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Corpus Christi – Remembering Sunday, Journey of Faith

Corpus Christi – Remembering Sunday, Journey of Faith

Special names are often given to significant feasts within the Church’s liturgical year.  Following Easter we have Divine Mercy Sunday, Good Shepherd Sunday; last week we celebrated Trinity Sunday.  Today is the feast of Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ.  I believe we could also appropriately give today a new title: “Remembering Sunday.”

In today’s second reading from First Corinthians, Saint Paul recalls how Jesus established the Eucharist and twice repeats: “Do this in remembrance of me.”  Paul continues, saying: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.”  Indeed, each celebration of the Eucharist is a beautiful act of remembering what Jesus has done for us, for our salvation.

Humanly speaking, remembering is very important; it is a special gift, involving our entire person (mind, heart, will, emotions).  Yes, we can recall specific details of the past; however, if we recall them with our hearts and affections, those events and people will continue to shape and transform us, making us new.  Remembering always links past events into our lives and they become present, operative realities.  This is what is happening in the Eucharist!

When we hear about someone who has lost his memory, we are saddened.  Amnesia or dementia are life situations that are difficult to bear.  This fact points out how we must treasure our memory, both individually and as a community.  Memory allows us to tell our story, to live our lives, both as individuals and as a Christian people.  Today, on “Remembering Sunday,” our collective memory as a Christian people gets special emphasis through the celebration and reception of the Body and Blood of Christ.

As Christians, we continue to sacrament Christ’s presence to one another through our service, just as Christ feeds the people in today’s Gospel.  In this way, the Christian community grows and is reconciled.  As we recall and imitate what Jesus has done for us, we build up (re-member) his body, the Church.  The gift of the Holy Spirit helps and guides us to remember—and to serve others.

The Eucharist is our daily bread, and Jesus reminds us to “Do this in remembrance of me.” He says it, not once, but twice.  Assembled as a community, we remember, we celebrate, we believe. As we fulfill Jesus’ command, we grow in faith, filled with energy, dynamism and enthusiasm for mission, for authentic service.  When we recognize Christ in the Eucharist, broken and given for us, we can more readily recognize Christ in the broken lives and bodies of sick, poor, lonely and needy people. 

We Christians believe in the “true presence” of Christ in the Eucharist; likewise, we must become the “true presence” of Christ to the poor and suffering.  Try to spend some personal time today “remembering.”  Open your heart to God’s love and grace.  Make today Remembering Sunday!                            

James H. Kroeger, M.M.

  

Corpus Christi

We remember your words, O Lord,

to remember your love for us

and your mercy toward us

and your life with us.

We remember your death, Lord Jesus,

and how you died to save us

from our sins and from ourselves.

We remember your rising from the dead

and sending us your Holy Spirit

so we never forget to remember you.

Most of all, when we eat the holy bread

and drink from the sacred chalice,

we remember you are always in our midst

to help us on our way through life

till at last we go home to you

to remain with you forever.

May our partaking of each Eucharist

help us always to remember

to seek and find you among your people

calling them together to pray

praise and remember you

who will never forget us.

Amen.

By Fr. Joseph Veneroso. M.M.

   

   

Trinity – A Community of Dynamic Love, Journey of Faith

Trinity – A Community of Dynamic Love, Journey of Faith

Today, as the Church celebrates Trinity Sunday, we are invited to reflect upon a great truth of the Christian faith: we believe in a Trinitarian God: one God in three persons.  God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, living a life of communion and perfect mutual love.

We can look to the Gospel of John the Evangelist to hear what Jesus says about the Trinity.  “No one can come to the Father, except through me.  If you know me, you know my Father” (14:6-7).  “You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (14:11).  “I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth” (14:16-17).  “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you” (14:26).  “When the Advocate comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father, he will be my witness.  And you too will be witnesses” (15:26-27).

Throughout history the Church has consistently affirmed and proclaimed its belief in the Trinity. Yes, it is a profound mystery of our faith.  This doctrine leads us to the profound truth that our God is fundamentally a communion of love.  Again, turning to Saint John, we hear: “God is love, and anyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in him” (1Jn 4:16).  “We can know that we are living in him and he is living in us, because he lets us share his Spirit” (1Jn 4:13).

