Seeds of the Word – Daily Reflections for Holy Week

SEEDS OF THE WORD   

Monday within Easter Octave (2nd April 2018)
Acts 2:14, 22-23, Matthew 28:8-15

As we enter the Octave of Easter, the fresh greetings on everyone’s lips is, ‘Happy Easter’. Happy Easter because the Lord is truly risen. The truth of this is the fact of the empty tomb and the witness account of those who experienced it. Our gospel on Easter Sunday told us about the empty tomb and today we hear the witnesses of the women to whom Christ appeared.

We live in a world of false evidence and counter witnessing to the truth. We tell a lie when our words don’t match reality. That is the message we get from the chief priests and elders who wanted to distort the truth of the empty tomb as presented to them by the guards.

Sometimes, we too want to distort the truth of our faith when our hearts and minds act contrary to reality and are not fixed on the Risen Christ. we all have been called to carry on the mission of proclaiming Christ everywhere we go, just as the fearless Peter on the day of Pentecost in our first reading.

Ask yourself, what message of Christ I carry daily. Is it like that of the women or like that of the soldiers?

As we enter the Easter season, let us pray that Easter may not just be an event we celebrate on the day but a life that we live throughout the year. We may not settle on the least recommendation put forth by the Church, ‘to receive Holy Communion at least once a year at Easter or thereabout’. Let our Easter joy continue to be our life forever and ever. Amen.

Peace be with you
Fr Thom Amungwa 


Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil) 31st March 2018

Last Thursday, we started the Paschal Triduum with Jesus’ Passover meal with his disciples. Here, Jesus predicted the hour of his death was near. He gave his disciples the last instructions and teaching, and also instituted the Eucharist. These events led to his death and the Church has been mournful until this evening/night.

The Triduum reaches its climax on this night with the celebration of the Easter Vigil. The Vigil begins with the Service of Light in which the Easter fire is lit and the new Paschal Candle blessed. From this, each of the faithful lights a candle and carries it in procession into the Church. When the procession reaches the sanctuary the great Easter proclamation (Exsultet) is sung. This great hymn reminds us of what Christ and God have done for us.

The Liturgy of the Word follows and the readings from the Old Testament trace the history of salvation from the story of creation to the resurrection of Christ on this night. Where possible, the sacrament of Baptism takes place, otherwise, the Easter water us blessed and the faithful renew their baptismal promises before the sprinkling with Holy Water.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist which has not been celebrated since Holy Thursday is not celebrated for the first time. It is here that the altar is again covered with a cloth and burning candles. The whole feeling of the Vigil from this moment is one of great joy and celebration. This is because, our salvation has been won for us and christ has been glorified by his Father.

We can only thank God for this gift out of love for humanity through His Son Jesus Christ Our Lord and God. May we too continue to live in that Easter Joy and Celebration. Amen.

Remember God’s love for each and every one of us.
Happy Easter to you all
Fr Thom Amungwa


Good Friday (30th March 2018)
Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9, John 18:1-19:42 (Passion Story)

The only day in the year where the Church does not celebrate a Mass is Good Friday. On this day, we have the Good FridayService, divided into three parts.

The first part is the Liturgy of the Word, in which we participate in the Passion reading of the gospel. This part ends with the Solemn Intercession.

The second part is the Adoration of the Holy Cross, where each one is given the opportunity to come forward to adore and venerate the Holy Cross on which Jesus was crucified; Jesus had turned to Cross from an instrument of death to a means of salvation.

The third part is Holy Communion. Even though there is no Mass today, we are still called to participate and unite ourselves with Jesus in Holy Communion.

In fact, today looks mournful, but we call it Good Friday. Yes, good for us, but painful and humiliating for Jesus. In his suffering and death, God seems to be reduced to silence. But today, we do not weep over someone who died. We raise up our eyes to Jesus who died to give us life. His death means the victory of life over death. In Jesus’ death, we see the light of his resurrection and the beginning of our risen life.

