April 5, 2018 – Thurs. the 1st week of Easter

Saint for the day:Vincent Ferrer (Jan 23, 1350 – April 5, 1419)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Acts 3:11-26 – Psalm 8 – Luke:24:35-48

Words, by their very definition are limited. Imagine Jesus standing before you – not speaking but able, still to communicate this Gospel scene. How do you “see Him bringing “Peace?” How do you know about His wounds? What do they look like? Does He beckon you to touch Him? Does He indicate that He is hungry? When we say that words in themselves are limited we have to also say that our words about Jesus & Heaven are also very limiting. Jesus is the word. The logos. That which is before and beyond time, space, and our concept of being. All our worries and questions from the time of the crucifixion and on are tied up in our limited words. We must go beyond these limitations in order to know the resurrected (real) Jesus. We need to put aside all those “wordy concepts” in order to be able to see/know Jesus. Amen!


April 4, 2018 – in the 1st week of Easer

Saint for the day: Isidore of Seville (c. 560 – April 4, 636)

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy:

Acts 3:1-10 – Psalm 105 – Luke 24:13 – 35

What is it about the Risen Christ that kept the disciples from recognizing him? Sometimes the scriptures tell us, “their eyes were restrained.” Surely God could have revealed Himself in a way that everybody could easily see …. And believe. Yet he chooses to do it on a one-to-one basis. Take the transfiguration, for example. He could have done that on the Mountain of “Loves & fish” but He did it with just the chosen three. He could have done the death and resurrection in a Broadway, “Super Star” sort of production yet He chose to do it to Mary Magdalen & these two guys on the road to Emmaus.

The Emmaus guys eyes were restrained in order for them to gradually come to a deep, heart-felt realization that burned inside the core of their being. Those babies that were baptized on Easter Sunday haven’t a clue as to what happened to them. They will have to eventually come to that “Emmaus point” where it will begin to make sense and they can say, “where not our hearts burning…?”

April 3, 2018 – Tuesday in the 1st week of Easter


Saint for the day: Benedict the African: (1526 – 1589)

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy:

Acts 2:36-41         – Psalm 33 – John 20:11-18

“I heard the Lord call my name. Listen close and you’ll hear the same.”

One of the most rewarding times of my life was the semester I spent in Israel in late 1983. The program was offered by Catholic Theological Union (Chicago) and we were housed in a former Franciscan seminary in Ein Karem, a short distance from Jerusalem. On occasion I would stay overnight in the Old City and I usually “book ended” this time by visiting the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchral in the late afternoon (when most of the tourist crowds weren’t around) and early in the morning for the 4:30 Mass in the Tomb. There is something spectacular about being at the Tomb of Jesus for Mass. Especially in the dark and quiet of the early morning. I also remember sitting quietly in the little space at the entrance to the Tomb – called the “Angle Room” – usually all by myself – and, in the late afternoon. The familiar Gospel song “I heard the Lord call my name. Listen close and hear the same” would float through my mind. I would sometimes expect to open my eyes and see an angel standing there and asking me, “What are you doing? He is not here. He’s been raised!”

It was always a reminder to me that we so often are more comfortable sitting quietly somewhere expecting that the Lord will visit us, forgetting the second part of that greeting, “Go out from here and get on the Way that’s where you’ll meet the Risen Lord.”

Then there’s the other aspect of our encounter with the Risen Lord that, like Mary Magdalene, we want to hold Him close to us. But, again, He tells us “Don’t cling to me. I [am not finished with what my resurrection is all about] and have not yet ascended to my father and your father.”

So, we come to our “bottom line” for today: a reminder that the Lord’s resurrection and ascension is a cycle that must be completed in order for the Holy Spirit – the creative power of God – to be active in our lives. As much as I wanted to remain in the quiet of that little room adjacent to the Tomb – where I wasn’t bothered by any cares of the world – I knew that I must be “out and about” to meet the Lord “on the Way.” Interestingly, it’s our own St. Catherine of Siena who reminds us, “It’s Heaven all the way to Heaven!”

Monday April 2, 2018

April 2, 2018 – Monday in the Octave of Easter

Saint for the day: Francis of Paola (March 27, 1416 – April 2, 1507)

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy

Acts 2:14, 22-33 – Psalm 16 – Matthew 28:8-15

Easter, and, in case you didn’t’ get it right today: we have seven weeks to work on this! . The familiar saying, “…you can’t see the trees for the forest” might easily fit to these days of the Resurrection since we will hear over and over again Gospel accounts of those who were closest to Jesus during his lifetime – not recognizing him when they encounter him in various situations. A helpful note for us might be the reoccurring fact that most of His appearances happened when they were on the way. Mary Magdalen – on the way to tell the disciples that the tomb is empty, presumes that someone has taken the body of Jesus. She encounters Him on the way. And even when she sees Him she doesn’t recognize Him and thinks He is the gardener.

