Monday in the Octave of Easter
Matthew, Chapter 28, verse 8
Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples.
It’s a curious thing that a father does. The same child that he protects and cradles, he takes in his hands and throws into the air. . .up above his head. . .lets him fall back. . .and then catches again. And again, throws him. . .lets him fall. . .and catches him. It seems odd to do to a child. But watch. The child laughs and even shrieks with delight. He screams in mid-flight and giggles when caught. There is fear of being in the air, without support, helpless and not in control. There is fear of being so dependent on this big man. But then there is the joy of being received back into his arms and brought close to him again. All one fluid motion, the throwing and the catching. Which means that the fear and the joy are united as well. . (Mt 28:8) This description of the women on Easter Sunday resembles the fear and joy that the child experiences in his father’s arms. As in that experience, the fear and joy in this instance are united, one being impossible without the other. The fear of the women is, of course, the reverence that we call . They just encountered the angel and received news of something beyond their control. Christ is risen. No human intellect can make sense of it, no human power can tame it. The women are reminded powerfully of that fundamental truth: He is God and we are not. Their smallness – and ours – is evident. In His Resurrection appearances, Jesus always teaches the transcendence and otherness that elicits fear. He cannot be controlled. He is master of the situation, remaining for a time unrecognizable to Mary Magdalene, the disciples on the road, the Apostles in the boat. Revealing Himself only on His own terms. He suddenly disappears in Emmaus. And just as suddenly appears before the Apostles. The Lord rebukes the two people – Mary Magdalene and Thomas – who try to have Him on their own terms. The risen Christ will not be domesticated. He must be feared in order to be received. Only when that fear is present can joy arise. Easter joy is not something manufactured or created by us. It comes from the Resurrection or not at all, precisely and only when we surrender control and allow the risen Lord to intrude on our gatherings and activities just as surely as He appeared on the road, in the upper room, and on the seashore. If we want Him on our own terms – and thus without fear – then it is not the risen Lord we want, but a caricature. Fear and joy seem always to have been together, or at least meant to be. Adam’s joy depended on a healthy reverence for that one prohibition and the ominous warning: . When he and Eve reached out to grasp – that is, to control God’s arrangement, to define their own reality – at that very moment their joy was lost. They even hid from God. Since that moment, we children of Adam have suffered the deep, sinful inclination to wrest control from God, for ourselves. We are constantly grasping for joy on our own terms and, therefore, always losing it. This is at the core of sin, to prefer our reality to God’s, to seek joy on our own terms. Such has always been the case. But this is also a timely consideration, because we live in an irreverent and therefore a joyless culture. We lack fear of the Lord and consequently lack authentic joy, settling for pleasure as a cheap imitation. This matter of fear of the Lord – whether we are reverent or irreverent – determines how we view the world. In short, reality is either given and received, or invented and imposed. By fear of the Lord, we receive the reality of which God Himself is the Author. We conform ourselves to the Author’s will and plot line. By our irreverence, however, we invent our own reality, and impose it on others. These fault lines lie in every human heart. But as much as every human heart may struggle, in the past there was at least general agreement that reality is not something we invent but something given to us and received. Now, however, the invention of reality is not only possible, but essential to society. Our impiety and irreverence is codified: An invented reality, having no objective truth, cannot be agreed upon. It must be imposed. Indeed, these fault lines – given and received, invented and imposed – are writ large in society. They characterize all our debates: about sex, sexuality, marriage, law, and even liturgy. Either we receive the given truth of these and find joy therein, or we make it up and force others to come along. Technology exacerbates the problem, making us feel like masters of time and space, thus having the authority and power to define existence, meaning, universe, and life. . This describes those first messengers of the Resurrection, the first Christian witnesses. So also, should it describe Christians today. The world cries out for such witnesses, for those who joyfully point beyond this world to eternal truths. We ought, then, to be fearful – acknowledging our smallness, our absolute dependence on the Author of life and the reality of His creation. And precisely because of that holy fear we should also be found joyful – ever rejoicing in what He has done for us, in being caught once more and gathered to His bosom.
