19 May 2019

19th May 2019 - May, the Month of Mary

On this week's programme we repeat part of a programme originally broadcast in May 2014 when we reflected on various teachings on Mary in the church and her role in salvation history as set out in catholic theology. We also have our regular reflection on the Sunday Gospel as well as some liturgical odds and ends.

You can listen to the podcast of this week's full programme HERE.

May, the Month of Mary



SS102fm has had programmes on various individual devotions to Mary over the last couple of years. But, as May is traditionally the month of Mary on this week's programme, Lorraine leads us through a reflection on Catholic's understanding of Mary in salvation history and in the church. Using the book 'Introduction to Mary - The Heart of Marian Doctrine and Devotion' by Mark Miravalle we looked at what is devotion to Mary and Mary in Scripture (Old Testament pre-figurements of Mary and Mary in the New Testament). 

We then looked at two key Marian doctrines: (1) Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother; and (2) the Immaculate Conception.  Both of these Marian doctrines (indeed, all Marian doctrines) are centred around Christ and what He has done for us.  If you would like to read the first two chapters of Mark Miravalle's book (and other works on Mary), it is available HERE.  The book is available to buy HERE.

Do Catholics Worship Mary?
Catholic Culture - Mary, What you need to know
Catholic Culture - May, the month of Mary
EWTN - Vatican II on Mary - Lumen Gentium

EWTN - Mary in Scripture

You can listen to a podcast of this reflection excerpted from the programme HERE.

Gospel - John 13:31-33,34-35

When Judas had gone Jesus said:

‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified,
and in him God has been glorified.
If God has been glorified in him,
God will in turn glorify him in himself,
and will glorify him very soon.

‘My little children,
I shall not be with you much longer.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another;
just as I have loved you,
you also must love one another.
By this love you have for one another,
everyone will know that you are my disciples.’
Reflections on this week's gospel:

Word on Fire

English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflections

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter Week 1


Saints of the Week

May 20th - Saint Bernardino of Siena 
May 21st - Saint Christopher Magallanes and his Companions
May 22nd - Saint Rita of Cascia 
May 23rd – St. John Baptist de Rossi 
May 24th – St. David I of Scotland
May 25th – St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi 

Notices
The Benedictine Community in Stamullen will be hosting another  3 days of Perpetual Adoration from 24th May to 26th May in atonement and reparation for the outcome and implications of the abortion referendum.  We will be asking Our Lady to intercede for Ireland, for faith and life, that God's Will be done here and indeed further afield. If you would like to join us please let us know by texting back on this number - 086-8389989.

12 May 2019

12th May 2019 - Good Shepherd Sunday - Fr. Richard Keane on World Day of Prayer for Vocations

On this week's programme the SS102fm team speak with Fr. Richard Keane, Vocations Director for the Diocese of Limerick, on World Day of Prayer for Vocations. We also have our usual reflection on the Sunday Gospel and local notices.

You can listen to the podcast of this weeks full programme HERE.

Good Shepherd Sunday - World Day of Prayer for Vocations


Fr. Richard Keane, Vocations Director for the Diocese of Limerick, and Parish Priest of Cratloe (as well as working as Judicial Vicar of the Cork Regional Marriage Tribunal) took time out of his busy schedule this week to talk to us about vocations and especially vocations to the priesthood. Fr. Richard shares with us why the Church has allocated a day specifically to pray for vocations, why we need priests and religious and some thoughts on a typical day in the life of a priest. 

He also shares with us on the need for vocations especially to the priesthood for the continuation of building up the Church, why we should pray for vocations and for those being called and gives advice to those being called to priesthood and religious life. Fr. Richard finished his reflection by praying 'A Prayer for Priests' by St. John Vianney:


God, please give to your Church today many more priests after your own heart.
May they be worthy representatives of Christ the Good Shepherd.
May they wholeheartedly devote themselves to prayer and penance; 
be examples of humility and poverty; shining models of holiness; 
tireless and powerful preachers of the Word of God; 
zealous dispensers of your grace in the sacraments.
May their loving devotion to your Son Jesus in the Eucharist and to Mary his Mother
be the twin fountains of fruitfulness for their ministry. Amen.


You can listen to the reflection excerpted from the main programme podcast HERE.