You may ask: How does one come to know our Trinitarian God of love?  The answer is actually quite simple: live in love. A person who loves others for the joy of loving is a reflection of the Trinity.  A family in which each person respects and helps the others reflects Trinitarian love.  A parish in which people love and share their spiritual and material gifts is also a reflection of the Trinity.  In fact, Vatican Council II, quoting Saint Cyprian, asserted: “The Church is seen as ‘a people made one with the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit’” (LG 4).

Various writers have given us analogies and illustrations of the Trinity, although all have limitations.  Jacqueline (an internet source) tries to illustrate the Trinity for children, noting that the Trinity is like an egg (having shell, white, and yoke); like an apple (it has skin, flesh, and seeds); like water (liquid, solid [ice], and steam); like a shamrock (three-leaved clover).  Such images engage our mind and imagination.

Finally, I can even see myself as a “Trinitarian missionary,” combining my native American culture with values and insights from the cultures of the Philippines and Bangladesh where I have served in mission.  Whatever images may attract us, let us celebrate God’s great love given to us through the three persons of our Trinitarian God.

James H. Kroeger, M.M.

  

Pentecost Prayer

We bow before you
O most sacred mystery:
so pure, so holy, so powerful
is the love of the Father for the Son
and the Son for the Father
that you generate the Holy Spirit
eternally.

O Triune God, you dwell in a loving
community of blessed relationships.
You who created us in your image
and became one of us in Christ
and fill us with your Holy Spirit
call us to live your divine life
of love with one another.

A mystery to be lived
a mystery to be worshiped
a mystery to be loved
all the days of our life
till at length you draw each of us
to yourself and become one with you.

Hear, O Israel, the Lord is One
God in Three Divine Persons:
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
May we live your mystery here on earth
till that endless day when we join
with all the angels and saints in saying:
“Holy, Holy, Holy!”

By Fr. Joseph Veneroso. M.M.

   

   

Holy Spirit: “Giver of Life”, Journey of Faith

Holy Spirit: “Giver of Life”, Journey of Faith

Today, Pentecost Sunday, is an opportune moment to deepen our appreciation of the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church.  We can be guided by the profound thought of our Spirit-filled Pope Francis.

Early in his pontificate, Pope Francis gave a three-part catechesis on the Holy Spirit, in conjunction with the feast of Pentecost.  Among the Pope’s many insights, he emphasized that the Holy Spirit is the “Giver of Life” (Vivificantem).  Christians accept that “the Holy Spirit is the inexhaustible source of God’s life in us.  People of every time and place desire a full and beautiful life, just and good, a life that is not threatened by death, but can still mature and grow to fullness.”  To attain this quality of life, we need “God’s gift” of the Holy Spirit!

The dynamic presence of the Holy Spirit radically transforms the entire Christian Church, beginning on the first Pentecost.  The life-giving, powerful, personal presence of the Spirit is dynamically present and active today; missionaries have countless stories to tell of how the Holy Spirit has worked in their lives.  God’s Spirit continually transforms individuals and communities, teaching us “to see with the eyes of Christ, to live life as Christ lived it, to understand life as Christ understood it.” 

Pope Francis asks: “Are we open to the Holy Spirit; do I pray to him to enlighten me, to make me more sensitive to the things of God?  And this is a prayer we need to pray every day, every day: Holy Spirit, may my heart be open to the Word of God, may my heart be open to good, may my heart be open to the beauty of God, every day.”

Pope Francis continues: “Let us ask ourselves: what steps are we taking so that the faith directs our whole existence?  Do not be a ‘part-time’ Christian, at certain moments, in certain circumstances, in certain choices; be Christian at all times!  The truth of Christ, that the Holy Spirit teaches us and gives us, always and forever, involves our daily lives.  Let us invoke him more often, to guide us on the path of Christ’s disciples.”  Undoubtedly, the Holy Spirit is the “Giver-of-Life,” Christ’s life within us!

