, generous gift of yourself amidst such terrible suffering. I wish to accompany you closely today in your Passion. I wish to know you and to follow you more closely all the days of my life.

Petition: Lord, convince my heart that you truly died out of personal love for me.


  1. The Affirmation: “I AM”. These are the courageous words of Christ before the cohort of soldiers sent to apprehend him in the garden of Gethsemane. They are the same words that God used to describe himself to Moses on Mt. Sinai. They are the words that have been used in Christian thought to refer to the Creator of all existing things. They are words in which Christ recognizes and proclaims his divinity before the soldiers. For this reason, they turned around and fell to the ground. As we meditate on Christ’s Passion, let us remember his divinity. He is my God and he is my Savior.



  1. The Denial: “I am not.” These words of Peter stand in stark contrast to the words proclaiming Christ’s divinity. We could say that they represent all that is weak and fragile in man, expressed through the mouth of St. Peter. Unlike Christ in the garden, Peter stands by a warm fire and responds to a young servant girl. He denies being a follower of Christ and, in doing so, confirms his own weakness and his need for God’s grace and mercy. We should identify with Peter and recognize our need for Christ’s sacrifice. When “I Am Not”? When do I let my human fragility get the better of me and pull me down? What do I need to do to avoid the pitfalls in my life and be a more faithful follower of Christ?



  1. Out of Love for Me: This Gospel scene juxtaposes Peter’s denial and Christ’s sentence to death. Even though Christ’s death would have happened without Peter’s denial, what was its effect on Our Lord? Jesus was dying for Peter and all people in order to save us from our sins. Peter’s lack of faith and love did not change that. But when he turned again and believed, he recognized that Jesus had done it all for him, and from then on he proclaimed it far and wide. May the Lord help us to realize that Christ sees all of our actions and they either console him or add to the pain of so many infidelities. We need to work steadily to build a second nature within ourselves so that in moments of temptation our heart turns first to Jesus, considers the offense we might cause him and then our will kicks in to reject doing wrong and thus please Our Lord and Savior.


Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, as I contemplate your loving self-giving on Good Friday, I ask you to fill my heart with a deeper knowledge and love of you. All of my infidelities and weaknesses contribute to what you have suffered. You did it out of love for me and for each one of my brothers and sisters. Thank you.

Resolution: I resolve to ask for the personal experience of Christ’s love today, especially when considering his passion and death.



Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Holy Thursday "Come to Serve and not to Be Served"



Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples´ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Master, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later." Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well." Jesus said to him, "Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all." For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, "Not all of you are clean." So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, "Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ´teacher´ and ´master,´ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another´s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do."

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I wish to accompany you closely on the road to Calvary.  If I were to contemplate you more often as you hang scourged and bloody upon the cross, I’m certain I would be able to rest in your love and base my actions on that one truth. I know that you have loved me with an eternal love: you have proven it there on the wood of the cross. So I long to respond with gratitude, peace and the firm determination to spread your love to everyone.

Petition: Lord, grant me the grace of final perseverance in the faith.


  1. The Proof of His Unwavering Love: “Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father.” Jesus did not suffer crisis of identity. Throughout his entire public ministry he showed an awareness of who he was (the Fathers Anointed One) and what he had come to do (his mission). He knew the trials that were soon to crush his mortal body. They would be a means to prove his worth: his love. “He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.” Love endures anything. Love can draw forth good even from the worst of situations. Love redeems. The very betrayal of his friendship will let him demonstrate the authenticity of his own friendship: “There is no greater love than to lay one’s life down for one’s friends.”



  1. Acceptance of Christ’s Love: Jesus has not asked ‘permission’ to be humble and of service. Peter’s question, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?” does not come as a request, rather as a resistant acknowledgement of what Jesus is about to do. Do humility and love need our ‘permission’? The question is: who is humble enough to receive someone else’s love? Am I humble enough to receive Jesus’ love for me? Jesus’ humility and charity are purifying in their effect. In fact, precisely the attitude, “You will never wash my feet,” needs to be washed away. Only the poor in spirit, the pure of heart, the childlike enter the Kingdom of heaven: “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” Let Christ bathe me, then, by his graceful example. Anything less, I will lose my part with him. Yet if he has bathed me by his word, then I must only keep my feet clean.