The two disciples –on the way to Emmaus don’t recognize Him until He breaks bread and explains the scriptures that apply to Himself. “I am… the truth(explaining the Scared Scriptures) and the Life. – the Bread of Life, the Eucharist.

Peter and John, on the other hand, come to believe just by seeing the burial cloths folded up nicely in the place where they had placed the dead body of Jesus. This should have been a clear indication to them that Jesus was not going to be recognized using their memory of what He looked like in life. If we apply all these interesting connections to our own lives we might more easily compare ourselves to Thomas who is most familiar to us as the doubting Thomas: “unless I see with my own eyes and hands…”

So, it should be obvious that any encounter with the Resurrected Jesus is going to require our ability to “see” with the eyes of faith. And still, like Thomas, we will probably have to say, “Lord, I believe … help my unbelief!”

On our journey through life – both physical and spiritual – we need to meditate on these three “qualities” that Jesus proclaimed: “I am the WAY, the Truth and the Life!

Whenever we get discouraged or down we need to see where we are. Are we on the way? Or have we taking a detour into self-indulgence or some other fault that prevents us from seeking – and living – the truth? And, are we honestly participating in the life of Jesus by frequent participation in the Eucharist? Something to think about on this Monday in the Octave of Amen!

April 1, 2018 – The Resurrection of Jesus

April 1, 2018 – Easter Sunday – The Resurrection of the Lord

Mass for the Holy Night of Easter

The various rituals of the Church in these days of “Pascal Triduum” should give us an experience of the mystery of our redemption. Be careful that we don’t get caught up trying to figure it all out and make sense – in a human sort of way. Don’t try to count 24 hour days & then say that Jesus rose on Easter Monday!   “One day with the Lord is as a thousand elsewhere.” These Holy Days are rituals & soaked in symbol. Holy Thursday: the commemoration of the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood. But the Church doesn’t give us a Gospel from John (on the Bread of life) or the Hoy Spirit giving life to the cultic priesthood. Rather the Gospel is Jesus washing feet! Think about it. On Good Friday the focus is on the suffering servant who is our great “high priest” but is crucified between two thieves. He dies and is buried. On Holy Saturday night we wait. What should we expect to gain from our participation in these rituals. What does it all mean to the many who don’t participate in it? Something is surely missing here in Africa to give and pass on the solemn meaning of these days. But it’s not just here in Africa that the mystery is lost. It is everywhere. So what should each of us do to re-capture the essence of this great mystery? We must ask ourselves, “What do I believe in and why?” Let the images of these Holy Days fly through our minds but don’t stop there. Go beyond to that quiet place where the spirit speaks to the heart. It will take you from celebration to darkness to cold, loneliness and, hopefully on to resurrection Glory.  Amen!

March 31, 2018 – Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday is a time for all of us to slow down and pay attention to what we are about to celebrate. The following “link” will take you to some interesting web sight that, I hope, will give you enough information to enter into to this holiest weeek of our ‘Church year.

A good link to “facts” about Holy Saturday

I’d like to hear from anyone out there who is reading these little “Scratch Pad Reflections.” Let me know that you’re getting it. Use the link below to contact me.

Check out my home page for more stories and pictures & a link to e-mail me


March 30, 2018 – Good Friday

March 30, 2018 – Friday of the Passion of our Lord –

Good Friday


Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Isaiah 53:23 – 53:12 – Psalm 31 – Hebrews 4:14 – 16; 5:7-9

John 18:1 –19:42

 In these solemn days of the Paschal Triduum all of us who are involved in “liturgical ministries” have to be on guard to be sure that we don’t let the “mechanics” of what happens overtake us to the point were we miss the hidden essence of what’s really going on. These “three holy days” are really at the height of what “liturgy” is all about …if we let the myriad of symbols be all they want to be.

Today’s “liturgy” – because it’s not a mass – could leave some of us in a quandary. But it is filled with beautiful images – from both the scriptures and the actions which are done – that can draw us into the drama of the crucifixion and the great love that God has for us.

We don’t need to watch Mel Gibson’s, “The Passion” to gain insight into the mystery of the passion and death of Jesus if we let the “script” of today’s liturgy – both the words proclaimed and the action done – be all that they are intended to be. That’s why there is no need for commentary since the entire congregation is involved in dramatic words and powerful images. The Veneration of the Cross, if done with solemnity and grace, is one of the most powerful experiences of our Church’s liturgy.

All of this requires that we allow ourselves to be free of time restraints and other physical burdens. Most churches will be packed to the rafters on this day yet we still need to allow each person to enter into this mystery as if they were the only person for whom Jesus died.

The solemn reading of the Passion, along with the prayerful veneration of the cross and Holy Communion are different enough from our regular liturgies and thus should be able to draw us in to this great act of love.

“… no greater love than to lay down one’s life for friends.”

“What a friend we have in Jesus!”

