Easter Vigil: Reflecting on the Celebration

1.     Darkness.  

The Easter Vigil begins with darkness.  The darkness itself is the first movement of the liturgy, so we begin our preparations with that darkness.  It represents all darkness, and all the meanings of darkness - devoid of light; evil thoughts, motivations, deeds; all that is hidden and secret, deceitful and dishonest, divisive and abusive, immoral and sinful.  It's the darkness of our world, and the darkness in my heart.  If I come to the vigil and restlessly and impatiently fidget in the dark “until something happens,” I miss the power of what is about to happen.  So, we prepare by readying ourselves to experience the darkness.  It is distasteful and reprehensible, embarrassing and humbling, fearful and despairing. Then a light is struck.  It breaks into the darkness. “O God, who through your son bestowed upon the faithful the fire of your glory,
 sanctify + this new fire, we pray, and grant that,
 by these Paschal celebrations,
 we may be so inflamed with heavenly desires
 that with minds made pure,
 we may attain festivities of unending splendor.” 

Holy Thursday 2015 - The Stole and The Towel

Tony Kayala, c.s.c. 

1. Jesus was humiliated in the very heart of his own teaching by his own disciples when they were fighting for position. This is the last night. He was teaching them with his life example and stories for three years. They have to become the Church and continue his mission. So he does three things as a response: a. he exchanges the symbol of position with a symbol of service (stole with towel), b. they want to “take” and he says “Take this and eat” and he “gives”; c. finally he prays to the Father to keep them together in unity. These are the 3 symbols we used as we began the Lent on Ash Wednesday: a. fasting is what we do to ourselves (humility-washing – vis-à-vis love yourself), b. almsgiving is what we do for others (love your neighbour) and finally c. prayer is what we do with God (love God). These are the foundations of our faith – the two commandments lived, explained, understood differently. 

Palm Sunday: Journeying with Jesus beyond the Palms and Spears


As we have come to accompany Jesus in this week when we enter into his paschal mystery which is the suffering, death, resurrection of our Lord, we also reflect his humanity that took upon himself the human sufferings, rejection, betrayals and sin so that we be freed from them all. 
-We are sinners who have compounded the anguish of sin around us, Lord have mercy
-We are simple people who tend to act like kings expecting respect and reverence; our pride has prevented us from being Christians, Christ have mercy
-We have been fickle and wavering to stand by your values and principles, lord have mercy.

Lent 5 B - Unless a grain of wheat falls -----will be lifted up

"When I am lifted up..."

Check the Sundays gone by: First the devil lifts him up in the desert, then the Father lifts him up at Mt. Tabor, then Jesus "lifts up" ordinary people - Jews and Gentiles - who came to the temple to worship at the Passover by chasing away those who made his Father's house into a den of thieves and then we had Moses lifting up the bronze serpent in the desert as a symbol of raising people from the snake bites. First one was to tempt (worldly gratification), second was to comfort (spiritual consolation in prayer), third to cleanse and liberate people (mission, ministries) and the fourth was healing and salvation. Now Jesus says, "when I am lifted up..." This is to me more than the crucifixion. This is an ultimate human and spiritual desire to be lifted up from the darkness, sorrows, debts, daily chores, disappointments, failures and even deaths...from this world (moksha). This is the cry of Christians from Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and India. This is the shout of black people from Fergusson, Alabama, USA. Who's there to lift us up? Our mission is to lift people up. When husbands and wives, parents and teachers, politicians and bureaucrats learn to lift up their wards, each other, our society,  our nation will get saved. Every confession, spiritual direction, counselling, preaching, every hand that wipes the tears off the cheeks, every arm that holds is to "lift up".

Lent 4 B - The Venom becomes the Cure

First the devil takes him up the pinnacle of the temple to be tested. Then as if it were the angels take him up the mountain to be consoled. In Lent, we experience both desolation and consolation. From the wild beasts to the benign friends. Then the Lord goes into the temple to cleanse it. That's into each of us: the animals, the haggling and the scheming part of us.

Like nitroglycerine that can become dynamite in the paste form but good for the heart in small portions, snake venom is itself the cure for snake bite (anti-venom). The cure is within each of us when we are raised in Jesus, when we are examples that others can look upon, when we take upon us the sin or burden of a community or a family, when we accept to be martyrs for others. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, etc chose to be raised on such a pole for the liberation of their nations. They accepted to be ridiculed, laughed at and pierced.

Incredible India - More Ironies

Vegetarians deciding what kind of meat non-vegetarians should eat……
Bachelors deciding how many kids women should bear….
Straights deciding on limits of gay lovemaking…..

Lent 3 Sunday B - God is in Command - Cleansing the Church

If we carefully observe nature, we will realize, everything around us has a structure. Every structure is for a purpose. Planners begin with function and design structures. Now lots of user-friendly structures have evolved because of that like ramps, escalators, low-floor buses, etc.

In the 12th century, Fibonacci came up with a sequence of 0,1,2,3,5,8,13, which all plants, fruits, waves, galaxies, are structured. His golden rectangle taken from this sequence is what is followed in the digital screens. TV or computer monitors can't be square any more.

Computers understand only binary numbers or "0" and "1" and that's the sign we see on the power button of any modern electronic equipment. What is it? Male and female joined together. In the first chapter of Genesis, we read God made them male and female.