We pray: Come, Holy Spirit, you bring rest and relief in the midst of toil, in the midst of the work of human hands and the labor of the mind.  Come, Holy Spirit, you bring rest and ease in the midst of the heat of the day, in the midst of the anxieties, struggles and perils of every age.  Come, Holy Spirit, you bring consolation when the human heart grieves and is tempted to despair.  Come, Holy Spirit, what is hard, you soften; what is frozen, you warm; what is wayward, you set anew on paths of salvation and mission.

Enjoy a Blessed Pentecost, the Feast of the Giver-of-Life, God’s Holy Spirit!    

  

     James H. Kroeger, MM

  

Pentecost Prayer

O Holy Spirit of the living God,

who filled the Temple with radiant glory

and overshadowed the Virgin Mary

with the Word-Made-Flesh and

set the Apostles ablaze with the flame of Truth,

come set our hearts on fire

with the life-giving love of God.

You, who hovered over the chaotic

Waters of Creation, come renew

our war-weary world with that peace

only Christ can give.

You, who change bread and wine

into the Body and Blood of Christ,

come and transform us into

that image of God in which all people

are created.

May the fire of divine love

purge all sin and evil from our hearts.

Lead us to Christ that Christ might bring

us at length into the life of the

Most Holy Trinity, to whom be all worship,

power, and glory now and forever.

Amen.

By Fr. Joseph Veneroso. M.M.

   

   

Joyful Witnesses of Good News, Journey of Faith

Joyful Witnesses of Good News, Journey of Faith

 

Today’s Gospel for the feast of Christ’s Ascension notes that after Jesus “was taken up to heaven,” his disciples “returned to Jerusalem with great joy.”  They had experienced many remarkable events, ranging from Jesus’ public ministry, his passion and death to his resurrection.  Now, just before his ascension, Jesus tells them: “you are witnesses of these things.”  Yes, they are to be “joy-filled witnesses” of the entire Christ-event.

The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), describing the Church’s mission in the world today, includes the entire panorama of human experiences as the focus of evangelization.  Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope) on the Church in the Modern World asserts in its opening sentence that the “joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of people of this age” are intimately shared by Christ’s followers.  The profound connection that exists between joy and missionary evangelization has very deep roots. 

In 1975 Saint Pope Paul VI wrote two apostolic exhortations for the jubilee year.  His well-known Evangelii Nuntiandi (EN) [Evangelization Today] is probably the best document he ever authored; his little-known Gaudete in Domino (GD) [Christian Joy] was written for Pentecost 1975.  Paul VI affirms the “joy-evangelization” dynamic.  He asserts that “the Gospel must be proclaimed by witness” (EN 21), “the witness of an authentic Christian life” (EN 41); and, this task must be done “with ever increasing love, zeal and joy” (EN 1).  The pope identifies various obstacles which “impede evangelization”; the most serious is “lack of joy and hope” (EN 80).

Paul VI speaks personally to all evangelizers: “Let us preserve the delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing, even when it is in tears that we must sow” (EN 80).  “May the world of our time … receive the Good News, not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervor, who have received the joy of Christ…” (EN 80).

Saint Mother Teresa asserts: “Joy is prayer.  Joy is strength.  Joy is love.  Joy is the net by which you catch souls….  A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.  Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the risen Christ.”

Pope Francis’ first document bears the title Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel); in it he mentions joy well over 100 times.  I reserve a discussion of his numerous rich insights on joy for another occasion.

Personally, from my 52 years of overseas mission experience, I am convinced of the intimate

connection between Christian joy and effective evangelization.  If people today do not receive the Christian message from “joyful evangelizers,” I doubt they will receive it at all.  I totally agree with Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., who said: “Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.” 

How deep is your Christian joy—even in the midst of life’s numerous challenges?

  

     James H. Kroeger, MM

  

Prayer for the Ascension of the Lord

By your most wonderful Ascension,

Lord Jesus, you raised up humanity

To the glory of your divinity,

Wedding earth to heaven

And raising the human race

To new dignity in your presence.

We stand on your promise

That you would never abandon us

Nor leave us orphaned in this life.

