March 31, 2013

Easter

John 20:1-9

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

Jesus Is Risen

“There is no Church unless Jesus is risen from the dead.” It’s kind of hard to argue with that, but do we really believe it? Today is one of those unique days: tulips, painted eggs, chocolate crosses, festive breads, haircuts, new clothes, and a benevolent bunny. But does any of this really matter? We might prepare ourselves differently for today, but our cultural practices pale in comparison to the truth of Jesus’ resurrection. Our entire faith depends on this truth and I don’t think that there is any one practice that can capture this.

Easter is more than a day, it’s an entire season. It’s safe to say that the first witnesses to the resurrection weren’t interrupting their Easter-egg hunt. They were humbly awakening to the glory of Jesus rising from the dead. It took them time to absorb this truth and there were moments when they had trouble seeing and believing. While we are born into the truth of His resurrection, we still have the same human limitations of those first witnesses.

It takes us time to absorb this central tenet of our faith and we are plagued by our own doubts and fears. It sometimes helps to remember that Easter is still close to Good Friday; we cannot fully absorb the resurrection without the cross.  We don’t bury the cross today, we know that our own pain and suffering does not disappear, but today we witness the redemptive quality of human suffering. In the end suffering and death will not win; we too will rise with Jesus.

—Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, Provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province

Prayer

Lord, on this glorious day we claim your victory over death.  We embrace your promise that whoever believes in you will never die.  We ask you to connect our love with those who have gone before us. Remind them, Lord, that our hearts will forever be with them.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord, on this glorious day we claim your victory over death.  We embrace your promise that whoever believes in you will never die.  We ask you to connect our love with those who have gone before us. Remind them, Lord, that our hearts will forever be with them.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Jesus Is Risen

“There is no Church unless Jesus is risen from the dead.” It’s kind of hard to argue with that, but do we really believe it? Today is one of those unique days: tulips, painted eggs, chocolate crosses, festive breads, haircuts, new clothes, and a benevolent bunny. But does any of this really matter? We might prepare ourselves differently for today, but our cultural practices pale in comparison to the truth of Jesus’ resurrection. Our entire faith depends on this truth and I don’t think that there is any one practice that can capture this.

Easter is more than a day, it’s an entire season. It’s safe to say that the first witnesses to the resurrection weren’t interrupting their Easter-egg hunt. They were humbly awakening to the glory of Jesus rising from the dead. It took them time to absorb this truth and there were moments when they had trouble seeing and believing. While we are born into the truth of His resurrection, we still have the same human limitations of those first witnesses.

It takes us time to absorb this central tenet of our faith and we are plagued by our own doubts and fears. It sometimes helps to remember that Easter is still close to Good Friday; we cannot fully absorb the resurrection without the cross.  We don’t bury the cross today, we know that our own pain and suffering does not disappear, but today we witness the redemptive quality of human suffering. In the end suffering and death will not win; we too will rise with Jesus.

—Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, Provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Easter

John 20:1-9

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

March 30, 2013

Easter Vigil of the Lord’s Resurrection 

Luke 24: 1-12

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.

The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.

Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

What’s on Your Playlist?

I once asked a friend if I could see the playlist on his MP3 player. I was a little taken back when he said, “That’s personal.” I know the social norms about questioning a person’s age, weight, or income; I never thought to include musical taste in this category. But when you think about it, there is something very personal about our favorite songs. We use music to soothe our mood and enliven our soul. Whether it’s passive listening or active singing, the song in our head often reflects what is going on inside of us. It’s no wonder that music is so integral to the prayers of people of faith. In song we can praise and thank God when the spoken word is just not enough.

Tonight we chant one of my favorite songs, although it’s really more of a prayer than a song. After the sun sets and darkness fills the sky, we will light the Paschal candle and begin the great Vigil of Easter. With the words, “Exalt, let them exalt . . .” we proclaim that Jesus Christ has risen. There are no bells or trumpets (at least not yet) just a solo voice awakening us to the greatest story ever told—that Jesus has conquered sin and death. It is not done with fanfare; it is an ancient chant that reveals meaning and purpose to our lives. We do not live in vain, our faith is real, and through Christ’s resurrection we will be redeemed.

While the Exultet is chanted, each member of the assembly lights his or her own candle from the flame of the Paschal candle. As the “Light of Christ” grows in the church, so spreads the Good News of our Lord’s resurrection. I can think of nothing better to sing about. And, yes, the Exultet is on my playlist!

—Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, Provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province

Prayer

Lord, when the women return from visiting the tomb, the other disciples find their announcement ridiculous. We, too, Lord, are like those believers – confident when all is well but doubting when we lose our footing. Touch our soul so we will trust in the empty tomb and realize that “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience … We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Teilhard de Chardan

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord, when the women return from visiting the tomb, the other disciples find their announcement ridiculous. We, too, Lord, are like those believers – confident when all is well but doubting when we lose our footing. Touch our soul so we will trust in the empty tomb and realize that “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience … We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Teilhard de Chardan

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

What’s on Your Playlist?

I once asked a friend if I could see the playlist on his MP3 player. I was a little taken back when he said, “That’s personal.” I know the social norms about questioning a person’s age, weight, or income; I never thought to include musical taste in this category. But when you think about it, there is something very personal about our favorite songs. We use music to soothe our mood and enliven our soul. Whether it’s passive listening or active singing, the song in our head often reflects what is going on inside of us. It’s no wonder that music is so integral to the prayers of people of faith. In song we can praise and thank God when the spoken word is just not enough.

Tonight we chant one of my favorite songs, although it’s really more of a prayer than a song. After the sun sets and darkness fills the sky, we will light the Paschal candle and begin the great Vigil of Easter. With the words, “Exalt, let them exalt . . .” we proclaim that Jesus Christ has risen. There are no bells or trumpets (at least not yet) just a solo voice awakening us to the greatest story ever told—that Jesus has conquered sin and death. It is not done with fanfare; it is an ancient chant that reveals meaning and purpose to our lives. We do not live in vain, our faith is real, and through Christ’s resurrection we will be redeemed.

While the Exultet is chanted, each member of the assembly lights his or her own candle from the flame of the Paschal candle. As the “Light of Christ” grows in the church, so spreads the Good News of our Lord’s resurrection. I can think of nothing better to sing about. And, yes, the Exultet is on my playlist!

—Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, Provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Easter Vigil of the Lord’s Resurrection

Luke 24: 1-12

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.

The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.

Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

March 29, 2013

Celebration of the Lord’s Passion (day of fast & abstinence)

John 18:1-19:42

After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I am he.”

Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.” Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus.

Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?” So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people. Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in.

The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself. Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.”

When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.” The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.”(This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him. But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” They shouted in reply, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a bandit.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.” Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.

Pilate therefore said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.”

When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.”

Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them.

Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top.So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says, “They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.” And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.”

A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.

Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out.(He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.” And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

Let Us Live in Hope

When I was a kid I used to run home from school into the kitchen door of our house and ask my mother, “Mommy, what’s for supper.” My mother’s first language was Italian and more often than not she would say, “La grazie di Dio la frutta della terra.” Were you to run this through Google translate, you would probably get something like “The grace of God the fruit of the earth.” But my Mom had a funnier way of translating this expression; she would always say, “The grace of God the fruit of the dirt.” This always made me laugh, dirt was the stuff I was supposed to scrape from my fingernails, dirt was what the dog brought in from muddy puddles on a rainy day. How could food come from dirt? When you think about it, of course food comes from dirt, but we have a nice way of separating the two in our kitchens and on our plates.

Jesus’ crucifixion was one of the dirtiest forms of execution ever done. It was savage, brutal, and inhumane. The taking of human life is always wrong, but to do it in such a way defies human understanding. Could anything good come from such violent hatred?

Good Friday is unlike any day in the year. Today we accompany our Lord on his dirty walk to Calvary. We see, hear and feel the vicious attack on his body. But we also know that the filth of this execution is not the end of the story. From the dirt of this crime grows a fruit which opens for all of us the doors to salvation and hope. Let’s not separate the two. Jesus died so that we might live. Let us live in this hope today.

—Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, Provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province

Prayer

Lord, we have heard the Good Friday reading many times. But today we are at a different place than we were last Good Friday. What is it you want us to see, hear and feel from your horrific movement to the cross? Is it the disillusionment that grieves your heart when you are sold out by betrayal and denial? Is it your gut wrenching response when you glimpse the agony in your mother’s face, and you can do nothing to help her? Do you want us to get up close and hear the wheezing from your collapsed lungs and witness the disfigurement of your sunken body? Though somber and stricken by sorrow, we know that your brutal death is not the final act but the ultimate act of love. And therefore we will live this Good Friday in confidence and hope.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord, we have heard the Good Friday reading many times. But today we are at a different place than we were last Good Friday. What is it you want us to see, hear and feel from your horrific movement to the cross? Is it the disillusionment that grieves your heart when you are sold out by betrayal and denial? Is it your gut wrenching response when you glimpse the agony in your mother’s face, and you can do nothing to help her? Do you want us to get up close and hear the wheezing from your collapsed lungs and witness the disfigurement of your sunken body? Though somber and stricken by sorrow, we know that your brutal death is not the final act but the ultimate act of love. And therefore we will live this Good Friday in confidence and hope.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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March 31, 2013

Easter

John 20:1-9

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

Jesus Is Risen

“There is no Church unless Jesus is risen from the dead.” It’s kind of hard to argue with that, but do we really believe it? Today is one of those unique days: tulips, painted eggs, chocolate crosses, festive breads, haircuts, new clothes, and a benevolent bunny. But does any of this really matter? We might prepare ourselves differently for today, but our cultural practices pale in comparison to the truth of Jesus’ resurrection. Our entire faith depends on this truth and I don’t think that there is any one practice that can capture this.

