Lanie LeBlanc OP
2. -- Carol & Dennis Keller
3. -- Brian Gleeson CP
4. -- Paul O'Reilly SJ
5. --(Your reflection can be here!)
Lent 2021 has flown by, much like the entire last year.
Although it may be difficult for some, if not many, to
participate in these three days of the Triduum as usual, it
is important that we realize their significance and do
participate as fully as possible. In fact, I propose that it
is even more important this year than most because the
Triduum comprises the core of what we believe and, even in
the midst of what seems to be the doom and gloom of both
then and our times, why we should remain hopeful.
The focus of Holy Thursday is Jesus's example to us of
service to others by washing the feet of his disciples, but
also of service to us by gifting us with the Eucharist. From
the evening of Thursday through Good Friday evening, we
again gain insight into not only Jesus's determination to do
the Father's will and his love for each of us through his
suffering, but also of what we see in others along his
journey, things such as betrayal, anger, compassion, fear,
getting "caught up in the moment", and enlightened courage.
No wonder we need some time to "wait" and reflect on the
history of God's love and faithfulness during the Vigil and
before the glorious Resurrection and continued celebration
throughout the next day!
Where is it in this long journey that you find the inner tug
to pause? Is it where you see yourself as needing
forgiveness or where God's goodness overtakes your sorrow or
discouragement? Wherever it is, embrace it as a place of
healing for you in today's real time, a time when we all
wonder if the "Good Friday" days that fall upon us will
actually be transformed into the Easter glory for which we
Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP
Southern Dominican Laity
The Triduum April 1 – 4 2021
It has been a terrifically difficult year for the world. If
ever there were a time when faith is tested, hope is
challenged, and charity is difficult to embrace, it is this
past and current year. It is not just the pandemic that has
rattled our peace and calm, has threatened our communities
and cultures. There is astir in the world a hard turn toward
authoritarianism. It is the new era of the strong man and a
wealthy, power crazy ruling elite. It is an era of new
robber barons whose wealth during the troubles has grown
exponentially. All the while, ordinary families are
threatened with economic disaster. Carefully set aside
savings, home ownership, and possessions have diminished
while debt, especially by credit card, is threatening to
swamp personal and family futures. Education has taken a hit
demanding urgent remedial efforts to make up time forever
lost. Learning occurs most effectively in the age of
curiosity and forms the foundation for a life of learning
and expansion of knowledge leading to wisdom. What will be
the long term affects of this terrible loss?
Even in religious life, there are heated rhetoric and
demagoguery pitting conservative and devotional rule abiding
with efforts to expand the spiritual life of all persons and
to form vibrant interactive and functioning communities.
Literalism denies the need to understand historic and faith
context in the inspired Word. Some would reduce the presence
of God to God acting as attorney general, prosecutor, and
vengeful judge. The Mercy, compassion, and unconditional
love of God’s living presence among us is rejected in many
instances in favor of a rigid administration of regulations
formed in canon law and empty theatric ritual. Single issue
aspects of the dignity and value of human life have swept
away comprehensive dignity and rights to life itself for
billions of the world’s citizens. Efforts at saving the
unborn has eliminated more comprehensive and essential
efforts at saving the lives of the aged, the adolescent, the
young adult, the criminal, and those whose gender
identification is out of the ordinary. Saving the unborn has
morphed into a vote getting charade.
We have begun to experience the devastating effects of
climate change brought on by an uncontrolled and expanding
burning of fossil-fuels. Through it all, the traditions and
values and rituals of Christianity have lost their vitality
because of the inability to safely assemble as community.
And without the interchange and fellowship of weekly
assemblings of faithful followers of the Christ, the impact
of the gospel seems to have lost its ability to moor us to
truth and decency. As a result, bitter divisions, long
simmering in society, erupt into violence. Racism has come
out of the shadows and into our political, social, and legal
What a terrible time to be alive! How frightening for old
and young alike! Who can we believe, who can we follow to
live in peace, in hope of the future, and with integrity?
Into that comes the beginnings of our Holy Triduum. We begin
with Holy Thursday, the Day of the Lord’s supper. It is the
celebration of the initiation of Christian priesthood and
the institution of the food for our journey, the Eucharistic
Communion sacrifice which is the Mass. But it is strange
that the gospel at this first part of the three-day liturgy
does not contain the institution of the Eucharist as in the
gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John seems to skip that.