  1. The Precious Lesson: If I am a disciple, I must be careful to learn the lesson. Jesus asks, “Do you realize what I have done for you?” If anything, the master could demand that his servant wash his feet, not the other way around. Jesus is Lord and master, he is the Good Teacher. I am his disciple. Nonetheless, he has demonstrated his authority not by exacting obedience through exertion of force, rather by revealing the power of virtue: humility and charity – and their capacity to teach and persuade. “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another´s feet.” He has given me a model to follow, so that I go and do likewise. Whose feet am I meant to wash?


Conversation with Christ: Lord, continue to bathe me with your word so that I may be found clean. Grant me the humility and charity to imitate your virtues. I wish to learn to wash the feet of others, so give me the grace to let down my defenses and simply reach out to do good, without worrying how others may react to me.

Resolution: Today I will humble myself to serve someone in need, especially anyone toward whom I have negative sentiments.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Wednesday of Holy Week "Unmasking the Betrayer"


One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over. On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, "Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?" He said, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ´The teacher says, "My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples."´" The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover. When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, "Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me." Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, "Surely it is not I, Lord?" He said in reply, "He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born." Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" He answered, "You have said so."

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I wish to accompany you closely on the road to Calvary.  If I were to contemplate you more often as you hang scourged and bloody upon the cross, I’m certain I would be able to rest in your love and base my actions on that one truth. I know that you have loved me with an eternal love: you have proven it there on the wood of the cross. So I long to respond with gratitude, peace and the firm determination to spread your love to everyone.

Petition: Lord Jesus, help me to stay strong in my faith.


  1. One of the Twelve a Traitor? We often think that Judas must have been different, obviously worse than the other disciples. If that were true, everyone would have suspected him when Jesus said, “One of you will betray me.” They would have thought: “It must be Judas. He’s always been bad. He’s capable of betraying Jesus. I don’t know why Jesus picked him.” Instead, Judas did not stand out as any worse than they were. If he did, they would have immediately suspected him. Each one of us, as well, could become a Judas little by little, first by giving up our principles on smaller matters and then later on more important matters. In the Christian life there always needs to be a healthy tension of straining forward and of watchfulness. The one who is trustworthy in small matters is trustworthy in greater matters.



  1. Is It I? The apostles are all asking, “Is it I?” Why? Was there some widespread desire to betray him of which they were barely keeping control? No, but they were in a very dangerous situation. The Pharisees had decided to kill Jesus. The apostles know it. That’s why the whole group had gone to stay in Jericho for a while. Jerusalem was too dangerous. They can imagine themselves following Jesus to the Temple the next day, being singled out in the crush of the crowd and then having their life threatened to provide information about where Jesus can be found at night. They wonder what they would say. With my life on the line would I betray Jesus? This is why they ask, “Is it I?” When push comes to shove, what comes first in my life? Would I ever consider selling out on Jesus for something or someone else?



  1. Vigilance of the Heart: Judas had everything he needed to be a great apostle. He had a magnanimous heart, which is why Jesus picked him. God never destines anyone for failure. So what happened to him? At some point he stopped working on his friendship with Jesus. Some would point to the moment of the discourse on the Bread of Life recorded in John 6. Judas couldn’t accept that he needed to eat Jesus’ body and drink his blood. Jesus must be wrong, and therefore he is a false Messiah. John 6:64 tells us that Jesus knew who his betrayer would be. Jesus gives Judas a chance to leave the group and remain an honest man in John 6:67. Instead, he stays, becoming a hypocrite – a “devil” in Jesus’ words – and begins the path that will lead to betrayal. Knowing that my faith is the most precious gift I have received from God, do I watch over and nourish my faith so that it grows and is strong?


