Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

Fr. Father Cusick

Third Sunday of Easter
April 22, 2012

At Emmaus Jesus gave his Body and Blood as he celebrated the Eucharist. There the disciples encountered the Easter Christ: “they had come to know Jesus in the breaking of bread.” (Lk 24, 25) “Breaking of bread” is an ancient name for the Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Mass. Each of us relives the wonder and awe of Emmaus at every Mass. We “know Jesus the Lord” in the most perfect way outside of heaven itself as the priest, acting in the person of Christ, offers the Mass. In this way we encounter the Resurrection as an historical and transcendent event. Earth and heaven come together in Jesus the God-Man as he appears before us on the altar of sacrifice.

“The mystery of Christ’s resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness. In about a.d. 56, St. Paul could already write to the Corinthians: “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve…” (1 Cor 15:3-4) The Apostle speaks here of the living tradition of the Resurrection which he had learned after his conversion at the gates of Damascus. (Cf. Acts 9:3-18)” (CCC 639)

The Gospel records the appearances of the risen Christ and tells of the panic and fright, the joy and wonder of the women and the Apostles who first saw him. This is put down in writing so that we may know, even as we experience the same lack of belief as they surely did, that Christ really and truly rose from the dead. We must through God’s grace overcome our lack of belief and embrace the virtue of faith more and more. “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.” Without faith we cannot freely choose to love God as he commands us to do. It is through the virtue of love, freely chosen, of Jesus the risen Lord, encountered in faith, that we hope to share in the Resurrection of the Lord. Even the beautiful accounts of Jesus in the Gospel are only fully understood and accepted by faith. The Easter gift of the Eucharist is the fount of these and all the gifts of grace.

“Mary Magdalene and the holy women who came to finish anointing the body of Jesus, which had been buried in haste because the Sabbath began on the evening of Good Friday, were the first to encounter the Risen One. (Mk 16:1; Lk 24:1; Jn 19:31, 42) Thus the women were the first messengers of Christ’s Resurrection for the apostles themselves. (Cf. Lk 24:9-10; Mt 28:9-10; Jn 20:11-18) They were the next to whom Jesus appears: first Peter, then the Twelve. Peter had been called to strengthen the faith of his brothers, (Cf. 1 Cor 15:5; Lk 22:31-32) and so sees the Risen One before them; it is on the basis of his testimony that the community exclaims: “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” (Lk 24:34, 36)” (CCC 641) Be a messenger of the Resurrection; live the glory of Easter through the transcendent gifts of faith, hope and love.|201204

A Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
April 22, 2012

3rd Easter: Jesus is Real!
Every year I teach a religion class or two at Guardian Angels School where I am also pastor. Towards the end of the school year, I have a question box session where I answer whatever questions the students have previously prepared. OK, so that means that a lot of them are about sex, but that is acceptable as long as the adolescents are sincerely searching for answers.

Easter Ghost – 3rd Sunday of Easter
In the heyday of the Roman Empire, the corruption of the times caused a wave of dissatisfaction to ripple across the civilized world. Many were disgusted with the gross sensuality of society and yearned for a higher, spiritual kind of existence. They sought a redeemer who would come down from heaven and enlighten those who walked in darkness.

Did Jesus really eat after the Resurrection?
3rd Sunday of Easter, Luke 24:35-48

While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.

Christ our Savior manifested the corporality of his glorified body through two principal proofs: First, he allowed his disciples to touch him; second, he ate in their presence.

Understanding Christ’s Resurrected Body
This Sunday’s Gospel involves one of the Easter Sunday appearances of Jesus Christ to the Disciples. It starts out with the two disciples from the road to Emmaus returning to describe how “Jesus was made known to themin the breaking of bread,” an obvious Eucharistic reference. But in the midst of this discussion, Christ appears (Lk. 24:36-43):

Where was Jesus during the forty days after Easter?
We know that Christ truly rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples in bodily form at various times during the forty days from Easter Sunday to Ascension Thursday. Christ our God was truly upon the Earth and in the world, even in his glorified flesh, for all of those days until he ascended into heaven.

