Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi . . .

There were some instances in the recent past when two close family members and a friend joined us, each one on a separate occasion, for a meal and did not make the Sign of the Cross with us to start the prayer before meals. They, of course, did this when they were still Catholics and before they joined one of those Evangelical Protestant or similar denominations. They just bowed their heads or did nothing while everybody else joined in the prayer. While I recognized it is perfectly their right not to do this anymore, I could not help but wonder why such former Catholics in their new denomination found it problematic to continue doing what I thought was clearly a beautiful gesture for believ

The Fourth Word of Jesus on the Cross: A Reflection

“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” This is an anguished cry of a person being forsaken by God, of a person whose complaint, or prayer, has not been heard. A cry that makes him feel ignored, rejected, and therefore being isolated and alone. But wait, is it not from the mouth of our Lord Jesus, the beloved Son of God that these words come from? This cannot possibly happen. How can the Father forsake His Son who many times has said “I and the Father are one. . . . I am in the Father, and the Father is in me”? The cry of Jesus is not really what we may think it is.Definitely it is not one of resentment, or despair, or lack of hope. These words are actually the first line of Psalm 22 wh

The Third Word of Jesus on the Cross: A Reflection

"Woman, behold your son; Son, behold your mother!" We cannot even imagine what our Lord Jesus is feeling all over His Body as He hangs on the cross. He has painstakingly said two words, one of forgiveness and the other of promise. And now He looks at His Blessed Mother and the disciple He loves and says; "Woman, behold your son. Son behold your mother." Even while He is agonizing in the cross, our Lord was a dutiful son. He loved His mother and knowing He was about to leave this world, He wanted someone to take care of her. And so He entrusted her to the disciple He loved. People often forget that Jesus loved His mother this much and so ignore her. As lovers of Jesus, we cannot but give Hi

The Second Word of Jesus on the Cross: A Reflection

"Today, you will be with me in Paradise." It has just been a few minutes after Jesus prayed to His heavenly Father to forgive His persecutors, a few minutes of continuous pain and agony. And it is here that the Lord spoke His second Word: "Today you will be with me in Paradise." Jesus has just canonized the first saint! For most, an unlikely choice for sainthood. He was a thief, and probably spent many years of his life robbing other people. Not a worthy candidate for this highest honor. But wait! He acknowledged his sins and repented for them. "Jesus, remember me when you come to your kingdom!" The response of Jesus was immediate: "Today, you will be with me in Paradise!" "A sincere and con

The First Word of Jesus on the Cross: A Reflection

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Since the previous night, our Lord Jesus had suffered so much violence, insults and hatred from the Jews, their leaders and the Roman authorities. His body was lacerated by the metal prongs at the end of the whips mercilessly lashed upon His sacred Body, creating wounds all over Him. His sacred Head was pierced by the long sharp thorns of the crown the soldiers pounded on it. The Jews were jeering as the soldiers spat upon his Face. The cross they made Him carry was heavy, and opened the wounds created hours before. The burden on his severely weakened body caused him to fall three times on the way to His crucifixion. And finally they ha

A Good Friday Meditation

"Loving Jesus" For us who have come here on this Good Friday at St. Columba and in thousands of Catholic churches all over the world, we have come because deep in our hearts, we want to be reminded again about the profound mystery of our redemption for which we hunger. We want to view with the eyes of our minds and of our hearts the scenes of our Lord’s suffering as we follow Him on His painful way to Mount Calvary where He would be crucified and offer His life for us. I think that we have come also to linger at the foot of the cross to venerate it and to contemplate once again what it all means and holds for us today. Who is this man Jesus that we think we know?  Who is this man whose death

Reflections for Palm Sunday

In the two gospel readings for this Palm Sunday, we can see a pattern of welcoming followed by rejection, of acceptance followed by betrayal. When our Lord Jesus made His triumphal entry into the holy city of Jerusalem, the crowd welcomed Him with great rejoicing. They gave him a red carpet reception by putting their cloaks on the street for Jesus riding on a donkey, waiving palms and branches and acclaiming/praising Him with loud cries of “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest.” But who would ever think that the very same crowd which gave Him such enthusiastic welcome would cry out just a few days later “Crucify him, crucify him!” and choose a thief a

My Broken Peach Branch Has Healed

A year has passed since I mended a damaged branch of my prized peach tree by putting a splint and tying duct tape around it. After removing the duct tape and the splint, I found out that the limb had healed completely. This explains the growth of numerous purple peach flowers on the affected branch like the rest of the tree had. I had made the correct decision not to cut off the broken branch last year! Now I expect there will be more harvest of peaches for me and to share! In some way, broken tree branches can be easier to heal than broken human relationships. Human beings are obviously more complicated than other creatures of God like plants or animals. Wounds inflicted by fellow humans on