30 Apr 2011

May 1st - 2nd Sunday of Easter - Year A

May 1st - Generally it is May Day and the feast of St Joseph the Worker but on this years liturgical calendar it happens to be the second Sunday of Easter, Feast of Divine Mercy and will also be the date of the beatification of Pope John Paul II. On this weeks show we have a short discussion about Pope John Paul II, what is beatification and also what is the feast of Divine Mercy about, as well as our regular prayer space, reflection on the Sunday gospel and a quick run through the saints of the week.

Pope John Paul II beatification

We have a quick discussion about what is the distinction between beatification and canonisation and also give a quick visit to the life of John Paul II, the miracle which led to the decree of beatification and the relics which will be venerated in Rome.

Beatification is an "administrative act" by which the pope allows a candidate for sainthood to be venerated publicly in places closely associated with his or her life and ministry; the place may be as small as one city, although usually it is the diocese where the person lived or died. In the case of Pope John Paul, his Oct. 22 feast day is entered automatically into the calendars of the Diocese of Rome and all the dioceses of his native Poland. A canonization, on the other hand, is a formal papal decree that the candidate was holy and is now in heaven with God; the decree allows public remembrance of the saint at liturgies throughout the church. It also means that churches can be dedicated to the person without special Vatican permission.

The date which is being set aside 22 October is the date which marked the inauguration of Pope John Paul II's papacy in 1978.

We have some other articles posted on the blog for people that want to read about the beatification.

The Vatican is maintaining a website about the beatification tomorrow which sets out the timetable of events and has links to the booklets, programmes and afterwards will have the text of the homilies and reflections.

For online commentary about the happenings in Rome over the next couple of days, check out Rocco over at Whispers in the Loggia, who always comes with a strong recommendation from the Sacred Space 102fm team.

Divine Mercy Sunday

The Divine Mercy is a devotion focused on the mercy of God and its power, particularly as a form of thanksgiving and entrusting of oneself to God's mercy. The devotion as known today can be traced to Polish nun and canonized saint, Sister Faustyna Kowalska, known as the "Apostle of Mercy", who lived from 1905-1938. It is based upon the biblical verse: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you in that anyone who seeks God's mercy will not be turned away. According to Kowalska, Jesus, in inner speakings to her, requested her to commission a picture of him with the words Jezu Ufam Tobie (Jesus I Trust In You) inscribed on the bottom.

In 2000, Pope John Paul II officially instituted the Feast of the Divine Mercy universally for the Catholic Church on the same day that he also canonized St. Faustina.

Reflection on the feast from
the homily at the Mass of Canonisation.

Further information about the devotion, the message, the Chaplet and the image associated with the devotion can be found

Gospel - John 20:19-31

This week we have the gospel of Doubting Thomas which can be a very comforting gospel for all of us who have doubts at some stage about God and our faith.

It is one of the appearances recorded in Johns gospel which echos very much the new dawn of the new day - the renewed Creation after the Resurrection - where Jesus breathes on the disciples to give them new life, mirroring the breathing of God on the water to bring forth life in Genesis.

Every one is a Thomas. We have all had doubts about our faith. Even the greatest saints of the church have had moments when they have experienced the "dark night of the soul" where like Mother Teresa of Calcutta and St Therese of Lisieux, it seems like God has abandoned them or seemed very far away from them. But they have clung on to the belief that somewhere in the darkness, in that aloneness, God is still with us.

The great line which is spoken to us is "Blessed are those that believe but have not seen". A message which speaks to us now who are seeking the Divine in our lives. The other blessing or message of the risen Christ to us is "Peace be with you" Even amongst your doubts and the darkness of your life my peace I bring you, my peace I give you". The blessing of peace is so important to us who are behind closed doors in our lives, where we see doors closed to us in terms of emotion, or unemployment or what ever way we feel excluded by doors being closed.

"My Lord and my God" - Thomas response to the Lord, his total response of faith. The challenge to us is for us to question do we really believe, and what does that mean for me? How do I live the gospel rather than just hearing it? Ultimately that is what we are called to say, to be able to express that faith, to take a jump into the darkness and say Credo - I believe. 

Other reflections on this weeks gospel from Word on Fire, English Dominicans, Sunday Reflections, Deacon Greg Kandra.

Saints of the Week

May 2nd - St Athanasius of Alexandria (Bishop, Doctor)
May 3rd - St Philip and James, Apostles 
May 4th - St Conleth (Bishop) - Patron of Newbridge, Co Kildare.
May 5th - Bl Edmond Rice (Religious) - Founder of the Christian Brothers and Presentation Brothers
May 6th - St Hilary of Arles (Bishop)
May 7th - St John of Beverly (Bishops)

Local Notices
  • Our Lady's Pastoral Area pilgrimage to Knock on June 12th 2011 - Bus fare is €16 and further information available from your local parish is the pastoral area.
  • St Joseph's Young Priests Society are going to hold a 3 hour prayer vigil of Prayer for Vocations in St Nessan's Church in Raheen on Saturday May 14th 2011 concluding at 10.30pm

Programme podcast also up on the podcast page.

