Saint Mary's Press winner for the week of April 2, 2012
Congratulations to John Kennedy-Farrell!
John will receive a copy of Great People of the Bible and Catechist Guide®, a $28.90 value.
Bring Salvation History to Life! Parish leaders have been requesting a Catholic Bible study curriculum for middle school students, created specifically to fit their parish schedules. Saint Mary’s Press is pleased to respond to this need with the Great People of the Bible parish curriculum.
The Great People of the Bible curriculum offers:
- A student book that is found in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a supplemental curriculum resource, and the only Bible curriculum for middle school students with this approval
- Twenty-five, one hour sessions designed to fit a typical parish calendar
- A catechist guide that offers easy-to-follow session outlines for the volunteer catechist
- Flexible options for the Catechist to complete student activities in class or use as family learning assignments in the home
- One student book that covers both the Old and New Testament and that supports the ABC’s of biblical literacy
- Engaging student activities, now with expanded background content, based on the ever popular Student Activity Workbooks for Breakthrough! The Bible for Young Catholics
Great People of the Bible
ISBN: 978-0-88489-690-6, paper, 56 pages
Focus on Faith
"Holy Week Reflections from Saint John Baptist de La Salle"
As we begin Holy Week and approach the glorious celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord, I thought it would again be fitting to simply provide you with the two reflections from Saint John Baptist de La Salle that I shared at this time last year in the Servant Leader. The first reflection comes from his meditation for Holy Thursday and the second from his meditation for Easter Sunday. I pray that you have a rich celebration of the most holy Triduum, and as always, I pray that God will continue to bless you and your ministry.
Holy Thursday (26.1 First Point)
This sacred day is a happy one for all the faithful. It is the day on which Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament of his body and blood. He multiplies himself in it in order to be always with the faithful, to make them sharers in his divinity, and to change their hearts and bodies into living tabernacles. There he can remain as in a place pleasing to him and honorable for those who receive him and in a way that is most advantageous for them.
It was for the sake of his disciples and for those who share their spirit that Jesus Christ instituted this sacrament. It is to let them share in his spirit that he gives them his body in this august sacrament.
Adore Jesus Christ in this action. Unite yourselves with his intention and take your full and proper part in this holy institution.
Easter Sunday (29.1 First Point)
This feast is a day of joy for the entire Church; that is why we so frequently and so solemnly sing these words of the Royal Prophet: This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Indeed, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is at once very glorious for him and highly advantageous for all the faithful.
It is glorious for Jesus Christ because by it he overcame death. This led Saint Paul to affirm that Jesus Christ was raised up for the glory of his Father and that once risen he dies no more, because death will no longer have power over him.
It is advantageous for us because it is an assurance of our own resurrection. Certain it is, adds the apostle, that just as all died in Adam, so too all will rise again in Jesus Christ. According to this same apostle, it was on this happy day that death was destroyed once and for all. Rejoice with the whole Church over so great a favor, and thank Jesus Christ Our Lord very humbly for it.
Make It Happen
From Sharing the Sunday Scriptures with Youth: Cycle A
p Acts 10:34,37–43
p Ps. 118:1–2,16–17,22–23
p Col. 3:1–4
p John 20:1–9
A major theme of the Scripture readings is “The tomb is empty.”
Peter’s speech from the Acts of the Apostles provides a short overview of Jesus’ life, mission, and death. It reads like a news report of Jesus’ life, from his roots in Nazareth to his Resurrection. The cross becomes a symbol of victory rather than a symbol of death. The people are called to be witnesses to this great legacy.
The psalm allows us to put away the melancholy of Lent and sing the alleluias of Easter. This is a great day, a day made by the Lord. A stone, once rejected by the builders, has become the stone the entire building rests on. Jesus, rejected by the leaders of Israel, is now risen and becomes the center of a whole new faith. Rejoice and be glad. We are saved by God and live triumphant over death.
In Colossians we are told that we, too, have been raised up with Christ. However, new life requires a new way of living. We are to set aside things of this earth and look to the things of heaven. We are to leave behind the old ways of death and participate in the new life of Easter.