There can be no greater joy than to risk one’s life for the Lord!  


Pope Francis in his message for the 2019 World Day of Vocations invites us to have the courage to take a risk for God's promise. In his message, Pope Francis explores these two related aspects of vocation - promise and risk. Of course, God's promise far outweighs the risk of making the decision to follow the Lord. Pope Francis encourages those being called to religious: "Do not yield to fear, which paralyzes us before the great heights to which the Lord points us.  Always remember that to those who leave their nets and boat behind, and follow him, the Lord promises the joy of a new life that can fill our hearts and enliven our journey."

You can read Pope Francis' full Message HERE


Gospel - John 10:27-30


Jesus said:

‘The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice;

I know them and they follow me.
I give them eternal life;
they will never be lost
and no one will ever steal them from me.
The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone,
and no one can steal from the Father.
The Father and I are one.’
Reflections on this week's gospel:

Word on Fire

English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter Week 4


Saints of the Week

May 13th - Our Lady of Fatima
May 14th - St. Matthias
May 15th - St. Carthage
May 16th - St. Brendan
May 17th - St. Paschal Baylon
May 18th - Pope John I

Notices
On Saturday, May 18th St. Joseph's Young Priests Society will be holding a 3 hour vigil of prayer for vocations in St. Nessan's Church, Raheen beginning with Mass at 6.00pm. All are welcome. 

5 May 2019

5th May - Third Sunday of Easter - Bishop Leahy's Lenten Pastoral on Holiness (Continued)

On this week's programme the SS102fm team continue our reflection on Bishop Brendan Leahy's Lenten Pastoral Letter "This Is What God Wants Of Us – Our Holiness." We also have our usual reflection on the Sunday Gospel and local notices.

You can listen to the podcast of this weeks full programme HERE.

This is What God Wants of Us - Our Holiness


John and Lorraine continued our reflection on Bishop Brendan's pastoral letter "This is What God Wants of Us - Our Holiness." Of course, just because Lent is over and we are well into the season of Eastertide doesn't mean that we can forget about holiness! The call to holiness is both universal (meaning that we are all called to holiness) and ongoing. It is a life-long endeavour of saying 'yes' to God's grace. As Bishop Brendan succinctly puts it - holiness is "love lived to the full, love of God and one’s neighbour."

In this week's programme we look at the section on 'Why is holiness important?' Bishop Brendan suggests that although we may not be perfect, the overall trend of our life and our effort to be holy matters:  "Each

one of us not only has a mission but is a mission. God wants some particular aspect of the Gospel to shine
out in our lives. If we live our life living love to the full, that is, in holiness, God’s word gets pronounced, as it
were, more clearly to the benefit of many."

Bishop Brendan also invites us to reflect on the following question: "You might think of people you know who you consider holy and ask yourself what specific word does their life speak to you. Each of our lives is speaking a word to the world around us." So we invite you to do the same during the coming week. Think about what word you proclaim to the world and what words those who are holy proclaim to the world.



You can listen to the reflection excerpted from the main programme podcast HERE.

You can read the full Pastoral Letter HERE.

Gospel - John 21:1-19


Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.

It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.


As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.


After the meal Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep.’ Then he said to him a third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and said, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.


‘I tell you most solemnly,

when you were young
you put on your own belt
and walked where you liked;
but when you grow old
you will stretch out your hands,
and somebody else will put a belt round you
and take you where you would rather not go.’

In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, ‘Follow me.’


Reflections on this week's gospel:

Word on Fire

English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflections

Liturgical odds & ends


Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter Week 3


Saints of the Week

May 6th - St. Dominic Savio
May 7th - St. Rose Venerini
May 9th - St. Pachomius
May 10th - St. Comgall
May 11th - St. Ignatius of Laconi

3 May 2019

Terra Sancta News 03/05/2019




This week: The evocative rite of the Saturday of Light which announced the Orthodox Easter; the figure of St Joseph the Worker; the celebration for the Centenary of the birth of the Province of the Child Jesus of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; the 44th edition of the Biblical-Theological Course held by the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of Jerusalem and finally we take you on a different tour of the Holy City.

