Music for Holy Week & Easter

Guest Post: Simon Berry

TheTriduumOn Holy Thursday we will be singing music based on the chant Ubi Caritas, the hymn set for the offertory of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.  The parish has been using a Mass setting based on this chant for the whole Lenten season and all will be familiar with the melody.   The gentle motets Ubi Caritas and Tantum Ergo by 20th century French composerMaurice Duruflé will set the tone for this mass.  We will also be singing the newly composed Mandatum by Peter Latona (Of the National Shrine in DC).  This is a setting of texts from the Missal for the Washing of the Feet.  Instead of organ music before Mass the choir will sing an arrangement of the spiritual, By and By and Tallis’s If Ye Love Me.

 For Good Friday’s noon service of reflections, we will presenting the Seven Choral reflections on the Seven Last Words of Christ, commissioned and written for St. Dominic’s in 2010 by Robert Chastain.

Good-Friday-Wallpaper-04 For the 1:45 pm and 7:30 pm Passion Liturgies, we will sing the motet Take him Earth for Cherishing  (1964), by Herbert Howells and five motets from his Requiem of 1936.

The Easter Vigil (8.30 pm) and the Solemn Mass of Easter Day (11:30 am) will feature another St. Dominic’s commissioned work, the motet Alleluia by David Conte (b. 1955), written for us in 2009.

On Easter Sunday we will sing a new motet just written this year for our Schola Cantorum by local composer Joseph Stillwell (b. 1984)  The text is from the Offertory chant for Easter (Terra Tremuit) and the motet is scored for choir and solo trumpet.  All this, plus a Mass setting by Haydn, will help create a joyous Easter spirit!

Holy Week Schedule at St. Dominic’s

Palm Sunday, 4/13
5:30 p.m.              Vigil Mass (Saturday, 4/12)
7:30 a.m.              Quiet Mass9:15 a.m.              Palm Sunday Procession with Donkey.
N.B. start time
         Meet by the Lourdes Grotto at 9:15 a.m.
Family Mass follows in Church.

11:30 a.m.             Solemn Choral Mass
1:30 p.m.              St. Jude Pilgrim Mass in Spanish
5:30 p.m.              Mass with Contemporary music
9:00 p.m.              Mass by candlelight

Holy Thursday, 4/177:30 a.m.              Tenebrae – followed by breakfast
7:30 p.m.              Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Good Friday, 4/187:30 a.m.              Tenebrae – followed by breakfast
12:00 p.m.            Seven Last Words of Christ
Seven reflections on the last words of Christ with specially composed choral music
1:45 p.m.              The Celebration of The Passion of the Lord
A simple version with read Passion Gospel
3:00 – 4:30 p.m.    Confessions
5:00 p.m.              Stations of the Cross
Especially suited to Families
7:30 p.m.              The Celebration of The Passion of the Lord
A solemn version with chanted Passion Gospel
Holy Saturday, 4/198:00 a.m.              Tenebrae – followed by breakfast
8:30 p.m.              The Easter Vigil

No confessions this day.

Easter Sunday, 4/207:30 a.m.              Mass with Easter Hymns
9:30 a.m.              Family Mass

11:30 a.m.             Solemn Choral Mass
1:30 p.m.              St. Jude Pilgrim Mass in Spanish
5:30 p.m.              Mass with Contemporary music

9:00 p.m.              Mass by Candlelight

No confessions this day.

Our Pastor’s Corner, April 13, 2014, Palm Sunday

As followers of Christ, this is the most important week of the year. Beginning with the pageantry and processions of Palm Sunday and ending with the stark quiet of Holy Saturday, the Church gives us an opportunity, through a wide array of liturgical celebrations, to retrace the path that Christ himself traveled in his final days. All of our Lenten projects and penances have prepared us for this moment: for now we embark on a journey in which we encounter the power and presence of Christ’s unconditional love. As this week unfolds, we do well to reflect daily on the last events of Christ’s life, for it is by this reflection that we open ourselves to the graces of the season.