The Gospel reading takes us right to the tomb on the first Easter morning. Day has hardly broken. Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb to find it empty. She runs to get the others. All they find are burial wrappings—no Jesus.
No one expects the Resurrection, despite all Jesus had foretold about it. They expect Jesus to still be lying in the tomb. Even when they have seen the empty tomb, their first thought is that someone has stolen his body.
To celebrate Easter is to remember that Jesus still lives and walks among us. The tomb is empty; Jesus is alive!
Themes for Teens
The following themes from the Scriptures relate to the lives of teens:
• If we believe, our sins are forgiven.
• Celebrate! Jesus lives!
• We rise again with Christ.
• The tomb is empty.
Are We Easter People?
This journal activity asks the young people to reflect on how they have changed during their journey with Jesus through Lent to Easter.
Before Easter Sunday, give each teen an Easter card with the following journal reflection enclosed. Ask the teens not to open the card until Easter morning.
Jesus is alive!
The tomb is empty.
Jesus is risen from the dead.
We look at Jesus, glorified by being raised from the dead. Jesus has been transformed from death to life.
Reflect on the following questions, and write your reflections in your journal:
How have you been transformed?
How are you different today?
How are we Easter people today?
The following activity ideas also relate to the Scripture readings. You may want to read the passage(s) indicated as part of the activity.
• Ask the teens to de scribe how Mary Magdalene must have felt before she arrived at the tomb, and then how she must have felt after she realized Jesus had risen. Next, ask: Where are we looking for Jesus? in an empty tomb? or among the living? Challenge the teens to see others with new eyes this Easter season and to look for the risen Lord in all they meet. (John 20:1–9)
• The church on Easter Sunday is usually jam-packed. How does the power of the Easter celebration call people back to the sacraments? Urge the young people to consider helping the ushers on Easter Sunday as a greeter and to help visitors feel welcome at your parish. Or, invite a friend or relative who has been away from church for a while to attend Easter liturgy with you. Note that for some, today may be the first step in returning to the church. (All readings)
• Fill baskets for needy children to be delivered by the young people on Easter Sunday afternoon. The teens can fill them with Easter candy, of course, but consider including Bible storybooks, inspirational gifts such as “Jesus loves you” pencils, and the like. If they are delivering baskets to a children’s hospital, make sure they check on restrictions for food items, because some children are on special diets. You can make the baskets as a group, or ask the teens to fill the baskets at home with their family. (All readings)
• Read through the first reading as if it were a news bulletin on the evening TV news. Ask the teens how they would react to it. How would their family react? How would their parish community react? (Acts 10:34, 37–43)
Break Open the Word
April 8, 2012
Jesus, as we gather this week, we reflect on your Passion, death, and Resurrection, and become aware in a more profound way of your limitless love for us. You have freed us from the bonds of sin and death and have gained for us the ultimate gift, a like resurrection where we will live forever in the loving embrace of the Father. We give thanks to you, Jesus, for your great generosity. Amen.
Each of the three main characters in this passage, even though he or she has the same experience of seeing the empty tomb, has a different reaction. When Mary of Magdala arrived at Jesus's tomb early on the first day of the week (Sunday) and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb, she assumed someone had stolen Jesus's body. She ran to tell her assumptions to Peter and the other disciple. When Peter arrived at the tomb, we know only that he entered and saw Jesus's burial cloths. We are not given Peter's reaction to the empty tomb. Was he perplexed and not sure what this meant? When the other disciple entered the tomb, after first waiting for Peter to go in, we know only that he saw it was empty and that he believed (20:8).
These three people each had a personal relationship with Jesus when he was alive. All three witnessed the evidence that Jesus had risen from the dead. We are only told that once the disciple entered the tomb, he immediately believed. We do not hear similar information about Mary of Magdala or Peter until a little later in the Gospel. In John 20:16, Mary of Magdala believed when she saw and spoke with the risen Jesus. In John 21:15-17, while in Jesus's presence, Peter professed his belief in the Risen Christ.
In this week's Gospel, we have examples of how three different people came to faith in the risen Christ. The first disciple to arrive at the tomb believed because he saw the body was no longer in the tomb. Mary of Magdala believed after she saw and heard Jesus speak. Peter reconfirmed his belief in Jesus in response to Jesus's question, "Do you love me?" (21:16).
