Items filtered by date: March 2022

He Had to Rise

(Easter: Acts 10:34-43; Colossians 3:1-4 ; John 20:1-9)

At the end of today’s Gospel, John states clearly, “They did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.” In fact, as the readings during the Easter season will often show, most of the disciples did not believe Jesus had risen until he revealed himself.

Let us put ourselves in Peter’s place in the empty tomb. What are we to make of what we see? Nothing here makes sense. For example, if Jesus’ body was stolen, why would a thief fold the burial cloths?

Then let us join Peter as he appears in the first reading. By this time in the Acts of the Apostles, Peter has been boldly proclaiming the risen Christ to the Jewish people, and many have believed. But here he is preaching to a devout God-fearing Roman centurion, along with his family and friends. Now Peter is a witness, not of an empty place of death, but of the fullness of life, for everyone.

St. Paul, writing to the Colossians, reminds them, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.” As a witness, he certainly practiced what he preached.

At La Salette, the Beautiful Lady made witnesses of Maximin and Mélanie. We follow in their footsteps, reminding people of the transforming power of the crucified and risen Jesus. What Peter says of himself and his companions applies also to us: “He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”

John writes that Jesus had to rise. This goes beyond announcing the historical event. For without his resurrection there is no victory over death. There is no victory over sin. There is no salvation. There is no restoring of the covenant relationship with God.

If modern social media had existed at the time of today’s Gospel, imagine what theories would have circulated concerning the empty tomb! If the burning faith of Peter and the others existed today, imagine what prophets we might become in this present age!

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)
Thursday, 24 March 2022 20:11

Rosary - March 2022

Published in LAY ASSOCIATES (EN)

The Master’s Need

(Palm Sunday: Luke 19:28-40; Isaiah 50:4-7; Phil 2:6-11; Luke 22:14 to 23:56)

Following Jesus’ instruction, his disciples, when asked why they were taking the colt, answered, “The Master has need of it.”

What does the Master need from us? First and foremost, our very selves.

When Our Lady told Maximin and Mélanie to “make this known”, was she not saying, “The Master has need of you”? They, and no one else, were chosen to be the first to announce the La Salette message of conversion and reconciliation.

What resource, gift, or talent does the master need from us? For each it will be different, but there is much that we have in common. For example, we all receive the Body of Christ in the Eucharist. How then do we carry him into our personal world of family, friends, community and when possible, beyond?

Some of the Pharisees thought the crowd acclaiming Jesus was going too far. He answered, “If they keep silent, the stones will cry out!” We find at La Salette a similar extravagant prediction: “Rocks and stones will be turned into heaps of wheat,” proclaiming, as it were, God’s mercy toward those who return to him.

This is no time for silence. The Master has need of our voice, and will give us each our own “well-trained tongue” (first reading), so as to profess the glory of God and make ours the words of today’s Psalm: “I will proclaim your name to my brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.”

For many of us, this will not be easy, especially if we live in a society that is indifferent or even hostile to our faith.

In this context let us consider what Jesus said to Peter. “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.”

We know that Peter’s courage failed at a critical moment, but not his faith. Never excusing his cowardice, he turned back and in the Acts of the Apostles he boldly proclaimed the Good News and guided the first steps of the Church. The Master still needed him, as he still needs us—what a glorious, humbling thought!—to strengthen our brothers and sisters.

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)

Do you not Perceive it?

(5th Sunday of Lent: Isaiah 43:16-21; Philippians 3:8-14; John 8:1-11)

The woman in today’s Gospel was guilty. The law doomed her to death. Whatever regrets she now had could do her no good.

The Jewish people, to whom Isaiah speaks in the first reading, were in exile because of their many sins. If only they had remembered how much they owed God for delivering their ancestors from slavery and bringing them through the Red Sea!

Paul recognized too late “the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” He could never undo the harm he had done in persecuting the Church.

Many Christians in 1846 had forgotten the story of their salvation. God’s Son, out of love for the world, had handed himself over to death. But now some invoked his name only when they swore at rotten potatoes and the coming scourge of hunger.

It took a Beautiful Lady to bring them back to a life of faith. Yes, her words were reproachful, but she did not come to condemn her people. An alternative to punishment was available.