29 Apr 2011

He is not here! He is Risen!!

We draw to the end of the Octave of Easter but it is still Eastertide!

For the eight days of the Octave the Church is called upon to stand at the tomb and repeat the message of the angels, " HE IS NOT HERE, HE IS RISEN"!!!

Christus Resurrexit! 
Christ is Risen!
Alleluia, Alleluia!

A blessed and joyous Easter to all our readers and listeners from all on Sacred Space 102fm!

Marriage as a Sacrament

Given the day that is in it, with the big wedding across the Irish Sea, some interesting reflections that have popped up on the Internet about marriage.

From Paul Brandesi Raushenbush over at Huffington Post who reflects on the Royal Marriage as sacrament:

"Wilt thou have this woman to be thy wedded wife, to live together according to God's law in the holy estate of matrimony?

Wilt thou have this man to be thy wedded husband, to live together according to God's law in the holy estate of matrimony?

With these words, two young people in fine attire at the altar of Westminster Abbey took part in a sacrament of the Anglican Church -- matrimony. And Billions of us took part with them. Sacraments are holy rituals that declare the gracious nature of the individual's relationships to community and to God. Rituals of any kind mark time, and make meaning by creating liminal time, or time beyond time, when things are transformed from what they were to what they are to become. In the case of marriage, these two individuals have through their oaths and actions, and the blessing of the church entered into that comforting and grand place that the church describes as the holy estate of matrimony..............the sacrament of marriage serves as a time when families can manage to rise above the difficult relationships, traumas, and losses of the past, and for a time occupy themselves with the sacred task of creating a covenant between individuals and families. No matter what has come before, the nature of marriage requires a focus on the future. Weddings are intrinsically hopeful acts. Yet they are also realistic. Within the very liturgy of marriage there is acknowledgment of sickness and poverty, and the certainty of death"

Over at Why I am Catholic, Frank Weber posts the text of the sermon given by the Bishop of London which has a lot of food for thought about marriage and hope. "Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom."

Contemplation from the Dominicans

Listen to Father Paul Murray's address to the members of the House of Lords on Contemplation. Vatican Radio aired the two-part radio adaptation on April 8, 2011. Fr. Murray speaks not of politics but of contemplation as an essential ingredient in Christian tradition. The event organized by the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust, in conjunction with Sky Television that filmed it, marked an historic moment: never before had a Dominican Friar delivered a talk in the House of Lords. 

Part one and Part two

Rome Reports: Coffin of John Paul II has been moved from it's tomb

Live Programme

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28 Apr 2011

Some web browsing...........

Some web articles which you might want to have a look at starting off with articles about the beatification of Pope John Paul II:

John Allen's Beatification Q&A's:
Other articles about the beatification:
Rome Reports has many short video reports about various aspects of the beatification process which we woud suggest you go across and have a look at. This short one gives an insight into the process behind the beatification.

Other pieces that caught our eye over the last few days:

John Paul II to be listed in Guinness Book of Records

27 Apr 2011

Easter - Easter Monday at Emmaus

Many local Christians, as well as pilgrims, spent Easter Monday at Emmaus, at the Franciscan church, built in the village to which two disciples - shattered by events in Jerusalem -- were walking when the met Jesus along the way. But today Emmaus is a place of loneliness and isolation.

Gospel - Luke 24:13-35
"Two of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.

Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.
Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.
When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’
They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread."


26 Apr 2011

Easter - He is not here; He is risen! - The Paschal Alleluia in the Basilica of the Resurrection

Sacred Space 102fm Podcasts

Observant readers of the blog will notice that over the last few days we have posted the podcast of the Easter Sunday programme for people to have a listen to.

So why don't you have a quick look at our new podcast page and check back regularly for updates and for the icon at the side which will indicate when we have added a podcast to the page.

25 Apr 2011

Easter - Pope Benedict's XVI urbi et orbi message


In resurrectione tua, Christe, coeli et terra laetentur!
In your resurrection, O Christ, let heaven and earth rejoice!” (Liturgy of the Hours).

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Rome and across the world, Easter morning brings us news that is ancient yet ever new: Christ is risen! The echo of this event, which issued forth from Jerusalem twenty centuries ago, continues to resound in the Church, deep in whose heart lives the vibrant faith of Mary, Mother of Jesus, the faith of Mary Magdalene and the other women who first discovered the empty tomb, and the faith of Peter and the other Apostles.