The gospels speak of ten apparitions of the risen Jesus, and we gather at least two more from St. Paul. But, we wonder, where was Jesus during the rest of those forty days? Where was the Lord when he was not visibly present to his disciples?

The Church Must Not Fear Persecutions But Trust In The Presence of God
Vatican City, 18 April 2012 (VIS) – Returning to a recent series of catecheses on the theme of prayer, Benedict XVI dedicated his general audience this morning to what has been called the “Little Pentecost”, an event which coincided with a difficult moment in the life of the nascent Church.

The Acts of the Apostles tell us how Peter and John were released from prison following their arrest for preaching the Gospel. They returned to their companions who, listening to their account of what had happened, did not reflect on how to react or defend themselves, or on what measures to adopt; rather, “in that moment of trial they all raised their voices together to God”, Who replied by sending the Holy Spirit.

“BREWING FOR YEARS”! Archbishop Chaput Sees US Trending Against Religious Liberty
In an exclusive interview on his new eBook “A Heart on Fire,” Archbishop Charles J. Chaput says the recent contraception mandate points to a “pattern” of attacks on religious liberty in the U.S.

These attacks, he noted, are changing America into a country more hostile to religion in general and to Catholicism in particular.

Are Catholics Born Again Christians?
My godly Evangelical mother used to “witness” when we were out shopping. She’d ask the store keeper, “Have you been born again?” If the conversation got going she’d relate the story of the conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus in the third chapter of John’s gospel. I don’t know if she ever succeeded in making convert, but she succeeded in embarrassing me somewhat. I’m now embarrassed that I was embarrassed and, in hindsight, admire her courage, faith and zeal.

The question remains, however, “Just what is a ‘born again Christian’”?

Knowing Mary Through the Bible: Mary’s Question — a Vow?
Mary has only one question for the angel Gabriel. And it’s a question that provides a beautiful window into Our Lady’s unique spiritual life, but one we might overlook if we don’t read the Annunciation account carefully:

Mary says to the angel, “How can this be since I do not know man?” (Lk. 1:34). [1]

Two important facts will help us better appreciate the significance of Mary’s question. First, at this moment in the story we know that Mary is a virgin betrothed to Joseph, meaning that she is at the first stage of marriage. She is truly married to Joseph but not yet living with him, for she has not arrived at the second stage of marriage known as the “coming together,” when husband and wife typically would begin to live in the same house and consummate the marriage.

Humility: The First of the Lively Virtues
When Thomas Aquinas asked how it was that Satan believed, in his pride, that he could be like God, he denied that even the devil could be so blind as actually to believe that he could be God. For Satan understood by natural knowledge that that was impossible. He could not create heaven and earth from nothing, as he well knew. Besides, says Thomas, no creature desires its own demise, which must occur if it is to pass in essence from one grade of being to a higher grade. Rather, Satan desired to be like God “because he desired, as the ultimate goal of beatitude, that which he could attain by the power of his own nature, turning his desire away from that beatitude beyond nature which is bestowed by the free gift of God” (S. T. I.63.4). And this understanding of Satan’s sin, Thomas adds, is in accord with the opinion of Anselm, who said that Satan “desired what he would have attained if he had but stood.”

The Interior Life
The interior life for a Catholic means finding God in all things, leading to a life of contemplation in action.

Faith in Jesus Christ has consequences. A devout Catholic, who takes his faith seriously, will live in way that is in conformity with Catholic doctrine and morals. An atheist will lead a different kind of life since he sets his own norms. The Catholic who leads a serious interior life, and lives in accordance with the truth he knows, will be at peace with God, with himself and with his neighbor. He will also find a certain amount of limited happiness and joy because he has found purpose and meaning in his life.

