From Our Pastor's Desk
From Our Pastor's Desk
Readings: Acts 10:34a, 37-43, Psalm 118 “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad”, Colossians 3:1-4, John 20:1-9
Jesus is Risen! Yes, he is truly risen! On Friday, we gathered here to celebrate the passion and death of our Lord. He died the violent death of a criminal outcast. He died with a question and with a scream “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” After they buried Jesus in the tomb, they rolled a stone to seal the entrance and then guards were put there. The gospel tells us that on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early in the morning and found it empty. She was still sad about what had happened, she was wondering who was going to roll the stone for her. Then she got there and the stone was rolled away.
My dear brothers and sisters, today, Alleluia is our song. Because the question of Jesus on the cross “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”; is answered by the empty tomb. It is God’s answer to his Son’s suffering and death. The empty tomb is God’s stamp of approval on all that Jesus said and did: his proclamation of the Kingdom of God, his treatment of the poor, sinners and outcasts, his acts of compassion, healing, liberation, his understanding of forgiveness, his preaching, his intuitions, and his parables, they became validated, vindicated!
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:14 that “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is useless and your believing is useless too”. And in Romans 10:9, “if you admit with your lips the Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”. So we have a reason to be happy.
I wish to express my sincere gratitude to each one of you for journeying with us during the Lenten season and sharing in the resurrection of our Lord. Thank you for your continuous support to the St Eugene Catholic Mission and Students Center. May the resurrection of Christ permeate every part of your life. May you and all your dear ones share in the joy of the risen Lord. Happy Easter!!!!!
Father Paschal Chester
Readings: Luke 19:28-40, Isaiah 50:4-7, Psalm 22 “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”, Phillipians 2:6-11, Luke 22:14—23:56
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the first part of the celebration of this Sunday marks the triumphant procession of the crowds with Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. This event is what gave the name “Palm Sunday” to this Sunday but we know that as soon as we process into the church we also begin the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. The passion is both a physical and spiritual journey. In this Gospel, the physical journey starts near Bethphage and Bethany, on the mount of Olives, with Jesus sending two disciples to the village opposite them to get a tethered colt.
It was enough for the disciples to say to whoever asked to know what they were doing that “the Master needs it” and the deed was done. Jesus, who did not have any property, relied on his Father to provide him all he needed. The Father did so using other people who came to the aid of Jesus. His great trust in the Father is what made him confident in having the colt he needed for his triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem. We need to have great faith in God so that we can also experience his providence.
Another symbolic sign in the narrative is Jesus riding on a donkey or simply a young animal. Whereas many people would like to see an imagery of a warrior in the action of Jesus, it may seem more correct to think of the picture of a shepherd since that is the imagery that Jesus himself presents throughout his public ministry.
As he entered Jerusalem triumphantly, some people asked the question “who is this?” This is Jesus, the messiah and our King. He enters the city not as a warrior who has been triumphant over his enemies but as a shepherd who leads his flock of human persons to take procession of the city which is theirs by right. Thus each time we enter the church in procession, we know that Jesus our shepherd is before us and leads us to the house of God where we are called to dwell forever. Let us therefore learn to make God's house our dwelling place so that we may benefit from the graces that his triumphant entry showers on us.
As we begin this Holy week, we follow him who wants to enter triumphantly into the lives of people today. If we are to accompany Christ in his glory at the end of Holy Week, we must first enter Jerusalem with him and journey with him through these days leading to his death on the cross. May he grant us his presence, Amen.
Father Paschal Chester
Readings: Isaiah 43:16-21, Psalm 126 “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy”, Phillipians 3:8-14, John 8:1-11
My dear brother and sisters in Christ, in today’s Gospel we have a magnificent story of the mercy of Jesus as he forgives the woman taken in adultery. Does God forgive as easily as that? In the Gospel story the woman is caught committing adultery. If it takes two to tango, it takes two to commit adultery, but the man seems to have had real access to an emergency exit leaving the woman in the scribes and Pharisees. These men are zealous about the execution of the Law which means the execution of the woman. They are in the moral majority for they clearly have the Law on their side. Thus armed they come to tackle Jesus on the issue.
Jesus’ reaction to all the fuss is to start writing on the ground. But his questioners persist and Jesus responds not by taking issue with the law but by taking issue with the lawyers. When you remember the law but forget what the law is for, perhaps your memory is a little selective. Jesus seems to think that all victims can do with some form of allegiance and he refuses to join this moral majority. Jesus does not say the woman is innocent or argue that adultery should be taken off the books; but neither is he persuaded about the innocence of her accusers. He asks them to exercise their memories and check their own track record on sin. If any are innocent, they can throw stones. And while they are all having a good think running their own home videos in their heads, Jesus goes back to his writing.
At least the woman’s accusers are honest people for they readily recognize that they are not innocent accusers. So the procession of unemployed executioners is led away by the elders- who is no doubt giving the example of necessity! Of course Jesus doesn’t want them just to walk away but to exercise their forgiveness too. Jesus and the woman are left alone. And she hears good news from Jesus: “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.
The challenge of the Gospel is not whether we can see ourselves as the woman who is caught in adultery, but see ourselves as the man who is caught up in forgiveness. Can we forgive as readily as Jesus forgives? Or do we dote on people’s wrongdoing, reminding them of past failures, and lighting vigil lamps to their mistakes? Can we forgive and leave it?
May the Lord grant to us his blessings, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Father Paschal Chester