Meeting Christ in the Liturgy Library

The Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord

and the Easter Season, Year A

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Easter Vigil

Easter Sunday

Second Sunday

Third Sunday

Fourth Sunday

Fifth Sunday

Sixth Sunday

Seventh Sunday

EASTER VIGIL

Genesis 1:1 - 2:2; Psalm 104; Genesis 22: 1-18; Psalm 16; Exodus 14: 15 - 15: 1; Exodus 15: 1-2. 3-4. 5-6. 17-18; Isaiah 54: 5-14; Psalm 30; Isaiah 55: 1-11; Isaiah 12: 2-3. 4. 5-6; Baruch 3: 9-15. 32 - 4:4; Psalm 19; Ezekiel 36: 16-28; Psalm 42; Romans 6: 3-11; Psalm 118; St. Matthew 28, 1-10

Christ is truly risen! Alleluia!

"Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen." (Lk 12:5-6.) The first element we encounter in the framework of the Easter events is the empty tomb. In itself it is not a direct proof of Resurrection; the absence of Christ's body from the tomb could be explained otherwise. (Cf. Jn 20:13; Mt 28:11-15.) Nonetheless the empty tomb was still an essential sign for all. Its discovery by the disciples was the first step toward recognizing the very fact of the Resurrection. This was the case, first with the holy women, and then with Peter. (Cf. Lk 24:3, 12, 22-23.) The disciple whom Jesus loved affirmed that when he entered the empty tomb and discovered "the linen cloths lying there," "he saw and believed." (Jn 20:2, 6, 8.) This suggests that he realized from the empty tomb's condition that the absence of Jesus' body could not have been of human doing and that Jesus had not simply returned to earthly life as had been the case with Lazarus. (Cf. Jn 11:44; 20:5-6.) (CCC 640)

Alleluia! Christ is truly risen! We can make absolutely no qualification of this fact whatsoever. Christ has really, truly and substantially risen, body and blood, soul and divinity, from the dead. The whole Christ has risen indeed for the completion of the work of our redemption.

"For just as by dying he endured all evil to deliver us from evil, so was he glorified in rising again to advance us towards good things, according to Romans 4:25 which says that 'he was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification' (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, III, q. 53, a. 1, c.)

Mary Magdalene and the holy women who came to finish anointing the body of Jesus, which had been buried in haste because the Sabbath on the evening of Good Friday, were the first to encounter the Risen One. (Mk 16:1; Lk 24:1; Jn 19:31, 42.) Thus the women were the first messengers of Christ's Resurrection for the apostles themselves. (Cf. Lk 24:9-10; Mt 28:9-10; Jn 20:11-18.) They were the next to whom Jesus appears: first Peter, then the Twelve. Peter had been called to strengthen the faith of his brothers, (Cf. 1 Cor 15:5; Lk 22:31-32.) and so sees the Risen One before them; it is on the basis of his testimony that the community exclaims: "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" (Lk 24:34, 36.) (CCC 641)

Given all these testimonies, Christ's Resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact. It is clear from the facts that the disciples' faith was drastically put to the test by their Master's Passion and death on the cross, which he had foretold. (Cf. Lk 22:31-32.) The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection. Far from showing us a community siezed by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized ("looking sad"[Lk 24:17; cf. Jn 20:19].) and frightened. For they had not believed the holy women returning from the tomb and had regarded their words as an "idle tale." (Lk 24:11; cf. Mk 16:11, 13.) When Jesus reveals himself to the Eleven on Easter evening, "he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen." (Mk 16:14.) (CCC 643)

Even when faced with the reality of the risen Jesus the disciples are stll doubtful, so impossible did the thing seem: they thought they were seeing a ghost. "In their joy they were still disbelieving and still wondering." (Lk 24:38-41.) Thomas will also experience the test of doubt and St. Matthew relates that during the risen Lord's last appearance in Galilee "some doubted." (Cf. Jn 20:24-27; Mt 28:17.) Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was produced by the apostles' faith (or credulity) will not hold up. On the contrary their faith in the resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus. (CCC 644)

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Father Cusick

(See also nos. 500, 654, 2174 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)
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(See also CCC 500, 654, 2174)


EASTER SUNDAY

The Resurrection of the Lord, A
Acts 10, 34.37-43; Psalm 118; Colossians 3, 1-4; St. John 20, 1-9

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Alleluia! Christ is risen! This day is the Sunday of Sundays. On this and every Sunday we identify ourselves as members of the one Body of the risen Lord, the Church, by worshipping as one people in the Eucharistic sacrifice.

