Friday, April 29, 2011

Similar Fix Across the Sea

Another developed nation has great disparities, too. "The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales said Catholics were afraid the Coalition was 'washing its hands' of its responsibilities to communities and expecting volunteers to fill the gap."

The U.K.'s The Telegraph posted this in mid-April.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spare Half an Hour?

On Holy Saturday Jesuit Father James Martin considered the human aspects of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Fr. Marin's reflection invites viewers to see how their lives intersect with the members of the Holy Family.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Eight Days of Easter Praise

The Easter Season is 50 days. Yet, each of the first eight days, its Octave, is celebrated as Easter Day. The church tastes one gospel after another about resurrection and follows the disciples through the first four chapters of the Acts of the Apostles: the effect the resurrection had on them. Resurrection shapes the church's sacramental life and its mission in the world.

Basilian Father Thomas Rosica described the ongoing effect of resurrection on the church this way:
Jesus’ victory over death belongs to the Church’s ongoing pastoral and sacramental life and its mission to the world. The Church is the community of those who have the competence to recognize Jesus as the Risen Lord. It specializes in discerning the Risen One.
Fr. Rosica also weaves the words of Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth, volume 2, in his "Salt and Light" blogpost. Read the entire post, which includes a link to the pope's book.

Wiki-image of Resurrection is in the public domain.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Looking Down

Images of Earth from space!

Papal Q & A

On Good Friday Pope Benedict answered questions posed by seven individuals, beginning with a Japanese girl who experience the earthquake in her country in March; a Muslim woman from the Ivory Coast; an Italian woman asking about the presence of the soul in her comatose son's body.

Here is the Vatican translation of the transcript from Benedict XVI's appearance on a television program titled "A Sua Immagine" [In His Image] of the Italian channel RAI.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Jesuit James Martin suggests why Easter resists a commercial takeover. The power of Easter is more personal than Christmas:
Even the resurrection, the joyful end of the Easter story, resists domestication as it resists banalization. Unlike Christmas, it also resists a noncommittal response. Even agnostics and atheists who don't accept Christ's divinity can accept the general outlines of the Christmas story with little danger to their worldview. But Easter demands a response.
Read the entire post.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday word, 24 April 2011

Easter Sunday1 A (24 Apr 2011)

Ac 10. 34a, 37-43; Ps 118; 1Co 5. 6b-8; Mt 28. 1-10

Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

Resurrection Rumors

A rumor has it that the Resurrection is more about Jesus than about you and me. Like many rumors it is false. Like many rumors that one twists truth. Yes, Jesus died it’s true, but unlike others, when Jesus rose he was not resuscitated from near-death to die again. Resurrection means Jesus lives now in an absolutely new and more powerful way for you and for me. Resurrection is about all humans.

Resurrection has come to mean something hard to understand instead of energy and power for personal transformation as well as authority and boldness for announcing the good news of Messiah Jesus’ death and resurrection.1 The first Christians, though, used those words to describe their experience of the resurrection for them. Resurrection meant Jesus had become more powerful for them after his death than before it, which is opposite to how we humanly think, isn’t it? That is one clue that resurrection is about us more than it is about Jesus.

Another rumor has it that the day we celebrate the resurrection more people go to church than other days. Like some rumors that may be true. Yet when we begin to appreciate resurrection is more for us, others will make that rumor false. When will that happen? As people, like today’s new Catholics, have and hold energy and power for personal transformation as well as authority and boldness for announcing the good news of Messiah Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The newly initiated Catholics, like the first disciples who came to the tomb of Jesus; like those who became a fresh batch of dough in St. Paul’s words, received the Holy Spirit as St. Peter reminded us: God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. When Peter and Paul lived resurrection was still a scandal: a scandal for those who thought God would never raise a crucified messiah2; and a scandal for those who put their faith in philosophy, military, political or other powers. Holy Spirit is the language for God’s personal power.

As time went by and as people believed, resurrection lost its scandalous power. The loss of its scandalous power left more believers thinking resurrection was more about Jesus than about them. Holy Spirit equals God’s power to create what humans cannot. Holy Spirit equals God’s power to create life in a virgin’s womb. Holy Spirit equals God’s power to create life from death: to create life in a lifeless womb or to allow an old Abraham and Sarah give birth to an infant Isaac. Holy Spirit raised Jesus from death. God’s power made Jesus more significant and powerful after his death.

Even more surprising, Holy Spirit equals God’s power to help burdened bodies and minds discover God is giving life to us here and now when we think God is not present or cannot be present. Holy Spirit equals God’s power to give us courage to join together and notice how we are being made new in the face of so much violence, hatred, greed, cynical thinking, false accusing, desperate measures and brittle relationships.

Our joining here taps into God’s power. Each liturgical celebration3 gives us a privileged moment to be Mary Magdalene, to be the other Mary or to be one of Jesus’ disciples and to stand in Jerusalem and go to Galilee and meet him in new and surprising ways. We do this each Sunday because Jesus’ resurrection includes us.4

So spread the truth that resurrection transforms our lives, that it is about us because Messiah Jesus gives us energy and power, authority and boldness the world cannot. Spread as well the truth that we do this not one Sunday but every Sunday. Sunday after Sunday of celebrating the resurrection is how we grow to live the energy and power our Messiah Jesus give us on the day the Lord has made, promising, I am risen, and I am always with you, alleluia.