May everyone who calls out to you

In faith feel the power of your presence

Within us and moving us ever outward

And upward to higher levels of love

And life together with all your saints.

You who have now ascended

Out of our sight, open our hearts

To search and see you here

Among us still: in the poor, the oppressed,

Those who mourn and all who thirst

For justice and peace in our day.

At length when our time on earth

Has ended and our life here is done

Grant us all a place in your Father’s house

Where we might live forever

Praising you who called us and took us

Home with you.

Amen

By Fr. Joseph Veneroso. M.M.

   

   

Jesus’ Comforting Promises, Journey of Faith

Jesus’ Comforting Promises, Journey of Faith

 

Jesus’ Comforting Promises

          Our Gospel today is taken from Jesus’ “Last Supper Discourse” (John 13-17); it might be called “Jesus’ Farewell Address.”  Several significant events have preceded Jesus’ words we hear today.  He washed his disciples’ feet as a sign of radical service (13:1-20).  Jesus predicted Judas’ betrayal (13:21-30).  He told his disciples that he will soon depart (13:33; 14:25).  He gave them the new commandment of love (13:34-35) and foretold Peter’s imminent denial (13:36-38).  No wonder the disciples are deeply troubled and filled with anxiety! 

          In this turbulent context Jesus speaks comforting words, assuring his disciples that he is not abandoning them; he will give them “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name” (14:26).  Jesus gives several consoling assurances to his disciples; we can identify at least four of Jesus’ “promises”—all captured in words that begin with the letter P.

          Peace of Heart.  Jesus tells his disciples that their faith must be both in his Father and in him as the Son of the Father.  This is complete faith, a faith that produces peace of heart.  Jesus clearly assures his disciples that he is going to his Father; he will not abandon them, though he is going away.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (Jn 14:27).

          Place in Heaven.  Jesus comforts his disciples, assuring them there are “many rooms in my Father’s house” and that he is preparing places for them in his Father’s Kingdom.  After our earthly journey, which may be filled with many difficulties and challenges, an eternal home awaits us in heaven.  We recall Jesus’ words to Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, he shall live forever” (Jn 11:25).

          Promise of Return.  Jesus assures his disciples that he will personally return and take them with him.  “I will not leave you orphans; I will come back to you” (Jn 14:18).  Though Jesus may leave his disciples briefly as he experiences his passion and death, he will return as resurrected Lord and personally escort his followers to their eternal home in his Father’s house.

          Performance of Christ-like Deeds.  Remarkably, Jesus says: “I tell you most solemnly,

whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself; he will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father….  If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it” (Jn 14:12-14). 

          Friends, we, like the disciples at the last supper, are often incredulous and weak in faith; Jesus’ promises seem outrageous and too good to be true.  We humbly ask the Lord for deeper faith, seeking the dynamic presence and action of the Holy Spirit in our lives. 

And we recall Pope Francis’ words in Tacloban, Philippines, during his 2015 pastoral visit to the victims of a devastating typhoon: “Jesus is Lord and he never lets us down!”                           

James H. Kroeger, M.M.

  

Prayer for the 6th Sunday of Easter

We stand on your promise, Lord,

that whenever two or more gather

together in your name, you are there

in our midst to hear, answer,

guard and guide us.

Grant us, therefore, peace of heart

trusting in your word and

believing you have prepared

a place for us in your Father’s house.

We look forward to your return,

Lord Jesus, to wipe away every tear

and fill us with that unending peace

this world cannot give.

Take our hands, Lord God, and work

through them to show your love to all.

Use our voices to speak your words

to all who long for your truth.

And may our steps never wander

from your way as we walk with

all who seek your love and peace

beginning here and now.

Amen.

Prayer by Father Joe Veneroso, M.M.

   

   

“AS I” True Measure of Authentic Love, Journey of Faith

“AS I” True Measure of Authentic Love, Journey of Faith

 

“AS I” — True Measure of Authentic Love

Today’s Gospel reading is taken from the “Last Supper Discourse” of Jesus in John’s Gospel; it extends for five full chapters (13-17).  We hear Jesus saying: “I give you a new commandment: love one another.  As I have loved you, so you should also love one another.”

