Friday, April 30, 2021

The Month of Mary

The tradition of honoring Mary in a month-long May devotion spread eventually around the Roman Catholic world in the 19th century together with a month-long devotion to Jesus in June and the Rosary in October.

Realize this is not just one day, but the entire month.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Its all about mercy

In a very well known Gospel scene, the Risen Lord appears to his disciples locked in the Upper Room. They are ridden with doubt and fear, and even shame, for, with one exception, they had all abandoned Jesus in his hour of need. Yet, the Risen Lord stands in their midst and says, “Peace be with you!” The Lord does not rebuke them or condemn them, but gets right to the point – and the point is this: the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus’ whole mission is all about mercy.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Seek what is above

St. Paul exhorts us in Colossians, “If, then, you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” Let us indeed seek ‘what is above, not what is on earth!’  Strangely enough, only when we begin really to seek the things of heaven will we come to a deeper understanding our life on earth!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Roll back the stone

How many worldly hopes and dreams are entombed in our hearts! How heavy is the stone at the entrance of our hearts, the stone which hampers us from truly opening ourselves to God and neighbor in love, the stone which hinders us from professing and practicing our faith day by day. No one rolled back the stone blocking Jesus’ tomb, except Jesus himself.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Our Redemption is at hand

We must remember that the Resurrection, asks only to encounter us, to speak to us in love, and to remove the stone from our hearts . . . so that, at long last, we emerge from our self-built tombs, stand up straight, and lift our eyes to heaven, for in the Risen Lord our Redemption is at hand.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

He rose for us


In our celebration of the Mass, the Risen Lord is in our midst, no less than he was 2,000 years ago. He is inviting us, just as he invited Mary Magdalene, and his Apostles and disciples, to move beyond a mundane optimism that will ultimately fail us, and to embrace instead an authentic Easter faith in his Resurrection. Pope Francis reminds us that ‘the grave is the place where no one who enters ever leaves. But Jesus did emerge for us; he rose for us, to bring life where there was death, to begin a new story in the very place where a stone had been placed.’

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Fear and Confusion

The Risen Lord’s subsequent appearances did not entirely rid the Apostles of fear and confusion. They continued to be ‘half-fearful, half-overjoyed’, and yes, some of the Apostles entertained doubts. Indeed, on the eve of the Lord’s Ascension, the idea persisted among the Apostles that somehow, the Risen Lord might indeed restore Israel’s rightful independence. The journey from worldly optimism to faith in Jesus, Resurrection and the Life, is tough indeed!

Monday, April 12, 2021

Astonishment of the Apostles

Gospel intimates that the beloved disciple, John, “saw and believed”, but a closer reading of the text indicates that he had only ‘begun to believe’. For the same Gospel reading goes on to say that neither Peter, nor John, nor any of the Apostles as yet understood what it could mean for Jesus to rise from the dead – and how could they? If we put ourselves in the Apostles’ place, we will quickly recognize how astonishing, how astounding, the Resurrection-event must have been.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Peter and John rushed

Alerted by Mary Magdalene’s report, the Peter and John rushed to the tomb. John gets there first and peers into the tomb but allows Peter to enter ahead of him. Already shell-shocked by the events that led to Jesus’ death, they too are astonished to find that the rock had been removed and the tomb empty… but also to find that the burial cloths, in which Jesus’ body had been wrapped were neatly folded and placed off to one side. Surely this was not “M.O.” of grave robbers –but what could it all mean?

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Encountering the Lord

Why Jesus Chose Mary Magdalene to Proclaim His Resurrection |

Mary Magdalene was profoundly astonished to find that the rock in front of the tomb had been rolled away and the tomb itself empty. Immediately she left to report all this to Peter and to John, the beloved disciple: “They have taken the Lord from the tomb,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” Mary Magdalene’s optimism succumbed to fear, but her fear would soon give way to amazement and her amazement to faith . . . in that moment of joy when she encountered the Risen Lord in the Garden.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Faith and hope

St. John tells us that Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb while it is “still dark” – a detail meant to help us understand her frame of mind after Jesus’ death. The death of Jesus plunged Mary Magdalene into deep spiritual darkness. Prior to his death, she loved Jesus and followed him enthusiastically and loyally, but as yet, she did not have full-fledged faith and hope.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Eyes of faith

As Peter and his fellow Apostles travelled about with Jesus, we get the impression that they saw Jesus more with the eyes of optimism than with the eyes of faith. They could not quite shake off the idea that Jesus would be the one who would rescue Israel from foreign occupiers and restore its independence. Seeing the miracles and beholding his glory, the Apostles felt Jesus could do whatever he wanted.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Grasping his message

Jesus’ closest followers did not fully grasp the gravity of his plight. Otherwise, the disciples would have been on high alert as Jesus underwent his agony. When Jesus was sentenced and died on the Cross, as if he were a criminal, their world came crashing down – their optimism, their this-worldly hopes vanished. Yes, they had heard Jesus’ predictions that he would be condemned and killed, and yes, they heard him say that he would rise from the dead–but all that eluded them.