The early Christians called this day "the Day of the Sun" as did everyone else in the Roman Empire. What they meant by that was much more than could be said for the typical Roman, for whom the day marked merely one more rising and setting of the fiery orb that coursed through the skies. For the Christian this was the day on which the "rising of the Sun" reminded them of the glorious rising of the "Son" of God. Many today habitually profane the Lord's Day, going about their business with no thought of the Lord's Resurrection.

If Christ is to be our light, if we are to share one day in the new dawn of His Resurrection, we must begin now to learn to celebrate the Lord's Day in a worthy way, and according to the ancient discipline of the Christian communio, or communion, and the law of Christ.

In the Eucharistic Sacrifice we offer the perfect prayer of Christ, the perfect means of keeping the Lord's Day holy. Our indifference to the Mass condemns us as indifferent to Christ Himself. Worship with the Christian communio is not an option among options. It expresses and makes present the core reality of our identity as Christians. Without the Lord, as he manifests Himself in Word and Sacrament, it is impossible for us to look forward to heaven and eternal joy. 'Without me," he warns, "you can do nothing."

The Catechism teaches that the day of the Resurrection is the beginning of the new creation.

Jesus rose from the dead 'on the first day of the week.' (Jn 20:1) Because it is the 'first day,' the day of Christ's Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the 'eighth day' following the Sabbath, (Mk 16:1) it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ's Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord's Day (he kuriaka hemera, dies dominica) - Sunday: "We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the Jewish Sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead." (St. Justin, Apology) (CCC 2174)

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Father Cusick

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SECOND SUNDAY

Acts 2, 1-11; Psalm 104; 1 Cor 12, 3-7; 12-13; St. John 20, 19-31

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today we hear that the apostles, imprisoned and bound by fear, have locked themselves into the upper room, and that "Jesus came and stood before them...Then he breathed on them and said: 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive men's sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound.' " In this Easter season, we celebrate the Divine gift of the third person of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit, as an outpouring of the Risen Christ. Today the Church shares in the Resurrection and the life of Christ by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. What does this gift mean to the Church? The peace of Christ, always ours with the forgiveness of our sins.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches us what the Church has always believed when we say in the Creed: "I believe in the forgiveness of sins": our gift for salvation in the Holy Spirit.

The Creed links "the forgiveness of sins" with its profession of faith in the Holy Spirit, for the risen Christ entrusted to the apostles the power to forgive sins when he gave them the Holy Spirit.

Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of the forgiveness of sins: it unites us to Christ, who died and rose, and gives us the Holy Spirit. By Christ's will, the Church possesses the power to forgive the sins of the baptized and exercises it through bishops and priests normally in the sacrament of Penance. In the forgiveness of sins, both priests and sacraments are instruments which our Lord Jesus Christ, the only author and liberal giver of salvation, wills to use in order to efface our sins and give us the grace of justification." (CCC 984-987)

If you would be preserved "from all anxiety", as we pray in the Mass, regularly practice the Sacrament of Confession. The Holy Spirit will give you the peace of confidence in Christ's saving passion and Resurrection.

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Father Cusick

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THIRD SUNDAY
Acts 2, 14. 22-28; Psalm 16; 1 Peter 1, 17-21; St. Luke 24, 13-35

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
We are led to the Easter Christ in the Eucharist by this beautiful and moving account of our Lord's appearance to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, in the gospel according to Saint Luke, chapter twenty-four, verses thirteen to thirty-five. Shattered as they were by His crucifixion and death, news of which had been passed throughout the cities and towns from Jerusalem, the disciples were in need of the greatest gift this side of heaven, to fill them again with hope, to give them undying faith in the Risen Lord. And so the Catechism leads our thoughts to the presence of the risen Lord whom we worship, adore, praise and receive in the Mass, the "Lord's Supper."
The Sacrament of the Eucharist is known by this and other titles, discussed in the Catechism.

The Lord's Supper, because of its connection with the supper which the Lord took with his disciples on the eve of his Passion and because it anticipates the wedding feast of the Lamb in the heavenly Jerusalem. (1Cor 11:20; Rev 19:9)
The Breaking of Bread because Jesus used this rite, part of a Jewish meal, when as master of the table he blessed and distributed the bread, (Mt 14:19; 15:36; Mk 8:6,19) above all at the Last Supper. (Mt 26:26; 1 Cor 11:24) It is by this action that his disciples will recognize him after his Resurrection, (Luke 24:13-35) and it is this expression that the first Christians will use to designate their Eucharistic assemblies; (Acts 2:42, 26; 20:7, 11) by doing so they signified that all who eat the one broken bread, Christ, enter into communion with him and form but one body in him.(1 Cor 10:16-17)
The Eucharistic assembly (synaxis), because the Eucharist is celebrated amid the assembly of the faithful, the visible expression of the Church. (1 Cor 11: 17-34)
The Eucharist is the Easter Sacrament. In the Eucharist we meet, know and possess God incarnate, our Lord Jesus Christ. (CCC 1329)

I look forward to meeting you here again next week, as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Father Cusick

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FOURTH SUNDAY, A

Acts 2, 14. 36-41; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2, 20-25; St. John 10, 1-10

        What kind of “gate” is Jesus Christ?  Why does he use this image?  Just as one enters a sheepfold through a gate, so one enters into eternal life through Jesus Christ.  One goes through him to reach the Eternal Father in the heavenly kingdom.

