Palm Sunday Reflection

Context. The climactic events that have been repeatedly predicted since the Galilean ministry are now about to unfold (12:38–40; 16:4, 21; 17:12, 22–23; 20:17–19; 21:38–39; 23:32). Jesus was aware of the forces arrayed against him (26:2), yet he did not resist doing the will of the Father despite the suffering that would be involved (26:36–46). […]

via Palm Sunday of the Passion: context — friarmusings

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Palm Sunday

Cross palmsReflection for Palm Sunday by FAN Executive Director, Patrick Carolan This reflection was originally posted in our April 3rd newsletter This Sunday we celebrate Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. Our services reenact the last week of Jesus’ earthly life and celebrate the eternal Christ on Easter Sunday. We sometimes think of this […]

via Thy Kingdom Come — Acting Franciscan

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11133786_824382597637310_519420377583052394_nThis Sunday’s readings focus on the fact that the belief in the resurrection was not unknown among the Jews.  In the sixth century B.C. the priest and prophet Ezekiel delivers the astounding prophesy about the resurrection through the vision of the dry bones. You can read about it in Ezekiel 37: 1-10. In 37: 12-14    Ezekiel speaks of the Lord’s opening of the graves and raising people from the dead and the coming of the Kingdom of God.  The Jews were in a most pitiful state in exile in Babylon, so Ezekiel became their consolation and support. The prediction gave them hope.

Though the idea of resurrection was difficult to comprehend, it does persist through the ages and does survive in the minds of some Jews. In the story of the death of Lazarus in John 11: 1-25 Martha makes an astounding proclamation when Jesus tells her, “Your brother will rise.”  She answers, “I know he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.”  Jesus then rewards her with the great revelation, “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.”

Again we have an event in which Jesus reveals his divinity.  Martha proclaims, “I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”  This is another exalted theological position of a woman testifying to Jesus as the Messiah. To give proof to these claims Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.

St. Paul in Romans 8: 8-11 assures us that if the “Spirit of God dwells in us…the Spirit of Christ…our mortal bodies will be given life…just as Jesus was raised from the dead.” Wow! Now that’s something on which to wrap our imagination.  Easter celebrates this great mystery, too.  …an early, “Alleluia!”Mystery of the Trinity

Just as an aside, it is Ezekiel who promulgated the truth that each person is responsible for their own actions. It was commonly believed that children were responsible for their ancestors’ sins.  This was a new development in the ethics of the time, though the belief still persisted in some quarters, even to this day.

We have much for which to pray and upon which to act.  Some of the time this week can be spent in looking at the persecution of Christians throughout the world, especially Syrian Christians.  Christians in Africa are also facing difficult circumstances. Christian values and beliefs are under attack in the United States, as well as, the push to have a “godless” society, no matter what religion you are.  Let us not be fooled by the “home of the free;” this concept does not protect us from popular/political persecution.  Let us be clear about what we believe and stand with the “suffering Christ.”

We are a resurrection people for which to be thankful.

Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF,  Director

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Lectio Divina for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

Lectio Divina for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

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Come Out, Arise!

March 27, 2017: The Fifth Sunday of Lent
Come Out, Arise!

Our readings on this Fifth Sunday of Lent are clearly calling us to arise from darkness, death, and all that is dead and deadening in our minds, in our hearts and in our lives. To do this we must slow down, live reflective and deeply contemplative lives open to forgiveness, mercy and healing.

Living reflectively and contemplatively, especially for Franciscans, is not a turning away from the world. Rather, our life and our spirituality draws us to live in right-relationship in the world and for the world. We are called to see, act and move in Christ, as St. Paul reminded the Romans, “If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through the Spirit dwelling in you.”

Interestingly in light of our readings, a quote of Karl Rahner, Jesuit priest and theologian, came to mind. Rahner wrote, “The theological problem today is to find the art of drawing religion out of people, not pumping it into them. The art is to help people become what they are.” For me Rahner is saying we must live the Crucified Redemptive Love that has already been gifted and given to us in baptism. We must be attentive to God’s Divine Presence, the Holy Spirit, continually dwelling in our humanity and in all of creation.

I believe, as Rahner stated, when we keep ‘pumping religion in’ our focus is simply on the rules, laws, and doctrines. The light and the life of Christ, given in baptism, remains buried deep within us. The Light of Christ is not meant to be entombed and hidden, it must be expressed through our engagement in compassion, mercy and justice making the Kingdom of God visible today.