How to Find God (in Six Not-So-Easy Steps)
I regularly get emails from people who say that they’ve been seeking God, but haven’t found him. They often express disappointment and frustration at the fact that once-promising spiritual journeys have now led to a dead end, and they want to know: “Is there anything else I can do?”

I’m not a spiritual director or a theologian, but I do have plenty of experience with spiritual dry spells and difficulties in the process of conversion, and I’ve spent a lot of time talking with wise people about common struggles in this department. While it’s important to understand that any kind of powerful experiences of God are a gift, that there’s not some magic formula we can follow that will guarantee that we’ll receive a flood of consolation, there are certain things we can do to make more room in our hearts for God’s presence.

Why Do We Suffer? The Theological Answer of St Paul
Nearly every religion seeks to make sense of the problem of pain. If God is both omnibenificent {all-loving} and omnipotent {all-powerful}, why then does He allow us to suffer? The Eastern traditions such as Buddhism dismiss pain and suffering as “unreal.” This solution is difficult to explain to a child with cancer. Other religious traditions attempt to accrue “good karma” in order to ensure that good times will come with a future reincarnated life. For these traditions, the origin of suffering is past sins, even sins committed in previous lives. Still other religions, such as Islam, seem to place the origin of suffering in the capricious “will of Allah.”

Raising “Alleluia” Kids in a “Whatever” World
I saw an 18 year old girl yesterday put air quotes on the word “love.” She was asked by her friend if she loved her boyfriend. And she shrugged, saying, “I guess I ‘love’ him whatever that means” with the air quotes.

You see, she wasn’t questioning her feelings for him. She was questioning the existence of love itself. And it just blew me away and I wondered what went wrong with this girl’s life. She’s sitting in the bleachers of her sister’s softball game on a beautiful day with car keys dangling from her fingers and an IPhone in her palm and she absolutely seems hopeless.

Our Great Act of Faith
Is one of the greatest spiritual diseases inflicting our age a lack of confidence in the love of God? Confident as we are in technology, science and psychology, we are not able to bear with one another the way the generations before us were. Our sacred promises unkept, our marriages broken, our children neglected, our dignity diminished: our faith in materialism has not given us confidence. What has robbed us of our courage to stand fast in the midst of hardship, to believe in love in the face of the sin that afflicts us all?

150,000,000 New Catholics
A few days ago the WSJ printed a piece called, “Traditional Catholicism is winning,” by Anne Hendershott and Christopher White regarding rising vocations in the Catholic priesthood.

Tom Roberts of the National Catholic Reporter, quoted Mary Gautier, senior research associate at the Center for Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in his own response to the WSJ in his own article entitled “Qualifying the WSJ’s conclusions about vocations”. Roberts questioned Anne Hendershott and Christopher White’s numbers in vocations and asked what they really mean in real world application. Here is the quote from Mary Gautier:

6 Educational Online Resources to Inspire Children to Love Their Faith
Listers, as a Catholic parent the most important duty for me is to shape my children into being excellent members of the body of Christ. Although the task is a virtuous one, it can be a bit arduous as younger children have small or non-existent attention spans. Although I am not an advocate of “dumbing” down or making the essence of our faith less serious for the sake of reaching our children, I do believe we have to temper our theologically-charged faith into terms that our children can understand. Perhaps this is a more challenging task than keeping our children still during prayer. Also young children are visual and tactile learners, which means they remember things when they have the opportunity to get to create something. Fortunately, as we all live in the “Information Age” there are many resources within our reach that can help us capture our children’s attention without sacrificing the seriousness of our Catholic faith.

Priests Dressing Like Laymen
The priests of our diocese are on retreat this week, and they were told that “clerical attire is optional”. The vicar general told them so. A vicar general is supposed to know Canon Law…Canon 284, anyone? But then, who cares about Canon Law?

Priests dressing like laymen… Why would they want to do that?

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