Conversation with Christ: Lord, I have betrayed you so many times, even when I do such a simple thing as not saying grace in a restaurant out of fear that others will realize I am a Catholic. May the experience of your Passion and death help me to have the courage to live by my convictions at all times.

Resolution: Today I will live all the demands of my faith, especially in the moments when they point me out as a follower of Christ. Today I will not betray him, even in the smallest way.






Monday, March 21, 2016

Tuesday of Holy Week "Peter’s Collision Course"


Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, "Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me." The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant. One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus´ side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. He leaned back against Jesus´ chest and said to him, "Master, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it." So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. After he took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly." Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him, "Buy what we need for the feast," or to give something to the poor. So he took the morsel and left at once. And it was night. When he had left, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, ´Where I go you cannot come,´ so now I say it to you.” Simon Peter said to him, "Master, where are you going?" Jesus answered him, "Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later." Peter said to him, "Master, why can´t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times."

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I wish to accompany you closely on the road to Calvary.  If I were to contemplate you more often as you hang scourged and bloody upon the cross, I’m certain I would be able to rest in your love and base my actions on that one truth. I know that you have loved me with an eternal love: you have proven it there on the wood of the cross. So I long to respond with gratitude, peace and the firm determination to spread your love to everyone.

Petition: Lord, help me to see and avoid the pitfalls of pride.


  1. Trusts in Christ’s Love: Peter loves Jesus. Jesus is his best friend. Peter would do anything for him. Like us, it distresses Peter to think he might be separated from Jesus. He feels the strength of his love and doesn’t hesitate to proclaim that he is willing to die for Jesus. He means it. That same night in the Garden of Gethsemane, he will draw a rusty old sword and face a cohort of professional soldiers all by himself. With a mighty stroke (not much of a swordsman, but brave…), he will nick the ear of the High Priest’s servant. There really is love there and a serious intention to make sacrifices for Jesus’ sake. But like us, there is something he still lacks. At times I may feel so ready to take on anything for love of Christ. But as soon as the “anything” comes, I experience my weakness. There’s even the risk of giving into discouragement at my failures.



  1. Making Poor Choices: We know that Peter can make a bad decision because he has done it often enough in the past. Five minutes after being named head of the apostles, he is advising Jesus to abandon the Father’s plan, a plan that involves going to Jerusalem to suffer and die. Jesus reacts strongly, totally rejecting this insinuation: No one comes between him and the Father’s will. Peter has made a big mistake, and Jesus makes that clear: “Stumbling block,” “Satan,” “You think not as God thinks but as man” (Cf. Matthew 16:23). And this was only one in a series of mistakes; the Gospels list more. Part of Peter’s appeal is that he is so much like us. We make lots of mistakes every day. Like Peter, we think not as God, but as men. Yet as we know, Peter will succeed in the end to become humble and to serve his Lord steadfastly.



  1. Misjudgment of Situations: Peter is complacent. He thinks he understands the situation. Everything is going well. The people have finally acclaimed Jesus as Messiah. The chief priests, scribes and Pharisees are upset but powerless. They attempt to debate Jesus and show him up every day, but always end up bested by Jesus. It seems like it won’t be long now before Jesus has everyone convinced that he is the Messiah and from that point on, it should be clear sailing. Peter is about to be blindsided, but he doesn’t realize it. The only solution for him is to do what Jesus is urging him to do, but he doesn’t realize that. In spite of his respect for Jesus, he is still sure that he knows what it best for himself. I am convinced that my life must be rooted in prayer and union with God?


Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, like Peter I have fallen many times. Every time it was because I put my trust in myself rather than in you. Help me to listen to your inspirations and your inner promptings to prayer. Only with humility will I be able to avoid falls in the future. Please help me obtain it, Lord.

