Meeting Christ in the Liturgy
EASTER and the Easter Season

Year C

 

Select liturgy here

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. Luke 24, 1-12.

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 o 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 disiple 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. 626, 652, 2174 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)
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EASTER Sunday

Acts 10, 34. 37-43; Psalm 118; Col 3, 1-4; John 20, 1-9

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Resurrexit sicut dixit! Alleluia! He is risen as he said! Alleluia!

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 Christians this was the day on which the rising of the "Sun" ever 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 we desire to live forever in light and love we must share now in the new dawn of the Lord's Resurrection. We do so when we 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 of Easter
Acts 5, 12-16; Psalm 118; Revelation 1, 9-11. 12-13. 17-19; St. John 20, 19-31

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

Today we hear that the apostles, bound by the imprisonment of 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 by professing 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 profession of faith in the Holy Spirit because 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 our sins after baptism 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. Salvation begins now as we are released from the bonds of fear and anxiety, in the first place by the forgiveness of our sins. Confession is an Easter sacrament. Celebrate Easter: celebrate 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 5, 27-32. 40-41; Psalm 30; Revelation 5, 11-14; St. John 21, 1-19

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

Jesus entrusted a specific authority to Peter: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Mt 16:19.) The "power of the keys" designates authority to govern the house of God, which is the Church. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, confirmed this mandate after his Resurrection: "Feed my sheep." (Jn 21:15-17; cf. 10:11.) The power to "bind and loose" connotes the authority to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgments, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church. Jesus entrusted this authority to the Church through the ministry of the apostles (Cf. Mt 18:18.) and in particular through the ministry of Peter, the only one to whom he specifically entrusted the keys of the kingdom. (CCC 553)

This authority, given to Peter, was to be handed on through the "apostolic succession".

In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them 'their own position of teaching authority.' " (Second Vatican Council, Dei Verbum (DV) 7 art. 2; St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 3, 1: PG 7, 848; Harvey, 2, 9.) Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time." (DV 8, art. 1.) (CCC 77)

In the office of the apostles there is one aspect that cannot be transmitted: to be the chosen witnesses of the Lord's Resurrection and so the foundation stones of the Church. But their office also has a permanent aspect. Christ promised to remain with them always. The divine mission entrusted by Jesus to them "will continue to the end of time, since the Gospel they handed on is the lasting source of all life for the Church. Therefore,...the apostles took care to appoint successors." (LG 20; cf. Mt 28:20.) (CCC 860)

Our Holy Father, the bishop of Rome, and all of the bishops in union with him, are the duly-appointed successors of the apostles.

"In order that the mission entrusted to them might be continued after their death, [the apostles] consigned, by will and testament, as it were, to their immediate collaborators the duty of completing and consolidating the work they had begun, urging them to tend the whole flock, in which the Holy Spirit had appointed them to shepherd the Church of God. They accordingly designated such men and then made the ruling that likewise on their death other proven men should take over their ministry." (LG 20; cf. Acts 20:28; St. Clement of Rome, Ad Cor. 42, 44: PG 1, 291-300.) (CCC 861)

This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life, and worship perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes." (DV 8 art. 1.) "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer." (DV 8, art. 3.) (CCC 78)

The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. And in the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church -- and through her in the world -- leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness." (DV 8 art. 3; cf. Col 3:16.) (CCC 79)

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

(See also nos. 448, 553, 618, 645, 659, 862, 881, 1166, 1429, 1551 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)
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Fourth Sunday

Acts 13, 14. 43-52; Psalm 100; Revelation 7, 9. 14-17; St. John 10, 27-30

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Acts 13, 14.43-52; Ps 100, 1-2.3.5.; Rev 7, 9.14-17; Jn 10, 27-30.

"The Father and I are one." (Jn 10, 30.)