Instead in this meal gathering he has Jesus on his knees
with a basin of water and a towel wrapped around his waist.
He behaves as would the lowest slave of a household,
completing the humble and degrading work. In those days
walking in streets was a matter of dodging the waste of
beasts of burden and herds of cattle, sheep, and goats.
Sandaled feet became very filthy. As Jesus comes to Peter,
Peter objects. But Jesus insists if Peter wants anything to
do with Jesus then he must allow Jesus to provide this
service. Why did John include this reaction of Peter, leader
of the apostles? In this modeling of Christian service, we,
like Peter, need to guard against pride in our service that
rejects accepting the service of others. Holding leadership
and ministerial responsibilities to the faith Community does
not eliminate our need to be the beneficiaries of the
service of others. Our church is a community of sharing, of
learning, of caring, and of loving. If we wish to be a part
of that faith community, we must allow the community to
serve our needs as well. We cannot reject gaining strength
from the experiences of the community.
Jesus commands his apostles: “What I have done you are also
to do.” It is the mandate to serve others in even the lowest
of tasks. If we look beyond what has been taken away from us
in the pandemic, in the political strife, and in the
contentions within the church, we discover those persons who
have put aside personal concerns for service. The health
care workers, the first responders, the educators, the
utility workers, the food bank volunteers -- all of these
are in fact responding to the mandate of Jesus in John’s
gospel. Their service outweighs and saves us from the
pilfering powerful, the greedy wealthy, the self-serving
liars and charlatans who flaunt religious faith, who rob
ordinary families of hope, and who believe that charity
begins at home and stays at home. We cannot believe in the
face of those persons’ service that the power of the love of
God has deserted us. God is present to us, with us, and for
us in the service of those people and with us when we serve.
That is the nature of the Kingdom of God that Jesus’ work
remembered in this Triduum teaches us. The Kingdom of God is
established despite the efforts of the chief priests and of
the Roman Empire. That establishment takes the life of the
That is our mandate as followers of the Christ and children
of the almighty, living God who is present with us.
Our liturgy moves to Friday revealing the terror and pain
the world uses against us to manipulate us into compliance.
The story clearly tells us that even religious leadership
can be in error and deny their mandate to serve. Much of
religious history speaks of powerful persons who use tenets
of faith to control people and events for their own
purposes. The truly selfless religious leader does not use
condemnation and threats of eternal punishment to further
their power. The God of the Christ forgives, extends mercy
to those falling on hard times, loves beyond human
comprehension. Listen carefully to Jesus’ last words as he
dies at the hands of religious failures and autocrats.
“Father, forgive them.” There is no thought of revenge in
Jesus’ last thoughts.
Then there is silence. It is as though the world has come to
an end. There is a quiet, a sort of holy darkness that
envelopes us. Do we not, in this past year, not sense how
intense is this darkness that envelopes our community and
our individual spirits? There is fear, there is
hopelessness, there is ruin. But unseen, un-witnessed, there
comes a light of such intensity as to move huge rocks. There
is a quiet raising of a dead man whose mortal wounds become
badges of honor and accomplishment. It is the hour when the
Kingdom of God is fully established and history takes a turn
that will never be lost, never destroyed, and never lacking
in salvation from the ways of the world.
In a sense, Jesus’ prayer on the cross is a message to us.
That prayer is psalm 22 whose first verse begins with, “My
God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?” It goes on to
elaborate on the abandonment. But about halfway through that
psalm, there is a change, an unexpected change from one so
tormented. That change is a change to an understanding of
faith in the God who is present to us in the sanctuary. That
sanctuary is not a building, not a tabernacle. It is the
truth of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is the
truth of thousands of years of the Law of Moses. It is the
truth of the thousands of years of the Way of the Christ.
God is present to us, for us, and – this is amazing and hard
to comprehend – with us in all our work. This is the Kingdom
of God that resides in our hearts and minds.
We wonder what happened to the Sanhedrin after they finished
their work. We know that Pilate was recalled to Rome in
disgrace. What happened to the apostles who ran, who denied
they were followers of Jesus during his trial and his
mockery, who could not walk with him on the walk to
Golgotha, who could not find the courage to witness Jesus’
final agony and ultimate death. Where were they when Jesus’
body was given over to Joseph of Arimathea and laid in a new
tomb in haste so that religious rituals would be observed.