Right down to our own time – even in these days of advanced communications technology – the faith of Christians is based on that same news, on the testimony of those sisters and brothers who saw firstly the stone that had been rolled away from the empty tomb and then the mysterious messengers who testified that Jesus, the Crucified, was risen. And then Jesus himself, the Lord and Master, living and tangible, appeared to Mary Magdalene, to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and finally to all eleven, gathered in the Upper Room (cf. Mk 16:9-14).

The resurrection of Christ is not the fruit of speculation or mystical experience: it is an event which, while it surpasses history, nevertheless happens at a precise moment in history and leaves an indelible mark upon it. The light which dazzled the guards keeping watch over Jesus’ tomb has traversed time and space. It is a different kind of light, a divine light, that has rent asunder the darkness of death and has brought to the world the splendour of God, the splendour of Truth and Goodness.

Just as the sun’s rays in springtime cause the buds on the branches of the trees to sprout and open up, so the radiance that streams forth from Christ’s resurrection gives strength and meaning to every human hope, to every expectation, wish and plan. Hence the entire cosmos is rejoicing today, caught up in the springtime of humanity, which gives voice to creation’s silent hymn of praise. The Easter Alleluia, resounding in the Church as she makes her pilgrim way through the world, expresses the silent exultation of the universe and above all the longing of every human soul that is sincerely open to God, giving thanks to him for his infinite goodness, beauty and truth.

“In your resurrection, O Christ, let heaven and earth rejoice.” To this summons to praise, which arises today from the heart of the Church, the “heavens” respond fully: the hosts of angels, saints and blessed souls join with one voice in our exultant song. In heaven all is peace and gladness. But alas, it is not so on earth! Here, in this world of ours, the Easter alleluia still contrasts with the cries and laments that arise from so many painful situations: deprivation, hunger, disease, war, violence. Yet it was for this that Christ died and rose again! He died on account of sin, including ours today, he rose for the redemption of history, including our own. So my message today is intended for everyone, and, as a prophetic proclamation, it is intended especially for peoples and communities who are undergoing a time of suffering, that the Risen Christ may open up for them the path of freedom, justice and peace.

May the Land which was the first to be flooded by the light of the Risen One rejoice. May the splendour of Christ reach the peoples of the Middle East, so that the light of peace and of human dignity may overcome the darkness of division, hate and violence. In the current conflict in Libya, may diplomacy and dialogue take the place of arms and may those who suffer as a result of the conflict be given access to humanitarian aid. In the countries of northern Africa and the Middle East, may all citizens, especially young people, work to promote the common good and to build a society where poverty is defeated and every political choice is inspired by respect for the human person. May help come from all sides to those fleeing conflict and to refugees from various African countries who have been obliged to leave all that is dear to them; may people of good will open their hearts to welcome them, so that the pressing needs of so many brothers and sisters will be met with a concerted response in a spirit of solidarity; and may our words of comfort and appreciation reach all those who make such generous efforts and offer an exemplary witness in this regard.

May peaceful coexistence be restored among the peoples of Ivory Coast, where there is an urgent need to tread the path of reconciliation and pardon, in order to heal the deep wounds caused by the recent violence. May Japan find consolation and hope as it faces the dramatic consequences of the recent earthquake, along with other countries that in recent months have been tested by natural disasters which have sown pain and anguish.

May heaven and earth rejoice at the witness of those who suffer opposition and even persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. May the proclamation of his victorious resurrection deepen their courage and trust.
Dear brothers and sisters! The risen Christ is journeying ahead of us towards the new heavens and the new earth (cf. Rev 21:1), in which we shall all finally live as one family, as sons of the same Father. He is with us until the end of time. Let us walk behind him, in this wounded world, singing Alleluia. In our hearts there is joy and sorrow, on our faces there are smiles and tears. Such is our earthly reality. But Christ is risen, he is alive and he walks with us. For this reason we sing and we walk, faithfully carrying out our task in this world with our gaze fixed on heaven.
Happy Easter to all of you!

24 Apr 2011

Podcast Easter Sunday from SacredSpace 102 fm


The Resurrection Sunday Dance, Budapest, Hungary

On April 4, 2010, over 1,300 young people, all of them members of Faith Church celebrated Resurrection Sunday in Budapest, Hungary.
That day will be remembered as the greatest day in history
The fate of the world changed in one glorious moment
When Life triumphed on Resurrection Sunday

The hope of a people searching for life
The day will be brighter
The message of freedom rings in the sky
Spreading the fire
The flag of a nation ready to fly
Taking them higher
The heart of a land that rises to fight
Full of desire
When nothing is as you want it to be
Look up to heaven
Freedom was paid for on Calvary
The chain is broken
Making a way right to destiny
Borders are open
And Jesus has granted the victory
That Sunday mornin

Joy in this life time, utterly free
More than the world gives, beyond what you see
For nations its time to rise their hope is in Jesus Christ
If the giants come, just hold on, the advantage is now on your side
Jesus, will take the final fight