entryjerusalem1-APalm Sunday. The feast of the Passover is near. Jerusalem is bursting with all those who have come from far and wide to celebrate the remembrance of their Exodus from Egypt and to look forward to the coming of the Messiah. Amid the bustling preparation, some wonder if the Teacher will come for the Passover. He does not disappoint. The crowds spot Jesus while he is still a way off, riding on a colt (as Isaiah prophesied Is 62:11), and they give him a royal welcome, They spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road (Mt 21:8). And all the while they cried, Hosanna! Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord (Mt 21:9). As he enters Jerusalem, Jesus is acclaimed as the Son of David, the king who is to restore the prosperous kingdom that David enjoyed 1,000 years earlier. But not all share in this joyful proclamation, and they try to silence the crowd. Jesus responds, I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out! The King has entered the holy city. But Jesus is not the sort of king that the people expect: he does not liberate them from the hated Roman occupation. This king comes to conquer sin and death with the weapons of service, obedience and love, love unto death.

downloadHoly Monday-Wednesday. After his royal entry, Jesus spends much of the next three days teaching and preaching in the Temple, and he enters the Temple with a splash.Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those engaged in buying and selling there. He overturned tables, seats and even fashioned a whip to aid in this cleansing. My house shall be a house of prayer but you have made it a den of thieves. It was a direct attack against the Sadducees, the priestly class, who had a monopoly on all liturgical transactions and dealings. For the Sadducees this effrontery was the final straw. The chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way to put him to death, yet they feared him. The crowds are spellbound by his teaching and he continues to teach them at length, to confound the traps of the Pharisees (the theologians), and even prophesy his death and resurrection. But on Wednesday, the chief priests get a break: Judas Iscariot, who was disillusioned with Christ, conspires with them to betray his teacher. The scene is set for the end of the week.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHoly Thursday-Saturday. Knowing that the hour of betrayal is near and as part of the Passover ceremonies, Jesus celebrates the Last Supper with his disciples. By washing the feet of the apostles, he reveals that his authority and his mission are rooted in the loving obedience of service. Further, in the institution of the Eucharist, he shows the depths of his love for he never abandons his followers but is always present to us in this Sacrament. It is with this same love that Jesus allows himself to go through his Passion and Death. Amid the betrayal of Judas and the denials of Peter, amid the brutal scourging and the mockery, amid the pain and suffering of humiliating crucifixion, we see the horrors of sin and the love that Christ has for us in offering His life so that he can then offer us forgiveness and mercy. His mission is clear: to make all things new whatever the cost. By entering into the events of this Holy Week our lives are transformed. For those who perseveringly trod shoulder–to-shoulder with Christ through the joys and sorrows, the love and agony of this Holy Week find themselves transformed with him by the power of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

~Fr. Michael Hurley, O.P.

Reflections on the Sacrament of Baptism, part II – “Fulfilling all righteousness”

Last time, we contemplated the question, “Why did Jesus get baptized?”  We continue our contemplation by wondering what the phrase “to fulfill all righteousness” means.

The Baptism of the Lord, Fra. Angelico, OP

The Baptism of the Lord, Fra. Angelico, OP

Matthew 3:13-15

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.  John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him.”

The keys to understanding what Jesus is saying to John—and why John is obedient to Jesus—lies in the word ‘righteousness’ and the Jewish priesthood.

(Disclosure: I not have a degree in scripture studies.  I am not, as such, qualified to teach about the sacraments at the University level.  These are my thoughts and my thoughts alone.  Forgive me if I lead you astray.)

There are two lines of priests—Aaronic, and Levitical.

The Aaronic is from Aaron, the brother of Moses.  Moses ordained him and his family to preside over sacrifices and other cultic occasions. There is also the Levitical priesthood, from the tribe of Levi.

When the Chosen People claimed the Holy Land, the Tribe of Levi did not receive a portion of the Holy Land; rather, they were entitled to certain fruits of the land for their cultic service for the people of God.

John’s father, Zechariah, is a priest from the division of Abijah of the clan of Levi, Elizabeth is from the tribe of Aaron.

http://iconreader.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/why-does-john-the-baptist-have-wings-in-orthodox-icons/Because the Jewish priesthood is hereditary, John is a priest—from both sides.

Not only is John the greatest prophet of Israel’s history, he is also, by heritage, a priest on both sides—thus, when John proclaims “Behold the Lamb of God”, he is the first priest of the Old Covenant to acknowledge Jesus as the Christ, and High Priest.

The priests of the Jewish Law—as they are in the Christian Law—are the keepers of the Covenant.
The priests are the ones that invoke the Holy Name of God on the Day of Atonement. They are the ones who handle the sacrifices in the Temple.  They are the ones who speak to God on the behalf of the People of God.