        Practically, how do we enter through Jesus as through a gate?  By the celebration of Word and Sacrament in the Mass, and in all the sacraments of the Church.  We engage our free will and respond to God's invitation to receive the graces of salvation in and through the sacramental life bestowed by Jesus Christ.

        "The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of         his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: 'Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is      easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are  few.'  Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly  life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be         ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth." (CCC 1036.)


       

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Father Cusick

(See also CCC 553, 754, 764, 2158.)

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FIFTH SUNDAY, A

Acts 6, 1-7; Psalm 33; 1 Peter 2, 4-9; St. John 14, 1-12

Our Lord comforts us, exhorting us to reject fear, for we cannot be troubled in this world if we live by faith in him. He leads us to the Father; of this we can be certain.

"Let not your hearts be troubled ; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to my self, that where I am you may be also." (Jn 14: 1-3)

Jesus Christ is reconciler, for he reunites the world with the heavenly Father. Jesus and the Father are "one"; by this fact the Son is able to go to the Father, interceding for all humanity. All of humanity, in Christ, is mysteriously made at peace with the Father; the two have now been made one. Our Father ,"who art in heaven", omnipotent and eterrnal God, is capable of embracing eternally all of mankind, every man, woman and child. In Christ all can now approach the Father with confidence to take their places with him in eternal blessedness.

The symbol of the heavens refers us back to the mystery of the covenant we are living when we pray to our Father. He is in heaven, his dwelling place; the Father's house is our homeland. Sin has exiled us from the land of the covenant, (Cf. Gen 3.) but conversion of heart enables us to return to the Father, to heaven. (Jer 3:19-4:1a; Lk 15:18, 21.) In Christ, then, heaven and earth are reconciled, (Cf. Isa 45:8; Ps 85:12.) for the Son alone "descended from heaven" and causes us to ascend there with him, by his Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension. (Jn 3:13; 12:32; 14:2-3; 16:28; 20:17; Eph 4: 9-10; Heb 1:3; 2:13.) (CCC 2795)

"Who art in heaven"

This biblical expression does not mean a place ("space"), but a way of being; it does not mean God is distant, but majestic. Our Father is not "elsewhere": he transcends everything we can conceive of his holiness. It is precisely because he is thrice-holy that he is so close to the humble and contrite heart.

"Our Father who art in heaven" is rightly understood to mean that God is in the hearts of the just, as in his holy temple. At the same time, it means that those who pray should desire the one they invoke to dwell in them. (St. Augustine, De serm. Dom. in monte 2, 5, 18: PL 34, 1277.)

"Heaven" could also be those who bear the image of the heavenly world, and in whom God dwells and tarries. (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. myst. 5:11:PG 33, 1117.) (CCC 2794.)

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Father Cusick

See also CCC 151, 459, 516, 661, 1698, 2614

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SIXTH SUNDAY, A

Acts 8, 5-8. 14-17; Psalm 66; 1 Peter 3, 15-18; St. John 14, 15-21

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today many live without belief in the existence of truth. Some use the word without understanding its authentic meaning, as if it can denote only a personal opinion, a thing that is "true" only for the individual who holds that idea. This widespread relativism, the system of thought which refuses to affirm that any one idea or law can apply to all persons, is "true", has crept with increasing power like an infection into the body of the Church. The members of Christ's Body are ever affected by the same forces and currents as is every human person. For the Catholic Christian, however, there can never be any confusion as to the existence of truth. There can be no Catholic faith without truth, for Christ founded the Church for the purpose of teaching the truth, endowing her with the gift of the Holy Spirit by which the truth is taught infallibly in matters of faith and morals in every age.

In Jesus Christ, the whole of God's truth has been made manifest. "Full of grace and truth" he came as the light of the world," he is the Truth." (Jn 1:14; 8:12; cf. 14:6.) "Whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness." (Jn 12:46.) The disciple of Jesus continues in his word so as to know "the truth [that] will set you free" and that sanctifies. (Jn 8:32; cf. 17:17.) To follow Jesus is to live in "the Spirit of truth," whom the Father sends in his name and who leads "into all the truth." (Jn 16:13.) To his disciples Jesus teaches the unconditional love of truth: "Let what you say be simply 'Yes or No.' " (Mt 5:37.) (CCC 2466)

The Church cannot be the Body of Christ unless the Church leads us into all the truth, for Christ is the Truth. The Church cannot teach the truth without the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit of truth, for the human members of the Church are incapable of grasping and remaining faithful to the Word of truth without divine grace. The Lord promised the gift of the Holy Spirit so that man might persevere in the truth and so be saved.