Ecumenical Patriarch Message for Easter 2019

✠ B A R T H O L O M E W
By God’s Mercy
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
To the Plenitude of the Church: May the Grace, Peace and Mercy
of Christ Risen in Glory be with you All
Venerable brothers and beloved children in the Lord,
Having run the course of the race of Holy and Great Lent in prayer and fasting, and having reached the salvific passion of Christ God, today we are rendered participants in the joy of His splendid Resurrection.
The experience of Resurrection belongs to the core of Orthodox identity. We celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection not only during the feast of Holy Pascha and the ensuing paschal period, but on each Sunday and at each Divine Liturgy, which is always a luminous festivity. The Christian life in all its dimensions – in divine worship as well as in our life and witness in the world – bears a resurrectional spirit and is shaken by the victory of the risen Christ over death and by the expectation of His eternal kingdom.
Man is unable of itself to handle fear and the inevitability of death, which it confronts throughout and not merely at the conclusion of life. The sense that life is “a journey toward death” – without any hope of escape – does not lead to any humanization of life or enhancement of responsibility and concern for the present and future. On the contrary, humanity recoils and disengages from the essential elements of life, ending up in cynicism, nihilism and despair, in a fabrication of uninhibited self-realization and in the graceless eudemonism of “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die.” Science, social and political activism, economic progress and prosperity cannot provide a way out of this impasse. Whatever is created by humanity bears the stigma of death, and it does not lead to salvation, because it is itself in need of salvation. The desire for eternity cannot be concealed by worldly goods and cannot be satisfied by the extension of life or the promise of false paradise.

Athos


Mount Athos on a peninsula off the cost of Greece is one of Europe's last remaining secrets: a monks' republic. Access to women is strictly denied and in order to keep unwanted tourists out, visas are granted only to pilgrims and workers. For the first time, a filmmaker was given access to all forms of monastic life on the holy mountain.

Popes Prayer Intentions May 2019


Let us pray this month that the Church in Africa, through the commitment of its members, may be the seed of unity among her peoples and a sign of hope for this continent.

The ethnic, linguistic, and tribal divisions in Africa can be overcome promoting unity in diversity.
I want to thank the religious sisters, priests, laity, and missionaries for their work to create dialogue and reconciliation among the various sectors of African society.
Let us pray this month that the Church in Africa, through the commitment of its members, may be the seed of unity among her peoples and a sign of hope for this continent.

1 May 2019

1st May 2019 - Crowning Our Lady Queen of the May




Bring flowers of the rarest
Bring blossoms the fairest,
From garden and woodland and hillside and dale;
Our full hearts are swelling,
Our glad voices telling...

The praise of the loveliest flower of the vale!

O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today!
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.
 


By tradition, May is the month dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary - Theotokas. The month of May is the "month which the piety of the faithful has especially dedicated to Our Blessed Lady," and it is the occasion for a "moving tribute of faith and love which Catholics in every part of the world [pay] to the Queen of Heaven. During this month Christians, both in church and in the privacy of the home, offer up to Mary from their hearts an especially fervent and loving homage of prayer and veneration. In this month, too, the benefits of God's mercy come down to us from her throne in greater abundance" (Paul VI: Encyclical on the Month of May, no. 1).



28 Apr 2019

28th April 2019 - Divine Mercy Sunday - Catholic School Retreats - Claire Devaney

On this week's programme we are joined by Claire Devaney, a daughter of Deacon Don Devaney who was on the programme recently. Claire speaks to us about her experience of working with Catholic School Retreats, Divine Mercy and a soup kitchen. We also have our usual reflection on the Sunday Gospel and local notices.

You can listen to the podcast of this weeks full programme HERE.

Catholic School Retreats - Claire Devaney


Claire Devaney of Catholic School Retreats shares with us their mission to train people for children's ministry and to run retreats for primary and secondary school children. The aim of Catholic School Retreats is to provide children with an element of fun and interweave that with faith to give children and young people a positive experience of the faith. Claire is a teacher by profession and her joyful faith and enthusiasm are evident as she speaks about the importance of sharing our faith with young people. Claire gives tips for parents or grandparents for sharing their faith with their family. Claire also shares her faith in Divine Mercy and her personal experience of volunteering with a soup kitchen. 



If you would like to book Catholic School Retreats for a retreat or for training for adults working in children's ministry, you can contact them via their website HERE or by emailing catholicschoolretreats@gmail.com or by ringing 085-1940065.

