The Easter Vigil is truly a unique and beautiful celebration, an ancient liturgy whose rituals and words are full of poetry and meaning. As Fr. Tony Cutcher says: "It's faith in something that we cannot see, taste, touch, or measure that causes us to be here tonight...to celebrate that he is risen, to look through our Resurrection glasses and see that it's not the end of the story..."
As he reflects on the suffering and death that Christ endured on Good Friday, Fr. Tony Cutcher considers the significance of the cross, off all that it implies for Christians. He says: "The Church has received the mandate from its founder to stand with the poor and the weak, to be the voice for those who have no voice..."
Sometimes it's hard to see the "good" amid the grief, tragedy, and violence of Good Friday. But reflecting on the love that inspires and springs forth from self-sacrifice, Fr. Deepak D'Souza sees the good: "That cup we raise every Mass overflows with his love. It brings joy to us."
Holy Thursday begins the Triduum — a liturgy that plays out over the course of three days. Commenting on Christ's act of service in the washing of the feet, the institution of the Eucharist, and the Old Testament account of the first Passover, Fr. Tony Cutcher reflects on a 4,000 year-old tradition.
Have you ever imagined yourself in the position of the various characters involved in the Passion narrative? It's a humbling experience. Fr. Tony Cutcher walks us through such a reflection, asking: "Where am I in this story? Am I just going along with the crowd? Am I one of the ones who wants to get rid of the authority of the Lord in my life so that I can continue doing what I like to do? Are we like his disciples who stood off at a distance...Do we put Jesus and his cross at a distance from our lives?"
Christ's prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane teaches us so much about the nature of prayer. Fr. Joseph Kindel contemplates the implications of Christ's words in the Garden, saying: "A genuine prayer asks with all our heart for what we want — even to the point of sweating blood — but then concludes with: not my will, Father, but Yours be done."
Through the symbol of the cross, Christ has conquered death itself and won for us eternal life. Fr. Deepak D'Souza meditates on this reality on Palm Sunday, saying: "We will realize the glory of God when we suffer, when we go through trials, troubles, and persecution...This is the most challenging thing for all of us: to take up the cross, to be patient, and pray for the person who ridicules us..."
Asking the essential questions as he meditates on the third scrutiny, Fr. Tony Cutcher brilliantly illuminates the Gospel account of the resurrection of Lazarus from multiple perspectives. He says: "The women sent a note to Jesus...expecting him to come running. And he didn't. How many times have we sent up a prayer to God thinking He'll come running to our aid, and he doesn't? Why? Perhaps it's so His glory can be seen in some other fashion."
Now is the time for mercy. In light of the Gospel account of the resurrection of Lazarus, Fr. Joseph Kindel says: "When Jesus stands in front of the tomb of Lazarus and commands Lazarus to come out, at the same time he is standing before every tomb commanding each one of us to come out."
Jesus' words "go and sin no more" are among the most powerful ever spoken. Sharing a profound story of reconciliation, Fr. Deepak D'Souza reflects on conversion, confession, and compassion. He says: "To those who are spiritually dead, emotionally dead, morally dead...he can raise us up at any moment. Whatever the distance we have traveled away from him, he comes after us and brings us back as if we never went away. That is the beauty of his compassion, mercy, and love."