RESOURCE1: APRIL 15, 2018,  THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTERFaithCatholic Online; Paulist Ordo.
RESOURCE2: April 16,2018, Monday of the Third Week of Easter, FaithCatholic Online; Paulist Ordo.
RESOURCE3: April 17, 2018, Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter , FaithCatholic Online; Paulist Ordo.
RESOURCE4: April 18, 2018, Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter , FaithCatholic Online;   Ordo.
RESOURCE5: April 19, 2018, Thursday of the Third Week of Easter, FaithCatholic Online; Paulist Ordo.
RESOURCE6: April 20, 2018, Friday of the Third Week of Easter, FaithCatholic Online; Paulist Ordo.
RESOURCE7: April 21, 2018, Saturday of the Third Week of Easter, FaithCatholic Online; Paulist Ordo.
RESOURCE8: April 22, 2018, FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, FaithCatholic Online; Paulist Ordo.

RESOURCE9: REFLECTION — April 15 – April 21, 2018, Third Week of Easter, Daily Prayer 2018.
RESOURCE10: DAILY REFLECTIONS, Daily Prayer 2018, pages .
RESOURCE11: EASTER ORDO – DIRECTIONS, Daily Prayer 2018, pages .
RESOURCE15: HOW THE CHURCH HAS CHANGED THE WORLD, Magnificat, March 2018, pages 150-154.


Lectionary 47: 1) Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; 2) Ps 4:2, 4, 7-9; 3) 1 John 2:1-5a;  4) Luke 24:35-48.


FOCUS:          Jesus is the fulfillment of Scripture. The risen Christ made himself known to his disciples. After having revealed himself in Emmaus in the breaking of the bread, he encouraged the disciples in Jerusalem to look at and to touch his wounds. He reminded them of what Scripture had foretold, just as Peter reminded the community in the first reading. Peter proclaims the wonders of the Lord (Ps): The suffering Messiah is raised from the dead and has been glorified (1). This Jesus is our intercessor, and our offering for sin (2), our peace (3).


In the first reading, Peter proclaims the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection, calling his listeners to repentance and salvation. In today’s Epistle, John encourages believers to trust Jesus, their Advocate, and show their love for God by keeping his commandments. Our Gospel reading presents the risen Christ making himself known to his disciples.

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Monday, April 16, 2018   MONDAY OF THIRD WEEK OF EASTER

Lectionary 273: 1) Acts 6:8-15; 2) Ps 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30; 3) John 6:22-29.


FOCUS:          Believe in the one whom God has sent. The Church’s first martyr, Saint Stephen, heard the call to preach the Good News of the Gospel, even under threat of death. Likewise, we are called to be Jesus’ faithful disciples, working each day not for food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life. With faith in the one sent by the Father (2), Stephen, blameless in life (Ps), performed signs for all to see (1).


Saint Stephen is called to preach the Gospel despite opposition. Stephen stands his ground, and his tormentors are presented with a face of great radiance and beauty, according to the account in Acts. In the Gospel, Jesus says that to do the work of God is to believe in him, whom the Father sent.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018  TUESDAY OF THIRD WEEK OF EASTER

Lectionary 274: 1) Acts 7:51—8:1a; 2) Ps 31:3cd-4, 6ab, 7b, 8a, 17, 21ab; 3) John 6:30-35.


FOCUS:          Jesus is the bread of life. Life would be difficult if we did not have signs. The gift of flowers conveys our love and affection. A stop sign warns us of danger. The sign of the cross reminds us of our life in Christ. Because we sometimes fail to recognize the signs of God’s love, Jesus, the light, illuminates our lives so that we will see them.

Stephen entrusts (Ps) his spirit to the just one (1), the bread of life come down from heaven (2).


In our first reading, Stephen speaks bluntly to the people, elders and scribes about their failure to observe the law which they had accepted. In the Gospel, the crowd asks Jesus for a sign, and Jesus reveals to them that he is the bread of life.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018           WEDNESDAY OF THIRD WEEK OF EASTER

Lectionary 275: 1) Acts 8:1b-8; 2) Ps 66:1-3a, 4-7a; 3) John 6:35-40.


FOCUS:          Everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life.

The church in Jerusalem was persecuted and scattered, but it was not destroyed. Indeed, we hear Jesus say that it is the will of the Father that he not lose anything the Father gave him. Like a good shepherd who seeks out one lost sheep, Jesus cares about each and every one of us, and wants us to be in full communion with him. When we feel lost or scattered, let us turn to Jesus. Resolute in their belief in the Risen One (2), the disciples joyfully proclaim (Ps) Jesus the Messiah (1).


After a severe persecution scatters the Church in Jerusalem, Philip goes to Samaria, proclaiming Christ to them and healing many people. Jesus proclaims to the crowds that he is the bread of life, come down from heaven to do the will of the Father.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018    THURSDAY  OF THIRD WEEK OF EASTER

Lectionary 276: 1) Acts 8:26-40; 2) Ps 66:8-9, 16-17, 20; 3) John 6:44-51.