Monday in the Octave of Easter
IN the Introit of the Mass of this day the Church brings before our eyes the entrance of the Israelites into the promised land, which is a type of the kingdom of heaven, under Josue, who is a type of Christ. The Lord hath brought you into a land flowing with milk and honey, alleluia: and that the law of the Lord may be ever in your mouth, alleluia, alleluia. Give glory to the Lord and call upon His name, declare His deeds among the gentiles.
Prayer. O God, Who hast bestowed remedies on the world in the paschal solemnities, grant to Thy people heavenly gifts, we be seech Thee, that they may both deserve to obtain perfect liberty, and arrive at life everlasting.
EPISTLE. Acts x. 37-43.
In those days: Peter standing in the midst of the people, said: Men, brethren, you know the word which hath been published through all Judea: for it began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached, Jesus of Nazareth: how God anointed Him with the Holy Ghost, and with power, Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things that He did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, Whom they killed, hanging Him upon a tree. Him God raised up the third day, and gave Him to be made manifest, not to all the people, but to witnesses pre-ordained by God, even to us, who did eat and drink with Him after He arose again from the dead: and He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He Who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead. To Him all the prophets give testimony, that by His name all receive remission of sins, who believe in Him.
Explanation. Through Jesus sent from God, and through Him alone, forgiveness of sins and salvation are promised to all who truly and firmly believe in Him and show their belief by deeds. Have such a lively faith, and thou shalt receive forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.
GOSPEL. Luke xxiv. 13-35.
At that time: two of the disciples of Jesus went the same day to a town, which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus Himself also drawing near went with them. But their eyes were held that they should not know Him. And He said to them: What are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk, and are sad?
And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said to Him: Art Thou only a stranger in Jerusalem and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days? To whom He said: What things?
And they said: Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, Who was a prophet, mighty in work and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and princes delivered Him to be condemned to death and crucified Him. But we hoped that it was He that should have redeemed Israel: and now besides all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company, affrighted us, who before it was light were at the sepulchre. And not finding His body, came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who say that He is alive. And some of our people went to the sepulchre: and found it so as the women had said, but Him they found not. Then He said to them: O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into His glory?
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things that were concerning Him. And they drew nigh to the town whither they were going, and He made as though He would go farther. But they constrained Him, saying: Stay with us, because it is towards evening, and the day is now far spent. And He went in with them. And it came to pass, whilst He was at table with them, He took bread, and blessed, and broke, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him: and He vanished out of their sight. And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst He spoke in the wray, and opened to us the Scriptures?
And rising up the same hour they went back to Jerusalem: and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way: and how they knew Him in the breaking of bread.
Why did Jesus appear as a stranger to the two disciples? He appeared to them as a stranger, says St. Gregory, be cause He meant to deal with them according to their dispositions, and according to the firmness of their faith. They seemed not to have believed in Him as the Son of God, but to have expected a hero or prince who should deliver them from their subjection to the Romans. Thus, Christ was, indeed, yet a stranger in their hearts, and chose to appear to them as such, to free those who loved Him from their false notions, to convince them of the ne cessity of His passion, and to reveal Himself to them, as soon as their understandings should be enlightened, and their hearts filled with desire. Thus God orders the disposal of His graces accord ing to our dispositions; according to our faith and trust; according to our love and fidelity.
Easter Monday was reserved as a special day for rest and relaxation. Its most distinctive feature is the Emmaus walk, a leisurely constitution inspired by the Gospel of the day (Luke 24.13-35). This can take the form of a stroll through field or forest or, as in French Canada, a visit to one's grandparents.
Earth Day seeks to highlight and promote efforts dedicated to the protection of the environment. We face many environmental crises, including global warming, deforestation, endangered wildlife, shortages of potable water and widespread pollution, all which negatively affect our planet’s resources and can have adverse effects on our long-term lifestyle and health. In 1970, a US Senator named Gaylord Nelson was inspired to bring about mass public awareness of environment problems. He heavily promoted the day across the nation in an effort to gather the largest amount of public support possible and ultimately, in the hopes of elevating environmental protection onto the national political agenda. This day in 1970 marked the creation of United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. Today, Earth Day is celebrated by billions of people around the world and is observed in over 190 countries. Worldwide, Earth Day celebrations utilize educational programs to inform people of ways that can help protect the environment and its natural resources. It is observed annually on April 22nd and is celebrated as International Earth Day.