So questions arise – are we Lazarus, bound and sitting within darkened tombs of our own creation? Are these tombs of fear or indifference? Do we allow indifference to deaden and deafen us from the needs and the cries of others? Does fear drive us to possess more than we really need? Does indifference silence us from questioning and challenging those in positions of power within our church and our government?

Even if we are like Lazarus, lifeless, bound and sitting in the darkness within a tomb, the gospel impels us to believe that Christ is outside calling us into the light of freedom, compassion and new life. It is Christ who will draw us out. We cannot do this by ourselves. Are we willing to listen for the voice of the Crucified Christ who weeps for the suffering and the many deaths that we have brought upon our own humanity and creation itself?

God calls to us, “O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them…” Let us believe in our hearts and through our Christic actions proclaim God’s freeing and life-giving love!

Sr. Margaret Magee, OSF
FAN Board President

Suggested Action:
Take a moment this week to examine your day-to-day life through a reflective lens of compassion and justice. Ask yourself, “Am I bound in a tomb of fear or indifference?” Spend the next few minutes in silence, asking God to speak to your heart.

Suggested Petitions:
For all baptised Christians, may this season of Lent allow for deep contemplation of our lives, we pray…
For all those who have died in Christ, for their families and caregivers. May the God of eternal mercy grant peace in their hearts, we pray…

Collect Prayer


By your help, we beseech you, Lord our God,

may we walk eagerly in that same charity

with which, out of love for the world,

your Son handed himself over to death.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God for ever and ever.



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John 6:49, 51a.

DSCN0343 “Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died….
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever.”

Manna and living bread are both necessary, because they feed two different aspects of our lives, together offering a full range of necessary spiritually nutritional requirements. To live on manna only is to be bound to the physical world – declaring that our physical senses define the limits of our world and what is real. And yet we all have physical needs – food, water, clothing, shelter, security, rest, affection, recreation, education, health care – that are fed by manna.

Living bread feeds and nourishes our interior life, the transcendental and mystical aspects of ourselves. To eat only living bread, however, is often an attempt to escape, to idealize and spiritualize, and live in the clouds. When this happens, we are “of no earthly value.” That surely is not way of Jesus. Let us not allow it be our way either.

*Originally written for and published by Forward Day by Day.

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Fifth Sunday of Lent

Reading 1 Ez 37:12-14

Thus says the Lord GOD:
O my people, I will open your graves
and have you rise from them,
and bring you back to the land of Israel.
Then you shall know that I am the LORD,
when I open your graves and have you rise from them,
O my people!
I will put my spirit in you that you may live,
and I will settle you upon your land;
thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (7) With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
More than sentinels wait for the dawn,
let Israel wait for the LORD.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
For with the LORD is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Reading 2 Rom 8:8-11

Brothers and sisters:
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh;
on the contrary, you are in the spirit,
if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you,
although the body is dead because of sin,
the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
the one who raised Christ from the dead
will give life to your mortal bodies also,
through his Spirit dwelling in you.

Verse Before the Gospel Jn 11:25a, 26

I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will never die.

Gospel Jn 11:1-45

Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany,
the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil
and dried his feet with her hair;
it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.
So the sisters sent word to him saying,
“Master, the one you love is ill.”
hen Jesus heard this he said,
“This illness is not to end in death,
but is for the glory of God,
that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill,
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples,
“Let us go back to Judea.”
The disciples said to him,
“Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you,
and you want to go back there?”
Jesus answered,
“Are there not twelve hours in a day?
If one walks during the day, he does not stumble,
because he sees the light of this world.
But if one walks at night, he stumbles,
because the light is not in him.”
He said this, and then told them,
“Our friend Lazarus is asleep,
but I am going to awaken him.”
So the disciples said to him,
“Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.”
But Jesus was talking about his death,
while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep.
So then Jesus said to them clearly,
“Lazarus has died.
And I am glad for you that I was not there,
that you may believe.
Let us go to him.”
So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples,
“Let us also go to die with him.”

Raising_Lazarus007When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.
And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother.
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 to him,
“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.”

When she had said this,
she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying,
“The teacher is here and is asking for you.”
As soon as she heard this,
she rose quickly and went to him.
For Jesus had not yet come into the village,
but was still where Martha had met him.
So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her
saw Mary get up quickly and go out,
they followed her,
presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him,
she fell at his feet and said to him,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping,
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.

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