FOCUS:          Seek to spread the word of God each day by our actions and words.

In today’s first reading, we hear of Philip converting a pagan. He was directed by the angel of the Lord to spread the Good News. It is not so different for us today. We are still called to do Jesus’ work today by our witness. With joyful praise (Ps), Philip proclaims the good news to the Ethiopian (1): belief in Jesus brings eternal life.


In the first reading, the Ethiopian became a believer and was baptized because of Philip’s guidance and instruction. In the Gospel, Jesus teaches that he was sent by the Father and that he is flesh for the life of the world.

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Friday, April 20, 2018      FRIDAY  OF THIRD WEEK OF EASTER

Lectionary 277: 1) Acts 9:1-20; 2) Ps 117:1-2; 3) John 6:52-59.


FOCUS:          Let us be Jesus’ presence in the world. Saul’s conversion can be described as metanoia, the Greek word for a radical change of heart. It means seeing with new eyes. It fuels our vision and has the potential to change our relationship with others. The Easter season calls us to live out the radical change we have experienced because of Jesus’ resurrection, and be his witnesses in the world. Paul is called by Jesus (1) to proclaim the good news to all peoples (Ps). Jesus invites all to his Eucharistic banquet (2).


In the first reading, Saul thinks he is called to imprison Christians. On his way to Damascus, he experiences his own conversion when he is thrown to the ground and encounters the Lord. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that whoever eats the flesh of the Son of Man will live forever.

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Saturday, April 21, 2018                    SATURDAY OF THIRD WEEK OF EASTER

Optional Memorial: Saint Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Lectionary 278: 1) Acts 9:31-42; 2) Ps 116:12-17 ; 3) John 6:60-69.


FOCUS:          Seek to lead lives pleasing to the Lord. As followers of Jesus, sometimes we are called to lead lives that are countercultural to society’s norms. The world often teaches us that what we want is most important. Our faith teaches us that following the Master’s Way is of much greater importance. Peter, calling upon the name of the Lord (Ps), speaks words of life (2) and raises up Tabitha from death (1).


In the reading from Acts, we hear that the early Church continues to grow, and Peter continues to work miracles in the name of Jesus. In the Gospel, some followers choose to walk away from the Lord, but Peter says he has come to believe that Jesus has the words of eternal life.

Anselm, †1109; abbot of Bec in Normandy, later (1093) archbishop of Canterbury; twice exiled for defending the rights of the Church; theologian and philosopher: fides queerens intellectum; authored Prosologion, Cur Deus Homo, and The Procession of the Holy Spirit; known as the “Father of Scholasticism.”

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 Lectionary 50: 1) Acts 4:8-12; 2) Ps 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 29; 3) 1 John 3:1-2;                   4) John 10:11-18.


FOCUS:          It is in and through Jesus alone that we can attain salvation. Our world often tells us that we should be strong, secure and self-sufficient on our own. We may be able to do this in certain areas of our lives, but not when it comes to salvation. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who is our strength, our protection and our salvation.

Jesus is the “cornerstone rejected by the builders which has become the cornerstone” (1, Ps). He is the good shepherd who laid down his life for us (3). Through his paschal mystery we have become children of God (2).


In the first reading, Peter says, there is no salvation through anyone else but Jesus. In the reading from the First Letter of John, we are called children of God. In the Gospel, Jesus says that he is the Good Shepherd, and he will lay his life down for us, his sheep.

PN Today has been designated as “World Day of Prayer for Vocations.” Prayers for vocations to the priesthood and the religious life should be inserted into the general intercessions at Mass.

Victimae Paschali Laudes

Christians, to the Paschal Victim offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems; Christ, who only is sinless,
Reconciles sinners to the Father. Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous: The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal. Speak, Mary, declaring What you saw, wayfaring. “The tomb of Christ, who is living, the glory of Jesus’ resurrection; Bright angels attesting, the shroud and napkin resting. Yes, Christ my hope is arisen; To Galilee he goes before you.” Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining. Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning.

Amen. Alleluia. Daily Prayer 2018, LTP, page 422.


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Faith Catholic (Online), April  2018;                  Give Us This Day, Liturgical Press, April 2018;
Magnificat, April 2018;                        Paulist Ordo

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 April 15  –  21, 2018    Third Week of Easter


Within the Word           Acts: It’s About the Spirit

The initial spread of the astounding good news that God had raised Jesus is only partially chronicled by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles. Designing Acts to follow upon his earlier written Gospel (Acts 1:1), Luke penned this second narrative to tell about the earliest post resurrection period of the fol­lowers of Jesus in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and points north such as Antioch and Damascus. Once he introduced Paul’s life and missionary story into the work (from Acts 7:58 for­ward), he then focused the majority of this volume on the spread of the Jesus movement wherever Paul and his cowork­ers took it.