You can listen to the interview excerpted from the main programme podcast HERE.

Divine Mercy Sunday


Pope John Paul II introduced Divine Mercy Sunday following on the private revelation to the Polish nun St Faustina. Many Catholics gather in churches throughout the world today at 3pm to partake in the Divine Mercy Chaplet, veneration of the image of Divine Mercy, confessions, Mass etc.

The Feast of Divine Mercy, celebrated on the Octave of Easter (the Sunday after Easter Sunday), is a relatively new addition to the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar. Celebrating the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ, as revealed by Christ himself to Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, this feast was extended to the entire Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II on April 30, 2000, the day that he canonized Saint Faustina.

From EWTN:
From the diary of a young Polish nun, a special devotion began spreading throughout the world in the 1930s. The message is nothing new, but is a reminder of what the Church has always taught through scripture and tradition: that God is merciful and forgiving and that we, too, must show mercy and forgiveness. But in the Divine Mercy devotion, the message takes on a powerful new focus, calling people to a deeper understanding that God’s love is unlimited and available to everyone — especially the greatest sinners. The message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, an uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God’s mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread.

The message of mercy is that God loves us — all of us — no matter how great our sins. He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. 

During the course of Jesus' revelations to Saint Faustina on the Divine Mercy He asked on numerous occasions that a feast day be dedicated to the Divine Mercy and that this feast be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. The liturgical texts of that day, the 2nd Sunday of Easter, concern the institution of the Sacrament of Penance, the Tribunal of the Divine Mercy, and are thus already suited to the request of Our Lord. This Feast, which had already been granted to the nation of Poland and been celebrated within Vatican City, was granted to the Universal Church by Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the canonization of Sr. Faustina on 30 April 2000. In a decree dated 23 May 2000, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments stated that "throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come." These papal acts represent the highest endorsement that the Church can give to a private revelation, an act of papal infallibility proclaiming the certain sanctity of the mystic, and the granting of a universal feast, as requested by Our Lord to St. Faustina.

A partial indulgence (the remission of some temporal punishment from sin) is granted to the faithful "who, at least with a contrite heart, pray to the merciful Lord Jesus a legitimately approved invocation."

A plenary indulgence (the forgiveness of all temporal punishment resulting from sins that have already been confessed) is granted on the Feast of Divine Mercy if to all the faithful who go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, and "in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. 'Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!')."



Gospel - John 20:19-31



In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. 
‘As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.’ 
After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.’

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him: 
You believe because you can see me. Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’
There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.
Reflections on this week's gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflections

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter Week 2

Saints of the Week
April 29th - St. Catherine of Sienna
April 30th - St. Pius V
May 1st - St. Joseph the Worker
May 2nd - St. Athansius
May 3rd - St. Philip and St. James, Apostles
May 4th - St. Conleth

24 Apr 2019

Easter 2019 Urbi et Orbi



Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Easter!

Today the Church renews the proclamation made by the first disciples: “Jesus is risen!” And from mouth to mouth, from heart to heart, there resounds a call to praise: “Alleluia, Alleluia!” On this morning of Easter, the perennial youth of the Church and of humanity as a whole, I would like to address each of you in the opening words of my recent Apostolic Exhortation devoted especially to young people:

“Christ is alive! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world. Everything he touches becomes young, new, full of life. The very first words, then, that I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive! He is in you, he is with you and he never abandons you. However far you may wander, he is always there, the Risen One. He calls you and he waits for you to return to him and start over again. When you feel you are growing old out of sorrow, resentment or fear, doubt or failure, he will always be there to restore your strength and your hope” (Christus Vivit, 1-2).

Dear brothers and sisters, this message is also addressed to every person in the world. The resurrection of Christ is the principle of new life for every man and every woman, for true renewal always begins from the heart, from the conscience. Yet Easter is also the beginning of the new world, set free from the slavery of sin and death: the world open at last to the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of love, peace and fraternity.

Christ is alive and he remains with us. Risen, he shows us the light of his face, and he does not abandon all those experiencing hardship, pain and sorrow. May he, the Living One, be hope for the beloved Syrian people, victims of an ongoing conflict to which we risk becoming ever more resigned and even indifferent. Now is instead the time for a renewed commitment for a political solution able to respond to people’s legitimate hopes for freedom, peace and justice, confront the humanitarian crisis and favour the secure re-entry of the homeless, along with all those who have taken refuge in neighbouring countries, especially Lebanon and Jordan.

