Homilies by Fr. Alan Phillip

Palm Sunday (A) What's Next?
Recent Homilies:
ߦ   Palm Sunday (A) What's Next?
ߦ   5th Sunday of Lent (A) Three Steps To Life
ߦ   Feast of the Annunciation, All About Game Changers
ߦ   4th Sunday of Lent (A) Oh, Say, Can You See?
ߦ   3rd Sunday of Lent (A) What Are You Thirsting For?
ߦ   2nd Sunday of Lent (A) Letting Go and Letting God
ߦ   1st Sunday of Lent (A) How do the children of God respond?
ߦ   Ash Wednesday, 2020 (A) A New Look at Fasting and Almsgiving
ߦ   7th Sunday (A) I Want To Be On That List
ߦ   6th Sunday (A) God's Valentine
ߦ   Fifth Sunday (A) You Light Up My Life
ߦ   Feast of the Presentation. "Father, into your hands..."
ߦ   3rd Sunday (A) We Are Wonderfully Made
ߦ   2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) The Power of Both Suffering and Fun
ߦ   Baptism of the Lord (A) Bold, Committed and Loving
ߦ   Feast of the Epiphany (A) Three New Year's Resolutions
ߦ   Feast of the Holy Family (A) Three Building Blocks to a Great Family Life
ߦ   Christmas 2019 (A) God's Gifts of Bronze, Silver and Gold
ߦ   4th Sunday of Advent (A) The Power of "Yes"
ߦ   3rd Sunday of Advent (A) The Blind See. The Deaf Hear.
ߦ   2nd Sunday of Advent (A) Five Steps to Peace
ߦ   1st Sunday of Advent (A) The Time is Now
ߦ   Feast of Christ the King (C) What an Inheritance!
ߦ   33rd Sunday (C) You have 24 Hours to Get Ready
ߦ   32nd Sunday (C) Lord, Stiffen Our Backbones
ߦ   31st Sunday (C) A Non-Miracle Miracle
ߦ   30th Sunday (C) Look Up At The Stars
ߦ   29th Sunday (C) Are Your Prayers Not Being Answered?
ߦ   28th Sunday (C) A Gratitude Attitude
ߦ   27th Sunday (C) Head, Heart And Will
ߦ   26tth Sunday (C) Reveal What To Them?
ߦ   25th Sunday (C) Getting Our $$$ Act Tegether
ߦ   24th Sunday (C) A Hug From God
ߦ   23rd Sunday (C) 100% Commitment
ߦ   20th Sunday (C) Discover Fire -- A SecondTime
ߦ   16th Sunday (C) The Importance of Hospitality
ߦ   15 Sunday (C) When Does A Tear Dry?
ߦ   14th Sunday (C) Take Along The Right Stuff
ߦ   13th Sunday (C) I Ain't Turning Back
ߦ   Feast of the Holy Trinity (C) "Father, May They All Be One..."
ߦ   Feast of the Ascension (C) The Trouble with Hello is Goodbye
ߦ   6th Sunday of Easter (C) The Joy of Hospitality
ߦ   5th Sunday of Easter (C) Now Hear This
ߦ   4th Sunday of Easter (C) How Mothers Would Run Things
ߦ   3rd Sunday of Easter (C) You Bet I Do
ߦ   2nd Sunday of Easter (C) What If...
ߦ   Easter (C) A Life With Meaning And Purpose
ߦ   Palm Sunday (C) Three Special Days
ߦ   5th Sunday of Lent (C) The Ultimate Questions
ߦ   4th Sunday of Lent (C) The Prodigal Father

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     When does Lent end?  The official end of Lent is on Holy Thursday.  Once the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper begins, we start what we call the Sacred Triduum, the Sacred Three Days, our High Holy Days.  Interestingly enough, when our Holy Thursday service ends, there is no last blessing, no dismissal, and no concluding hymn.  That is because the service doesn’t really end.  Just “Part One” ends.  


     Part Two takes place on Good Friday.  And on Friday, there is no opening hymn.  We simply start up where we left off on Thursday.  


     Part Three, of course, is the Easter Vigil service on Saturday evening and Easter Morning Mass.  Everyone is cordially invited to participate on line in all three parts of the Sacred Three Days.


     1) On Holy Thursday, the church’s colors change from the penitential Lenten purple to the festive color of white.  We begin our three days celebrating the gift of the Mass.  At the first Mass, the Last Supper, Jesus gave us the Eucharist, his body and blood for our food and drink.  So this Thursday is the night we celebrate our holy communion with the Lord and with one another. 


     At that first Mass, Jesus also gave us his great commandment.  Earlier we were told to love our neighbor and we loved our selves.  At the Last Supper Jesus raises the bar.  He tells us, “to love oneanother as I have loved you.”  How can we possible do this?  Only with his help.  So he gives us his body and blood so we have his love living within us.  


     To demonstrate love, Jesus washed the Apostles feet.  

Ordinarily we would wash feet on our Holy Thursday Liturgy.  But not this year for obvious reasons.   We will just reflect upon ways we can serve one another.


     2) On Good Friday, the color is red.  No, we don’t wear black in sorrow.  We wear red, the color of blood.  We need blood for life.  Good Friday reminds us that Christ shed his blood that we may have life, life here free from sin, life everlasting in heaven.  I like to make the connection with Valentine’s Day.  On that day, the color of most cards and gifts expressing love is red.  Red on Good Friday reminds us that Christ died out of love for us, that God is the source of all real love.  And love is life-giving.


     If Lent ends on Holy Thursday, why is Good Friday a day of fast and abstinence?  Isn’t fasting a penance?  The fast on Ash Wednesday is indeed a penitential fast.  It is a fast to show sorrow for our sins.  It is a fast to discipline our wills.  But the fast of Good Friday is called a “Paschal Fast”.  It is observed, the Ordo tells us, on Good Friday “and, where possible, on Holy Saturday,” until the Easter Vigil.  It is not meant as a penance.  It is a fast in expectation, a fast that “looks forward to the big event”.  


     On Thanksgiving we might fast from lunch so we can really enjoy the special dinner.  A child on Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa, is so excited that he or she is not thinking about food.  This is sort of a “fast” of expectation.  (Not eating before a track meet, or before graduation, or the morning of a wedding…  These are fasts of expectation.)


     A paschal fast is for those expecting something.  It is a fast for those who are preparing for baptism and joining the church.  And it is a fast for all of us preparing our hearts to celebrate the biggest feast of the year.


     3) On Holy Saturday evening and on Easter Sunday Morning the color is gold or festive white.  This is the most solemn feast in our Church year. 


     It is the time when ordinarily our new adult members are baptized and join our family of faith.  This year that is postponed.  It is the day when we all renew our baptismal promises.  It is the day we celebrate in a most special way what we celebrate at each Mass – that Christ has died, yes, but that Christ is risen and lives among us.  And that Christ will come again. 


     Death has lost its power.  

          Our sins are forgiven.   

                We belong to God.  


     You are welcome to join us here at the retreat center chapel on Holy Thursday at 7:30 PM, on Good Friday at 3:00 PM, on Holy Saturday evening at 7:30 PM, and on Easter morning at 9:30 AM.


     Come to the celebration!  Come to the feast! 

          May you have a very Sacred Triduum, and a very beautiful life.

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