I would describe Luke’s narrative in Acts, therefore, as a north/northwest to west—oriented picture of Christianity’s initial spread. It is not the full story of how Christian belief first proliferated. Even in Acts itself there are brief indications that by the time Luke was writing, the Jesus movement was emanating from Judea also to southern (e.g., Ethiopia) and eastern locations (e.g., eastern Syria and Arabia). Generally speaking, Christians today in the Western world (regrettably in my view) are rarely made aware of the fascinating and more comprehensive picture of the Christian movement that historians can piece together. As we hear so much of Acts read during the Easter season, namely, the “Christianity mov­ing north and west story,” an intriguing question thus arises: Why did Luke limit his geographical scope?

Did Luke not know much about the broader range of Christianity’s earliest evangelization? Or was it not his goal to tell a more global story? Assessing Luke’s purpose in writing Acts has led biblical scholars to some interesting observa­tions. By taking into account both Luke’s Gospel and Acts, one sees a long story that begins in the Gospel with the poor, rural Galilean Jesus and has a trajectory that takes him to death and resurrection in the provincial Jewish urban center of Jerusalem. In Acts the proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection then quickly moves into majorly Gentile territory, sophisti­cated cities of the Roman Empire such as Antioch, Damascus, Thessalonica, Corinth, and Ephesus. Ultimately Jesus’ resur­rection is proclaimed in the imperial capital of Rome itself. Writing sometime between about AD 70-90, Luke had lived to see the life, death, and resurrection of a rural Galilean Jew amazingly develop into an urbanized religious movement inclusive of Gentiles, and one which had successfully pene­trated the center of the empire in a mere five or six decades.

It appears this trajectory fascinated Luke. But it also seems he was not puzzled by this development. Why? Throughout Acts, Luke repeatedly explains what drove the spread of Chris­tianity. For example, already in the first chapter he records that Jesus had promised his disciples, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (1:8). The story Luke set out to tell was not the global one but rather a testimony to the power and direc­tion of the Spirit. It seems Luke was especially intrigued by the Spirit’s enabling of the preaching of the good news that ultimately placed fearless Christian disciples like Paul right in the midst of his contemporary world’s seat of human power. Acts is actually a narrative about the Spirit.

FLORENCE MORGAN GILLMAN      Florence Morgan Gillman is professor of biblical studies at the University of San Diego. The author of numerous books and articles, she lectures frequently in the U.S. and abroad. 

     Give Us This Day, Liturgical Press, pages 168-169.

Easter Season

Josef Pieper once remarked that the human capacity for festivity arises from the ability to affirm all creation as good—from the ability to embrace, in one resounding “yes,” the length and breath, the heights and depths of our experience in this world. We can hear this yes in Mozart’s music—the play of light and shadow in the later piano concerto; the poignant song of an oboe rising above a steady pulse in a divertimento for winds. We can hear it in the delighted squeals of a child as its face is licked by the moist tongue and hot breath of a new puppy. We can hear it in the contented, prayerful whispers of an elderly woman—full of love, grace and years—as she prepares to meet death with quiet courage and dignity.

Saying yes to all of life, letting all of it in—that is festivity’s sustain­ing source. But there’s the rub. Few of us can say yes to anything for very long. We live, after all, in an intensely mobile culture of fast food, faster cars, disposable diapers and planned obsolescence. Our great­est goal (as Andy Warhol once quipped) is to be famous for fifteen minutes. At parties, we do not carry on conversations, we posture—repeating to one another snippets of dialogue from movies, beer commercials, sitcoms, or interviews with sports’ celebrities. Small wonder that many in our society feel so isolated and lonely, so unable to connect so incapable of forming relationships that last. Small wonder, too, that as a people we find ourselves increasingly bored, angry and violent—enraged and terrified by the awful empti­ness that seems to stretch in every direction around us.

Given such cultural conditions, the Christian celebration of “the blessed Pentecost” will strike many as mad indeed. Fifty days of “dwelling in” the paschal mystery! Fifty days of surrendering in joyful faith and love as the Spirit of God takes possession of our lives! Fifty days of mystagogy, of walking with the neophytes ever more deeply into the baptismal mysteries of death and resurrection. Good heav­ens! What an order!

One reason why such a prolonged celebration strikes us as diffi­cult—if not downright absurd—is that we tend to link feasts and holi­days with mindless hoopla. “Party time,” for many, is an invitation to obliterate consciousness, to get wasted, to veg out to forget. But a season of Christian festival is precisely the opposite. It is a time of intensified consciousness, finely tuned awareness, awakened mem­ory. The great fifty days of Pentecost are not an unwelcome, unreal­istic, obligation to “party on,” even if we don’t feel like it but an invi­tation to explore more deeply “the weather of the heart,” to awaken our memory of God’s presence and power in our lives, to look more closely at all the rich and varied textures of creation. In short, Pentecost is a season for learning how to say yes in a culture that wants to keep on saying no.

