This Easter I became a Catholic.
What was a long and sometimes circuitous journey culminated, in a way, at the Easter Vigil as I was confirmed, received into the Church and shared in the eucharistic celebration.
Through the powerful Scripture readings of the Triduum, and especially the Gospels of the Easter Vigil and Easter morning, we catch glimpses of the profound meaning of the Paschal mystery. How can we give expression to the conquest of death and the harrowing of hell? We must honestly admit to ourselves that we have no words.
This year on Palm Sunday, we listen attentively to Mark’s Passion story of Jesus’ final days and hours on Earth — a story of striking contrasts. In Mark’s jarring story, we witness the anguish of Jesus who has been totally abandoned by friends and disciples. He is resigned to His fate. He makes no response to Judas when he betrays Him, nor to Pilate during His interrogation. In Mark, Pilate makes no effort to save Him, as the Roman procurator does in the other three Gospels.
The Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year B) invites us to consider John’s Gospel story from Chapter 12 — a fitting climax to Jesus’ public ministry. It is the last official act before the events of His passion next Sunday.
The Gospel for the fourth Sunday of Lent (Year B) features a nocturnal conversation between two important religious teachers: on the one hand a notable “teacher of Israel” named Nicodemus, and on the other, Jesus, whom Nicodemus calls a “teacher from God.”
John’s account of Jesus’ cleansing of the temple is in sharp contrast to the other Gospel accounts of this dramatic story. In the Synoptic Gospels, this scene takes place at the end of the “Palm Sunday Procession” into the holy city.
Below is an edited version of Assumption University’s Christian Culture Lecture delivered by Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., Nov. 23 in La Salle, Ont. Rosica, who attended the Synod of Bishops in October as English language spokesperson, gave a personal account that addressed some misconceptions about what actually happened at the Synod.
With the sudden death of my Basilian confrère Fr. Ulysse (Bud) Paré on March 25, many tributes and accolades will rightly be heaped upon him for his academic accomplishments, first at the University of Toronto, then at Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute and at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. His many former students at St. Thomas More College in Saskatoon, the University of Toronto, Assumption University in Windsor and most recently at St. Peter’s Seminary in London will fondly recall his clear, dynamic presentations on exegetical methods and hermeneutical interpretation of the Bible.
For Catholics, the practice of fasting has by and large fallen off the screen, due in large measure to the minimalistic interpretation of what Church members are told “fasting” means: “Take only one full meal. Two smaller meals are permitted as necessary, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted.”
In a report on the eve of the 2012 Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., gave a brief but stinging assessment of the impact of secularism in our time. He noted a dramatic reduction in the practise of faith among the baptized from so called First-World countries. In addition, he said entire generations have become disconnected from such “foundational concepts” as marriage, family, common good and right and wrong. Secularism, he said, has created Catholics who are unable to recite the Church’s foundational prayers, who see no value in Mass attendance and who ignore the sacrament of Penance.