In this same Last Supper message, we hear Jesus’ words: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13).  In the first scene of Jesus’ final meal, he shows his loving service by washing his disciples’ feet (Jn 13:1-15).

While meditating upon Jesus’ precious words and actions at the Last Supper, two passages seem to leap off the page.  “I give you a new commandment: love one another.  As I have loved you, you must also love one another” (Jn 13:34, cf. 15:12).  After washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus says: “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.  I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do” (Jn 13:14-15).

Both passages form a unity.  Jesus gives his disciples the commandment of love; then he himself puts it into practice by washing his disciples’ feet.  He challenges them to do the same.  Notice the parallel words: as I.  Indeed, Jesus asserts that the model, criterion, and measure of fraternal love is none other than his own person.

How do we Christians know if our love is authentic?  We measure our deeds against the model exemplified in Jesus’ own life.  Is our service genuine?  We compare ourselves to our Master, who said: “The Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve” (Mk 10:45).  Friends, those very simple words as I(only three letters of the alphabet) must guide our daily decisions and actions.  How eminently clear!  How difficult and challenging!

There are numerous New Testament examples of how this as Ilove commandment is to be lived out.  We must readily forgive our neighbor’s faults; yes, not only seven times, but seventy-seven times (Mt 18:22).  Do we quickly judge and condemn others?  Jesus spoke these words to the woman caught in adultery: “Has no one condemned you? … Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (Jn 8:10-11).  Do we have time to pray and listen to God’s voice?  “After sending the crowds away, he went up into the hills by himself to pray” (Mt 14:23).

Jesus has said: “Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate” (Lk 6:36).  When Jesus saw the crowds, he said: “I have compassion for the people…” (Mt 15:32).  Jesus is God’s compassion in person; we Christians are to be the same.

Friends, as we hear Jesus’ as Ilove commandment, we simply take time to meditate on the authenticity of our discipleship in imitating Jesus.

     James H. Kroeger, MM

Prayer for 3rd Sunday

Help me, O God of love, to imitate

Your example and love my friends

and family fully.

Give me the courage to love myself

that I, like you, might love others.

Give me strength, like yours, to seek

the lonely and the lost.

And give me the grace to accept

the will of the Father in my life,

that I, like you, might spend myself

in your service.

Above all, Lord Jesus, give me the wisdom

to know when to speak or keep silent,

to act or to refrain from acting, to hang on or to let go.

When you commanded us to wash

each other’s feet as a sign

of our obedience to your law,

you called us to overcome our pride

and willingly serve others

as if we were serving, helping, and loving You.

Amen.

Prayer by Father Joe Veneroso, M.M.

ABOUT MARYKNOLL

We are a Catholic Society of priests and brothers based in the United States. We are dedicated to missionary work overseas in over 20 countries. Additionally, we animate Catholics in the United States to follow their own baptismal call to share God’s compassion and love with the poor, the sick, and all those in need.

OUR GENERAL COUNCIL

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Fr. James M. Lynch, Fr. Lam M. Hua, Fr. Lance P. Nadeau, Fr. Timothy O. Kilkelly)

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers is overseen by our General Council, led by Superior General Rev. Lance P. Nadeau, M.M.

OUR FOUNDERS

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Our Co-Founders Father Price and Father Walsh)

PLACES WE SERVE

EVANGELIZATION, PARISHES, AND PROJECTS

USA

STORIES OF MISSION

(Africa) Education and Formation of African Clergy

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Africa Region will provide tuition assistance to African clergy, male and female religious at institutes of higher education or specialized training. Read More

Stories of Our Global Mission

The calling of a lifetime

The life of a Maryknoll missioner is challenging, fulfilling, and deeply rewarding. Follow your baptismal call to mission by sharing God’s compassion with the poor, the sick, and people most in need.

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier
“Go where you are needed but not wanted, and stay until you are wanted but not needed.”
– Bishop James E. Walsh, M.M.
First Maryknoll Bishop