In these three days, we remember those events nearly two
thousand years ago. It is the understanding of Judaism that
celebration of historic events of God’s saving presence is
not only about the past. In the very remembering, God once
again is present as God, saving, freeing, lifting up,
adopting as children.
The suffering we currently experience, the terror we now
shelter ourselves from, the hatred that divides us – all
these death dealing experiences have been taken by the
Messiah, the Christ, and lifted up into the creation of the
Kingdom of God. What makes our suffering fruitful is what
Jesus modeled for us in his ministry of preaching and
healing, in his entrance into Jerusalem, in his cleansing of
the temple of its liars and charlatans, in his bogus trial
and condemnation, in his being mocked, in his terrible walk
on cobbled streets surrounded by jeering crowds, in his
being fastened on the wood of a cross, in his prayers on the
cross, and in his death and burial. In all his achievements
in his confronting liars and self-serving religious
leadership, in his terrible sufferings, and in his isolation
from those who followed him – in all his pain and suffering
he created the Kingdom of God. In those early hours of the
first day of the week, his sacrifice, his suffering, his
efforts, his integrity, his truth, and his way were
confirmed with life. That was a renewed and resurrected
life. That rising did not take away the marks of his
suffering and pain. Instead, those wounds, those struggles,
those terrors became glorious light that gives hope,
consolation, and a pathway for all of us.
If we commit to his way: if we embrace the truth of his
preaching, healing, and struggles: if we search for and
clutch to our hearts the life, he extends to us, then we too
will experience Easter. It is the time of rebirth: it is the
time of resurrection from our beds and pathways of conflict,
pain, suffering, and even joy. The Kingdom is established.
This is the day the Lord has made! Let us be glad and
rejoice in it. Let it be yet again a starting point for
building up that Kingdom by our love for others and for the
creation which cradles us. May it be so.
Most Happy Easter, rebirth and resurrection to all.
Carol & Dennis Keller
Vigil and Easter Day:
THE VIGIL: EASTER LIGHT, JOY, HOPE, AND CHALLENGE
When the Easter Vigil starts it tends to be dark, except for
the light coming from the fire burning at the entrance to
the church. One year a little girl grasped her mother’s hand
tightly, looked up, and said: ‘Mommy, why is it so dark?’
Her mother thought for a while and then she answered: ‘To
remind us what the world would have been like if Jesus had
not been raised from the dead.’
Just two days ago you and I were remembering the sufferings
and death of Jesus our Saviour. As we looked at his
crucified body with sorrow, love, and gratitude, we came
face to face with the dark side of human nature that led his
enemies to torture and humiliate him, before killing him on
the rough wood of a cross. On that black day in Jerusalem,
the capacity of human beings to hate, hurt and harm one
another went completely out of control.
Good Friday found us wondering over and over again: Why was
this good man, this innocent man, this man with so much
humanity and compassion, so much honesty and integrity, so
much warmth and generosity, violated, humiliated, tortured,
and murdered? Why was he?
The motives which led his enemies to torture and murder him
are those which have always influenced human beings to hurt
and harm one another - arrogance and pride, power-seeking
and ambition, envy and jealousy, anger and fear, hatred and
revenge. Good Friday reminded us of the dark side of human
nature and its associated evils - poverty, ignorance, crime,
malnutrition, hunger, and disease.
Fortunately, however, this is not the whole truth. Far from
it! For if we experience so much evil, we also experience an
abundance of goodness. The crops keep producing food for our
tables. The summer heat gives way to cooling autumn breezes.
Most diseases are now curable. Tyrants are sometimes
overthrown. Social reforms like pensions for the needy are
here to stay. Conflicts end in reconciliation. Shaky
marriages get patched up. Love survives misunderstandings,
thoughtlessness, and indifference. Wars come to an end.
Enemies become friends. We forgive others and are forgiven.
In a word, there is goodness everywhere, much more than
evil. The influence of the Risen Christ, which is to say the
light of Easter, keeps shining upon us.
