Lenten Reflections 2013
These Lenten reflections invite us to enter into the Gospel readings for Ash Wednesday and the Sundays of Lent. Reflecting on the Gospel readings opens us up to the themes of Lent and their meaning in our lives. At the heart of Lent is a call to conversion, an element present throughout the Gospels.
Opening: Forty days ago we began this Lenten journey with ashes on our foreheads and the reminder of our own mortality and sinfulness. And today we conclude this part of the journey with the celebration of Easter joy and the clear reminder that death has been overcome and our sins forgiven. But the journey continues as the Christian life is always lived in light of the Resurrection. What insights of practices have you gained over these Lenten weeks that you hope to continue into the Easter season and beyond?
Gospel: There are several Gospels to select from as we look at the Easter celebration, from the one used at the Vigil to the one read at a later liturgy Easter Sunday evening. We will reflect here on the Gospel from the Easter Vigil.
· What image from the Gospel story stands out for you?
· What verse or verses are important to you? Which ones invite you to further reflection?
At daybreak on the first day of the week
the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus
took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
but when they entered,
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were puzzling over this, behold,
two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.
They said to them,
“Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
He is not here, but he has been raised.
Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee,
that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners
and be crucified, and rise on the third day.”
And they remembered his words.
Then they returned from the tomb
and announced all these things to the eleven
and to all the others.
The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James;
the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles,
but their story seemed like nonsense
and they did not believe them.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb,
bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone;
then he went home amazed at what had happened.
Reflection: The women were doing what women do: attending to the details of life, going to the tomb with spices to anoint the body. But a dreary and even dreaded activity becomes a moment of confusion and then of joy when they found the tomb empty and heard the words of two men in dazzling garments. Hope beyond hope: Jesus’s body was gone, not because it had been stolen, but because he had risen on the third day as he had foretold. Little wonder the men didn’t believe them when the women returned within this amazing news. They had to go tomb themselves to find the burial cloths in piles.
Over the next few hours and days the news would spread; what had seemed like nonsense became life-changing truth as Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene, then to the travelers on the road to Emmaus, and then to the other disciples. The joy of the early followers must have been amazing; this is a joy that each of us can share in each Easter and each day. E.E. Cummings speaks of this joy in his poem “i thank You God for most this amazing day”
i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
This is our Easter joy!
Lived faith: Think about continuing the practice of reflecting on the Sunday Gospels as a way of deepening your faith and connecting with the life of the church. Some online resources to draw on to enhance your reflection: Daily Reflections from Creighton University includes reflections of the Gospel for each day; The Sunday Website from St. Louis University contains multiple thoughts and questions for reflection on the Gospel for each Sunday; and Loyola Press’ Sunday Connection provides background on the Gospel reading and some activities for various age groups and for families
This week you are encouraged to share the fruits of your personal reflection by submitting comments below. We will publish as many comments as we can and encourage you to engage in dialogue about each week's Reflection with other Eagles.
Comments from Alumni and Friends:
"The Easter morning sun has blessed nearly all the globe by now...but I sit in the dark, under a moonlit sky of stars and amongst swaying palm branches on the island of Maui... looking to the east...expectant of the first rays to brighten the sky behind the mountains... reminded of this past week's triumphant entry, broken bread & poured out wine, deceitful kiss, abandoned promises, devastating crucifixion, and now the mourning women preparing to journey to the tomb. And in this moment, like one who has read the last chapter in a novel, I smile and greet the brightening sky of this day that brings such joy to those of us around God's created world who follow Jesus...in Him is our hope, our future, and life ever-lasting." ~ KW '83
"Through confusing and sad times in my life I can still feel God's love and hope for me; I continue joyfully press on." ~ Anonymous
"Peter went to the tomb and was amazed at what he saw. Two thousand years later are we amazed? Am I amazed? Do we need bad news from the doctor, loss of a loved one, or loss of self a to believe? Lord, I believe, help me with my disbelief." ~ Gerald Mahoney '72
"It is so good to read the Passion gospels again. The faith of the apostles, the Truth of the Tale, shine through. I listen to the Passion as a Catholic finding again the origins of my beliefs and then I listen as an outsider judging the validity of the 'story.' It rings so true. The people are so real.Yes, this is why I believe...Thank God for Lent as a time to "Stop, and look around." Thank God for Easter and new beginnings and for new strength to hang in there." ~ Claudia Collins Daileader '66
"In this reflection I focused on 'remember what he said to you... and they remembered his words.' How quickly they jumped out at me how quickly my spirit leapt. I knew it was because of the wonderful homily from Holy Thursday night. Fr. focused on the words of Jesus: 'Remember Me!' 'Look around at all the people who are not here with us. 52 were buried from our parish since last Easter. Look our Brazilian Community is halved by so many who left afraid of immigration policies. But Jesus says to us - Remember Me. Remember I lost too; remember I died too; remember I conqured death and loss; remember I will bring you all together again. Remember me.' A year and a half ago we lost our daughter to a terrible battle with cancer. Five weeks from diagnosis to death. How difficult the approach of every family holiday is to us. How could I not remember Jesus? How could I not remember his words to me, his promise? Comforted by this reflection I believed I would make it through the holiday. As always God is so much bigger. All of Easter Day I was so genuinely happy. It seemed all I could do is remember. Remember so many good, funny, endearing things about her; remember she is with him; remember we will be together again. Deo Gracias! Happy Easter!" ~ Ann Gerace '03
"My grandmother would pray her rosary every day, but not to ask for miracles. She told me clearly: "There are no miracles!" Still, every year my grandmother opened Easter dinner with a "Beneditto" (blessing) -- a traditional Easter dish from southern Italy with lettuce, eggs, fresh cheese, bread, bitter lemon, and sweet orange; she would bless God for the gift of new life symbolized in her Easter dish, and she would bless her children to know the Easter miracle: the tomb is empty and life begins again." ~ Marc Schiavone '76
"As the Easter Resurrection reflects a renewal of Christ's love for mankind lets us pray for a renewal of Boston College's committment and loyalty to the magesterium of the church by signing on to 'ex corde ecclsesia.'" ~ Tony Mangini '68
"Praise the Lord Jesus. Praise His Holy Name." ~ Anonymous
"The power of the resurrection Set us free to love...To become Christlike." ~ Jody Sinwell
"The poet, Emily Dickinson, has said, 'Without Easter Day, no other day has any meaning.' During this Paschal Season may we let every day be colored by Easter Day." ~ Sr. Marie Hayes, FCJ '67
"Jesus Christ is risen from the dead! But what good is His Resurrection for me if I do not allow His super-abundant Grace to transform my heart and entire life so that I can authentically witness this great and awesome news to others with passion and conviction!!! May God grant you and me the graces we need to truly and fully experience His Resurrection each and every moment of our lives, helping others to experience His Resurrection as well!!! ~ Fr. Bob Shaldone '75