Paul would have to suffer much for the sake of Christ. That was no punishment. He found fulfillment in “the sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death.”

Isaiah reassured his people that a sign greater than the crossing of the Red Sea lay in store for them, and sooner than they think. “Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”

Far more remarkable is the outcome of the case of the woman in the Gospel. It was not only unexpected, it was impossible! Jesus is saying, in effect, “I am doing something new, something not seen before, something revolutionary. Can you perceive this?”

La Salette helps us to see this great wonder, not only to apply it ourselves as we strive to lead reconciled lives, but also to adopt it as a methodology in engaging our modern world.

Isaiah, Paul, Mary, and especially Jesus invite us to take on a heart of conversion. Let us not put off the time when we might hear those gentle words, “Neither do I condemn you.”

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)

Radiant with Joy

(4th Sunday of Lent: Joshua 5:9-12; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11-32)

“Look to him that you may be radiant with joy.” These words in today’s Psalm refer to the Lord, but we can apply them to the prodigal son. Once he looked to his father, he found himself dressed in the finest robe, with a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

In the middle of this penitential season of Lent, the Church gives us Laetare (Rejoice) Sunday. Besides the specific references to joy in the Psalm and the Gospel, the readings are full of reasons to celebrate.

In the first reading, God says to his people, “Today I have removed the reproach of Egypt from you.” They have crossed the Jordan and will now celebrate their first Passover in the promised land. They are truly a free people at last.

St. Paul speaks glowingly of reconciliation, which is God’s doing, and which we are called to accept. In our relationships with others, we know what reconciliation is like, when offender and offended are able to look at each other happily and recognize the “new creation” of love restored.

More joyous still is the reconciliation to which the Beautiful Lady of La Salette calls us. In entrusting her message to Mélanie and Maximin and to us, she has made us ambassadors for Christ. We can proclaim to all that God, “not counting their trespasses against them,” offers them the opportunity to return humbly to him and be in a right relationship with him.

Isn’t that what the story of the prodigal son is about? “While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.”

We could stop here, and this reflection would be complete. But let us use the remaining space for a couple additional thoughts.

Let us rejoice that, at the Easter Vigil, thousands will become a new creation through the waters of baptism and the anointing of the holy oil of confirmation and the bestowing of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Let us, as the father says, “celebrate and rejoice” over every soul saved, for every sinner (ourselves included) who is reconciled with God, who “was dead and has come to life again; was lost and has been found.”

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)

One God, One People

(3rd Sunday of Lent: Exodus 3:1-15; 1 Corinthians 10:1-12; Luke 13:1-9)

Today’s parable of the fig tree is found only in the Gospel of Luke. We cannot fail, however, to see the parallel at La Salette. Like the gardener trying to save the tree, the Beautiful Lady presents herself as praying without ceasing for her people.

In the first reading, God says: “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers, so I know well what they are suffering. Therefore I have come down to rescue them.” Mary witnessed her people’s sin—in particular the cries of complaint mingled with the name of her Son—but also their suffering. She came down to provide a remedy to both.

St. Paul writes about “our ancestors.” on their way to the promised land. He concludes: “God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert. These things happened as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil things, as they did. Do not grumble as some of them did.”

Now few if any of the Corinthian believers were of Jewish descent, and the same is true for us. But our Christian heritage includes the Old Testament, and in other places Paul says explicitly that we are children of Abraham.

We are therefore the one chosen people of the one true God, whose boundlessly mysterious name is “I AM.” What cry does he hear from us today? Do we grumble, or do we turn to the Lord in prayer? Do we derive the full benefit of the spiritual food and spiritual drink that has been given to us?

Good news travels fast, they say. That may be true, but bad news gets more attention. Today’s Gospel mentions two tragic events. Jesus’ response is, “If you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”

That saying may seem uncaring, but it reflects the urgency of Jesus’ mission. So, too, at La Salette, Mary opened her discourse with the words, “If my people refuse to submit.” She had to make an impact.

Both, however, leave ample room for hope. So, let us turn to the Lord with the opening prayer of today’s Mass: “that we, who are bowed down by our conscience, may always be lifted up by your mercy.”

Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.

Published in MISSION (EN)
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