Low Sunday

"As the Father has sent Me, I also send you..."

Jesus, speaking to His Apostles, tells them that as the Father sent Him, He also sends them. And the very next line is, "Receive the Holy Ghost... whose sins YOU forgive, they ARE forgiven them..." THIS is why His Apostles, our first bishops, have the authority to forgive sins AND since Jesus sent them to forgive sins - they too must pass on this authority to their successors - our bishops are those successors!  THIS is why our priests, IF they have THIS authority from a valid bishop in succession from the Apostles, can forgive sins at the Sacrament of Reconciliation (aka, the Sacrament of Penance). Those sins THEY do not forgive (are retained) are NOT forgiven ("they are retained"). One who is not of this valid succession has NO AUTHORITY to forgive sins.

THIS is His Divine Mercy, which is what this Sunday is also referred to in the modern lectionary.

The Sunday After Easter is traditionally Low Sunday (Extraordinary Rite).

Some highlights from the Extraordinary Rite:

Introit: 1 Peter 2:2 - "As newborn babies, alleluia, desire the rational mile without guile, alleluia!"
Epistle: 1 John 5:4-10 - "For whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world: and this is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit which testifieth, that Christ is the truth.  And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one. And there are three that give testimony on earth: the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three are one. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater. For this is the testimony of God, which is greater, because he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth in the Son of God, hath the testimony of God in himself. He that believeth not the Son, maketh him a liar: because he believeth not in the testimony which God hath testified of his Son."
The Greater Alleluia: Alleluia, alleluia. On the day of My resurrection, saith the Lord, I will go before you into Galilee. Alleluia. (John 20:26) After eight days, the doors being shut, Jesus stood in the midst of His disciples, and said: Peace be with you. Alleluia.
Gospel: (which is the same for the Ordinary Rite too on this day) John 20:19-31 - "Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord.
He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. Now Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him: We have seen the Lord. But he said to them: Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said: Peace be to you. Then he saith to Thomas: Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. Thomas answered, and said to him: My Lord, and my God.
Jesus saith to him: Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed. Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing, you may have life in his name."
Offertory: Matthew 28:2, 5-6 - "An angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not you; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid."

Friday in the Octave of Easter

For the Octave of Easter (8 days following Easter) each day is considered a solemnity... therefore, today is a....

Your normal Friday penance is lifted because on a solemnity there is no fasting or abstinence!


Chapter 1, Title 1, Section III
12. The celebration of the two greatest Solemnities, Easter and the Nativity, is extended over eight days. Each Octave is governed by its own rules.

1983 Code of Canon Law (currently in force)

Can 1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent. 
Can 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Can 1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! Today we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior! Oh death, where is thy sting? (1 Cor. 15:55-57).

Today is the day which defines us as Christians!  Without the Resurrection, Christianity would be nothing but a fraud. 



Palm Sunday

Sorry, I saw this and couldn't resist!  No, Palm Sunday is not a new way of serving dessert! Why do we call this Sunday, Palm Sunday?  This is THE day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem and the people waved palm branches and covered the road into the city with their robes and palms singing "Hosanna in the highest!" When His critics told Him He should have His disciples quiet down and stop with all this, what they considered, disruption - He answered them, "If they remain silent, the very stones would cry out!" (Luke 19:40).
Everyone loves a parade, and while we reflect on this glorious entry into Jerusalem - the Gospel reading for today is the Passion account from Luke (Luke 22:14-23:56)   Sometimes this reading is broken up into a script and read by two to four readers (see this link). It's hard to imagine how we go from this grand entry into the city to four days later the arrest of Jesus on Holy Thursday, His death on Good Friday and then His glorious Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

A point of interest... Riding in on a horse is a sign of glory, pride and victory - yet Jesus rides in on an ass (a donkey, or a colt - the foal of a donkey) as a sign of humility - AND - in fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9! 

Palm Sunday - the LAST WEEK of Lent! Palm Sunday begins Holy Week - the week which changed the world!  No other week in history has had as profound affect on history as Holy Week. Just another thought to meditate upon this week.

So get your palm fronds this Palm Sunday - and save them!  Put them hanging out from behind a picture or crucifix and save them till next year.  Why?  A week or two before next Ash Wednesday you bring them back to church and turn them in - and they are burned to make the ashes for Ash Wednesday!

Some get rather creative with the palm frond folding, take a look at these samples:

Passion Sunday

OK, I am a bit late in posting this one since Passion Sunday was traditionally LAST Sunday, but according to the new lectionary, Passion and Palm Sunday are now together on the Sunday before Easter.  That being said, as one who prefers the Extraordinary Rite, which still uses the traditional lectionary, I will post this separately from my Palm Sunday entry.

What IS Passion Sunday?

Traditionally, on this Sunday we transfer our thoughts from our own penances to the Passion of Jesus Christ. One of the things we do on this Sunday is cover all our sacred images with purple cloth. The veiling of sacred images removes from our sight the stimuli these bring to mind - and again, allows us to focus on the Passion of the Christ. In our homes and in our churches, these images bring to mind different Saints and their lives as well as various parts of the life of Christ. So seeing them veiled from Passion Sunday through the Easter Vigil (in the church, the veils are removed just as the vigil ends and as the First Mass of Easter begins).

Another way of looking at the veiling of statues, crucifixes and pictures is a sense of mourning, as we mourn the price of our salvation.

An exception to those things veiled... the Stations of the Cross.  These remain unveiled for they are a chief part of the devotions during all of Lent, but especially from Passion Sunday forward to the Easter Vigil.

The fact that in the new lectionary Passion and Palm Sunday are together on Palm Sunday saddens me. Why combine the two? There is a ton of devotional differences between the two Sundays, and well, where Passion Sunday is not observed in its place - the Fifth Sunday of Lent, and the Sunday before Palm Sunday - a rich piece of our heritage is lost.

I also noticed in some churches, they began veiling sacred images on Ash Wednesday. That has a similar meaning - but again, it takes away from Passion Sunday.  Our family still practices covering the sacred images (statues and pictures) around our house on Passion Sunday and they stay there until we return from Easter Vigil, or until just before we leave for Easter Sunday Mass.  Also, another irony I noticed at a church for Palm Sunday - where the only thing sacred which was veiled (throughout Lent) was the tabernacle - and for Palm Sunday the veil was removed!

Let us pray for a return of and to our heritage!  Even if the churches do not do it, we can do it in our homes.

Feast of the Assumption

 The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - another example of "not-so-ordinary" days! These are COUNTING days - and...