Easter makes us keep our eyes fixed on the Middle East, torn by continuing divisions and tensions. May the Christians of the region patiently persevere in their witness to the Risen Lord and to the victory of life over death. I think in particular of the people of Yemen, especially the children, exhausted by hunger and war. May the light of Easter illumine all government leaders and peoples in the Middle East, beginning with Israelis and Palestinians, and spur them to alleviate such great suffering and to pursue a future of peace and stability.

May conflict and bloodshed cease in Libya, where defenceless people are once more dying in recent weeks and many families have been forced to abandon their homes. I urge the parties involved to choose dialogue over force and to avoid reopening wounds left by a decade of conflicts and political instability.

May the Living Christ grant his peace to the entire beloved African continent, still rife with social tensions, conflicts and at times violent forms of extremism that leave in their wake insecurity, destruction and death, especially in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon. I think too of Sudan, presently experiencing a moment of political uncertainty; it is my hope that all voices will be heard, and that everyone will work to enable the country to find the freedom, development and well-being to which it has long aspired.

May the Risen Lord accompany the efforts of the civil and religious authorities of South Sudan, sustained by the fruits of the spiritual retreat held several days ago here in the Vatican. May a new page open in the history of that country, in which all political, social and religious components actively commit themselves to the pursuit of the common good and the reconciliation of the nation.

May this Easter bring comfort to the people of the eastern regions of Ukraine, who suffer from the continuing conflict. May the Lord encourage initiatives of humanitarian aid and those aimed at pursuing a lasting peace.

May the joy of the resurrection fill the hearts of those who on the American continent are experiencing the effects of difficult political and economic situations. I think in particular of the Venezuelan people, of all those who lack the minimal conditions for leading a dignified and secure life due to a crisis that endures and worsens. May the Lord grant that all those with political responsibilities may work to end social injustices, abuses and acts of violence, and take the concrete steps needed to heal divisions and offer the population the help they need.

May the Risen Lord shed his light on the efforts made in Nicaragua to find as rapidly as possible a peaceful negotiated solution for the benefit of the entire Nicaraguan people.
Before the many sufferings of our time, may the Lord of life not find us cold and indifferent. May he make us builders of bridges, not walls. May the One who gives us his peace end the roar of arms, both in areas of conflict and in our cities, and inspire the leaders of nations to work for an end to the arms race and the troubling spread of weaponry, especially in the economically more advanced countries. May the Risen Christ, who flung open the doors of the tomb, open our hearts to the needs of the disadvantaged, the vulnerable, the poor, the unemployed, the marginalized, and all those who knock at our door in search of bread, refuge, and the recognition of their dignity.

Dear brothers and sisters, Christ is alive! He is hope and youth for each of us and for the entire world. May we let ourselves be renewed by him! Happy Easter!

On Easter Night, "In My Life, Where Am I Going? What Is The Stone I Need To Remove?" - Pope Francis


HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS
THE EASTER VIGIL IN THE HOLY NIGHT
ST PETER'S BASILICA
20 APRIL 2019

The women bring spices to the tomb, but they fear that their journey is in vain, since a large stone bars the entrance to the sepulcher. The journey of those women is also our own journey; it resembles the journey of salvation that we have made this evening. At times, it seems that everything comes up against a stone: the beauty of creation against the tragedy of sin; liberation from slavery against infidelity to the covenant; the promises of the prophets against the listless indifference of the people. So too, in the history of the Church and in our own personal history. It seems that the steps we take never take us to the goal. We can be tempted to think that dashed hope is the bleak law of life.



Today however we see that our journey is not in vain; it does not come up against a tombstone. A single phrase astounds the woman and changes history: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (Lk 24:5). Why do you think that everything is hopeless, that no one can take away your own tombstones? Why do you give into resignation and failure? Easter is the feast of tombstones taken away, rocks rolled aside. God takes away even the hardest stones against which our hopes and expectations crash: death, sin, fear, worldliness. Human history does not end before a tombstone, because today it encounters the “living stone” (cf. 1 Pet 2:4), the risen Jesus. We, as Church, are built on him, and, even when we grow disheartened and tempted to judge everything in the light of our failures, he comes to make all things new, tooverturn our every disappointment. Each of us is called tonight to rediscover in the Risen Christ the one who rolls back from our heart the heaviest of stones. So let us first ask: What is the stone that I need to remove, what is its name?



