This week’s memory verse: And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.

1 Corinthians 6:14
  • 4/17 – John 11:25
  • 4/18 – 1 Peter 1:3
  • 4/19 – Romans 8:11
  • 4/20 – Romans 6:4
  • 4/21 – Acts 24:15
  • 4/22 – Philippians 3:10
  • 4/23 – Acts 4:33

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, the power of the resurrection gives me hope. Grant that I may always be steadfast in that hope.

Hope forever.

For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.

Good morning, Church! I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Easter. Today we are filled with a renewed hope because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is risen! Church declare: He is risen indeed!

Early in the morning on the third day after Jesus’ death, a woman named Mary Magdalene made her way to the tomb. Other places in the scriptures tell us that she had gone to anoint His body for burial. When she arrives, she finds the tomb empty. She saw insult added to the pain of the injury she was already feeling. Mary concludes that someone must have come and taken Him away. She is devastated. She runs to tell the others. She needs to share her hurt with those closest to her crucified Lord. They run to the tomb and find it empty except for Jesus’ burial cloths.

They didn’t quite get it yet. The shock of the past days and their fears got in the way for a moment. They forgot the lessons Jesus taught about His death and resurrection; the way He prepared them for all these events. 

They were like children searching for eggs in the yard, searching the horizon for God’s subtle signs of hope, and all still a mystery to them.

Jesus would not leave them there in pain and sorrow, in confusion, just searching without finding. Soon the rollercoaster of reports and experiences of the risen Lord would bring the reality of the resurrection home to them. Soon, fear would be replaced by hope and the hope flowing from the resurrection would set them free. 

Easter is a permanent reminder that God is in the business of awakening hope within us, that He brings life out of death, and that He offers us a future filled with assurance. In Him we are assured of finding, of not being left in pain and sadness. 

We now, because of the ministry of those who firsthand experienced the resurrected Lord, know much more fully the hope we own. Their hope inspired freedom would move them to draw many into the Kingdom life. We are the beneficiaries of their witness, and we too are now witnesses before the world. 

Our hope is in this: Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross set us free from captivity to sin. Our hope is in this: We will be resurrected as Jesus was. We will be glorified in our bodies and enter the great joy that is heaven, live life with God forever in the very same glorified way Jesus showed forth.

What Mary, Peter, and John did not immediately get is the powerful revelation that is our hope, that if Jesus can overcome death, there is nothing in our lives that He cannot defeat and overcome.

It is finished

For those familiar with the various forms of the Stations of the Cross we use here in the parish, you know that in several, after Jesus is buried in the tomb, it says: But this was not the end, it was only the beginning.

Indeed, Jesus came with the message, Repent, for the Kingdom is at hand. It is soon, it is about to be ushered in.

The Kingdom of God was ushered in today. It became a reality today. Jesus, on the cross, in His last breath declares: It is finished. The Kingdom is here and now. The sacrifice has been completed.

We, the people of God, are now alive with hope – not just living, but alive in a new hope filled life – in the Kingdom. The times and places where we fall short, where we get caught in ruts, are not our end or our staying place. They have now become experiences of healing. The times and places where we said, Away with Him, have now become a desire to grow ever closer to Him.

As Jesus’ lifeless body was removed from the cross and subsequently laid in the tomb, we were all given a new beginning in the Kingdom. The Kingdom brought our new hope filled life – life for all of us who have become one with Christ’s death in our baptism. We have hope where our times and places were formerly hopeless. We have hope forever because of today.

So when He had washed their feet and put His garments back on and reclined at table again, He said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’  and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow

Today we enter the Pascal Triduum, the three days that changed everything, the three days that offer hope to the whole world in the present tense.

In our readings and Gospel are set forth the means for offering hope – something we as kingdom citizens are called to offer – the model Jesus gave us to follow.

Hope is offered in this – That we share in the Eucharistic feast – the great feast of thanksgiving wherein we dwell with Christ for all eternity. 

Those invited and who come into the kingdom, no matter how it happens – never have to want for the presence of Jesus. We and they live with Him here and now, and forever.

Each time we gather around the table of the Lord and come to the Eucharistic moment – the words spoken by Jesus – and since then spoken over and over by His ministerial priests – who act in His very Person to do exactly what He did – we are there with Jesus for all time and eternity.

We cannot help but have hope because Jesus, the Son of God, made it such that we can be in heaven with Him, not just later, after we die, but right here and now. Being that close to Jesus means He knows all we face. He knows all we need. And, He knows where we need a push, a nudge to follow more closely the gospel path. In His eternal presence we live in hope, for nothing is beyond Jesus’ saving power.

Hope is offered in this – That gathered as kingdom citizens we partake of Jesus and have Him dwelling in us, not just alone, but together with all who receive. 

Jesus left us His body and blood, not just a symbol – but rather the full reality wherein we eat His flesh and drink His blood, so that He may not only be in us, but that the kingdom life might shine out of us as a whole.