Resolution: I will start everything I do today with a prayer, offering its fruits up to God. When I finish each activity, I will give thanks to Christ, my friend, for all the help he has given me. I will offer him my successes and ask him to forgive my failings.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Monday of Holy Week "Blind Guides"


Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said, "Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days´ wages and given to the poor?" He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions. So Jesus said, "Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me." The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I wish to accompany you closely on the road to Calvary.  If I were to contemplate you more often as you hang scourged and bloody upon the cross, I’m certain I would be able to rest in your love and base my actions on that one truth. I know that you have loved me with an eternal love: you have proven it there on the wood of the cross. So I long to respond with gratitude, peace and the firm determination to spread your love to everyone.

Petition: Lord,  grant me faith in your promise to raise everyone from the dead.


  1. A Willful Blindness: Jesus produces one of his most convincing miracles – a sure sign that God sent him: He raises someone from the dead. The chief priests cannot deny this. The deed was not done far away in Galilee. Jesus is right there, in Bethany, just outside Jerusalem. Lazarus is there too. Anyone who wants to see can travel the short distance from Jerusalem, over the Mount of Olives, and visit with Jesus and Lazarus. The chief priests, rather than give in and accept Jesus as the Messiah, reject him. Their rejection is complete. They should be able to see that Jesus’ miracle is obviously an act of God’s divine power, but they refuse to accept it. They can think of no way to convince people that he is not the Messiah except to kill both Jesus and Lazarus. Sometimes mere association with Jesus can bring about costly consequences. How ironic it would have been to be killed for the “crime” of being raised from the dead…



  1. Harden Not Your Hearts: Logically, if anyone is to accept Jesus as Messiah, it should be the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees. They are the ones who know Scripture the best. They are the ones who are supposed to be on the lookout for the Messiah. By now they should realize that Jesus is doing everything that the Messiah is supposed to do. Yet with only a few exceptions (Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea), they fail to acknowledge him as Messiah. God’s ways are not our ways. God’s plans and actions remain impenetrable to the rationalistic mind that demands scientific-like proofs even in the spiritual realm. Hardness of heart makes us see the good works of others as evil. Do I seek to attune my mind and my heart to God’s ways or do I demand reasons from him? Often times the cross in our lives does not make sense. However, we will one day understand it by first accepting and carrying it.



  1. Pride and Envy Can be Our Downfall: The Pharisees’ problem is pride. They think they’ve got everything figured out. They think (because they don’t want it to be true) that Jesus cannot be the Messiah. He doesn’t fulfill their expectations and they are not prepared to change – to examine themselves to see if they might be wrong. They are so sure they have it all figured out that they overlook all that Jesus does to fulfill Scripture. They go even so far as to overlook his having raised Lazarus from the dead! They clutch at any feeble excuse to discredit him: “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him” (Luke 7:39); “Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee” (John 7:52). God doesn’t conform himself to our plans and ideas. He expects us to conform to his.


Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, faith comes so hard to me.  I should be aware of all the good you have worked in my life. Help me to look  with the eyes of faith that will bring me to an unshakeable belief in you, a faith like that of those who witnessed your raising of Lazarus.

Resolution: Today, I will look back briefly on my life and try to notice all the things Christ has done for me, so that by reflecting on these things my faith and trust in him will deepen.



Saturday, March 19, 2016

March 20, 2016 - Palm Sunday of the Lord´s Passion "King of Hearts"