A light dawned that Sunday Morning it broke through the boundaries of time
Hearts start shining, calling to all mankind
Lets celebrate eternal life

When nothing is as you want it to be
Look up to heaven
Freedom was paid for on Calvary
The chain is broken
Making a way right to destiny
Borders are open
And Jesus has granted the victory
That Sunday mornin

Joy in this life time, utterly free
More than the world gives, beyond what you see
For nations its time to rise their hope is in Jesus Christ
If the giants come, just hold on, the advantage is now on your side
Jesus, will take the final fight

A light dawned that Sunday Morning it broke through the boundaries of time
Hearts start shining, calling to all mankind
Lets celebrate eternal life

1, When something in you, says youre not through, something whispers, you need to go too
2, you say that things just cant stay this way, your heart is calling may day may day
3, world is just trouble, get out of your muddle, jump, nows the time, take your chance on the double.
4, Leave it behind, youll see you wont mind, once you meet Jesus the answer youll find
5, Dont google your noodle, or consult your poodle, just follow your heart and it will be super
6, Wake up, see the light, find new life in His life, with Him in sight He'll take you to new heights
7, The rescues begun, now Someones come, be looking to the sky but not for Air Force One
8. The way out is up; up up and away, with Jesus today is Independence day

Hearts start shining, calling to all mankind
Lets celebrate eternal life
A light dawned that Sunday Morning it broke through the boundaries of time
Hearts start shining, calling to all mankind
Lets celebrate
Lets celebrate
Lets celebrate eternal life

Easter Sunday - A Reflection - The Two at the tomb

On this weeks show, Lorraine reads a reflection from www.catholic.org which wasn't to hand when we went to press last night about the show this morning. But as it is such a reflective piece we said we would post it this morning:

Dan Burr
"Sometimes one has to lay his Bible in his lap and just close his eyes to fully capture the meaning of a passage. This is especially true of the Gospels and even truer for something as wondrous as Easter. I closed my eyes and saw two figures… 

The two men were running through the streets of Jerusalem as fast as their feet could carry them. Having heard the news from Mary of Magdala, they were so startled that they abandoned the other disciples in the Upper Room without saying a word. They had to see for themselves. 

John pulled ahead of Peter, shouting something unintelligible as he passed. This son of Zebedee had always been much quicker and more athletic than his counterpart. Peter was not surprised that he was left to himself, panting heavily as he continued past the house of the High Priest, Caiaphas, then into the upper city, racing past Herod’s palace. He finally lost sight of John who had disappeared through the city gate and onto the path toward the tomb. 

John wasn’t really thinking about anything. He was simply running, with only the sound of his own hard breathing to keep him company. Reaching the tomb first was not his objective. He would probably wait for Peter when he arrived. For John, the distance between the Upper Room and the tomb was a looming obstacle… an impediment to finding the truth. He just wanted to get to the place where Jesus had been laid as fast as he could. 

Rounding an abrupt curve in the path, the dark doorway of the tomb now stood before the one whom Jesus loved. This was not the way he remembered it just after the crucifixion of the Master. He had walked this path to the tomb before. Holding the arm of Mary, John led her solemnly to see the place where they had laid her son. 

His body had not yet been completely prepared for burial due to the upcoming Sabbath, yet the two-ton stone that was used to seal the tomb had already been rolled in place. A Roman seal was placed upon it, a warning that the tomb must not be violated. 

As he now approached, John noticed that the large stone had been rolled off to the side of the rocky opening. He stopped abruptly and did not enter through the now open door. John stooped to look inside, but could only see a few feet into the cave. Standing almost motionless as a garden statue, he waited for Peter to catch up. John could detect the faint aroma of spices that had been dropped by the women earlier that morning. 

Startled by the news they were given, the contents of their linen bags had spilled on the ground. Today was the day when the women were planning to properly embalm the body of the Master. Joseph and Nicodemus had done their best preparing Jesus’ body in the short time left before the Sabbath, but there was much more to do. 

Peter now arrived and didn’t even stop to speak with John. In almost a singular motion, he slowed from a run to a jog and then to a slow walk, marching past his fellow disciple and into the shadows of the tomb. His last glance of the Master had taken place just after a cock had crowed. He would never forget the expression on Jesus’ face – a face he had just declared he did not know. 

Now, on the first day of the week, the Master’s body was missing. How he wanted to take back every second of the last 24 hours of his life. He wanted once more to hear Jesus’ laugh. He had once been called “a rock,” but today he felt no more significant than a tiny grain of sand. 
The air was stale inside to tomb but, surprisingly, there was no stench. Peter was amazed by this. In fact, every few breaths he thought he smelled roses. Squinting in the dim light of a cave, however, he saw no flowers left by those who had wrapped his body days before. Still the fragrance would ambush his senses unexpectedly. 

