St. Philip Neri, Priest

Homily

Readings

He did not treat us as our sins deserved. For we are now sons of God. How do we show this? The only Son of God died for us, so that he might not remain alone. He who died as the only Son did not want to remain as the only Son. For the only Son of God made many sons of God. He bought brothers for himself by his blood; he made them welcome by being rejected; he ransomed them by being sold; he honored them by being dishonored; he gave them life by being put to death.
“So, brethren, rejoice in the Lord, not in the world. That is, rejoice in the truth, not in wickedness; rejoice in the hope of eternity, not in the fading flower of vanity. That is the way to rejoice. Wherever you are on earth, however long you remain on earth, the Lord is near, do not be anxious about anything.” — From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Homily

Readings

“The truth is that the Son of Man was revealed as Son of God in a more perfect and transcendent way once he had entered into his Father’s glory; he now began to be indescribably more present in his divinity to those from whom he was further removed in his humanity. A more mature faith enabled their minds to stretch upward to the Son in his equality with the Father; it no longer needed contact with Christ’s tangible body, in which as man he is inferior to the Father. For while his glorified body retained the same nature, the faith of those who believed in him was now summoned to heights where, as the Father’s equal, the only-begotten Son is reached not by physical handling but by spiritual discernment.” — From a sermon by St. Leo the Great, Pope

Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Homily

Readings

“Beloved, the days which passed between the Lord’s resurrection and his ascension were by no means uneventful; during them great sacramental mysteries were confirmed, great truths revealed. In those days the fear of death with all its horrors were taken away, and the immortality of both body and soul affirmed. It was then that the Lord breathed on all his apostles and filled them with the Holy Spirit; and after giving the keys of the kingdom to blessed Peter, whom he had chosen and set above all the others, he entrusted him with the care of his flock.
“During these days the Lord joined two of his disciples as their companion on the road, and by chiding them for their timidity and hesitant fears he swept away all the clouds of our uncertainty. Their lukewarm hearts were fired by the light of faith and began to burn within them as the Lord opened up the Scriptures. And as they shared their meal with him, their eyes were opened in the breaking of bread, opened far more happily to the sight of their own glorified humanity than were the eyes of our first parents to the shame of their sin.” — From a sermon by Saint Leo the Great, pope

Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Homily

Readings

“All who receive the sacred flesh of Christ are united with him as members of his body. This is the teaching of Saint Paul when he speaks of the mystery of our religion that was hidden from former generations, but has now been revealed to the holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; namely, that the Gentiles are joint-heirs with the Jews, that they are members of the same body, and that they have a share in the promise made by God in Christ Jesus.
“If, in Christ, all of us, both ourselves and he who is within us by his own flesh, are members of the same body, is it not clear that we are one, both with one another and with Christ? He is the bond that unites us, because he is at once both God and man.” — From a commentary on the gospel of John by Saint Cyril of Alexandria, bishop

Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter

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Readings

“The Holy Spirit renews us in baptism through his godhead, which he shares with the Father and the Son. Finding us in a state of deformity, the Spirit restores our original beauty and fills us with his grace, leaving no room for anything unworthy of our love. The Spirit frees us from sin and death, and changes us from the earthly men we were, men of dust and ashes, into spiritual men, sharers in the divine glory, sons and heirs of God the Father who bear a likeness to the Son and are his co-heirs and brothers, destined to reign with him and to share his glory. In place of earth the Spirit reopens heaven to us and gladly admits us into paradise, giving us even now greater honor than the angels, and by the holy waters of baptism extinguishing the unquenchable fires of hell.” — From the treatise On the Trinity by Didymus of Alexandria

Sixth Sunday of Easter

 

 

Readings

The weekly Bulletin and the bulletin article are available.

You can listen to the Gospel and Sunday homily here.

This last Sunday, we celebrated the Fifth Sunday of Easter.  The Easter lilies are a distant memory, and the Paschal Candle is slowly burning down, shorter than it was when we blessed and lit it for the first time on that Easter night.  The holy water blessed on that night still stands in our midst, but we probably don’t notice it as much, just because it’s been there a while. We have two more Sundays (one of which will be celebrated as the Ascension of the Lord) before we conclude the season with the Feast of Pentecost.  It is only a little longer than the season of Lent, yet Easter season always feels very long to me—as if we’ll never get to Pentecost.  And the excitement of Easter seems almost a distant memory.