Then the whole assembly of them arose and brought him before Pilate. They brought charges against him, saying, "We found this man misleading our people; he opposes the payment of taxes to Caesar and maintains that he is the Messiah, a king." Pilate asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" He said to him in reply, "You say so." Pilate then addressed the chief priests and the crowds, "I find this man not guilty." But they were adamant and said, "He is inciting the people with his teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to here." On hearing this Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean; and upon learning that he was under Herod´s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod who was in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was very glad to see Jesus; he had been wanting to see him for a long time, for he had heard about him and had been hoping to see him perform some sign. He questioned him at length, but he gave him no answer. The chief priests and scribes, meanwhile, stood by accusing him harshly. Even Herod and his soldiers treated him contemptuously and mocked him, and after clothing him in resplendent garb, he sent him back to Pilate. Herod and Pilate became friends that very day, even though they had been enemies formerly. Pilate then summoned the chief priests, the rulers, and the people and said to them, "You brought this man to me and accused him of inciting the people to revolt. I have conducted my investigation in your presence and have not found this man guilty of the charges you have brought against him, nor did Herod, for he sent him back to us. So no capital crime has been committed by him. Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him." But all together they shouted out, "Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us." (Now Barabbas had been imprisoned for a rebellion that had taken place in the city and for murder.) Again Pilate addressed them, still wishing to release Jesus, but they continued their shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Pilate addressed them a third time, "What evil has this man done? I found him guilty of no capital crime. Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him." With loud shouts, however, they persisted in calling for his crucifixion, and their voices prevailed. The verdict of Pilate was that their demand should be granted. So he released the man who had been imprisoned for rebellion and murder, for whom they asked, and he handed Jesus over to them to deal with as they wished. As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ´Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.´ At that time people will say to the mountains, ´Fall upon us!´ and to the hills, ´Cover us!´ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?" Now two others, both criminals, were led away with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." They divided his garments by casting lots. The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God." Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself." Above him there was an inscription that read, "This is the King of the Jews." Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us." The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the Temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; and when he had said this he breathed his last. The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said, "This man was innocent beyond doubt." When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened, they returned home beating their breasts; but all his acquaintances stood at a distance, including the women who had followed him from Galilee and saw these events.

Introductory Prayer: Heavenly Father, I look to you with great confidence as I set out this week to walk the path to Calvary accompanying your Beloved Son on his way to redeeming us. I know this period is an opportunity to see my difficulties and trials as ways to conform my life better to that of your Son. Here I am Lord, ready and desiring to learn from you and imitate you.

Petition: Lord Jesus, let my thirst for happiness be quenched by your love.


  1. The Search for Happiness: Everyone is passionately fond of liberty, but there is one thing we crave even more, and without which existence and even liberty is painful: happiness. It is one of life’s greatest paradoxes that as much as people seek to be free, they still wish to be a slave; not a slave in the sense that their liberty is denied to them, but in the sense that they yearn for something they can worship, something that will solicit their will, pull at their heartstrings, tempt their energies and command their affections. They want to be free to choose between various kinds of happiness, but they do not want to be free from happiness; they wish to be its slave.



  1. Two Ways: There are two ways of responding to this hunger of the soul and this thirst of the heart: one is the way of the world, the other is the way of Christ. Before we indulge in the pleasures of the world, they seem desirable and appear to be all that we will need to make us happy. But after we have them, they become disappointing and sometimes even disgusting. The contrary is true of the pleasures of Christ. Before we have them, they are hard, unattractive, and even repulsive. But after we possess them, they are satisfying and become all our heart could ever desire.



  1. Jesus Christ Is the Answer: What the world deems success is really failure and unhappiness. What the world deems failure and defeat is really success and victory. This reality is played out in Our Lord’s Passion. Jesus is the happiness we seek and the answer to all our desires. His way is the way of the cross, and therefore, as his followers, we must follow the same path. Jesus assures us that the poor shall not always be poor; the crucified shall not be always on a cross; the poor shall be rich; the lowly shall be exalted; those who sow in tears shall reap in joy; those who mourn shall be comforted; and those who suffer with Christ shall reign with him. In the words of the poet Francis Thompson, Christ says to you, “All which I took from thee I did but take, not for thy harms, but just that thou might’st seek it in my arms. All which thy child’s mistake fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home: Rise, clasp my hand, and come!”


Conversation with Christ: Jesus, come and be the king of my heart. During this week of your Passion I want to grow in my love and appreciation for you and all you do for me. Help me with your grace to be a faithful follower and give me the strength to take up my cross with love and generosity.

Resolution: I will visit Our Lord in the Eucharist, renewing my desire to be totally his and praying that Jesus be totally mine.