Taken from “The Blessed Pentecost,” Nathan Mitchell, in Assembly, Volume 20:1. © Notre Dame Center for Liturgy, Notre Dame, IN             Paulist Ordo, pages 93-94.

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 Reflection – Sunday, April 15, 2018                 Third Sunday of Easter

Luke uses the expression “the breaking of the bread” both in his account of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Some scholars argue that this is a term for the Eucharist. Even if one disputes this, it is clear that the term refers to an action—breaking—and not simply to the bread. When we gather to break bread in any circumstance, it implies a friendly sharing. It is difficult to break bread with someone with whom we are quarreling, so it is no wonder that the first words from Jesus when he enters is “Peace be with you.” Later in today’s passage, Jesus eats a piece of fish in the disciples’ presence, again demonstrat­ing the collegial and peaceful nature of the meal.                                          Daily Prayer 2018, LTP, page 134.

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Third Sunday of Easter April 15, 2018

The Missouri Bishops and churches being Gun-free zones… On Monday of this past week in Tony Messenger’s column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he wrote about the letter the Bishops of Missouri wrote to our state legislature about a common sense approach to the issue of gun violence in our nation and in particular, the State of Missouri.

The letter is very pointed and almost a rebuke to our state’s lawmakers in Jefferson City. It is a call to action on common sense gun regulation. The letter was spurred in part by House Bill 1936, sponsored by Representative Jered Taylor of Nixa, Missouri.

That bill, if passed, would eliminate the need for Missourians who are carrying a concealed weapon to obtain permission from their pastor before bringing a concealed weapon to church. Again, if it passes, churches wishing to remain gun-free would have to post signage in their sacred spaces prohibiting guns. And as the bishops wrote in their letter, “this is highly offensive to us and would violate our First Amendment rights to religious liberty.” As Tony Messenger said in his column the message from the Catholic bishops of Missouri is this: “You can stand for guns in churches. Or you can stand for religious liberty. But you can’t stand for both.”

The bill passed the House committee in March with a party-line vote. Republicans voted yes. Democrats voted no. As the bill heads to the House floor, and other bills are considered, Archbishop Carlson and the other Catholic Bishops of Missouri are hoping to stop the gun-expansion bills by asking Republicans to remember their commitment to life and to religious liberty.

1 very much admire our Archbishop and the Catholic bishops of Missouri for this stand on the issue of gun legislation in Missouri. 1 would like to put the complete letter here in this column for you to read:

Statement of the Missouri Catholic Conference Regarding Gun Violence …

We, the Catholic bishops of Missouri, wish to address the senseless gun violence that is occurring in our schools, on our streets, and in our inner cities. The disturbing frequency of these events is making us numb to the profound impact on those directly affected and it calls for serious reflection on why people are carrying out senseless acts of violence. It is also appropriate to consider the use of guns in society.

Our nation needs to have an honest discussion about the toll violent images and experiences are having upon us, especially our youth. We must work toward peace in our communities through restorative justice policies and practices, and through ongoing discussions about the presence of so much violence in our entertainment and neighborhoods.

We acknowledge that there is right to self-defense. Many Catholics and people of good will are gun owners and law-abiding citizens who would never consider the use of lethal force unless it was necessary to preserve human life.

As we issue this statement, bills are currently being debated in the Missouri General Assembly that would further loosen gun regulations. One such bill, for example, would eliminate the need for Missourians who are carrying a concealed weapon to obtain permission from their pastor before bringing a concealed weapon to church.

If this bill were to pass, churches wishing to remain gun-free would have to post signage in their sacred spaces prohibiting guns. This is highly offensive to us and would violate our First Amendment rights to religious liberty. As the leaders of the Catholic Church in Missouri, we vigorously object to this change in Missouri law!

Law-abiding gun owners know that guns must be used in a safe and responsible manner. This is taught in every gun safety course, and these courses are a means of promoting the common good. Our reflection on the proper place of guns in our society leads us to seriously consider reasonable and sensible gun regulations in order to protect human life from the kind of gun violence we are currently experiencing in our country.

We do not think, for example, that there is any reasonable justification for civilians to purchase and own so-called “bump stocks” that transform already potent semi-automatic weapons into weapons of war. We support universal background checks for gun purchases, and reasonable limitations on civilian access to high-capacity ammunition magazines, like the ten-round limit imposed for hunters in Missouri (Missouri Wildlife Code 3 CSR 10-7, 431). We see no purpose or justification for civilians to carry large capacity magazines that permit the kind of sustained firepower that can result in multiple casualties. We further support improving access to and increased resources for mental healthcare and earlier interventions.

We ask our fellow Catholics and people of good will to work toward this end by discussing these matters in their local communities and by contacting their local, state, and federal representatives to address these issues through policy and legislative measures that uphold the safety and well-being of all persons in our communities.