The interior of the cavern appeared black as the night sky over the Sea of Galilee when Peter had approached it in the light of day. When he moved inside, though, his eyes adjusted and the details of the tomb became much clearer. He could now see the stone slab upon which the body had been laid and other details of the grotto. 

On top of the rock table he noticed the white burial linens. They were placed as though a body were still present but now lay flat against the stone. “His body could not have been carried away,” Peter thought, “the cloths are still here. It was as if he had just disappeared… vanished… leaving everything else in place.” 

Peter then saw the “sudarian” – the face cloth – rolled up neatly at one end of the slab. Stained with blood and other fluids, this cloth had been placed over the face of the Master after he had been taken down from the cross. “Who took the time to fold this,” Peter thought to himself, “and why?” 

Just then John walked in and placed his hand on Peter’s shoulder. Startled, he turned, standing face to face with the beloved disciple. Outlined by a halo of light that came from the doorway, he could clearly see John’s eyes which were wide with wonder. Tears were flowing freely down his cheeks. No words needed to be spoken. In fact, no words could be spoken. Everything was not yet clear, but both of them knew that something had happened that would change the world forever. 

Standing inside the empty tomb, John’s mind began to flood with ideas and images from the past few days. He had seen the Lord crucified. The metallic cadence of nails being pounded into the Master’s flesh still haunted him. He remembered the sight of Golgatha – the place of the skull. 

Elevated above those who were crowded around in mourning or curiosity, Jesus’ body had become one with its cross of execution. Bits of flesh still hung loosely from His back as a bloody witness of the scourging that he had endured while still remaining conscious. The crown of thorns, now stained with blood from his brow, continued to mock his kingship. 

John thought back to the cries of anguish he had heard at the time of the crucifixion. The wails came from the crowd not the cross. While the people shouted, Jesus spoke only a few times, remaining quiet in his suffering at all other times. 

The beloved disciple remembered watching Jesus prepare to speak. He would straighten his body, placing the weight of his frame on his pierced feet in order to breath more freely. In short gasps he spoke both to God and to them. John would never forget when His Master’s eyes fell straight upon him as he was given guardianship of Mary, Jesus’ mother. 

He remembered the words that Jesus uttered at the end, “It is finished.” Exhaling one last long breath, He became lifeless. Jesus had died and all of heaven and earth recoiled in response. 

Now laying before this disciple were empty linens where the body had been. “Where was the body of the Master? Where had they taken him? Where was he?” Almost as soon as he entertained these questions, words in response began to form deep inside. “He is not here, he is risen. He has risen from the dead, he has conquered death.” 
These were not just terms or concepts he was thinking up; he was hearing a voice. Someone was speaking to him. John looked around and saw no one. Only Peter, who knelt silently in front of him, was present. 
Whatever he had assumed about the disappearance of the Master before he entered the tomb, a quiet confidence and exhilaration now grew in John’s heart. Call it belief; call it faith… whatever it was, this disciple whom Jesus loved was overcome with the confidence that he would see his friend again. Jesus was not gone, only changed. He then remembered the mountain he had climbed with Jesus, where, in front of just a few of them, He became someone different. No, that was not right. He became who he really was. 

Now here, in this dirty cave that same sense of holy awe from the mountain fell upon John. The voices continued to speak as he and Peter walked out of the tomb, “He is not here; he is risen,” they echoed. John looked around, fully expecting that he would see the Master standing there, with his familiar grin and the deep laugh that always conveyed the inner joy he had when greeting one of his followers. 

Once before he and Peter had both seen an empty tomb, John remembered. Lazarus had walked out of the grave in his own power at the command of Jesus. He had stood before the crowd, still wrapped in his grave clothes. Jesus spoke again, saying “loose him and let him go!” Unwrapped from his death shroud, Lazarus looked no different than he had a few weeks before. He was alive. 

Here, in this tomb, however, the grave clothes remained. This, too, was resurrection but of a different kind. Both disciples knew in their hearts that their lives were forever changed. Walking back down the path with the tomb growing smaller behind them, they remained silent. 

Both slowed their pace and then stopped abruptly. Side-by-side, they looked back toward the tomb. John couldn’t stand it any longer. “He’s alive, Peter! He’s alive!” 

“I know!” Peter exclaimed. Breaking into a fast run, they raced back toward their homes… toward an uncertain but exciting future. 

In St. John’s gospel account, the beloved disciple recalls, from a first person perspective, what happened at the empty tomb: who went, who arrived first, and what took place inside the tomb. However, only John could also tell what happened inside of his being. 

What he was feeling and thinking? A small window is given us in the eighth verse of John Chapter 20: “So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.” 