Only when the hour has arrived for his glorification does Jesus promise the coming of the Holy Spirit, since his Death and Resurrection will fulfill the promise made to the fathers. ( Cf. Jn 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-15;17:26.) The Spirit of truth, the other Paraclete, will be given by the Father in answer to Jesus' prayer; he will be sent by the Father in Jesus' name; and Jesus will send him from the Father's side, since he comes from the Father. The Holy Spirit will come and we shall know him; he will be with us forever; he will remain with us. The Spirit will teach us everything, remind us of all that Christ said to us and bear witness to him. The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth and will glorify Christ. He will prove the world wrong about sin, righteousness and judgment. (CCC 729)

Let your "Yes" mean "Yes" and your "No" mean "No." We must speak the truth in order to bear the name of Christian and live in hope of the Resurrection of the just. In order to abide in the truth, we must live in obedience, making the "Yes" of the Church our own "Yes" and the "No" of the Church our own "No."

The Church teaches the truth so that we may abide in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit who proclaims the truth in the Church. The Holy Spirit gives particular assistance to the Holy Father who leads the Church on earth into all the truth. The Lord's vicar on earth, the successor of Peter, ministers to the Church and the world as a servant of the truth, that all mankind may be freed to live eternal life. When Peter teaches in matters of faith and morals, it is not his own opinion he offers; rather, it is the Spirit of Truth who speaks through him. By the power of the Spirit, the Lord's promise is made real in our own day: "He who hears you, hears me."

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Father Cusick

(See also CCC 243, 687, 692, 788, 2615, 2671.)

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SEVENTH SUNDAY, A

Acts 1:12-14; Psalm 27: 1,4,7-8a ; 1 Peter 4: 3-16; St. John 17: 1-11.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
"Jesus looked up to heaven and said: 'Father the hour has come!' "(Jn 17:1)

When "his hour" came, Jesus prayed to the Father. (Cf. Jn 17.) His prayer, the longest transmitted by the Gospel, embraces the whole economy of creation and salvation, as well as his death and Resurrection. The prayer of the Hour of Jesus always remains his own, just as his Passover "once for all" remains ever present in the liturgy of his Church. (CCC 2746)

Christian Tradition rightly calls this prayer the "priestly" prayer of Jesus. It is the prayer of our high priest, inseparable from his sacrifice, from his passing over (Passover) to the Father to whom he is wholly "consecrated." (Cf. Jn 17:11,13,19.) (CCC 2747)

In this Paschal and sacrificial prayer, everything is recapitulated in Christ: (Cf. Eph 1:10.) God and the world; the Word and the flesh; eternal life and time; the love that hands itself over and the sin that betrays it; the disciples present and those who believe in him by their word; humiliation and glory. It is the prayer of unity. (CCC 2748)

Jesus fulfilled the work of the Father completely; his prayer, like his sacrifice, extends until the end of time. The prayer of this hour fills the end-times and carries them toward their consummation. Jesus, the Son to whom the Father has given all things, has given himself wholly back to the Father, yet expresses himself with a sovereign freedom (Cf. Jn 17:11,13,19,24.) by virtue of the power the Father has given him over all flesh. The Son, who made himself Servant, is Lord, the Pantocrator. Our high priest who prays for us is also the one who prays in us and the God who hears our prayer. (CCC 2749.)

By entering into the holy name of the Lord Jesus we can accept, from within, the prayer he teaches us: "Our Father!" His priestly prayer fulfills, from within, the great petitions of the Lord's Prayer: concern for the Father's name; (Cf. Jn 17:6,11,12,26.) passionate zeal for his kingdom (glory); (Cf. Jn 17:1,5,10,22,23-26.) the accomplishment of the will of the Father, of his plan of salvation; (Cf. Jn 17:2,4,6,9,11,12,24.) and deliverance from evil. (Cf. Jn 17:15.)

Finally, in this prayer Jesus reveals and gives to us the "knowledge," inseparably one, of the Father and of the Son, (Cf. Jn 17:3,6-10,25.) which is the very mystery of the life of prayer. (CCC 2751)

Let's pray for each other until next week when, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy"---Father Cusick

(See also CCC 217, 589, 684, 730, 1069, 1085, 1721, 1996, 2604, 2746, 2765, 2758, 2812, 2815, 2849.)
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