He gives us the bread of life and the cup of salvation so that as we participate in them and  receive them, we become one body.

We cannot help but hope for we are not alone. We are joined fully with each other and with all who have gone before. Jesus has drawn us together, made us a family, a body, a people who are not just one with Him, but with each other.

Hope is offered in this – that we can minister in washing each other of sin. We certainly fall, we fail, we err, do wrong, and withdraw into ourselves.

Sin is the great separator, the overwhelming place of aloneness, without connection, without any other presence but our own. That is what sin was always meant to be – for as Satan separated himself from God – into the desolation of apartness – so he tempts us to do the same. Be broken, be apart, go your own way and be alone. Let now and eternity be just me, myself, and I.

Hope means that sin is not our end. Sin has been overcome by Jesus as we will see tomorrow on Good Friday. To ensure us of His continual mercy and forgiveness He gave us the example of what we are to do. We are to wash each other.

Did you ever consider the words of the Confiteor we pray every week? No matter which is used they all contain this phrase – I ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, all the saints and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord, our God. We must pray for each other, that we each overcome what is broken in us. That we receive the grace of not just forgiveness but also repentance – the change that we need. We must pray over each other so that sin be washed away and so that we each realize I am not alone.

Let us spend time this evening contemplating before Jesus, reposed in this symbolic prison, a place of suffering and pain surrounded by and filled with the glory of God, how hoping in Him surrounds us and fills us with His glory in every circumstance.

In these three days let us choose to embrace the hope that is offered to us in Jesus. Let hope lift our spirits. Then let it be in us forever.

This week’s memory verse: When Jesus had received the vinegar, He said, “It is finished”; and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

John 19:30
  • 4/10 – John 12:1-11
  • 4/11 – John 12:12-19
  • 4/12 – Luke 19:45-48
  • 4/13 – Luke 20:1-8
  • 4/14 – Luke 22:7-38
  • 4/15 – John 19:17-37
  • 4/16 – John 19:38-42

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, I cannot help but walk with You this week for I acknowledge that You always walk with me.

It is you who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father has conferred one on me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom.

Throughout Lent we talked about what Jesus came to fulfill. Today we enter the week of ultimate fulfillment that took away our bruises and reignited us.

We start the week of fulfillment at the moment Jesus enters Jerusalem in triumph, to the acclamation of Israel. Then, at the very end of our Liturgy of the Palms we are starkly presented with the Scourging of the Crucifix. 

On this first day of the week, we move from triumph to the torture leading to the Cross. Yet even in the Scourging of the Crucifix we hear the promise: “It is written, they strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. But, after I am resurrected, I will go before you to Galilee.” He will indeed rise and be with us. He is not abandoning us. He is saving us, not just for a week, but forever.

Let us look at Jesus’ weeklong journey and its parallels to our journey as citizens of the Kingdom.

We, the people of Christ Jesus, now reside in the Kingdom Jesus came to establish, that He has conferred on us – no, not just on the Apostles, not just on those who were there back then – but on all of us who live now in eternity with Him along with all who came before and will come after us.

Because of this week we have come out of a world mired in tortuous death, a world blind and deaf, and have entered the Kingdom life. We dwell in the Kingdom of everlasting life, a place of seeing and hearing where Jesus’ gospel path defines our steps.

Because of this week we have been pulled free from the imprisonment of fear and want. We are no longer jailed by the type of fear the Jewish leadership fell into – The Romans will come and destroy... No one can take away what we have! No one can remove Christ’s promises from us. Satan still tries to accuse us, but we are able to say confidently – away from me, I am washed in the blood of Jesus and have been set free. I have the promises of Jesus, so I have no want, the chains of my captivity have been broken. I have absolute fearless assurance.

Because of this week we have an eternal ‘year of favor, a year acceptable to the Lord.’ The “year acceptable to the Lord” that Jesus spoke about that day in Nazareth, which He brought about this week, was a reference to a Jewish Jubilee Year. The Jubilee Year was one in which all debts were remitted, all lands restored to their original owners, and the liberation of all slaves. In the Jubilee Year the people were invited to see the world through God’s eyes. We live in that eternal year now, where the debt of sin has been paid and where we hold God’s vision of us – as beautiful forever by Jesus’ redemption. It is all about this week!

Holy Week and the celebration of the Solemnity of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ are the true central point of our life as Christians and of our liturgical year. In this time, we are called in a special way to walk with Jesus from His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, to the Last Supper, through His passion, death, and entombment, to His glorious resurrection. Come, join in as a member of God’s Kingdom.

Holy Week

  • Sunday, April 10, Palm Sunday. Holy Mass with the Traditional Blessing and distribution of Palms at 10am. Second Holy Mass at Noon.
  • Monday, April 11, Holy Monday. Holy Mass at Noon.
  • Tuesday, April 12, Holy Tuesday. Clergy Conference and Chrism Holy Mass at St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Cathedral in Scranton, Pennsylvania starting at Noon.
  • Wednesday, April 13, Spy Wednesday. Holy Mass at Noon. Private Confessions 12:45 until 2pm.