The Catholic Bishops of Missouri :

The Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, the Archbishop of Saint Louis                                                                               The Most Reverend James V. Johnston, Jr., the Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph                                                   The Most Reverend W. Shawn McKnight, the Bishop of Jefferson City                                                                     The Most Reverend Edward M. Rice, the Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau

If you are so inclined this would be a great time to write or call our local State representatives and senators regarding this particular bill, House Bill 1936.

Our state representative is: Deb Lavender: Missouri House of Representatives, 201 W. Capitol Ave, Room 105 —J, Jefferson City, Missouri 65101; 573-751-4069

Andrew Koenig: Missouri Senator; 201 W. Capitol Ave. Room 220, Jefferson City, Mo. 65101; 573-751-5568.

Take care and I’ll see you in church!              Monsignor Jack 135




  Reflection – Monday, April 16, 2018            Third Week of Easter 

In the verses in Acts before today’s reading, Luke singles out Stephen as “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.” The fact that he can debate the learned from the Synagogue of Freedmen, Cyre­neans, and Alexandrians is a testimony to his wisdom and intelligence. It is little wonder that his opponents resort to charges of blasphemy to get rid of him by stoning him to death. As the first martyr, he is given pride of place in the Acts of the Apostles. He holds unusual significance for the fledgling commu­nity of Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem.         Daily Prayer 2018, LTP, page 135.


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Reflection – Tuesday, April 17, 2018       
Third Week of Easter 

In this dramatic scene of Stephen’s ston­ing, we find the first mention of St. Paul before he was converted. Here, he is named Saul. Stephen is charged with blasphemy since he is attacking the most cherished institutions of Judaism, namely the Temple and the Law. He challenges the exclusive claim that Jesus is the Messiah for only the Jews. Although Saul is a party to this execu­tion, it seems that he is moved by the fortitude and faith of Stephen, who prays before his death in the same words that Jesus uses when he is hanging on the Cross. As the proto-martyr, Stephen demonstrates what it means to configure oneself to Jesus crucified.                  Daily Prayer 2018, LTP, page 136.

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Reflection – Wednesday, April 18, 2018            Third Week of Easter

In the Bread of Life discourse, Jesus explains the meaning of the Eucharist—those who eat and drink will never hun­ger and thirst again. Jesus has been sent by the Father, and in him is everlasting life. John’s poetic sense merits for him the symbol of the eagle since he soars above our heads with lofty language.    Daily Prayer 2018, LTP, page 137.

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Reflection – Wednesday, April 18, 2018  of the the Third  Week of Easter 

The Ethiopian eunuch is the symbol of the catechumen. He first desires instruc­tion as he senses the need for some knowledge about God. We might liken this to the Period of Inquiry leading to the catechumenate. After formation in the faith and discernment, these indi­viduals are ready to be initiated. The Ethiopian, in conjunction with Philip, determines readiness to be grafted into the Body of Christ. Philip, who previ­ously had brought Samaritans into the fold, now overcomes another barrier in incorporating a eunuch, who accord­ing to Jewish law was ineligible for membership.

Daily Prayer 2018, LTP, page 138.

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Reflection – Thursday, April 19, 2018 of the Third  Week of Easter

 The Ethiopian eunuch is the symbol of the catechumen. He first desires instruc­tion as he senses the need for some knowledge about God. We might liken this to the Period of Inquiry leading to the catechumenate. After formation in the faith and discernment, these indi­viduals are ready to be initiated. The Ethiopian, in conjunction with Philip, determines readiness to be grafted into the Body of Christ. Philip, who previ­ously had brought Samaritans into the fold, now overcomes another barrier in incorporating a eunuch, who accord­ing to Jewish law was ineligible for membership.                                    Daily Prayer 2018, LTP, page 138.



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Reflection – Friday, April 6, 2018         Friday Within The Third  Week of Easter

In the Last Supper accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus invites his Apos­tles to eat his body. But in John, we are invited to eat his Flesh and drink his Blood. This seems much more graphic and realistic. For Jewish followers of Jesus with all the kosher laws prohibit­ing the drinking of blood or eating any­thing that has not been butchered properly with the draining of the blood entirely from the animal, Jesus’ words must have seemed shocking. It is no wonder that early Christians were some­times accused of cannibalism. It is important to read John alongside the synoptic accounts.                                                          Daily Prayer 2018, LTP, page 139.

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Reflection – Saturday, April 21, 2018 of The Third  Week of Easter

Peter has a special ministry to the peo­ple who lived immediately where Jesus had exercised his ministry. Luke shows his readers that Peter is exercising a pastoral ministry among the Christian communities in western Palestine and is continuing in the footsteps of Jesus. Just as Jesus heals the daughter of Jairus (Luke 8:40-56) so too Peter heals Aeneas and Tabitha. Peter’s missionary activity within Palestine is the sure con­sequence of the sending of the Spirit on Pentecost and attests to the spread of Christianity. As Peter’s ministry is intended to those living in Palestine, Paul will be his complement in evangelizing those Gentiles who live elsewhere.                                                 Daily Prayer 2018, LTP, page 140.