Earth Day Facts & Quotes
· During the 2015 UN Conference in Paris, France, participating nations concurred on the need for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The countries cooperatively pledged to keep global temperature rise below 2C (3.6F). In celebration of Earth Day 2016 on April 22nd, the landmark agreement that testifies to this global commitment was signed at the UN Headquarters in New York by 175 participating nations
· Energy Star rated LED light bulbs use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting. Switching entirely to LED lights over the next two decades could save the U.S. $250 billion in energy costs, reduce electricity consumption for lighting by nearly 50 percent and avoid 1,800 million metric tons of carbon emissions.
· In the past 50 years, humans have consumed more resources than in all previous history. - U.S. EPA, 2009. Sustainable Materials Management: The Road Ahead.
· We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. - Native American Proverb
Earth Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Organize a group of volunteers to help clean up and restore a green space. Some suggestions include planting trees and adding waste receptacles.
· Try to go the whole day without creating any garbage, • Try not to use your car for the entire day. Instead, use public transit, walk or ride your bicycle.
· Change your traditional incandescent light bulbs to energy saving LED or CFL light bulbs.
· Watch a documentary or movie that touches on an ecological issue. Our favorites are: An Inconvenient Truth (2006), the Burning Season (1993, 2008), Elemental (2012) and The Day after Tomorrow (2004).
· Read one of many books that relate to environmental issues such as, The World Without Us (Alan Weisman), Hell and High Water (Joseph Romm) and Natural Capitalism (Hawken, Lovins and Lovins)
Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’of The Holy Father Francis on Care for Our Common Home
· “Laudato Si’, mi’ Signore” –“Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, MotherEarth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.
· This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.
These are strong words in a world that from the beginning has been a place of conflict, disputes and enmity on all sides, where we constantly pigeonhole others on the basis of their ideas, their customs and even their way of speaking or dressing. Ultimately, it is the reign of pride and vanity, where each person thinks he or she has the right to dominate others. Nonetheless, impossible as it may seem, Jesus proposes a different way of doing things: the way of meekness. This is what we see him doing with his disciples. It is what we contemplate on his entrance to Jerusalem: “Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey”. Christ says: “Learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. If we are constantly upset and impatient with others, we will end up drained and weary. But if we regard the faults and limitations of others with tenderness and meekness, without an air of superiority, we can actually help them and stop wasting our energy on useless complaining. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux tells us that “perfect charity consists in putting up with others’ mistakes, and not being scandalized by their faults”. Paul speaks of meekness as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. He suggests that, if a wrongful action of one of our brothers or sisters troubles us, we should try to correct them, but “with a spirit of meekness”, since “you too could be tempted”. Even when we defend our faith and convictions, we are to do so “with meekness”. Our enemies too are to be treated “with meekness”. In the Church we have often erred by not embracing this demand of God’s word. Meekness is yet another expression of the interior poverty of those who put their trust in God alone. Indeed, in the Bible the same word – anawim – usually refers both to the poor and to the meek. Someone might object: “If I am that meek, they will think that I am an idiot, a fool or a weakling”. At times they may, but so be it. It is always better to be meek, for then our deepest desires will be fulfilled. The meek “shall inherit the earth”, for they will see God’s promises accomplished in their lives. In every situation, the meek put their hope in the Lord, and those who hope for him shall possess the land… and enjoy the fullness of peace. For his part, the Lord trusts in them: “This is the one to whom I will look, to the humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at my word”.
· Reacting with meekness and humility: that is holiness.
Divine Mercy Novena
Fourth Day - Today Bring Me the Pagans and Those Who Do Not Know Me.
Most Compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of pagans who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of pagans and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.
· Manhood of Christ Day 6, Seventh Week.
 Goffines Devout Instructions, 1896