Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

In Sunday’s Gospel passage Jesus sets out on his final journey to Jerusalem.  We are told that Jesus was “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem”.  The Greek is literally “he set his face” (autos to prosopon esterisen) and reflects a Hebraism that suggests a “fixedness of purpose.” With this passage  we arrive at a major turning point in Luke’s Gospel.  We are entering into the longest section in his carefully ordered narrative (Luke 1:3).  And as Jesus sets his face like flint for the journey to Jerusalem, his teaching takes a turn.  There is an urgency to his call and a focus...

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

It was a humble nun in Liege, Belgium, Saint Juliana (1258), Prioress of Mont Cornillon, who first suggested and advocated a special feast in honor of the Blessed Sacrament to be celebrated on a day other than Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday, the day on which the Church commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist). From her sixteenth year Sister Juliana had often, in her prayers, beheld a strange sight: the full moon appeared in brilliant light, while a part of its disc remained in darkness. Finally, in another mystical experience, the meaning of this vision was revealed. The moon represented the...

The Solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity, Year C

A rabbi I know is frequently asked to speak about Judaism to classes in Catholic schools.  “If you don't believe in the divinity of Christ,” they sometimes ask, “what does that do to your understanding of the Trinity?” That Jews have no concept of God as Trinity amazes the students; and their amazement continues to amaze the rabbi. This reciprocal puzzlement can serve as a reminder that the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not a matter of reasoning, nor even a matter of revelation to be found in the Hebrew Bible.  Our sense of God as triune is a...

Pentecost Sunday, Year C

Most folks send Christmas cards.  A few send Easter cards.  Perhaps at sometime, someone may send out cards to celebrate Pentecost.  Celebrating the occasion by designing and sending Pentecost cards may help us consider the importance of this feast. Pentecost is more than the afterglow of Easter; it is Easter's culmination. The Jewish feast of Passover (commemorating the release from captivity) finds fulfillment in the feast of Weeks (pentecostes in Greek), commemorating the Sinai covenant.  Similarly, Easter, celebrating the divine victory over death, finds its fuller meaning in the enlivening of the Christian community through the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The...

The Ascension of the Lord, Year C

Traditionally, the Solemnity of The Ascension of the Lord has been celebrated 40 days after Easter in keeping with the Scriptural reference in Acts: “To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking of the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).  While Easter is a moveable feast, celebrated on a different date in March or April every year, the 40th day after Easter has always been, will always be, a Thursday.  However, it is for pastoral reasons, that the Solemnity of the Ascension, which joyfully celebrates the completion of Christ’s...

Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C

This Sunday’s Gospel finds us in the upper room, it’s still Maundy Thursday.  It may seem strange to be reading about events from Holy Week during the season of Easter, but in John’s Gospel these are the chapters where we learn from Jesus himself what living into resurrection reality truly means. Earlier in John’s Gospel Jesus told his disciples that where he was going they could not follow.  This was upsetting news.  They’d been following him for three years.  They were just beginning to figure it out- they probably thought—and now Jesus was telling them he was leaving and they couldn’t...

Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C

In the verses preceding those we will hear proclaimed on Sunday, we are told that Jesus is having a final meal with his disciples and has told them of his imminent betrayal.  In those earlier verses, Jesus says the betrayer is “...

Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C

One of the Bible’s most informative images of Jesus is, "the Good Shepherd". As Jesus faces growing opposition from his enemies, he draws his followers ever closer in Sunday’s passage by reminding them of the kind and caring leader he embodies—the Good Shepherd.  Jesus wants his followers to recognize that he is not like the abusive religious leaders who were in constant conflict with him, his ministry, and his followers.  He tells them that they must follow and listen to him as sheep follow and listen to their shepherd. In this illustration, the sheepfold represents a place of security, the protective shelter...

Third Sunday of Easter, Year C

Sunday’s Gospel from John sets the third post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to his disciples amidst ordinary circumstances: the disciples have returned to their old routines.   Even after encountering the resurrected Jesus twice already, they seem at loose ends.  They seem restless, uncertain what to do, so they go fishing!  They’ve moved from the empty tomb to their boats, from the house in Jerusalem to the familiar waters of the Sea of Tiberias.  They’ve traveled some 70 or 80 miles from the place of Jesus’ resurrection and given themselves over to their former trade of fishing.  They return to the same boats,...

Second Sunday of Easter, Year C

We enter Sunday’s Gospel narrative on the evening of Easter  Sunday.   The disciples have gathered.  Notice the mention of the time and the day when this gathering occurs: it is the evening of the day of the Resurrection -- Sunday.  John notes it was the "first day of the week."  In the Gospels and in the Book of Acts we find again and again that the disciples begin to gather on the “first day of the week”.   This marks the transition from the worship of the Lord on the Sabbath- Saturday- to Sunday, because of the Resurrection. Perhaps the disciples are...