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Reflection – Sunday, April 22, 2018  Of the Fourth  Week of Easter

Pope Francis, in his encyclical The Joy of the Gospel, evokes the symbol of the Good Shepherd numerous times. Like Christ, who is the Good Shepherd, the Church goes forth as a community of missionary disciples, tending the ever-growing flock. The Church desires to show mercy as the outcome of her encounter with God’s infinite mercy. As Pope Francis notes in the encyclical, she is not afraid to get close to the sheep. He states, “Evangelizers thus take on the ‘smell of the sheep’ and the sheep are willing to hear their voice” (24).   Daily Prayer 2018, LTP, page 141.

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E A S T E  R      S E A S O N

“The fifty days from the Sunday of the Resurrection to Pentecost Sunday are celebrated in joy and exultation as one feast day, indeed as one ‘great Sunday’ (St. Athanasius, Epistula festalis: PG 26, 1366). These are the days above all others in which the Alleluia is sung” (Universal Norms, 22).

  • The days of the Easter octave form the “early hours” of this “great Sunday,” with accounts of the Lord who rose early in the morning, and the early preaching of the disciples who were witnesses to his resurrection.
  • The first eight days of the Easter season make up the octave of Easter and are celebrated as Solemnities of the Lord. At Mass, Morning Prayer and Vespers, throughout the octave, a double alleluia is added to the dismissal and its response. The sequence, Victimae paschali, obligatory at mass on Easter Sunday, is optional on the other days of the octave. Easter preface one is used (“on this day”) through the octave day of Easter, namely, the second Sunday of Easter.
  • Throughout the Easter season the neophytes should be assigned their own special place among the faithful. Intercession should be made in the Eucharistic Prayer for the newly baptized during the Easter octave (see RCIA, nos. 244-251).
  • The paschal candle, a symbol of the presence of the risen Christ among the people of God, remains in the sanctuary near the altar or ambo through Vespers on Pentecost Sunday. Its use is encouraged at all liturgical celebrations, especially Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.
  • Infant baptisms could fittingly be celebrated on any Sunday of the Easter season, including Pentecost day. It is also appropriate that children receive their first communion on one or other of the Sundays of Easter.
  • During the Easter season, at Daytime Prayer and Compline, the psalms are sung with the antiphon, “Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,” unless it is proper. During the octave of Easter, Compline is taken from Sunday I or II. The antiphon, “This is the day,” replaces the usual responsory (“Into your hands”).

PN Where applicable, in order to highlight the renewal of baptismal promises made on Easter Sunday, a special font with water blessed at the Easter Vigil might be prepared and placed near the main entrance of the church. Suitably decorated, this font might remain in this location throughout the fifty days of the Easter season.

The Easter season is a traditional time when homes may be blessed. For the Order for the Blessing of Homes, see BB, nos. 1597-1621, as well as HB, 153-156.

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   Prayer is always joined to fasting. Fasting triggers in this season a remembrance to pray for those being brought to the font, to full communion or to reconciliation. Only after we have shared the absence can we come with full hearts to the paschal banquet.Nine things that Pope Francis called upon Vatican Employees to do:They apply to us all.  “Take care of your spiritual life, your relationship with God, because this is the backbone of everything we do and everything we are.”

  • “Take care of your family life, giving your children and loved ones not just money, but most of all your time, attention, and love.”
  • “Take care of your relationships with others, transforming your faith into life and your words into good works, especially on behalf of the needy.”
  • “Be careful how you speak, purify your tongue of offensive words, vulgarity, and worldly decadence.”
  • “Heal wounds of the heart with the oil of forgiveness, forgiving those who have hurt us and medicating the wounds we have caused others.”
  • “Look after your work, doing it with enthusiasm, humility, competence, passion and with a spirit that knows how to thank the Lord.”
  • “Be careful of envy, lust, hatred, and negative feelings that devour our interior peace and transform us into destroyed and destructive people.
  • “Watch out for anger that can lead to vengeance; for laziness that leads to existential euthanasia; for pointing the finger at others, which leads to pride; and for complaining continually, which leads to desperation.”
  • “Take care of brothers and sisters who are weaker… the elderly, the sick, the hungry, the homeless and strangers, because we will be judged on this.”
  • It is a good list: It’s clearly rooted in Catholic teaching, but presented in a way that other Christian denominations can embrace as well. I am reasonably sure that all of us can find on this list at least one or two resolutions that speak to areas in which we really need to grow during this Lent.Have a good week and I’ll see you in church!                                             Monsignor Jack 1-3-5  (Lent 2018)

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   We pray you, 0 God of might, wisdom, and justice, through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with your Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to your people, over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality.Let the light of your divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.We pray for the governor of this state, for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare,that they may be enabled, by your powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.We recommend likewise, to your unbounded mercy, all our fellow citizens throughout the United States, that we may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of your most holy law; that we may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.Grant this, we beseech you, 0 Lord of mercy, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.ARCHBISHOP JOHN CARROLLArchbishop Carroll (†1815) was a priest for the Society of Jesus, and the first bishop of the United States.Magnificat, July 2016, pages 62-63.