As we reflect on the mysteries of this day, may the suffering of Jesus give us strength in overcoming our sins and weaknesses. May the cross be for us a sign of hope and salvation as we die to our sins, trusting that God will save us out of death, just as Jesus rose from the death and overcame death. Amen

Remember God’s love for us on the cross
Remain blessed
Fr Thom Amungwa

*Please, kindly pray for me as today is the 13th Anniversary of my Priestly Ordination. Thanks for your prayers


Maundy Thursday of the Lord’s Supper (29th March 2018)
Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14, 1Conrinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-15

Today’s evening Mass begins the Sacred Paschal Triduum where we recall the great events of our salvation in Jesus Christ. The Easter Triduum is the three-day period of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil, which represents the period of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection.

On this first day of the Triduum, we commemorate the institution of the Holy Eucharist. It was during the Passover meal with his disciples that Jesus changed some elements that made it into what is now called the “Last Supper”, which in effect was also the “First Eucharist”.

In giving His Body and Blood in the form of bread and wine, Jesus commanded his disciples to do it always in memory of Him. In fact, the word ‘Maundy’ is derived from the Latin ‘Mandatum’, meaning, to mandate. Hence, the apostles were mandated to carry on this sacrifice he offers through His Body and Blood.

After the meal, Jesus used the opportunity to teach his disciples about humility and service, by washing their feet. He said; “If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you”.

At the Chrism Mass, priests always renew their commitment to Jesus and to serve him in his people through obedience to the Bishop. Like Jesus, priests also pledge to serve God’s people by faithfully and lovingly carrying out the sacred duty of celebrating the Holy Eucharist, and to serve, just like Jesus who came to serve and not to be served.

May the Eucharist continue to make us Holy, and may it also make us serve one another in love and in humility. Amen

Remember God loves you
Happy Maundy Thursday
Fr Thom Amungwa


Wednesday of Holy Week (28th March 2018)
Spy Wednesday
Isaiah 50:4-9, Matthew 26:14-29

This day is often referred to as, ‘Spy Wednesday’, a name derived from the fact that, it was on this day that Judas betrayed Jesus to the Sanhedrin. Judas was thought to be sneaky and his actions conjured the image of a spy.

Today’s gospel is the account of Jesus’ betrayal by Judas, indicating that Jesus’ final days are near at hand. In fact, Jesus will be handed over to sinners, to earn him the shameful death on the cross. This is not defeat but victory as Christ will transform everything for the good of humanity.

For the next couple of days, we will hear so much about Judas’ betrayal and handing over Jesus to the Sanhedrin. How often have we too betrayed our baptismal promises? Are these not the same promises we are preparing to renew at Easter?

By the very nature of our baptism, we are destined to handover Christ; not by betrayal, but by ‘handing him over’ in faith to future generations, i.e., transmitting the Catholic faith to all peoples through all generations. How longingly Christ wants us to hand him over in faith to future generations just as he offers tomorrow his body and blood in the Eucharist and on the Cross in a bloody Sacrifice the next day. Alas for us if we do not hand over that faith.

As we prepare to enter the Sacred Triduum, let us listen well to the gospel accounts which recalls the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ. These are more than mere words to penetrate our hearts in union with the love Christ showed us. This is the core of our faith and may it keep us in union with Jesus for the next tree days and all the days of our lives. Amen.

Remember God loves you
Enjoy the ‘Spy Wednesday’
Fr Thom Amungwa


Tuesday of Holy Week (27th March 2018)
Isaiah 49:1-6, John 13;21-33, 36-38

Sadly, few of us may go through life without feeling betrayed at some point or other. Think of a politician who makes certain promises to obtain our votes and behave quite differently after being elected. Is that not betrayal? Obviously, we feel betrayed by someone we trusted. How painful is that?