Only the divine identity of Jesus' person can justify so absolute a claim as "He who is not with me is against me"; and his saying that there was in him "something greater than Jonah,...greater than Solomon,' something "greater than the Temple"; his reminder that David had called the Messiah is Lord, (Cf. Mt 12:6, 30, 36, 37, 41-42.) and his affirmations, "Before Abraham was, I AM"; and even "I and the Father are one." (Jn 8:58; 10:30.) (CCC 590)

There is and can be no mistaking it: the Lord knew and revealed his divinity by his words and works. Let us now acknowledge him Lord and God, that never denying him, we may never fear that he will deny us before our heavenly Father. Let the Christ of the gospels, "the same yesterday, today and forever" fully reveal himself in all his splendor and glory so that knowing him as he really is, we may one day be like him, in seeing him "face to face".

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

(See also nos. 587-589 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)
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Fifth Sunday

Acts 14, 21-27; Psalm 145; Revelation 21, 1-5; St. John 13, 31-33. 34-35

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

How do we know the Church? What is she like? What are the characteristics that set the Church apart from all other bodies, groups or organizations in the world?

The People of God is marked by characteristics that clearly distinguish it from all other religious, ethnic, political, or cultural groups found in history:

--It is the people of God: God is not the property of any one people. But he acquired a people for himself from those who previously were not a people: "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation." (1 Pet 2:9.)

--One becomes a member of this people not by a physical birth, but by being "born anew," a birth "of water and the Spirit," (Jn 3:3-5.) that is, by faith in Christ, and Baptism.

--This People has for its head Jesus the Christ (the anointed, the Messiah). Because the same anointing, the Holy Spirit, flows from the head into the body, this is "the messianic people."

--"The status of this people is that of the dignity and freedom of the sons of God, in whose hearts the Holy Spirit dwells as in a temple."

--"Its law is the new commandment to love as Christ loved us." (Cf. Jn 13:34.)

--Its mission is to be salt of the earth and light of the world. (Cf. Mt 5:13-16.) This people is "a most sure seed of unity, hope, and salvation for the whole human race."

--Its destiny, finally, "is the Kingdom of God which has been begun by God himself on earth and which must be further extended until it has been brought to perfection by him at the end of time." (LG 9 art. 2.) (CCC 782)

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

(See also nos. 1823, 1970, 2195, 2822, 2842 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)
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Sixth Sunday

Acts 15, 1-2. 22-29; Psalm 67;Revelation 21, 10-14. 22-23; St. John 15, 9-17

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Jesus the Lord sends the Holy Spirit, and Jesus and the Father are also revealed and mad present to us by the Holy Spirit of love.

Before his Passover, Jesius announced the sending of "another Paraclete" (Advocate), the Holy Spirit. At work since creation, having previously "spoken through the prophets," the Spirit will now be with and in the disciples, to teach them and guide them "into all the truth." The Holy Spirit is thus revealed as another divine person with Jesus and the Father. (CCC 243)

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

(See also nos. 243, 244, 260, 263, 692, 729, 1099, 2466, 2615, 2623 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)
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Seventh Sunday

Acts 7, 55-60; Psalm 97; Revelation 22, 12-14. 16-17.20; St. John 17, 20-26

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

The Risen Christ, who is One, is present in and through his Body the Church as one single communion of believers throughout the world. This radical unity of the Church, "one, holy, Catholic and apostolic" is not incidental to the Church but is rather constitutive, of absolute necessity for the identity of the one true Church of Christ. The risen Christ is present to the members of his Body, and to the whole world, through the unity of all believers who embrace the apostolic Faith propounded preserved and defended by the universal Church.

Christ bestowed unity on his Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time." (UR 4, art. 3.) Christ always gives his Church the gift of unity, but the Church must always pray and work to maintain, reinforce, and perfect the unity that Christ wills for her. This is why Jesus himself prayed at the hour of his Passion, and does not cease praying to his Father, for the unity of his disciples: "That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us,...so that the world may know that you have sent me." (John 17:21; cf. Heb 7:25.) (CCC 820)

We are one in the Father and the Son by the Holy Spirit of love. Others will know we are Christians by our love and compassion which makes us like the Father: forgiving, serving and seeking the salvation of all whom we meet.

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

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