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Pierre-Marie Dumont, Who still reads the great French prophets of the 201h century? Who still reads Peguy, Claudel, Bernanos, Saint-Exupery? Each, from his viewpoint, railed against the coming of the same abomi­nation: “their” civilization was dying. While this civilization ought to have been perfected, so that the Kingdom of God on earth could truly grow, all that had constituted its genius was soon to vanish. Materialism, hedonism, self-preoccupation (today it would be called “personal development”) was about to submerge beauty, goodness, and truth, along with the true Faith and the ancient virtues. The sign of the coming of the end of this world was that terrifying metropolises were already reducing rural, pastoral civili­zation to objects fit to fill their museums. Since then, this prophecy has been fulfilled. The fertile ground that nurtured our civilization has gone. Villages have been deserted. Human relationships have been virtualized. Faith and devotion are fading. The moral com­pass that, far from constraining free men, once guided them, has been distorted. The poor, humble and proud, with that magnificent nobility celebrated by Thornton Wilder, have disappeared from the social landscape.. . . .the Word of God would no longer immediately touch hearts and minds. He who, directly or indirectly, has never worked the good earth by the sweat of his brow, never experienced seed times and harvests, never tended sheep or saved a stray lamb, finds himself de facto distanced from the Gospel and its parables. Let us not be saddened: we find ourselves spurred on to deepen our understanding of the Word of God, to improve our prayerful reading of it—and let us not forget that our Lord Jesus Christ remains present to the world even until his return in glory. But why not take advantage of our vacations in the countryside to rediscover, with a touch of nostalgia, a drop of the sap that nourished the fervor of our fathers in faith?    Magnificat, July 2016, page 432. PurpleConeFlower_7(24)2009_IMG_0985 

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Soldier for Liberty     —     Anthony Esolen

  THE TWO MEN SHOOK HANDS, then chose their pistols from a case.

“Are you certain, Mr. O’Connell,” said the first man, with a trace of a sneer, “that you wish to die today? Have you not a wife and a brood of Irish children? Would it not be better to live in disgrace?”

“If I die, Mr. D’Esterre,” said Daniel O’Connell, “I die for my countrymen’s rights. If you die, you die for a pack of rogues and scoundrels. Much good may it do you.”

D’Esterre had won many a duel in the past. He was used to this sort of thing. His puppeteers in the Dublin Corporation, an organization of English bigots whom O’Connell had of­fended by calling them what they were, looked upon this as their day of liberation from a dangerous pest.

O’Connell had been a reluctant soldier for England dur­ing her conflicts with revolutionary France. He said once that if you wanted to build a nation, human blood was a poor mortar for the job. Yet he knew that he could not back down now. It would bring his whole movement into disrepute, and that would be more likely to pitch Ireland into civil insurrection.

“Twenty paces, gentlemen, then shoot,” said the referee.

The bullet struck D’Esterre in the stomach. The wound was mortal. It was the first and only time that Daniel O’Connell shed a man’s blood for the Irish people. He carried the guilt of it to his grave, bestowing a handsome yearly sum to D’Esterre’s widow; and O’Connell was never a wealthy man.

Dueling, O’Connell would write, was “a violation, plain and palpable, of the divine law.” He would be challenged again and often, but showed his moral courage in refusing, and in taking upon his shoulders the contempt of his infe­riors in grace and probity.

        A PENNY A MONTH      

O’Connell was arguably the single greatest political or­ganizer in the 19th century. His duel with D’Esterre made him more appalled than ever by violent action, so he de­termined to compel England by argument and by political strength to grant to the Irish the same rights she granted to Scotsmen and Englishmen.

It was a long and arduous battle. In 1823, eight years after the duel, O’Connell founded the Catholic Association, which quickly grew to prodigious numbers. That was be­cause O’Connell wanted every Catholic Irishman in it. The fee for membership was a mere penny a month—a shilling a year. That brought into the political light the poorest of men, the Irish tenant farmers, in the years before the potato blight. Within a year or two, O’Connell was holding what he called “monster” meetings of the association: as many as 100,000 people would gather in one place to hear the speeches of men who wanted to set them free.

It is important to note that the English wanted to retain their unjust hold over the Irish, but also that they worshiped the same God as the Irish, though not in the same church. In other words, they had consciences after all. O’Connell was counting on the power of moral persuasion, while car­rying in his pocket the ace of trumps, which would have been a threat not to wage war, but to cease to prevent the Irish people from it. The English authorities were held in a pincers. They tried to use legalistic means to shut down the association, but O’Connell merely founded another. If they took up arms against the Irish, they would have had a disaster on their hands, certainly a costly distraction from their more lucrative imperial enterprises elsewhere. If they did anything to O’Connell personally, the Irish would not have forgiven them.

