Welcome to: Lent and Easter

Videos for Lent and Easter

STATIONS OF THE CROSS

See and meditate on Christ’s love for you! This version of the Stations of the Cross connects our own lives to the sacrifice Jesus made for us.

The video contains works of art created by people around the world. Each one is a different style to represent the globalness and diversity of the Church while honoring Christ through the talents of God’s people. The prayers were written by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries (gnm.org) and can be found at http://wordbytes.org/prayers/stations/. The stories of the artists and what they experienced as they produced their part of the Stations of the Cross can be found at http://gnm.org/about/StationsProject/.

My Lord Jesus Christ:
You suffered a great deal for me. I cannot even fathom just how much You accomplished for me through Your sacrifice. What I do know for certain is that I am suffering. I have trials I want to get rid of. But You have shown by your journey to the Cross and your death that I should embrace my sufferings as a journey that will lead to glory. Please help me unite my sufferings with Your Way of the Cross, so that I may be healed, purified and strengthened, and so that I may become Your instrument of healing love for others.

Station 1: Jesus is condemned to death (Barbara Boschee from North Dakota)
Station 2: Jesus carries his cross (Nadya Melina David from the Philippines)
Station 3: Jesus falls the first time (Richard Grzywacz from Michigan)
Station 4: Jesus meets His holy Mother (Richard Grzywacz from Michigan)
Station 5: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry His cross (Rosie Yeo from Malaysia)
Station 6: Jesus meets Veronica (Kathleen Ellertson from Oklahoma)
Station 7: Jesus falls a second time (Jane Rullier from Florida)
Station 8: Jesus comforts the weeping women (Angelia Neo from Singapore)
Station 9: Jesus falls the third time (Dorothy Riley from Florida)
Station 10: Jesus is stripped of His clothing (Vanessa Conklin from Florida)
Station 11: Jesus is nailed to the cross (Mariela Gavino, age 13, from Virginia)
Station 12: Jesus dies on the cross (Rei Luzardo from Florida)
Station 13: Jesus is taken down from the cross (Sherry Phillips from California)
Station 14: Jesus is laid in the tomb (Terry Modica from Good News Ministries)
Station 15: The Resurrection of Jesus (Jenny Cabrini Chan from Malaysia)

Jesus sacrificed his comfort and his body and blood to take the punishment that we deserve for our sins. In this video reflection on Luke 19: 28-40, we ask: Why do you think the Gospel writer spent time explaining how Jesus obtained the colt for his ride into Jerusalem?

WHAT’S TIED UP IN YOUR LIFE?

The Transcript

There’s a key phrase in the Gospel reading that we hear at the beginning of Catholic Mass on Palm Sunday. Mass starts with a procession with the waving of palm branches while we hear the verses of Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 19, verses 28 through 40. Jesus tells a couple of His disciples, “Go into that village and when you enter it, you’ll find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. And if anyone should ask you what are you doing, why are you untying it, you will answer, ‘The Master has need of it.'”

Why do you think the Gospel writers spent time explaining how Jesus was going to obtain the colt for His ride into Jerusalem? It’s meant to teach us something in our own current circumstances. We each have a colt of some sort tied up somewhere in our lives. A colt is anything that belongs to us and is not yet being shared with Christ. It could be our possessions, money, talents and skills, creativity, time and energy, and so forth. The Master has need of it. But sometimes we selfishly tie these things up with our own agendas and business. They would be useful to Jesus if we let Him have them. Like the colt that Jesus rode, they could become gifts that glorify our Savior.

Palm Sunday teaches us that Jesus deserves to be glorified for His awesome love which He made visible on the Cross. Who else would die for you with that much suffering? Jesus sacrificed His comfort and His Body and Blood to take the punishment that we deserve for our sins. We should rejoice gratefully for this on Palm Sunday, but every Sunday with hosannas and admiration, and for that matter every day of our lives and at every Mass. For in the Eucharist we reunite ourselves to that tremendous love. In this Communion with Christ, why aren’t we grinning like lovers who have become joined to their beloved? The answer to that is our colts are still tied to the post.

Jesus has sent His disciples to you to ask you to share your colt with Jesus. These disciples are at the altar consecrating the Eucharist for you. Or they are writing the church bulletin – writing help wanted blurbs in the parish in the church you belong to. Or they are interrupting you at work, asking for your prayers, or your counsel, or other assistance. They are the strangers who are in need of your charitable donations. So think about these questions for personal reflection. Make a list of the colts in your life. Which ones would you like Jesus to put to good use? Spend time in prayer imagining that you are untying them and handing them over to Jesus. See how pleased He is. And think a little deeper. What colt in your life is difficult to let go of? Why is it difficult to let go of the reins?

UNION WITH CHRIST (LUKE 4:1-13)

Jesus’ life is our life if we’re sincere about our faith. We unite ourselves to him by receiving his body and blood in the Eucharist. We meet him in the scriptures and walk with him on the path to heaven.

During Lent, the readings that the Church provides for Sunday and daily Mass will help us with this journey if we listen with an ear that recognizes our personal connections to Christ.

