Friday, April 10, 2009

"God...dies for man"

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Rev. William Finch, the pastor of St. Raphael's parish in Rockville, for his family and for his parishioners. Fr. Finch died suddenly last night at the end of the Mass of the Lord's Supper at the age of 55.

Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
Pope: Easter Triduum "Fulcrum" of Liturgical Year

Offers Reflection at General Audience

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 8, 2009 ( Benedict XVI reflected on the Easter triduum at the general audience today, which he called the "fulcrum of the entire liturgical year.

"Holy Week, the Pope said, "offers us the opportunity to be immersed in the central events of Redemption, to relive the Paschal Mystery, the great mystery of the faith."

"How marvelous, and at the same time amazing, is this mystery," the Pontiff said. "We can never meditate this reality sufficiently. Jesus, though being God, did not want to make of his divine prerogatives an exclusive possession; he did not want to use his being God, his glorious dignity and power, as an instrument of triumph and sign of distance from us.

"On the contrary, 'he emptied himself' assuming our miserable and weak human condition."

Benedict XVI noted that the Easter triduum begins Thursday afternoon with the Mass of the Lord's Supper: "The Church commemorates the institution of the Eucharist, the ministerial priesthood and the new commandment of charity, left by Jesus to his disciples."

Holy Thursday, he said, is "a renewed invitation to render thanks to God for the supreme gift of the Eucharist, to be received with devotion and to be adored with lively faith.

"Good Friday, the Pontiff continued, is the "day of the Passion and crucifixion of the Lord. Every year, placing ourselves in silence before Jesus nailed to the wood of the cross, we realize how full of love were the words he pronounced on the eve, in the course of the Last Supper."

"Jesus willed to offer his life in sacrifice for the remission of humanity's sins," the Holy Father reflected. "Just as before the Eucharist, so before the Passion and Death of Jesus on the cross the mystery is unfathomable to reason. We are placed before something that humanly might seem absurd: a God who not only is made man, with all man's needs, not only suffers to save man, burdening himself with all the tragedy of humanity, but dies for man.

"Christ's death recalls the accumulation of sorrows and evils that beset humanity of all times: the crushing weight of our dying, the hatred and violence that again today bloody the earth. The Lord's Passion continues in the suffering of men."

He added, "If Good Friday is a day full of sadness, then it is at the same time all the more propitious a day to reawaken our faith, to strengthen our hope and courage so that each one of us will carry his cross with humility, trust and abandonment in God, certain of his support and victory."

"Hope," said Benedict XVI, "is nourished in the great silence of Holy Saturday, awaiting the resurrection of Jesus. On this day the Churches are stripped and no particular liturgical rites are provided. The Church watches in prayer like Mary, and together with Mary, sharing the same feelings of sorrow and trust in God.

"Justly recommended is to preserve throughout the day a prayerful climate, favorable to meditation and reconciliation; the faithful are encouraged to approach the sacrament of penance, to be able to participate truly renewed in the Easter celebrations."

Following the "recollection and silence of Holy Saturday" is the solemn Easter Vigil, which the Pope called the "mother of all vigils."

"Proclaimed once again will be the victory of light over darkness, of life over death, and the Church will rejoice in the encounter with her Lord," he added. "We will thus enter into the climate of the Easter of Resurrection."


At 9:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a appointment today with someone who talked about new beginnings. We talked about where I’ve been and where I am, but most importantly- where I want to go and my plan to get there. He gave me hope. It reminded me about talks here and in homilies about a death of self to have new life. So, it was kind of surreal being in an “empty” church and having hope. It’s not like I don’t know how the story ends, but it was amazing to live “in that moment.”

At 10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question from my 3rd grader-
If Jesus died on Good Friday, why is it called "good?"

At 11:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's called Good Friday because of the Good that came out of Christ's sacrifice for us; eternal life and salvation.

At 7:55 AM, Blogger CynthiaBC said...

Anon 10pm

I asked my second-grader this question, and her answer was:

Because when he died Jesus opened the gates of Heaven for us.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger fran said...

From a church bulletin I have been saving:

Why do we call it "Good" Friday?

"If Jesus died on that day, why do we not call it "Bad" Firday or "Terrible" Friday? Our Savior went through an intense amount of suffering and pain prior to his shameful death, so how can we call that day "Good?"

Actually, maybe we ought to call it "Best" Friday. To be sure, what happened to Jesus was the worst experience which any human being could inflict upon another. However, the benefits to you and to me and to the whole human race are the best gift which anyone could receive.

* Before Jesus died, we deserved only God's wrath and eternal punishment. Because Jesus died, we have now received the gift of God's loving grace.
* Before Jesus died, people could see each other only as enemies. Because Jesus died, we are more than friends. We are brothers and sisters in the family of God.
* Before Jesus died, sin caused conflict within our hearts Our worst adversary was our self. Because Jesus dies, we can have inner peace."

At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are words I've heard expressed before and again today in listening to Fr. Corapi-

Loving God and our neighbor looks like the Cross. We have to go verticle to God first, love him first, before we can go horizontal and embrace one another in love.

At 11:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thinking tonight about how amazing the Church is in its welcoming of new members. Everything about it is a celebration of something great. It’s great to participate in that.

When I was a child, I had few years of CCD classes, but my mom didn’t think many things of the Church were of great significance. So, when others in my CCD class made their First Eucharist, I did not. On a different day, one of my mothers’s choosing, unbeknownst to priest, congregation, and (up until that moment) me too, that particular day (for whatever reason) would be the day of my First Eucharist. It took years for me to understand that it was something extraordinary. I later discussed this with a priest who told me “it was now done.”

I wasn’t Confirmed as a child, and the more I became involved in the Church, the more important it became. My Confirmation wasn’t exactly the “norm.” But, in listening to the words spoken at the Sacrament tonight, I realized it didn’t matter how it all came to be. It was a valid sacrament- just a little different in celebration. It was a good realization.

The Easter Vigil is my favorite Mass. I am happy to be there with all those who were Baptized and Confirmed with so many who understood and appreciated in what they were entering.


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