It is the priest—both in the Old and New Law—that are the intermediaries between God and His Chosen People.  Moreover, we remember the terms ‘righteousness’.  In the Torah, the righteous are men and women who are faithful to God’s promises.

SacrificeAbraham  http://iconreader.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/why-does-john-the-baptist-have-wings-in-orthodox-icons/Abraham is considered the righteous one.  Ironically, he doesn’t have a good track record—in Genesis, he twice told his wife to deny that they are married, he cast off Hagar the mother of Ishmael.  Nonetheless, he is called righteous because he was faithful to God’s promises.

He never gave up on the notion that a son will be born from him and Sarah and that this son will be the father of nations.

Abraham is called righteous because he is faithful to the promises that God had given him.

So when Jesus says to his cousin, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness”, Jesus is doing two things at the same time.

1)      Jesus is submitting himself to all of the Covenants that have been made between the Father and the Chosen People.  Jesus is making himself righteous in the Abrahamic sense—he is submitting his will in order to be obedient to the Abrahamic Covenant in the Mount, the Mosaic Covenant at Sinai, and the Davidic Covenant as spoken by Nathan the Prophet in Jerusalem.  Thus, when Jesus initiates his own Covenant—the Passion, Death, and Resurrection—it is in-line and in the context of the other Covenants made between the Father and the His Chosen Ones.

2)      The priesthood.  It passes from a tribe to a person, Jesus Christ.  The Aaronic and Levitical priesthood—of which John is a member of both via heritage—is flowing from John, the prophet and priest par excellance of the Old Law—into his cousin, the High Priest and Great Prophet of the New Law.

Again, these are my contemplations on the aforesaid topics.  My own prayer and research has gone into these pages, but they are not ex cathedra as such.  I am open and willing to receive any corrections from a proper authority.

We will continue our contemplation on the Sacrament of Baptism, asking what do our ruminations mean for you and me in 2014?

Holy Father Dominic, pray for us!

Our Pastor’s Corner – 5th Sunday of Lent

The sisters of Lazarus sent word to Jesus, saying, “Master, the one you love is ill.” When OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” He became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.” But some of them said, “Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?” So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay across it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” And when he had said this, He cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.” Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him. (John 11:3-45)

 

Tears. Weeping. Mourning. Our story begins with Jesus’ late arrival after Lazarus has already died. At first glance, this timing seems curious. If Bethany is only 2 miles away from Jerusalem, why does Jesus wait 4 days until after Lazarus is buried before he makes the journey?

Two spiritual principles emerge from this curious delay. First, Jesus’ lateness provides the opportunity to manifest his divine power. If he had raised Lazarus from his death bed immediately, the skeptic might wonder if Lazarus was truly dead. Waiting 4 days after burial removes any doubt of the authenticity of the ensuing miracle. In fact, the same folks who seek Jesus’ life also threaten Lazarus once he is raised from the dead, because Lazarus’ living presence is a witness to Christ’s power. Second, Jesus’ delay reveals God’s attitude toward suffering and death. In the face of his loss, “Jesus wept” (11:35). Jesus’ tears teach us that mourning is not simply a human emotion, but also God’s first response to death.

Death was not an original part of God’s plan for us. Death is the consequence for sin, and Jesus’ reaction reminds us of the profundity of God’s love (e.g., the verb, turbatio, which St. John uses to describe Jesus’ state of mind in this moment is the same verb that is used to describe the storm which Jesus calms on the Sea of Galilee). Even though Jesus knows that he will raise Lazarus from the dead, death stirs a storm in his soul, his heart is “churned up,” and he grieves. And in this grief he gives us permission to mourn our own losses, to recognize that death is not what God wants for us and lets us glimpse the unfathomable depths of God’s compassion.

But this is not the end. Jesus’ tears are not without effect. Love is stronger than death. Approaching the grave, Jesus lifts up his gaze to the Father, gives thanks and cries out to Lazarus, “Come out!” Life emerges from grave. As Lazarus emerges from the grave, the act brightly foreshadows Christ’s own resurrection. Just as Lazarus is unfettered from his burial shroud, so we too live in the promise that Christ has the power to lose our sins, to reconcile us with our loving Father, and to raise us to eternal life. This is the hope which allows us to continue with whatever struggles burden our Lenten journey and to persevere in following Christ who is our way, truth and life. For those who believe, the daily veil of tears forms the river which leads to our heavenly harbor.