Easter is more than a day, it’s an entire season. It’s safe to say that the first witnesses to the resurrection weren’t interrupting their Easter-egg hunt. They were humbly awakening to the glory of Jesus rising from the dead. It took them time to absorb this truth and there were moments when they had trouble seeing and believing. While we are born into the truth of His resurrection, we still have the same human limitations of those first witnesses.

It takes us time to absorb this central tenet of our faith and we are plagued by our own doubts and fears. It sometimes helps to remember that Easter is still close to Good Friday; we cannot fully absorb the resurrection without the cross.  We don’t bury the cross today, we know that our own pain and suffering does not disappear, but today we witness the redemptive quality of human suffering. In the end suffering and death will not win; we too will rise with Jesus.

—Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, Provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province

Prayer

Lord, on this glorious day we claim your victory over death.  We embrace your promise that whoever believes in you will never die.  We ask you to connect our love with those who have gone before us. Remind them, Lord, that our hearts will forever be with them.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord, on this glorious day we claim your victory over death.  We embrace your promise that whoever believes in you will never die.  We ask you to connect our love with those who have gone before us. Remind them, Lord, that our hearts will forever be with them.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Jesus Is Risen

“There is no Church unless Jesus is risen from the dead.” It’s kind of hard to argue with that, but do we really believe it? Today is one of those unique days: tulips, painted eggs, chocolate crosses, festive breads, haircuts, new clothes, and a benevolent bunny. But does any of this really matter? We might prepare ourselves differently for today, but our cultural practices pale in comparison to the truth of Jesus’ resurrection. Our entire faith depends on this truth and I don’t think that there is any one practice that can capture this.

Easter is more than a day, it’s an entire season. It’s safe to say that the first witnesses to the resurrection weren’t interrupting their Easter-egg hunt. They were humbly awakening to the glory of Jesus rising from the dead. It took them time to absorb this truth and there were moments when they had trouble seeing and believing. While we are born into the truth of His resurrection, we still have the same human limitations of those first witnesses.

It takes us time to absorb this central tenet of our faith and we are plagued by our own doubts and fears. It sometimes helps to remember that Easter is still close to Good Friday; we cannot fully absorb the resurrection without the cross.  We don’t bury the cross today, we know that our own pain and suffering does not disappear, but today we witness the redemptive quality of human suffering. In the end suffering and death will not win; we too will rise with Jesus.

—Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, Provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Easter

John 20:1-9

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)


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March 30, 2013

Easter Vigil of the Lord’s Resurrection 

Luke 24: 1-12

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.

The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.

Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

What’s on Your Playlist?

I once asked a friend if I could see the playlist on his MP3 player. I was a little taken back when he said, “That’s personal.” I know the social norms about questioning a person’s age, weight, or income; I never thought to include musical taste in this category. But when you think about it, there is something very personal about our favorite songs. We use music to soothe our mood and enliven our soul. Whether it’s passive listening or active singing, the song in our head often reflects what is going on inside of us. It’s no wonder that music is so integral to the prayers of people of faith. In song we can praise and thank God when the spoken word is just not enough.

Tonight we chant one of my favorite songs, although it’s really more of a prayer than a song. After the sun sets and darkness fills the sky, we will light the Paschal candle and begin the great Vigil of Easter. With the words, “Exalt, let them exalt . . .” we proclaim that Jesus Christ has risen. There are no bells or trumpets (at least not yet) just a solo voice awakening us to the greatest story ever told—that Jesus has conquered sin and death. It is not done with fanfare; it is an ancient chant that reveals meaning and purpose to our lives. We do not live in vain, our faith is real, and through Christ’s resurrection we will be redeemed.

While the Exultet is chanted, each member of the assembly lights his or her own candle from the flame of the Paschal candle. As the “Light of Christ” grows in the church, so spreads the Good News of our Lord’s resurrection. I can think of nothing better to sing about. And, yes, the Exultet is on my playlist!

—Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, Provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province

Prayer

Lord, when the women return from visiting the tomb, the other disciples find their announcement ridiculous. We, too, Lord, are like those believers – confident when all is well but doubting when we lose our footing. Touch our soul so we will trust in the empty tomb and realize that “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience … We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Teilhard de Chardan

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


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Prayer

Lord, when the women return from visiting the tomb, the other disciples find their announcement ridiculous. We, too, Lord, are like those believers – confident when all is well but doubting when we lose our footing. Touch our soul so we will trust in the empty tomb and realize that “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience … We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Teilhard de Chardan

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

What’s on Your Playlist?

I once asked a friend if I could see the playlist on his MP3 player. I was a little taken back when he said, “That’s personal.” I know the social norms about questioning a person’s age, weight, or income; I never thought to include musical taste in this category. But when you think about it, there is something very personal about our favorite songs. We use music to soothe our mood and enliven our soul. Whether it’s passive listening or active singing, the song in our head often reflects what is going on inside of us. It’s no wonder that music is so integral to the prayers of people of faith. In song we can praise and thank God when the spoken word is just not enough.

Tonight we chant one of my favorite songs, although it’s really more of a prayer than a song. After the sun sets and darkness fills the sky, we will light the Paschal candle and begin the great Vigil of Easter. With the words, “Exalt, let them exalt . . .” we proclaim that Jesus Christ has risen. There are no bells or trumpets (at least not yet) just a solo voice awakening us to the greatest story ever told—that Jesus has conquered sin and death. It is not done with fanfare; it is an ancient chant that reveals meaning and purpose to our lives. We do not live in vain, our faith is real, and through Christ’s resurrection we will be redeemed.

While the Exultet is chanted, each member of the assembly lights his or her own candle from the flame of the Paschal candle. As the “Light of Christ” grows in the church, so spreads the Good News of our Lord’s resurrection. I can think of nothing better to sing about. And, yes, the Exultet is on my playlist!

—Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, Provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Easter Vigil of the Lord’s Resurrection

Luke 24: 1-12

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.

The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.

Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)


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March 29, 2013

Celebration of the Lord’s Passion (day of fast & abstinence)

John 18:1-19:42

After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I am he.”

Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.” Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus.

Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?” So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people. Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in.

The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself. Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.”

When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.” The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.”(This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him. But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” They shouted in reply, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a bandit.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.” Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.

Pilate therefore said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.”

When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.”

Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them.

Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top.So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says, “They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.” And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.”

A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.

Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out.(He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.” And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)

Let Us Live in Hope

When I was a kid I used to run home from school into the kitchen door of our house and ask my mother, “Mommy, what’s for supper.” My mother’s first language was Italian and more often than not she would say, “La grazie di Dio la frutta della terra.” Were you to run this through Google translate, you would probably get something like “The grace of God the fruit of the earth.” But my Mom had a funnier way of translating this expression; she would always say, “The grace of God the fruit of the dirt.” This always made me laugh, dirt was the stuff I was supposed to scrape from my fingernails, dirt was what the dog brought in from muddy puddles on a rainy day. How could food come from dirt? When you think about it, of course food comes from dirt, but we have a nice way of separating the two in our kitchens and on our plates.

Jesus’ crucifixion was one of the dirtiest forms of execution ever done. It was savage, brutal, and inhumane. The taking of human life is always wrong, but to do it in such a way defies human understanding. Could anything good come from such violent hatred?

Good Friday is unlike any day in the year. Today we accompany our Lord on his dirty walk to Calvary. We see, hear and feel the vicious attack on his body. But we also know that the filth of this execution is not the end of the story. From the dirt of this crime grows a fruit which opens for all of us the doors to salvation and hope. Let’s not separate the two. Jesus died so that we might live. Let us live in this hope today.

—Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, Provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province

Prayer

Lord, we have heard the Good Friday reading many times. But today we are at a different place than we were last Good Friday. What is it you want us to see, hear and feel from your horrific movement to the cross? Is it the disillusionment that grieves your heart when you are sold out by betrayal and denial? Is it your gut wrenching response when you glimpse the agony in your mother’s face, and you can do nothing to help her? Do you want us to get up close and hear the wheezing from your collapsed lungs and witness the disfigurement of your sunken body? Though somber and stricken by sorrow, we know that your brutal death is not the final act but the ultimate act of love. And therefore we will live this Good Friday in confidence and hope.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


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Prayer

Lord, we have heard the Good Friday reading many times. But today we are at a different place than we were last Good Friday. What is it you want us to see, hear and feel from your horrific movement to the cross? Is it the disillusionment that grieves your heart when you are sold out by betrayal and denial? Is it your gut wrenching response when you glimpse the agony in your mother’s face, and you can do nothing to help her? Do you want us to get up close and hear the wheezing from your collapsed lungs and witness the disfigurement of your sunken body? Though somber and stricken by sorrow, we know that your brutal death is not the final act but the ultimate act of love. And therefore we will live this Good Friday in confidence and hope.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!