Yet there can be no doubt that one epic struggle goes on
between good and evil. It goes on in the material universe,
in human societies, and inside our personalities. Evil even
seems stronger than good. But it has not yet finally
triumphed. Good is remarkably resilient. Though too often it
seems to be in danger of being crushed, it manages to
survive, and even to win many victories. The words of
Mahatma Gandhi, Father of Independent India, are so true:
'When I despair, I remember that all through history the way
of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants
and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but,
in the end, they always fall.' Words from our Easter Vigil
Service express the same truth in an even more appealing
way: 'The sanctifying power of this [Easter] night dispels
wickedness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the
fallen, and joy to mourners. It drives out hatred, fosters
concord, and brings down the mighty.'
Our celebration of the resurrection of Jesus reminds us that
evil will not have the last say ether in us or our world. It
leaves us in no doubt about the ultimate triumph of
goodness, not only in ourselves but everywhere around us.
Jesus was buried at sunset, to all appearances a victim and
a failure. But although his Jewish and Roman enemies killed
him, they could not annihilate him. For on the third day
after, the sun came up on him alive and powerful,
influential and victorious. It will be the same for us who
celebrate Easter by renouncing and rejecting anything and
everything dark and evil in our lives, and by renewing our
determination to always walk with Jesus in his light. That’s
why we are renewing our baptismal promises tonight and
renewing them with conviction, commitment, and enthusiasm.
Remember! We are turning our backs on evil and sin in every
shape and form, and we are promising to keep following Jesus
in a life of goodness and love, one shaped by his shining
example, and one sustained by his powerful influence and
So, we ask ourselves these questions:
Do you renounce sin, to live in the freedom of the children
Do you renounce the lure of evil, so that sin may have no
mastery over you?
Do you renounce Satan, the author and prince of sin? ETC.
EASTER DAY: RISING WITH JESUS TO THE NEW LIFE OF EASTER
When my father died quite suddenly when I was in Belgium
studying, my mother wrote that she was devastated. and that
her life would never be, and could never be, the same again.
All of us, facing the death of someone we love face a
horrible and indescribable loss, along with feelings of
absence and emptiness. One sometimes hears grieving people
say: ‘I’m simply gutted.’
For some persons, their feelings of loss are so great that
they deny what has happened. They think they hear the
footsteps of their loved one on the path outside or coming
down the stairs, or turning the key in the front door.
When Mary Magdalen goes to visit the tomb of Jesus, it’s
very early on Sunday, the first day of the week. It’s still
dark but there’s enough light to see that the stone has
already been moved from the entrance to the tomb. But she is
not in any kind of denial. She expects to come face to face
with death. Not for a moment does she kid herself that Jesus
is no longer dead. Instead, surely persons unknown have
stolen and hidden his body, and will not let him rest in
She talks with Simon Peter and the anonymous Beloved
Disciple about her experience. Together they race to the
tomb. When Peter enters the tomb, he sees at first only the
burial clothes. But when Jesus’ favorite disciple enters the
tomb, he sees more. He sees what faith sees. Jesus is not
dead but alive. Maybe he has figured out, that if people had
stolen the body, they would not have taken the trouble to
roll up the burial clothes. More likely, it’s simply his
belief in the greatness, goodness, and uniqueness of Jesus
that leaves him convinced, that God would not and could not
leave him for dead. In any case, we are told simply that ‘he
saw and he believed’.
What we are celebrating today in the resurrection, then, is
first of all the power of God’s liberating love for his dear
Son. His resurrection is God the Father’s answer to all
those wicked men who murdered Jesus on the cross and
expected him to stay dead and buried forever.
In raising Jesus from the dead, God raised and revived every
story Jesus told, every truth Jesus taught, every value
Jesus stood for, every choice Jesus made, and every purpose
he pursued. Everything about him and his history was given
new life, new meaning, and new relevance.
So, the resurrection of Jesus is not a hysterical invention
by people who refused to accept the death of their Leader.
After all, his first followers were simply not expecting it.
So much so that when they caught sight of him alive again,
they were gobsmacked. They could hardly believe their eyes
and ears. But they had to accept the plain fact that there
was Jesus, raised in his body, alive and well before their
very eyes, and that all this had happened through the
unbounded power of God’s love for his Son.
What we are also celebrating today is our resurrection from
the dead, our resurrection from deadly deeds, or at least
our resurrection from anything less than the best, the most
honest, the most authentic, the most generous, and the most
loving ways of living our lives. We are recognizing that not
only is Jesus Christ alive now in himself, but he is also
alive in us - alive in us through the presence, power, and
action of the Holy Spirit, his second self.