Knowing how painful it is to be betrayed by someone we trust, we can imagine the pain of Jesus in today’s gospel. Judas was one of Jesus’ disciple, a close friend, one who travelled with him and listened to his preaching. Yet, his betrayal was not far from being a reality. Jesus knew that this will happen according to God’s plan. Despite this knowledge of betrayal, Jesus still shared bread with Judas. What an example of Jesus’ self-giving love!

Today’ gospel gives us the opportunity for deep reflection and to ask ourselves how we too can be generous to those who seek to harm us? We live in a world of continuous evil, betrayal, unforgiveness, revenge, etc. How can we as Christians stand up for justice, peace, truth and love?

As we journey through the Holy Week, let us turn to the Cross of Christ for protection against the devil and guard against temptation and sin. For on the Cross, we see that the love of Christ is selfless, sacrificial, forgiving and compassionate. Let us ask Jesus to keep us near that Cross always. Amen.

Remember God loves you
Have a very nice Tuesday
Fr Thom Amungwa

*Happy Chrism Mass for Dioceses celebrating today.


Monday of Holy Week (26th March 2018)
Isaiah 42:1-7, John 12:1-11

On this first full day of Holy Week, our minds are all focused on the events that culminate this week – that is, the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. The readings today point to Jesus as the centre of focus, preparing him for what is going to happen at the end of the week.

While the Prophet Isaiah in the first reading points out to the person of Christ as the fulfilment of the covenant made long ago, the gospel brings in a woman named Mary, who anoints Jesus’ feet with some costly ointment, and wiping them with her hair. This must have caused some scandal among the bystanders. It is with Judas’ complaint that Jesus reminds us on the meaning of Mary’s action, that is, preparation for his burial.

Mary in the gospel seized the opportunity to show Jesus an act of love. As we enter Holy, may we also seize the many opportunities given us this week to show Jesus an act of love. It may be our prayers, an act of service to a neighbour, the sacrifice of our time to attend the ceremonies of the Triduum. Jesus will very much appreciate and affirm us as He did to Mary.

Seize the moment this Holy Week to do something out of the ordinary rather than regret later to say; “I should have…”. Its not too late to deepen our Lenten preparation. Better late than never. The psalmist reminds us; “The Lord is my light and my help”. Amen

Remember God loves you
Happy Holy Week
Fr Thom Amungwa


Palm Sunday (25th March 2018)
Isaiah 50:4-7, Philippians 2:6-11, Mark 14:1-15:47 (Passion)

Today is Palm Sunday, a unique Sunday in Lent which marks the beginning of Holy Week with Jesus’ triumphant entry into the royal city of Jerusalem.

Both the first and second readings today portray Christ as the suffering and humble one respectively. While Isaiah’s text is the song of the suffering one, St Paul reminds us of the humility and obedience of Christ, for love of us. The lesson here is the importance of humility and obedience in life, and that, suffering is inevitable in life. Only those who persist and endure to the end will triumph.

Today’s passion narrative brings to mind some important symbols like, the Palm branches, the donkey and the crowd. The Palm branches represent the royalty of Christ and his peaceful reign. The donkey on its part is a symbol of Christ humility. Though a king, Christ chose to ride on a donkey – a humble animal. The significance of the crowd is that, the same crowd that hailed Jesus; Hosanna to the Son of David is the same people a few days later jeered; Crucify Him, Crucify Him. This shows how unfaithful and unpredictable we can be at times in our relationship with God and others. Jesus sacrificed his life out of love for our salvation. May we too remain steadfast to him at all moments of our lives.

As we begin Holy Week, may we endeavour to sacrifice and journey with Jesus to the end, knowing that what shines out of this dark week is the bright light of Christ’s love for us. let us make the conscious effort to participate fully in the Holy Week ceremonies by sacrificing our time.

May we receive today as we come back home with blessed palms, the true revelation of who Jesus is and who we are to Him. Amen.

Remember God loves you
Happy Palm Sunday and Holy Week
Fr Thom Amungwa

 

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