Often what blocks hope is the stone of discouragement. Once we start thinking that everything is going badly and that things can’t get worse, we lose heart and come to believe that death is stronger than life. We become cynical, negative and despondent. Stone upon stone, we build within ourselves a monument to our own dissatisfaction: the sepulcher of hope. Life becomes a succession of complaints and we grow sick in spirit. A kind of tomb psychology takes over: everything ends there, with no hope of emerging alive. But at that moment, we hear once more the insistent question of Easter: Why do you seek the living among the dead? The Lord is not to be found in resignation. He is risen; he is not there. Don’t seek him where you will never find him: he is not the God of the dead but of the living (cf. Mk 22:32). Do not bury hope!



There is another stone that often seals the heart shut: the stone of sin. Sin seduces; it promises things easy and quick, prosperity and success, but then leaves behind only solitude and death. Sin is looking for life among the dead, for the meaning of life in things that pass away. Why do you seek the living among the dead? Why not make up your mind to abandon that sin which, like a stone before the entrance to your heart, keeps God’s light from entering in? Why not prefer Jesus, the true light (cf. Jn1:9), to the glitter of wealth, career, pride and pleasure? Why not tell the empty things of this world that you no longer live for them, but for the Lord of life?


Holy Land Easter Message 2019 - lasting peace in Jerusalem and the world


Thirteen Patriarchs and Heads of Christian Churches in Jerusalem have issued an Easter Message praying for lasting peace throughout the world and urging that the multi-religious and multi-cultural status of Jerusalem be maintained
We, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, bring you Easter greetings in the name of our Risen Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. From the heart of Jerusalem and the center of the world we proclaim again: Christ is Risen; He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia! This Easter greetings have been handed over to us by our faithful fathers and mothers across the centuries. “He is not here. He has been raised…,” this was the announcement of the angel who appeared to the women at the tomb, and proclaimed that it is not death that has the final word, rather, it is the God of life.
Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10.10). We, as people of faith, are called to walk in Jesus’ risen life; in abundance, not in scarcity. Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus brought about new creation and restored all things; including God’s image in human beings. The Feast of the Resurrection reminds us that human dignity is to be respected and honoured.
Human beings are created in God’s image, and therefore stand equal before God. Easter is a season where the human family is celebrated in the light of the divine life and abundance. Jerusalem, the city of the resurrection, is the beacon of hope and life. The empty tomb constantly reminds us of the events that took place in and around the holy city. Jesus came to offer abundant life in which sin and death are defeated. The city of life is also the city of peace and reconciliation. Therefore, the multi-religious and multi-cultural status of Jerusalem have to be maintained and all Abrahamic faiths may find it none other than the city of peace and tranquility. We continue to pray for a just and lasting peace in Jerusalem and throughout the world.
We are steadfast in praying for all regions of violence and distress, especially, violence against innocent people and places of worship. We also remember in our prayers all women and children who face violence and injustice throughout the globe. We call upon all people to respect the dignity of every human person and walk together toward wholeness and fullness of life.
We invite all our fellow Christians around the world in general, and our faithful people in the Holy Land and the wider Middle East in particular, to take strength in the Easter celebrations. May we all be witnesses to the resurrection through promoting the values of our Risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, through active involvement in the life of the church and the wider society.
Christ is Risen; He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem

Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate

Patriarch Nourhan Manougian, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator, Latin Patriarchate

Fr. Francesco Patton, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land

Archbishop Anba Antonious, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem

Archbishop Gabriel Daho, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate

Archbishop Aba Embakob, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate

Archbishop Yaser AL-Ayash, Greek-Melkite-Catholic Patriarchate

Archbishop Mosa El-Hage, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate

Archbishop Suheil Dawani, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Bishop Ibrahim Sani Azar, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land

Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate

Most Rev. Krikor-Okosdinos Coussa, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate

Sabbath Soul Space


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