There is so much we can grasp from this small nugget of the story. John had not yet seen his resurrected Master, yet he believed. The full account of the Christ’s resurrection was not yet revealed to him, yet he believed. The theological clarification of Christ’s rising from the dead had not been explained, yet he believed. 

Do you believe that Christ died on a cross for our sins and rose again? That is all that is necessary to begin. Start there and let the world of faith unfold before your heart. Enter into the tomb, see that it is empty. Leave believing that He is risen! He is alive and active. 

Our sins have been forgiven and we have hope in His Name! The Lord, through His Church, can take you now on a journey toward the future of your faith. St. Paul said, in I Corinthians 15, “if Christ has not been raised from the dead, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins… But now Christ has been raised from the dead!” 
St. John Chrysostom, in his famous Easter sermon wrote: 
“O death, where is your sting? 
O hell, where is your victory? 
Christ is risen, and you are cast down! 
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen! 
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice! 
Christ is risen, and life is set free! 
Christ is risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead. 
For Christ, having risen from the dead, 
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 
To Christ be glory and power forever and ever. Amen!” 
Begin with Easter faith; that is where it began with the two in the tomb. From that launching pad, the resurrection herald has been heard throughout the centuries and around the world! Just think what He can do in you!

Jesus Christ is Risen Today!!!

23rd April 2011 - Easter Sunday

Christus Resurrexit! 
Christ is Risen!
Alleluia, Alleluia!

A blessed and joyous Easter to all our readers and listeners from all on Sacred Space 102fm!

On this weeks show, we have a special show celebrating the high point of the Christian year with the celebration of Easter. We have our regular prayer moment at the beginning of the show, our reflection on the Easter Gospel - literally Easter Good News! - a reflection on Easter and some thoughts on various traditions associated with Easter.

Gospel - John 20:1-9

The event of the Resurrection wasn't witnessed by any of the evangelists but what we have is the witness of the early church to the actual historical event which occurred and which is attested to by all the gospels - the empty tomb and the appearances of Jesus after the resurrection.

The event happened on the first day of the week, at dawn when Mary had the first opportunity to get to the tomb as soon as the Sabbath had passed with the rising of the sun. She went straight to the tomb to be near her Lord with the other women. A very human response to death, no matter what century, we all seek closure, the need to be able to visit a grave of a loved one. 

Upon discovering the fact that the tomb was opened, Mary ran to tell Peter - the traitor, the man who had denied Jesus three times - and John - the Beloved Disciple - to tell them that the tomb has been emptied, possibly violated! Peter as usual sets out quickly - a man of action again - but John arrives first and waits for Peter to come and Peter doesn't pause but barrels straight into the tomb.

 "He saw and he believed"

John almost makes the point that as they saw they empty tomb, the penny dropped for them in terms of what Jesus has himself told them but also from what they knew from the prophets and the law. Do we believe? Is there a danger that have we heard the story too often? Has the power and impact of the event become almost too familiar for us?

Have we asked ourselves do we believe in the Resurrection? And what then does that belief mean? Are we willing to let God be God and allow stones to be moved in our life? The stone had been moved from the tomb - a note of hope for all of us of the power of the Resurrection  - are we willing to come out of our tombs of addiction and lack of "true life".

Other reflections on this weeks readings are available from Word on FireEnglish Dominicans, GodzDogz.

Easter Traditions

Colours associated with Easter are white- purity - and gold - glory. Peacocks are an ancient symbol of the Resurrection and in the USA lilies are symbols of Easter and new life. During Eastertide (Easter Sunday to Pentecost) the Angelus is replaced by the Regina Caeili.

Queen of Heaven rejoice, alleluia:
For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia,
Has risen as He said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. Because the Lord is truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray: O God, who by the Resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, granted joy to the whole world: grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may lay hold of the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Of course one of the big traditions associated with Easter is the Easter Egg.The egg is seen by followers of Christianity as a symbol of resurrection: while being dormant it contains a new life sealed within it. In the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, Easter eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ, shed on the Cross, and the hard shell of the egg symbolized the sealed Tomb of Christ—the cracking of which symbolized his resurrection from the dead. Easter eggs are blessed by the priest at the end of the Paschal Vigil, and distributed to the faithful. Each household also brings an Easter basket to church, filled not only with Easter eggs but also with other Paschal foods such as paskha, kulich or Easter breads, and these are blessed by the priest as well. During Paschaltide, in some traditions the Paschal greeting with the Easter egg is even extended to the deceased. On either the second Monday or Tuesday of Pascha, after a memorial service people bring blessed eggs to the cemetery and bring the joyous paschal greeting, "Christ has risen", to their beloved departed. While the origin of easter eggs can be explained in the symbolic terms described above, a sacred tradition among followers of Eastern Christianity says that Mary Magdalene was bringing cooked eggs to share with the other women at the tomb of Jesus, and the eggs in her basket miraculously turned brilliant red when she saw the risen Christ.The egg represents the boulder of the tomb of Jesus. A different, but not necessarily conflicting legend concerns Mary Magdalene's efforts to spread the Gospel. According to this tradition, after the Ascension of Jesus, Mary went to the Emperor of Rome and greeted him with "Christ has risen," whereupon he pointed to an egg on his table and stated, "Christ has no more risen than that egg is red." After making this statement it is said the egg immediately turned blood red.