~Fr. Michael Hurley, O.P.

Reflections on the Sacrament of Baptism – part I, “Why did Jesus get baptized?”

As we prepare for the Easter Sacraments, let us reflect on the first Sacrament that all Christians have partaken: BAPTISM

We will engage in a three part discussion about the Sacrament of Baptism:

Part I: Why did Jesus get baptized?

Part II: “Fulfilling All Righteousness”

Part III: Baptized to be holy

https://thepadre10.wordpress.com/tag/baptism/

Let’s begin part one with the Gospel of Luke, 3:15-16, 21-22

The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

After all the people had been baptized
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”

 

Crisis of the Situation.
According to Jewish liturgical practice, what we know as baptism is a cleansing ritual that prepares the High priest for the Day of Atonement.  The High Priest would go to a bath of ‘living water’, bathe in it, and from there, prepare all of the rituals for the Day of Atonement.  What we call Baptism was linked, from the very beginning, to sin.

It makes sense that John the Baptist would call people to repentance, to cleanse themselves from their sinful ways, and to live in accordance to the Jewish law.  Baptism, at least as John understood it, makes a lot of sense…for people who sin.

But it doesn’t make sense for Jesus.  Why did Jesus get baptized?
Why did the Sinless Lamb of God, he who was tempted but never strayed, get baptized by his cousin John?

 

Beginning from the End

When I was taking Fundamental Moral Theology, we were taught that an action is determined by its end, or final cause.  Why does a mom sweep their kitchen floor?  Because she wants a cleaner house.  Why does a boy drink a hot drink?  Because it is cold outside and he wants to warm up.  An action is determined by its end, or final cause.

Why did Jesus undergo baptism?  Why did the Sinless Son of God, do this?

As some of your know, Pope Benedict XVI wrote a three part book series entitled, “Jesus of Nazareth”.  It’s his own spiritual journey in learning who Christ is, and who Christ wants us to be.  The Holy Father tracks Jesus entire ministry, from his Nativity to his Ascension.

52733683FO001_pope(Now, remember, these books were not ex cathedra statements.  He wrote these books as a fellow theologian, one amongst many, and not as the Pastor of the Western Church as such.  His words are not definitive, but nonetheless, they are illuminating.)

He writes, “Immersion in the water is about purification, about liberation from the filth of the past that burdens and distorts life—it is about beginning again, and that means it is about death and resurrection, about starting life over again…..  So we could say that it is about rebirth.” Vol 1, page 16

It’s pretty self-evident what he is saying here.  That immersing oneself into the waters of Baptism is a new beginning.
It’s about leaving one’s former way of life and entering into a new life, a life with different presuppositions, different ways of being in the world and looking into the world, different ways of interacting with other people.

By entering into the waters of baptism and coming out the other side, you are reborn into a new way of life.

Seeing John’s baptism this way, then, we continue the words of the Holy Father:  “Looking at the events in the light of the Cross and Resurrection, the Christian people realized what happened: Jesus loaded the burden of all mankind’s guilt upon his shoulders; he bore it down into the depth of the Jordan.  He inaugurated his public activity by stepping into the place of sinners.  His inaugural gesture is an anticipation of the Cross.   …The Baptism is an acceptance of death for sins of humanity, and the voice that called out ‘This is my beloved Son” over the baptismal waters is an anticipatory reference to the Resurrection.”

Or, as St. John Chrysostom once said, “Going down into the water and emerging again are the image of the descent into hell and the Resurrection.”

What happens when we think about water?  We drink it, it refreshes us, and cleanses us.

But what happens when you have too much water?  You die—you drown.

Water—the protagonist of baptism—gives death and gives life.  Jesus bore the sins of the world as he descended into the waters of baptism. But when he rose from the waters, it was then that he was anointed as the Beloved of the Father, set on a mission to bring the world back to God.  When he descended into the Jordan, he took our place as a sinner, and rose from the waters anticipating the resurrection.

When Jesus was baptized, it was in anticipation to the passion event.  Every action is determined by its end. Why does a person drink coffee in the morning?  So that he may be able to be awake at the office.  Why does a person study biology?  In order to be a doctor.

Why did Jesus get baptized?  In order to prefigure or anticipate the Passion, Death and Resurrection.