Why do you profess your belief in the resurrected Christ?
The Easter celebration is the feast of feasts, the Sunday of Sundays, the Great Sunday. There is no higher feast for Catholics because the Easter event is the culmination of all the truths Jesus taught his disciples. We have been reading about these truths in the Gospel of Mark, the predominant Gospel in this year's lectionary readings. Many times throughout the Gospel of Mark, we have come to know that Jesus is the Son of God and he will be glorified through his own Resurrection. The Resurrection of Jesus is the firm foundation upon which our faith in Jesus Christ stands. Jesus's Resurrection is his physical rising from the dead on the third day after his Crucifixion, death, and burial. The Resurrection of Christ is the central, glorious truth of our Catholic faith and is the basis upon which we believe all Christians will share in a resurrected life with the Triune God in heaven. We celebrate his Resurrection at Mass. When we proclaim the mystery of faith, one of the responses recognizes that Jesus died, Jesus rose, and Jesus will come again.
The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. This new life is above all justification that reinstates us in God's grace, "so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life."1 Justification consists in both victory over the death caused by sin and a new participation in grace.2 It brings about filial adoption so that men become Christ's brethren, as Jesus himself called his disciples after his Resurrection: "Go and tell my brethren."3 We are brethren not by nature, but by the gift of grace, because that adoptive filiation gains us a real share in the life of the only Son, which was fully revealed in his Resurrection. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 654)
Other responses highlight the importance of the act of Jesus's Resurrection being the cornerstone of our Catholic faith. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we believe that we too will have a similar resurrection on the last day. We believe that death is not an end, but a new way of living more fully in the presence of the all-loving God.
Finally, Christ's Resurrection--and the risen Christ himself--is the principle and source of our future resurrection: "Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. . . . For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive."4 The risen Christ lives in the hearts of his faithful while they await that fulfillment. In Christ, Christians "have tasted . . . the powers of the age to come"5 and their lives are swept up by Christ into the heart of divine life, so that they may "live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised."6 (Catechism, paragraph 655)
Mary of Magdala, Peter, and the other disciple came to believe more deeply in Jesus the Christ because of their personal relationship with Jesus, because of their love for Jesus. Could the Gospel of John be pointing to the importance of having a personal relationship with Jesus, a relationship in which we come to love Jesus more and more each day? Through daily prayer, frequent spiritual and scriptural reading, and acts of charity, we come to know Jesus more personally.
The scriptural quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition. Copyright © 1993 and 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. All rights reserved.
The quotations labeled Catechism are from the English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church for use in the United States of America, second edition. Copyright © 1994 by the United States Catholic Conference, Inc.--Libreria Editrice Vaticana. English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Modifications from the Editio Typica copyright © 1997 by the United States Catholic Conference, Inc.--Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Used with permission.
The Lord's Prayer is taken from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers. Copyright © 1988 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc., Washington, DC. All rights reserved.
Endnotes Cited in Quotations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church
1. Romans 6:4; cf. 4:25.
2. cf. Ephesians 2:4-5; 1 Peter 1:3.
3. Matthew 28:10; John 20:17.
4. 1 Corinthians 15:20-22.
5. Hebrews 6:5.
6. 2 Corinthians 5:15; cf. Colossians 3:1-3.
Copyright © 2009 by Saint Mary's Press, 702 Terrace Heights, Winona, MN 55987-1318, www.smp.org. All rights reserved. No part of this newsletter may be reproduced by any means without the written permission of the publisher. Thank you.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle
April 7 is the memorial for Saint John Baptist de La Salle, the founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and the patron saint of teachers and educators.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle gave up his personal wealth and comfort to establish schools devoted to the education of boys in France who could not afford a quality education. He also established a community of men committed to the mission of teaching and sharing the love of Christ with students, which became the Brothers of the Christian Schools, or the Christian Brothers. As a Christian Brothers ministry, Saint Mary’s Press has a special devotion to the life and example of Saint John Baptist de La Salle.
For more information about Saint John Baptist de La Salle, go to http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-john-baptist-de-la-salle/.