A blessed and joyous Easter to all our readers and listeners from all on Sacred Space 102fm!

23 Apr 2011

Holy Week - Easter Vigil Homily of Pope Benedict XVI

23 APRIL 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The liturgical celebration of the Easter Vigil makes use of two eloquent signs. First there is the fire that becomes light. As the procession makes its way through the church, shrouded in the darkness of the night, the light of the Paschal Candle becomes a wave of lights, and it speaks to us of Christ as the true morning star that never sets – the Risen Lord in whom light has conquered darkness. The second sign is water. On the one hand, it recalls the waters of the Red Sea, decline and death, the mystery of the Cross. But now it is presented to us as spring water, a life-giving element amid the dryness. Thus it becomes the image of the sacrament of baptism, through which we become sharers in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Yet these great signs of creation, light and water, are not the only constituent elements of the liturgy of the Easter Vigil. Another essential feature is the ample encounter with the words of sacred Scripture that it provides. Before the liturgical reform there were twelve Old Testament readings and two from the New Testament. The New Testament readings have been retained. The number of Old Testament readings has been fixed at seven, but depending upon the local situation, they may be reduced to three. The Church wishes to offer us a panoramic view of whole trajectory of salvation history, starting with creation, passing through the election and the liberation of Israel to the testimony of the prophets by which this entire history is directed ever more clearly towards Jesus Christ. In the liturgical tradition all these readings were called prophecies. Even when they are not directly foretelling future events, they have a prophetic character, they show us the inner foundation and orientation of history. They cause creation and history to become transparent to what is essential. In this way they take us by the hand and lead us towards Christ, they show us the true Light.

At the Easter Vigil, the journey along the paths of sacred Scripture begins with the account of creation. This is the liturgy’s way of telling us that the creation story is itself a prophecy. It is not information about the external processes by which the cosmos and man himself came into being. The Fathers of the Church were well aware of this. They did not interpret the story as an account of the process of the origins of things, but rather as a pointer towards the essential, towards the true beginning and end of our being. Now, one might ask: is it really important to speak also of creation during the Easter Vigil? Could we not begin with the events in which God calls man, forms a people for himself and creates his history with men upon the earth? The answer has to be: no. To omit the creation would be to misunderstand the very history of God with men, to diminish it, to lose sight of its true order of greatness. The sweep of history established by God reaches back to the origins, back to creation. Our profession of faith begins with the words: “We believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth”. If we omit the beginning of the Credo, the whole history of salvation becomes too limited and too small. The Church is not some kind of association that concerns itself with man’s religious needs but is limited to that objective. No, she brings man into contact with God and thus with the source of all things. Therefore we relate to God as Creator, and so we have a responsibility for creation. Our responsibility extends as far as creation because it comes from the Creator. Only because God created everything can he give us life and direct our lives. Life in the Church’s faith involves more than a set of feelings and sentiments and perhaps moral obligations. It embraces man in his entirety, from his origins to his eternal destiny. Only because creation belongs to God can we place ourselves completely in his hands. And only because he is the Creator can he give us life for ever. Joy over creation, thanksgiving for creation and responsibility for it all belong together.

The central message of the creation account can be defined more precisely still. In the opening words of his Gospel, Saint John sums up the essential meaning of that account in this single statement: “In the beginning was the Word”. In effect, the creation account that we listened to earlier is characterized by the regularly recurring phrase: “And God said …” The world is a product of the Word, of the Logos, as Saint John expresses it, using a key term from the Greek language. “Logos” means “reason”, “sense”, “word”. It is not reason pure and simple, but creative Reason, that speaks and communicates itself. It is Reason that both is and creates sense. The creation account tells us, then, that the world is a product of creative Reason. Hence it tells us that, far from there being an absence of reason and freedom at the origin of all things, the source of everything is creative Reason, love, and freedom. Here we are faced with the ultimate alternative that is at stake in the dispute between faith and unbelief: are irrationality, lack of freedom and pure chance the origin of everything, or are reason, freedom and love at the origin of being? Does the primacy belong to unreason or to reason? This is what everything hinges upon in the final analysis. As believers we answer, with the creation account and with John, that in the beginning is reason. In the beginning is freedom. Hence it is good to be a human person. It is not the case that in the expanding universe, at a late stage, in some tiny corner of the cosmos, there evolved randomly some species of living being capable of reasoning and of trying to find rationality within creation, or to bring rationality into it. If man were merely a random product of evolution in some place on the margins of the universe, then his life would make no sense or might even be a chance of nature. But no, Reason is there at the beginning: creative, divine Reason. And because it is Reason, it also created freedom; and because freedom can be abused, there also exist forces harmful to creation. Hence a thick black line, so to speak, has been drawn across the structure of the universe and across the nature of man. But despite this contradiction, creation itself remains good, life remains good, because at the beginning is good Reason, God’s creative love. Hence the world can be saved. Hence we can and must place ourselves on the side of reason, freedom and love – on the side of God who loves us so much that he suffered for us, that from his death there might emerge a new, definitive and healed life.