After all, it was through the Spirit within him that Jesus
‘went about doing good and curing all who were in the power
of [evil]’ (Acts 10:38). It is through that same Spirit,
coming from our Risen Lord, that you and I can hope to think
like him, act like him, live like him, die like him, and
rise like him.
So, here and now on this Easter Day, let us encourage one
another to respond to the power of the Holy Spirit among us
by renewing our baptismal promises, and renewing them
sincerely and enthusiastically. Let us reject darkness,
evil, and sin in every shape and form. Let us promise to
follow Jesus in a life of light, goodness, and love, a life
shaped by his example. So, with trust in the mighty Spirit
of Jesus within us and among us, let us here and now renew
our Baptismal Promises, and renew them loudly and sincerely!
Do you renounce sin, so as to live in the freedom of the
children of God?
Do you renounce the lure of evil, so that sin may have no
mastery over you?
Do you renounce Satan, the author and prince of sin? ETC.
"Brian Gleeson CP" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Year A,B,C: Easter Sunday (Day).
very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb.”
If you happen to
be a Liverpool supporter of a certain age, you will know
that we have had many great strikers. Mohammed Salah is just
the latest in the long line of great names – Luis Suarez,
Michael Owen, Fernando Torres, John Aldridge, Kevin Keegan,
Kenny Dalglish, Ian St John … But of all of them, the
greatest, I believe, by common consent was Ian Rush. His
record is well known:
Our all-time best goal scorer - 346 goals in all
25 of them against Everton, including 4 in one game.
When he signed for us at age 18, he cost £300,000 from
Chester – then a record fee for a teenager. (Prices have
gone up a bit since then.)
And he had it all – the original fox in the box, the
reactions of a rattlesnake, the pace over the first five
yards, the first touch of an angel, the shot of a sniper
rifle, the speed on the turn of a stockbroker. But none of
those things made him unique. That quality of uniqueness was
something you only ever actually saw live – it never made it
onto “Match of the Day”. In fact, you hardly ever saw it on
the television screen, especially with the fixed cameras of
the 1980s tracking only the ball. So most of his fans
probably never actually saw the truly unique thing which set
him apart – he was the greatest chaser of lost causes ever
to wear our shirt. Any ball forward into a corner, he would
chase down, even when he could not possibly catch it before
it went out of play. Any of our defenders caught in
possession by the opposition knew that “Rushie” would come
short to help him out; any misplaced pass, he would turn and
chase down, rather than berate the mistake-maker. Any
opposition defenders trying to play out in triangles, he
would shuttle-run to disrupt. Any time, any where, he would
spend himself, even in the most lost of our causes. And just
once in a while, the near impossible would occur, the lost
cause would materialise, he would reach a ball he had no
right to win, we would score a goal we never deserved and it
would make all the difference. In the last minute of every
game, when we needed a goal, he was always the one still
showing for the ball, still running into the box, still
making space for other players, still chasing the ball to
the byline. That, I think, is why he is still loved by the
Kop, even more than all of our other great goal scorers.
So in football, so in Life. And if ever it may fairly be
said that there was a moment when the Christian church
needed a goal, then it was on the morning of that Sunday
after Good Friday. The first day of the week. A day when the
Lord’s body had been dead and in the tomb for two days and –
one has to think – beginning to smell.
So it is, to say the least, instructive, to see just who it
is still chasing the lost cause, who still believes, who is
still running up the hill while it was still dark on the
first day of the week. Hear again that bit of the gospel:
“It was very early on the first day of the week and still
dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb.”
Mary Magdalene has many titles in the Church:
the first preacher
the first apostle
the apostle to the apostles.
But I like to think of her as the Ian Rush of the Church,
the other, perhaps even greater, patron saint of lost
It is said that, to this day, the thing that Liverpool
players fear the most is coming into the boot-room after a
defeat and seeing the look on Ian Rush’s face.
Can you imagine us going home at the end of life, having
perhaps done less than our best, and seeing the look on Mary
Let pray that we too this Easter Sunday may be prepared to
find the presence and the goodness of God in the world even,
perhaps especially, at those moments when the cause seems
Paul O'Reilly, SJ <email@example.com>
Volume 2 is for you. Your thoughts, reflections, and
insights on the next Sundays readings can influence the
preaching you hear. Send them to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline is Wednesday
Noon. Include your Name, and Email Address.
-- Fr. John Boll, OP