 

What does this mean for me?
When we are baptized, we are reborn into the Mystery of Christ, to live this mystery and his life in the here and now. That we will be praised, rejoiced in, rejected, mocked, scourged and loved just as he was in his short ministry.  That we obtain the genealogy that he was born into, that that history of the Covenants, Abraham to Moses to David, are now ours by virtue of our being Baptized into the Mysteries of Christ.

Fra Angelico, OP St. Dominic & Christ

Fra Angelico, OP
St. Dominic & Christ

What does this mean?  That when we suffer, are persecuted, are going through rough times and glorious times, we ought not be surprised.  We are undergoing the Life of the Savior.  What we went through is our lot.

Holy Father Dominic, pray for us!

Fourth week of Lent – Humility revisited

I was walking back from an off-site appointment.  As I had crossed the sidewalk, and I hear someone scream my name.

It. Totally. Made. Me. Freak.

Instantly, I knew that I was in trouble.  But more importantly, I was wondering which government agency had me in their sights.  There was a small part of me (okay, a large part of me) that said, “I wonder if S.H.I.E.L.D. finally found me.  I wonder if they had finally figured out that priests have powers that more comprehensively legit than Iron Man and Thor combined, and they want a D.N.A. sample.  Oh my goodness! I have to tell Michael and Emmanuel!  I have to tell Steve that I’m going to be late to Evening Prayer!  This is going to be so cool!”

downloadI mean, c’mon!  Everyone wants to meet Captain America.

I felt the color in my face drain.  I was seriously worried—I was wondering who was going to call out my name in the middle of the day, in the middle of Bush Street.  I wasn’t even on-call—you know what those days are like—this was supposed to be as low-key as my life gets.

I turn around, and in a really nice car sat a man whom I vaguely recognized.  Then he yelled, “Father!  That homily the other day!”

Oh, it’s that guy, I said to myself.  I flashed back to Sunday, remembering where he sits and which Mass he attends.

“How’s it going?” I asked.  I look at the red stop light.

“You killed it on Sunday!” he yelled over the traffic.  “My Mass was totally convicted.  You could hear a pin drop.  Quiet, man.  You totally killed it.  I need a copy of that homily.”

Hardly anyone asks for a copy of the homily—afterall, we have the podcast.  “Uh, okay,” I respond (yeah, I know, I was totally Father Elegant).  “Sure.  Just email me.  I don’t have your address.”

Green light.

“Seriously?  That easy?” he said, inching his car ahead.  “Okay—I’ll email you, like, tonight.”

He races off, waving goodbye, with me finding a chuckle as I walk back to the Priory.

Shield c

St Thomas Aquinas teaches that the humility is a virtue that allows us to who we really are.  Yes, we are limited and imperfect and we oftentimes fail.  But we have been given numerous gifts as well.  We may not be able to keep the living room clean, but we make the best pancakes this side of Antioch.  We may not be the best test taker, but no one else can play a meaner guitar.  We are limited, but God has also given us numerous graces and gifts.

We are the Order of Preachers. We are privileged to be Dominic’s sons.  We have been given to the Church to be a company of Christians who can bring down the Thunder of God on a daily basis.  But at the same time, we are inefficient, silly, slow to change, and vulnerable to awful land deals.

Fra Angelico OPI hesitate to acknowledge that the Lord has granted me this beautiful grace of preaching the Gospel well.  I also acknowledge that He had given me this beautiful gift of writing, which I had recently re-discovered.  But I am also aware of my countless faults and things in which I need to work on.

It was humorous and beautiful to be interrupted while crossing the street the other day.  But it was also a time where I was reminded of the virtue of humility.  A time where, yes, I thank this parishioner for this compliment.  A time that, yes, I am reminded of the One of gave the gift.

Holy Father Dominic, pray for us!

Sunday 11:30 Mass preview

Hear my Prayer

Guest post: Simon Berry

picMendelssohn composed the verse anthem, or hymn, Hear My Prayer to a paraphrase of the opening verses of Psalm 55 by his friend the English lyricist William Bartholomew. Scored for soprano solo, mixed chorus, and organ, it was composed for London’s newly renovated Crosby Hall, the venue for many sacred concerts in the 1840s.

London audiences of the time relished this work. Its four sections present mellifluous airs for the soprano in the outer verses, connected by a dramatic, responsorial dialogue between soprano and chorus, and then a recitative.

Ernest Lough, 1911-2000, made this piece famous with his 1927 recordings, from the Temple Church, London, directed by George Thalben Ball.