We get a sense of what a formidable opponent O’Connell was from this finale of an oration in the House of Commons, late in his life, in 1836. Said O’Connell, “You may raise the vulgar cry of ‘Irishman and Papist’ against me, you may send out men called ministers of God to slander and calumniate me; they may assume whatever garb they please, but the question comes into this narrow compass. I demand, I re­spectfully insist: on equal justice for Ireland, on the same principle by which it has been administered to Scotland and England. I will not take less. Refuse me that if you can.”

        “ORANGE PEEL”      

Much can be accomplished by men who enter into a dynamic enmity with someone they consider a worthy op­ponent. Daniel O’Connell had one such in Sir Robert Peel, the governor of Ireland and later the leader of the Tory party in the English parliament. O’Connell, jesting on the color boasted by the Protestants in Ireland, called him “Orange Peel,” but it was Peel, the enemy, who gave O’Connell critical concessions in the years between 1828 and 1830. O’Connell had been elected a member of Parliament in 1828, but could not take the oath of office, being a Roman Catholic. Everyone knew this. Peel also knew that O’Connell had the backing of six million Irishmen. Something had to be done.

Hence Peel turned about and supported repeal of the longstanding British laws that had kept Irishmen in subjection, and O’Connell took his seat in 1830, without having to sub­mit to the oath. Daniel O’Connell, not Abraham Lincoln, was first known as the Great Emancipator. Peel would later on join with members of the Whigs to repeal tariffs on grain, to help bring food to Ireland during the famine. It was too little and too late, and it cost him the leadership of his party, but Orange Peel was in that battle more of a man than a partisan.

I should not give the impression that Peel eventually saw things as O’Connell did. No sooner did O’Connell take his seat in Parliament than he became the de facto ruler of Catholic Ireland, and pressed for “Repeal”—the repeal of the act that unified Ireland with England, Wales, and Scotland. The Irish wanted to govern themselves, while yet recognizing the monarch of England as the head of state, an arrangement such as would hold in Canada later on. Peel would not give in. Nor would O’Connell. Once again he led a mass movement of the Irish, but this time Peel outlawed their meetings, and in 1844 the now elderly O’Connell was thrown into prison. He appealed to the House of Lords and won his release, but his health was ruined.

Accounts of his death are deeply moving. He felt he was dying, and desired to make a pilgrimage to Rome. It was not to be; the disease of the brain that he had been suf­fering was irreversible. For his last two days, he could not eat, and he would not take even enough water to wet his tongue, but the name of Jesus was ever on his lips, and he would talk of the Faith and nothing else. The eighty-eight­year-old Cardinal Archbishop of Genoa himself came with his priests to give O’Connell Viaticum and the last rites. All of Genoa prayed for the great man.

He died on the 15th of May, 1847. His heart was em­balmed and placed in a silver chalice, to be entombed in Rome, in the Church of Saint Agatha, but his body is buried in the land of his fathers. Wrote his physician: “The heart of O’Connell at Rome, his body in Ireland, and his soul in heaven: is that not what the justice of man and the mercy of God demand? Adieu! adieu!”

        A MAN FOR THE AGES.      

O’Connell was a man of straightforward piety, a deter­mined patriot, and a loyal son of the Church. In our time, cultural amnesia is the rule, but O’Connell’s reputation went round the world. His young son Morgan, at the age of fifteen, fought in the army of Simon Bolivar, for the deliverance of another man’s nation from rule from abroad. Stephen A. Douglas once sneered at Lincoln for allowing his wife to ride in a carriage with Frederick Douglass, but O’Connell met the former slave and became his good friend. Douglass looked up to O’Connell as a hero and an inspiration for his own efforts.

We may get a sense of what Douglass, the novelists Thackeray and Balzac, and countless others admired so deep­ly by listening to O’Connell addressing his fellow Irishmen on the accession of a Whig government in London. “There is but one magic in politics, and that is to be always right. Repealers of Ireland, let us be always right; let us honestly and sincerely test the Union in the hands of a friendly ad­ministration, and, placing no impediments in their way, let us give them a clear stage and all possible favor, to work the Union machinery for the benefit of old Ireland.” He was as canny as any Machiavelli could wish, but his principle was the opposite of that put forth by the cynical Florentine. O’Connell triumphed in the right, while trimmers were caught in the tangles of their own cunning.

Dear God, may we see his like again someday—even if we are not worthy of it.

(Anthony Esolen is professor and writer-in-residence at Thomas More College in N.H., translator and editor of Dante’s Divine Comedy (Random House), and author of The Beauty of the Word: A Running Commentary on the Roman Missal (MAGNIFICAT).

Magnificat, March 2018, pages 150-154.     

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