  1. These words appear numerous through the New Testament.
  2. God's curse rests on him who hangs on a tree (Deuteronomy 21.23) was cited as scriptural proof.
  3. Joseph Tawil, Eparch Emeritus of Newton, in his Introduction to the Theology of the Divine Office, where he cites Maximos the Confessor. “Since the resurrection...God has revealed Himself in a liturgical way.” The way of knowledge and and that of love go hand and hand.” He also quoted a pope: "in order for the faithful to become imbued with the truths of faith," said Pope Pius XI, “the annual solemnities of the liturgical feasts are far more efficacious than all the documents of the Church's magisterium, even the most important. If the latter are particularly addressed to the intellect, the former have their salutary influence on the heart, then the intellect and then the whole man…” (Enc. Quas Primas). A Protestant was more concise: “Human life has no meaning, except liturgically,” said the Protestant J.J. Von Allmer, “and not just human life, but the life of everything created.”
  4. “We celebrate Sunday because of the venerable Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we do so not only at Easter but also at each turning of the week.” The Day of the Lord, 19.
Wiki-images of a Resurrection painting and of Mary Magdalene and the Risen Lord are in the public domain.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Passover began Monday this year. An animated video briefly teaches some essentials of the Jewish celebration.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Entering Into the Passion. . .

. . .can be life-changing.

While the video is entitled, "Palm Sunday," it fits today as well. Good Friday invites Christians of all ages to enter the Passion of Jesus the Christ.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why Do We Pray With Jesus on Holy Thursday Night?

The short answer to that question may surprise: “The purpose of reserving the sacrament that night is not first of all adoration. ...The purpose is for distribution at the Good Friday liturgy. Only secondarily is praying before the Blessed Sacrament part of this custom.”

More about the venerable custom, including the quote above of Jesuit Father Joseph Weiss, pastor of St. Thomas More in St. Paul, MN, is here.

Wiki-image of the Last Supper is in the public domain.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Signs of PTSD in Post-Earthquake Japan

A Japanese mayor was torn. What choice to make moments before the tsunami hit last month?When the wall of water was bearing down on his town, Toba faced an agonizing choice:
Leave his post at city hall and race home to save his wife and children or stay to do what he could for the city.

He stayed.

Luckily, his two boys were in school and were able to get away to safety. But Toba's wife disappeared in the waves of water that devastated the town.

CNN reported that PTSD affects many Japanese. Its story includes a video.

Japanese Fishermen's Arduous Recovery

The CSM headline for its story is apt.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Week Guide

O ur Sunday Visitor Publishing offers an online
Guide to Holy Week. It includes customs as well as a quiz to help people enter this week.

Wiki-image of
Entry into Jerusalem is in the public domain.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Passion Sunday word, 17 Apr 2011

Passion Sunday A (17 Apr 2011)

Mt 21. 1-11 Is 50. 4-7; Ps 22l Phil 2. 6-11; Mt 26. 14-27. 66

Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

About Passion (While We Hail our King With Palm Branches)

“[T]he more we restrict the term death to its lowest and most neutral common denominator, its meaning in medical terms,” wrote a teacher of NT I knew, “the less will we be moved to think or sing about it. Only when we begin to think with Shakespeare about the many deaths created by fear | or with the Bible about the many kinds of dying or about our daily little deaths, will we be inclined to turn ‘passion into sound’ and ‘sound into passion.’ The more profound the passion, the more convincing the sound.”1

That teacher dove into J.S. Bach’s Matthew’s Passion. Bach’s passion was noticing what many fail to notice, as those in the arts tend to do, and giving it musical shape. We just hailed Jesus our King; Bach helped us notice more in his death because Bach interpreted the passion of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel. With bible open, Bach penned notes and lyrics. He had something else open as well: his heart. That teacher I knew, who recognized that Bach was interpreting scripture, put it this way: Bach followed the pictures Matthew painted in words, “recording in music the impact of each episode on his mind.”2 I add, and heart, for not a mind alone interprets God’s word and shapes our responses.

Lent has prepared us to face our heart’s frenzy and fear; to see ourselves as we are at this season of our lives. If anyone has slogged through Lent, close it and do not turn back but make room in your heart for the most holy days of power ahead. If anyone began Lent late, you have not been disgraced: ask Jesus to help you admit what causes you to tremble and take energy from it and Jesus. If anyone has yet to begin Lent, you shall not be put to shame. Walk with Jesus, or just stand with him in one moment of his Passion. At every moment Jesus echoed Isaiah’s lyrics: The Lord God has given me a teacher’s tongue…the Lord God has opened my ear…the Lord God helps me….

Lent isn’t dry—we are. Lent has no dust—we do. Lent isn’t dangerous—we court danger. Lent has been a key to notice passion: of our suffering. Holy Week invites us to enter the passion of our Love and Savior and live as his faithful disciples.


  1. Paul Sevier Minear (†2007), Death Set to Music: Masterworks by Bach, Brahms, Penderecki, Bernstein (John Knox, 1987), p. 165.
  2. Paul Sevier Minear, “J.S. Bach’s Interpretation of Matthew’s Passion” Theology Today (30) 1973, pp. 243-55.. Minear was Winkley Professor of Biblical Theology Emeritus at The Divinity School, Yale University, and he paid close attention to the way Bach (and other artists) interpreted Scripture. He contributed to a symposium at Yale some years ago which focused on Bach’s “Matthew’s Passion.”
Wiki-image of copy of pages from Bach's Matthew's Passion is in the public domain.