One reason for this, I think, is that during this time, we are moving from the last days of winter into the first days of spring (or summer, perhaps, in Louisiana!).  During this time as well, our attention begins to get diverted to all the events of May — graduations, end of school, Mother’s Day, etc.  Whatever the case, after more than a month of this season, the Feast of Easter just feels very long ago.  The joy and amazement of the proclamation, “Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!” has diminished, as has the astonishment at the emptiness of the tomb.

Now you might say, Well, no one can stay that excited forever!  And you’d be right.  Some might also remind us that every Sunday is a celebration of the Lord’s resurrection, and they would be right as well. At the same time, there is a part of me that wants to hold on to that joy and excitement.

As strange as it may sound, one thing that I find helpful is to return to the events of that last week of Lent — especially those three days leading up to the Lord’s resurrection.  I think it’s important to remember the discouragement of that arrest at night, and the conviction that followed.  We need to recall the fear that drove most of the disciples away from the foot of the cross.  We need to wait behind locked doors with the disciples in that upper room, dreading whatever would happen next.  We must not forget the sorrow of Mary Magdalene as she went weeping to the tomb on that first Easter morning, hoping at best to anoint his body.  With the two disciples who left everything to go to Emmaus, we must face up to shattered hopes and dreams.

I know that these memories seem very dark.  But the darkness of those days were essential for the victory that followed, and for the light that is Christ to scatter that darkness.  It is in the darkness that the light shines most brightly.  Recalling that darkness helps us to face any darkness, or despair or sadness in our own lives, and to let that Light of Christ illumine our hearts.  That is how we continue to celebrate Easter.

Continue reading

Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Homily

Readings

“Christ is risen. His rising brings life to the dead, forgiveness to sinners, and glory to the saints. And so David the prophet summons all creation to join in celebrating the Easter festival: Rejoice and be glad, he cries, on this day which the Lord has made.
“The light of Christ is an endless day that knows no night. Christ is this day, says the Apostle; such is the meaning of his words: Night is almost over; day is at hand. He tells us that night is almost over, not that it is about to fall. By this we are meant to understand that the coming of Christ’s light puts Satan’s darkness to flight, leaving no place for any shadow of sin.” — From a sermon by Saint Maximus of Turin, bishop

Fifth Sunday of Easter

 

Readings

The weekly Bulletin and the bulletin article are available.

You can listen to the Gospel and Sunday homily here.

The bulletin article follows:

Recently browsing around on the net, I stumbled across a 2012 movie called “Full of Grace”.  This is basically an imaginative account of the last days of the Virgin Mary’s life.  It’s value lies not in providing an historical account, since we have no information about those last days.  Rather, I found it a moving story of what “might have happened”.  One scene that struck me was a lengthy speech that Mary offers a group of the disciples gathered around her, as she lay dying.  Again, we have no reason to believe this actually happened, but I found nothing there that contradicted our faith.  Here is an excerpt from that speech, that I offer for Mother’s Day.   I can well imagine Mary remembering Jesus in this way, and desiring to console and strengthen his followers.

“I have been remembering the first moment I encountered him. I’ve been remembering the first moment I heard the angel’s word. Even after the angel spoke to me, I was deeply disturbed. For how could this be? But in my heart, I had already heard the answer.  Nothing is impossible with God. Continue reading

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Homily

Readings

“Let us, then, preserve the unity of the body that we form in Christ Jesus, and let everyone give his neighbor the deference to which his particular gifts entitle him. Let the strong care for the weak and the weak respect the strong. Let the wealthy assist the poor and the poor man thank God for giving him someone to supply his needs. The wise man should show his wisdom not by his eloquence but by good works; the humble man should not proclaim his own humility, but leave others to do so; nor must the man who preserves his chastity ever boast of it, but recognize that the ability to control his desires has been given him by another.
“Think, my brothers, of how we first came into being, of what we were at the first moment of our existence. Think of the dark tomb out of which our Creator brought us into his world where he had his gifts prepared for us even before we were born. All this we owe to him and for everything we must give him thanks. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” — From a letter to the Corinthians by Saint Clement, pope