The Old Testament account of creation that we listened to clearly indicates this order of realities. But it leads us a further step forward. It has structured the process of creation within the framework of a week leading up to the Sabbath, in which it finds its completion. For Israel, the Sabbath was the day on which all could participate in God’s rest, in which man and animal, master and slave, great and small were united in God’s freedom. Thus the Sabbath was an expression of the Covenant between God and man and creation. In this way, communion between God and man does not appear as something extra, something added later to a world already fully created. The Covenant, communion between God and man, is inbuilt at the deepest level of creation. Yes, the Covenant is the inner ground of creation, just as creation is the external presupposition of the Covenant. God made the world so that there could be a space where he might communicate his love, and from which the response of love might come back to him. From God’s perspective, the heart of the man who responds to him is greater and more important than the whole immense material cosmos, for all that the latter allows us to glimpse something of God’s grandeur.

Easter and the paschal experience of Christians, however, now require us to take a further step. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week. After six days in which man in some sense participates in God’s work of creation, the Sabbath is the day of rest. But something quite unprecedented happened in the nascent Church: the place of the Sabbath, the seventh day, was taken by the first day. As the day of the liturgical assembly, it is the day for encounter with God through Jesus Christ who as the Risen Lord encountered his followers on the first day, Sunday, after they had found the tomb empty. The structure of the week is overturned. No longer does it point towards the seventh day, as the time to participate in God’s rest. It sets out from the first day as the day of encounter with the Risen Lord. This encounter happens afresh at every celebration of the Eucharist, when the Lord enters anew into the midst of his disciples and gives himself to them, allows himself, so to speak, to be touched by them, sits down at table with them. This change is utterly extraordinary, considering that the Sabbath, the seventh day seen as the day of encounter with God, is so profoundly rooted in the Old Testament. If we also bear in mind how much the movement from work towards the rest-day corresponds to a natural rhythm, the dramatic nature of this change is even more striking. This revolutionary development that occurred at the very the beginning of the Church’s history can be explained only by the fact that something utterly new happened that day. The first day of the week was the third day after Jesus’ death. It was the day when he showed himself to his disciples as the Risen Lord. In truth, this encounter had something unsettling about it. The world had changed. This man who had died was now living with a life that was no longer threatened by any death. A new form of life had been inaugurated, a new dimension of creation. The first day, according to the Genesis account, is the day on which creation begins. Now it was the day of creation in a new way, it had become the day of the new creation. We celebrate the first day. And in so doing we celebrate God the Creator and his creation. Yes, we believe in God, the Creator of heaven and earth. And we celebrate the God who was made man, who suffered, died, was buried and rose again.

We celebrate the definitive victory of the Creator and of his creation. We celebrate this day as the origin and the goal of our existence. We celebrate it because now, thanks to the risen Lord, it is definitively established that reason is stronger than unreason, truth stronger than lies, love stronger than death. We celebrate the first day because we know that the black line drawn across creation does not last for ever. We celebrate it because we know that those words from the end of the creation account have now been definitively fulfilled: “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:31). Amen.

Holy Saturday at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

The Easter Vigil Mass at the Basilica of the Resurrection (the Holy Sepulchre), on the morning of Holy Saturday. A temporary inconsistency (due to the agreement called the Status Quo which governs the relationships of the various Christian denominations who use the basilica) with the rest of the Church, but it is a happy event, for the Mother Church in Jerusalem is thereby the first proclaim the Resurrection in an ancient hymn which sings of the victory of Christ over death and sin.

Holy Week - The Exsultet (Easter Proclamation)

The Exsultet

Rejoice heavenly powers! Sing choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendour,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes forever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Saviour shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

It is truly right
that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God,
the all powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam's sin
to our eternal Father!

This is our Passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night
when the pillar of fire
destroyed the darkness of sin!

This is the night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin
and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace
and grow together in holiness.

This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.
What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?

Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
"The night will be clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy."

The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away,
restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed
when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!

Therefore, heavenly Father,
in the joy of this night
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church's solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honour of God.
Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son who lives and reigns forever and ever.