March 29, 2018 HolyThursday

March 29, 2018 – Click on this link to read about the celebration for Holy Thursday

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14 – Psalm 116: 12 … 18 – John 13:1-15

Jesus says, “I give you a new command – ’mandatum’ to do as I have done.

 Today’s liturgy celebrates the institution of the Eucharist and the Ministry of Priesthood. Yet we don’t hear a Gospel that supports these to important parts of our Christian belief. What we hear, rather, is the account of Jesus – whom we call Lord and Master – assuming the role of a slave and washing the feet of his closest friends. Afterwards he says – paralleling the same words used in the Institution of the Eucharist – “…do this in memory of Me.”

First He gives us his body and blood but doesn’t let us just stay there thinking how blessed we are to be this close to Jesus. He moves us out of our “private, upper rooms” and does friends.

What does this tell us about our Catholic faith? Once again it reminds us that our faith in Jesus is never just adoration of the Eucharist. Or only works or ministry and service. Like always, it is both and. We tend to put a lot of focus on the sacredness of the Eucharist and the dignity of the priesthood and forget that both these important sacraments must, somehow, be seen as integral parts of our Christian life. We tend to celebrate the Eucharist and Ordinations with a lot of pomp and ceremony and then follow it up with a party. Jesus gave us the Eucharist as His Body and Blood – food for the journey – and as a servant washed the feet of his apostles. After this, He went to His death on the Cross. “… no greater love than to lay down one’s life for friends.”

Today’s liturgical celebration is an important one that gives us two primary foundations of our Faith: sharing in the Body and Blood – the life – of Jesus and the call to, “go out and do what you have seen me do.” Amen!








March 28, 2018 – Wednesday in Holy Week

March 28, 2018 – Wednesday in Holy Week

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy:

Isaiah 50:4-9a – Psalm 69 – Matthew 26:14-25

We’re faced once more with the image of betrayal and can’t help but look at Judas and Peter: two different ways of completing a circle of fate: one of remorse and one of despair.   We might well benefit to see how these choices play out in our own lives. It’s a given that we all “fall short of the glory of God.” We make accidental and deliberate mistakes. We make choices all throughout our lives. Some are good choices; some not so good. But it’s not the fact that we make mistakes that matters. It’s what we do after that. Peter makes his mistake and goes out and weeps; Judas despairs. One realizes the sorrow & moves through it; Judas is consumed by his own inability to allow the love and mercy of Jesus to transform stone from a stumbling block into a bridge into/onto the road to heaven. The mistake is made by a word – Peter’s denial. And by an act – the kiss of Judas. We all sin in word and deeds. In what we have done and in what we have failed to do. Judas failed completely by not acknowledging his mistake. Peter failed but had remorse & his “stumbling rock” could be turned into a building block. Amen!

March 26, 2018 – Monday in Holy Week

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy:

Isaiah 42:1-7 – Psalm 27 – John 12:1-11

 The next three days are a kind of preparation for our entry into “The Paschal Triduum” the three most holy days of our Church year. This is a time for us to put aside our regular activities and tasks and focus on the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Yesterday we celebrated Passion Sunday – what we used to call “Palm Sunday” – and we had exceptionally large crowds of people in attendance. We gathered outside by the Lourdes Shrine and a ways from the Church. Wehad more dthan enough palm branchces for everyone to take as many as they wanted. We had more ttan enough to decorate inside the church and around the altar in the sanctuary. There was no way anyone could miss that this was Palm Sunday!

We had received a whole truck load of palm branches and there were more than enough to decorate around the “altar” and even line the center in the Church.

I had stripped some of the fronds and had a larvase to hold these little pieces of the palms. But our people weren’t interested in those little, tiny leaves. They began to pick up the larger palm branches and break off a significant part of the ends so that they had something large enough to wave during the procession intothe churh In so many ways our congregation was acting out what the people in the time of Jesus did with their loud cries of, “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna to the King.” But we also know that these same people who tried to make Jesus their King would later be the ones shouting for His death, “Crucify Him!”

This is why it is so important for us to look at yesterday’s celebration as being just the beginning of the story and how important it is to go through this week of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday with the Great Vigil of Christ triumph over death as we celebrate the Resurrection.

I was somewhat disappointed when I asked one of our more “regular” parishioners if she wanted to sign up for one of the scripture readings of Holy Week. Her response was, “Oh, Brother D we’re not going to be here. You know, this is one of the longest weekends in the year. We get off for Good Friday as well as Easter Monday. So we’re taking advantage of the chance to get away for a holiday.”

We have to ask ourselves: “How important is our involvement with “church?” We need to act out our exuberance with the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem; celebrate His gift of His Body and Blood and then, too, be the ones who shout, “Crucify Him!” but also stay around for the Resurrection. Three Holy Days that bring meaning to our own lives of faithfully following Jesus; stumbling along the way and experiencing deaths in one way or another and THEN celebrating “Resurrection!” We shouldn’t miss any part of this fundamental mystery of our faith. Amen!