Category Archives: Easter, Ascension & Pentecost

Between Ascension and Pentecost

Last SupperIn the period between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday the Church gives us a reminder that we are to follow the key example of communion there is, the communion (unity) between God the Father and God the Son. Saint Cyril of Alexandria tells us that the unity of Father and Son is known in the Last Supper.

Cyril said,  “Who could separate those who are united to Christ through that one sacred body, or destroy their true union with one another? If we all share one loaf we all become one body, for Christ cannot be divided.”

I am grateful for this reminder in a time when there is so much division in our country, Church, and in our own hearts. The psalmist talks about the divided heart, the forked tongue; the spiritual masters speak against gossip (murmuring) and the seeds of division. Do we allow negativity and fear to rule our lives? Sadly, no seems to be free of the divisions caused by sin: not the laity, certainly not the clergy, not business people, not healthcare professionals and not the politicians and the like.

Only in Christ Jesus can we find our hope. Are we united to the Body of Christ –in sacrament, in Church, in family, with ourselves?

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

Ascension detailIn the Gospel according to St. Mark we read:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

Pope St. Leo the Great:
“Since the Ascension of Christ is our elevation, and since, where the glory of the Head has preceded its, there hope for the body is also invited, let us exult, dearly beloved, with worthy joy and be glad with a holy thanksgiving. Today we are estab­lished not only as possessors of Paradise, but we have even pen­etrated the heights of the heavens in Christ, prepared more fully for it through the indescribable grace of Christ which we had lost through the ill will of the devil.”

Lent over?

Why does it feel like Lent around here?

Lent over?

Thomas doubt exists today

communion byzantineThe Second Sunday of Easter presents to us the gospel reading of the Thomas doubting the existence of the risen Lord. The day has many names.

This gospel is proclaimed in the Novus Ordo, the Traditional and Byzantine Liturgies. In the Novus Ordo Liturgy today’s Mass can be referred to as Divine Mercy Sunday. The Latin Mass calls today Low Sunday (after the great solemn feast of Easter), or today is called dominica in albis depositis or “the Sunday in which the white clothes are put away”.  Yet another way of referring to today is “Quasimodo Sunday”, because of the first words of the entrance antiphon sung for the Latin Mass which uses the words taken from Peter, Quasi modo geniti infantes, Halleluja, rationabile, sine dolo lac concupiscite (“yearn for the pure spiritual milk as if you were newborn children”).

In all these names, what can we say about this portion of the mystery of the faith in Christian today? If you think about the truth Jesus presented to the Apostles about Himself, it seems that truth is not as convincing as the doubt some put forward as reasonable. I am not quite sure I understand the penchant we have for doubting reasonableness of truth, but doubt exists and I have come to believe that God uses doubt to teach us the meaning of beauty, goodness and truth. Thomas, later revered as a saint and founder of the Church in India, tells us with certitude that the Lord is alive after death on the cross but only after verifying the physicality of the person Jesus when he says, My Lord and my God. He is said by Jesus that he blessed for what he has seen.

Doubting ThomasIn the Byzantine Liturgy the Troparion of St Thomas is sung: While the tomb was sealed You shone forth from it, O Christ our Life, and while the doors remained closed, You stood among your Disciples, O Resurrection of all, and through them You restored a new spirit in us according to your great Mercy.

Today, we are faced with some similar doubts about Jesus, the sacraments and Christian  life. Doubt is not new. And, perhaps Saint Thomas did us a favor in recognizing the concrete facts of our faith. Coming to Catholic faith means that we proclaim from whom salvation comes. It means that we are to be missionary so that all people come before the Lord.

One piece of our Catholic life is faith in the Holy Eucharist: faith in the Divine Presence here and now in the sacrament of the Eucharist. Teaching adults about First Holy Communion is difficult –think of the difficulty there is teaching third graders about the Presence of Jesus in Holy Communion. I recall what is called a Eucharistic miracle where a priest doubted the presence of Jesus in the sacred Host and the Lord gave the priest the a sign of Divine Presence by turing the host in heart muscle and the wine into blood.

The English theologian Monsignor Ronald Knox this about the Holy Eucharist: “We have never, as Christians, been truly faithful to Jesus, no matter our denomination. In the end none of us have truly followed those teachings which most characterize Jesus- We have not turned the other cheek. We have not forgiven our enemies. We have not purified our thoughts. We have not seen God in the poor. We have not kept our hearts pure and free from the things of this world. But we have been faithful in one very important way- we have kept the Eucharist going.”

Regina Caeli for Eastertide

marco_p5We change the praying of the daily praying of the Angelus to the Regina Caeli for the 50 days of Easter. (That is, from Easter Day through Pentecost Sunday). Please add this prayer, in Latin and English, to your iPhone.

Queen of Heaven 

V. Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia. 
R. For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia. 
V. Has risen, as he said, alleluia. 
R. Pray for us to God, alleluia.
V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia. 
R. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray. O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Regina caeli

V. Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia. 
R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia. 
V. Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia. 
R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

V. Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, alleluia. 
R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Oremus. Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es: praesta, quaesumus; ut per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
coat of arms

Categories

Archives

Humanities Blog Directory