In 2016, Martin Scorsese directed the thought-provoking film, “Silence.” It was the story of two Portuguese missionaries who hear that their mentor had rejected his faith in Japan. Convinced that the reports are wrong, they embark on a mission to find him although they are aware that they will be putting themselves in great danger.
In celebration of Easter, today’s Gospel gives us a simple, easily overlooked detail that is the clue to a wonderful message of hope.
Every day in the life of a Christian is Palm Sunday because every day is filled with the joy of the Lord. Every day in the life of a Christian is Passion Sunday because as the music group REM sang many years ago, “everybody hurts.”
For the last two Sundays, we were reading from John’s Gospel, from chapters that were relatively early on in his Gospel. Many scripture scholars divide John’s Gospel into two sections, with chapters 1-11 being the Book of Signs and chapters 12-24 being the Book of Glory.
What is prayer? According to one of the Fathers of the Church, St. John Damascene, “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.”
Lent affords us an opportunity to have the lens of our spiritual eyeglasses adjusted, to go from the nearsightedness of our spiritual vision to see the Christ who lives through us, and in us, and with us, the Christ who is in the poor and downtrodden, the Christ who is our neighbor, the Christ who is standing at the door of our hearts and souls, gently asking if we would so kindly let him in so that he can dwell with us.
I had the great privilege of being on pilgrimage in the Holy Land with my seminary classmates almost 11 years ago. We were given the opportunity to travel to the Holy Land with the seminary rector and some other seminarians. At the time, I was a transitional deacon, so I enjoyed exercising diaconal ministry at many of the holy places.
Every year as we begin the season of Lent, someone will ask me the question, “What are you giving up for Lent?” I could always remember from a very young age looking at Lent as a time in which you “gave something up.” What confused me, especially as I grew older, was why I would give something up that was not good for me and then, after 40 days, go back to it?
As a kid growing up, my parents instilled in me that all I needed to do to be happy and successful was to be myself. I could remember early in my life, especially in school, times in which I needed to be something else or “imitate” someone else to get attention, prestige or acclamations.
This year, St. Peter Claver Church celebrates its 100th year of establishment. The founding pastor, Servant of God Msgr. Bernard J. Quinn founded this church in honor of St. Peter Claver. This Jesuit missionary priest ministered to the Black slaves who were in Colombia. He dedicated his priestly ministry to ultimately become a slave among the slaves.