Monday, April 5, 2021

April 2021

Dear Graduates of Chaminade, Kellenberg Memorial, and St. Martin de Porres,

Happy Spring! Happy Easter! Those two wishes always come at the same time of year, as we celebrate the rebirth of nature and the Resurrection of Jesus. Unless you attend the University of Miami, you probably experienced more than your share of frigid days this winter. Even Texas had a blizzard! All the while, we waited for the first signs of spring: flowers in the yard, leaves on the trees, and grass under the melting snow. But we know that spring comes in its time and not ours.

With the arrival of spring comes Easter. For Easter, we look East, to the rising sun, and to the Rising Son. After our experience of Lent, when we sacrifice to learn what is truly important in life, we come to the joy that is the Resurrection. How many times have we wished that Lent would be over so that we could experience the joy of Easter? But God asks us to go through Lent to arrive at the blessing of Easter. Easter, like spring, occurs in God’s time, not ours.

As you read this, we are all experiencing the end of our first year of COVID. Chaminade,  
Kellenberg, and St. Martin’s closed on March 12, 2020, fully expecting to be back to school the next week. Then, we realized the reality. Your colleges closed, and you moved home. Chaminade, Kellenberg, and St. Martin’s closed for the remainder of the school year. Life seemed to stop. We all wished that it would be over and saw no end in sight. But as the poet Virgil said (although not in a Christian context), “Dabit deus his quoque finem.” God will bring an end even to these things. But that end comes in God’s time, not ours.

The Resurrection is the culmination of the story of salvation, begun when Adam and Eve turned their backs on God. One poet says of Adam’s wait that “four thousand years thought he not too long.” Israel spent centuries waiting and hoping for the salvation promised by God. Then, as Paul writes, “when the fullness of time had come,” God sent His Son to save us.

What do spring, Easter, and COVID tell us about our spiritual life? They remind us of the need for patience. We cannot force the weather to warm; we cannot force COVID to end; and we cannot force God to our will. Pope St. John Paul said, “If an ear is to grow or a flower blossom, there are times which cannot be forced; for the birth of a human being, nine months are required; to write a book or a worthy piece of music, years must often be spent in patient searching. This is also the law of the spirit. 
. . . To encounter the mystery takes patience, inner purification, silence and waiting.”

Have you ever gotten to the end of Lent and felt that nothing had changed? That you were still the same person you were before Lent began? I have often joked that I could record one of my confessions and replay the recording each time I enter the confessional. It is so frustrating that nothing seems to change, but we must remember, as St. James said, “Consider the farmer who patiently awaits the fall and spring rain.”

For the farmer, something is going on in the earth. The seed grows, we know not how.  And the same is true of our spiritual life. Your spiritual life has grown over these years, even if you have not noticed it. You are not the same spiritually as when you entered Chaminade, Kellenberg, or St. Martin’s.

Have you ever seen a young relative after a few years and realized how much he or she has grown? If you see that person every day, you do not notice the growth, because it is gradual, but it is noticeable after a prolonged absence. Our spiritual growth is gradual, but continuous, if we allow God to touch us. It will happen in God’s time, not ours.

Even the Apostles, after seeing the Risen Jesus, go back and hide in the Upper Room. If they can backslide after seeing Jesus, can we not be patient with ourselves? We are seeing the signs of new life. We see the birds return. We see the flowers bloom. We see that the vaccination program is underway. We see businesses and restaurants reopening. And we should see signs of new life in our spiritual life. Sometimes this growth is small, but it is there.

As you go through your college years, allow God to speak to you. Allow Him to tell you what He is calling you to. Let that seed of a vocation grow, just as the seed grows in the ground. Let God let you know what He wants of you. And be patient. Some things take a lifetime.

May God bless you this Easter,

Bro. John

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Holy Thursday 1

This evening the Marianist Communities gathers to celebrate the Lord's Supper. The Gospel writer John presents us with Jesus the servant, washing the feet of his disciples and instructing them that just as he has done for them, so must they do for each other... And just as Christ did for them, so must we do for each other...

This year the Marianists who gather will celebrate the rite called the Mandatum (from the Latin referring to the new command, the mandate Jesus gives his disciples that they should love one another.)

Following the Mandatum is the liturgy of the Eucharist. Enough bread will be consecrated to provide communion for tomorrow's liturgy because the Eucharist is not celebrated on Good Friday.

After Christ's supper with His disciples on the night before He died, they went to the Garden of Gethsemane where the Lord asked his friends to be with Him in prayer.