Pascal Triduum

  • Thursday, April 14, Maundy Thursday. Reception of Oils, Holy Mass of the Institution of the Eucharist, Procession, Reposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Vespers, and Striping of the Altar at 7pm. Church remains open afterward for private devotion.
  • Friday, April 15, Good Friday. Church opens at Noon for private devotion Seven Last Words at 1pm. Bitter Lamentations / Gorzkie żale at 2pm. Liturgy of the Presanctified and Opening of the Tomb at 3pm. Church remains open afterward for private devotion.
  • Saturday, April 16, Holy Saturday. Liturgies of the day (New Fire, Blessing of Holy Water, Proclamation of the Exhortations, Renewal of Baptismal Promises) at 10am followed by the Blessing of Easter Baskets. Church open until 2pm for Blessing of Baskets and private devotion.

Solemnity of the Resurrection

  • Sunday, April 17, Solemnity of the Resurrection (Easter). Solemn Resurrection Procession and Solemn High Holy Mass at 8am. Second Holy Mass at 10am. Easter repast (Swięconka) after each Holy Mass.

This week’s memory verse: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17
  • 4/3 – 1 John 1:9
  • 4/4 – 2 Peter 3:9
  • 4/5 – Matthew 9:13
  • 4/6 – Acts 2:38
  • 4/7 – Romans 10:10
  • 4/8 – 2 Corinthians 7:10
  • 4/9 – John 3:16

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, thank You for making me new, for wiping away my sin. Grant me the grace to press forward to the goal of excellence in the Kingdom life.

Made whole.

He will not break off a bent reed, nor put out a flickering lamp. He will persist until he causes justice to triumph.

Isaiah prophesies about a ‘bruised reed.’ and a ‘smoldering wick.’ In fulfillment Jesus came, not to destroy the reed or put out the wick, but to take brokenness and smoldering away. Jesus has healed and re-ignited us, has brought us into the Kingdom, into lives vastly differently.

Through this Lent we reflected and acted on our call to be vastly different. We looked at our inward selves and our outward actions and have worked to reform them through more ardent prayer, sacrifice, study, worship, and giving. We came to realize that those in the Kingdom live like this year-round, not just during Lent.

Today, St. Paul speaks of that change in him. Paul accomplished much in his youth; he was at the top of his profession. He contrasts his life in Christ to that prior life, not in exaggerated detail, but in broad strokes. 

Paul tells us that everything he was before, all that he had, is loss – i.e., nothing, worthless, even a waste. Everything before his encounter with Jesus, and his acceptance of Christ in faith, Paul says with more than a little hyperbole, is rubbish compared to where he is and where he is going. 

That seems extreme until we realize how much more excellent life in Christ is. Paul got that! Paul came to realize, very clearly, what he was before Jesus. Indeed, Paul was, a bruised reed, a smoldering wick giving neither light nor warmth. Now all things are different. Jesus has changed him, and he now presses forward, as in a race, to attain, to possess the fullness of life in Christ we will know in heaven.

Paul challenges us to go forward in faith with eyes on the heavenly prize of eternal companionship with Christ. Faith is not backward-looking, nor does it rest on its laurels. We must constantly continue our pursuit of excellence in the Kingdom life, in walking the gospel path.

We see, brothers and sisters, the realization of God’s promises in Isaiah, the new thing He is doing, that is our Kingdom life today begun in Christ Jesus. That new thing is the removal of the bruise in us. It is the re-ignition of the fire within us. His doing is not at all reliant on our past, for it is out of complete mercy that He gives us that same new life Paul lived.

Illustrating all this in such a poignant way is Jesus in the confrontation over the sinful woman. In this confrontation the scribes and Pharisees remain steadfast in their past, they live so completely in the past that they fail to see the Messiah standing before them, they walk away. On the other hand, the woman recognizes the new thing God present is doing in her life, she goes forward, like Paul, changed – the past bruise is gone, she is reignited.

We are healed and made on fire for the Kingdom of God.  We are made whole. Our Lenten journey has revealed what God has done for us. Then let us let go, forget the past as God has, and press on to fulness of life here and forever with Christ.

This week’s memory verse: All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

2 Corithians 5:18-19
  • 3/27 – Ephesians 4:32
  • 3/28 – Romans 5:10
  • 3/29 – Luke 17:3
  • 3/30 – Hebrews 12:14
  • 3/31 – 1 Peter 4:8
  • 4/1 – Colossians 1:20-22
  • 4/2 – Matthew 5:24

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, thank You for my vastly different life, given by Your reconciling me to Yourself. Grant that by self-giving like You I may draw many to the Kingdom.