The record was issued a few weeks later and its success was due in some degree to the fact that it was issued on H.M.V.’s cheaper plum label. Nevertheless, the sales figures took everyone by surprise and it was H.M.V’s biggest seller for 1927. Six presses had to be set aside at the Hayes factory for its production. Later, it was to sell a million copies and in 1962 GTB and Lough were presented with a golden disc to mark the occasion.

images

Its still a famous piece of music and one that makes the psalmist’s words come to life.

Come and pray the Mass with us on Sunday, 11:30 Solemn Mass, and be elevated in mind, body and spirit.

How to make a good confession, part III

There is such a thing as Sacramental Abuse.

The blessing and curse of having confessions so often at St. Dominic’s is the fact that many people can come into the box on a regular basis.

phpho6VnbAM

The road to the confessional box.

However, almost every priest I know has encountered that one penitent that is not very penitent.  There comes a time in every priest’s life where they meet a person who comes into the box on a regular basis, asks for forgiveness—but at the end of the story, is not really sorry that they did wrong.

Why?  Because they can do that repetitive sin once again and go to confession before Mass and believe that they are good to go.

You know it’s happened.  And you know it happens.

So here’s the thing.  The matter of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is contrition—that is, the state of being in which you willingly say that you will sin no more. What makes the Sacrament of Reconciliation what it is is the contrition of the penitent.  This ain’t Catholic guilt!  Rather, it is a willingness and conviction of knowing that having a good relationship with God takes a lot more work that I am currently putting in.

imagesSo when a person comes into the box, you have to ask yourself if you are really sorry?  Or are we the type of person that says, “I’m going to commit this sin now, and go to the box tomorrow, receive communion, and then sin on Monday.”

One type of person sees their religious life as a series of check boxes.  The other wants a relationship with Jesus.

Which are you?

Holy Father Dominic, pray for us!

Our Pastor’s Corner – 3rd Sunday of Lent

iamhe2A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father, Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?”Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking with you.” (John 4:13-15, 26)

 

St. Dominic’s is privileged to welcome almost 50 catechumens and candidates into the Church this year. Through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) process, they have journeyed for eight months towards receiving Christ’s loving embrace in the arms of our Faith. Our Easter Vigil will be quite a celebration!

Credit: waterweb.com

Credit: waterweb.com

The Gospel we hear this weekend is the story of the woman at the well. For the next three weekends, we will hear powerful stories of Jesus’ ministry that are saturated with the dynamics of what it means to believe, e.g., woman at the well, healing of the blind man, and the raising of Lazarus. Each of these Gospels is connected to the Rite of Scrutiny, which is part of the RCIA process. You might ask, “What exactly are the scrutinies?” The Church says, “The scrutinies are rites for self-searching and repentance and have above all a spiritual purpose. They are meant to uncover, and then heal all that is weak, defective, or sinful in the hearts of the elect; to bring out, then strengthen all that is upright, strong, and good. These rites, therefore, should complete the conversion of the elect and deepen their resolve to hold fast to Christ and to carry out their decision to love God above all. In order to inspire in the elect a desire for purification and redemption by Christ, three scrutinies are celebrated. By this means, first of all, the elect are instructed gradually about the mystery of sin, from which the whole world and every person longs to be delivered and thus saved from its present and future consequences. Second, their spirit is filled with Christ the Redeemer, who is the living water (Gospel of the Samaritan woman in the first scrutiny), the light of the world (Gospel of the man born blind in the second scrutiny), the resurrection and the life (Gospel of Lazarus in the third scrutiny). From the first to the final scrutiny, the elect should progress in their perception of sin and their desire for salvation.”

Lent is a time when we join with those journeying through RCIA. Just as they are learning and discovering the power of Christ in their lives, we too ask the Lord for a renewed sense of our need for Him. In fact, at the heart of the story of the Samaritan woman is the recognition of this deep need we have for God. The fabric of the human heart is woven with and by God’s love and only this love can truly make us happy. In their conversation at the well, Jesus awakens this desire and invites her to “drink from the living water” of His words. The desire for God is written in the human heart, because we are created by God and for God. Since He never ceases to draw us to Himself, only in God will we find the truth and happiness for which we never stop searching. As we continue our 40-day journey, we join with those preparing to enter the Church in recognizing our thirst for God. Driven by this thirst, we eagerly approach the fount of His mercy by listening for His words and receiving His love in Eucharist.

~Fr. Michael Hurley, O.P.