In this Luke 4:1-13, we journey with Jesus into the desert. Consider your own struggles with temptation; reflect on how sin makes your life feel barren and dry like a desert.

When we walk with Jesus, we unite ourselves to his struggle with the devil and to his victory over the devil. Our temptations become his temptations, and in our efforts to remain united to him, we reject Satan and choose the life of holiness. The Church helps us do this by giving us ways during Lent to improve our self-discipline and conquer the self-centeredness that makes us vulnerable to sin: fasting and abstinence, alms-giving, reconciliation services, faith formation events, reading materials, and more.

Every meal and meat that we give up for Lent, every sin that we confess in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, every sacrifice of time that we make to add more prayer and spiritual reading to our daily life, and every other Lenten activity is a practice of self-denial that unites us to Jesus in the desert.

Jesus fasted from food and other physical comforts during his battle with the devil, and this strategy strengthened him and prepared him for the ministry that came afterward. This is what Lent should be for us, too.

Satan is not someone to fear. Jesus already defeated all demons on our behalf, first in the desert and then on the cross. Our battle is really only against temptation and our personal weaknesses that make us vulnerable to succumbing to sin.

We don’t always want to follow Jesus. This is what we must surrender to God during Lent. Then Easter will be far more meaningful, because we will emerge from Lent much stronger in our faith.

This Good News Reflection comes from one of our daily Good News Reflections. To receive them free by email, sign up at http://gogoodnews.net/

In Luke 9, the Transfiguration of Jesus, we see Jesus reveal the uncreated light of his true identity and we hear the Father say, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”

We experience Christ’s deepest identity every time we listen to him and allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten our understanding of his words and guidance.

By listening to him, we let his uncreated light consume the darkness that still lingers within us. Then, the people around us experience more of him, because they meet him in us — in our actions, in our compassion, in our forgiveness, etc. This is evangelization!

Lent is a time of concentrating on our need for Christ to shed his light into our areas of darkness. When we let Jesus enlighten us so that we repent (which means change), seeking and receiving forgiveness and the Holy Spirit’s power to change, we become more like Christ. We shine more brilliantly with him. And we enter more fully into his ministry of redeeming the world. Although there is suffering in this ministry, we know that the pain of Good Friday is always followed by the victory of Easter.

It’s in the trials and sacrifices of life — our own crucifixions — where our holiness changes the world. Do we dare follow Jesus all the way to Calvary? It’s the only way to get to Easter! Our trials are his blood being shed again. Our pains are his pains. We’re already on the cross with Jesus! So why not embrace this extreme intimacy with him for the sake of those who’ve scourged us and betrayed us?

By loving those who don’t love us, forgiving those who mistreat us, and working hard to replace evil with the kingdom of God, we reveal the light of Christ to those who live in darkness.

This Good News Reflection comes from one of our daily Good News Reflections. To receive them free by email, sign up at gogoodnews.net/DailyReflections.

 

MERCY: HOW IT HELPS EVIL-DOERS (Luke 13:1-9)

How do you feel when someone who’s been hurtful, cruel, or morally corrupt gets hit with a hardship that makes them suffer? Our natural tendency is to rejoice because justice has finally been meted out.

Jesus addresses this in Luke 13:1-9. He wants us to understand that we cannot truthfully say that someone is a “greater sinner”, even if that person is doing more damage than anyone else, is more unChristian than we are, or is blatantly an evil-doer.

Every person has been created in the image of God, even the worst ones. Those who display an opposite image are nonetheless loved by Jesus Christ, who died for them. It’s a tragedy that they do not live as the person God created them to be, because this harms others. But it will be an even worse tragedy if no one invites them to turn their lives over to Christ by loving them as he loves them.

No person is an evil person. Evil-doers are children of God living in ignorance of their true identity. They are victims of evil and were seduced by it into believing that it’s the best way to live. They don’t understand that they can be healed by the Sinless One who conquered evil for their redemption. We should feel sorry for them — this is the gift of mercy. We should mourn with Jesus for the tragedy that continues within their souls — this is the most precious gift of mercy.

When we don’t care enough to grieve over a person’s inner destruction, we are sinning. We are disregarding what Jesus did for them on the cross. We are damaging our own souls.

All those who have sinned against you are like the fig tree in Jesus’ parable. If you have access to them, he wants you to till their soil. He wants you to fertilize their souls with love and with the truth of the Gospel as taught by your actions and, when they’re ready, by your words. He wants you to give them a gentle but obvious invitation to grow in the right direction.

Notice that Jesus doesn’t want us to keep a diseased, disintegrating tree in the garden forever. After (and only after) we have done everything possible, if the evil-doer does not want to change, the best care we can give to the garden is to cut down the tree. This means walking away or calling in the authorities for intervention and letting the sinner reap what he sows. This, too, is very loving. When fertilizer won’t produce good fruits, a fallen tree becomes mulch and enriches the ground for a new beginning.

This Good News Reflection comes from one of our daily Good News Reflections. To receive them free by email, sign up at http://gogoodnews.net/.

LOVE SAYS: YOU ARE WORTHY TO RECEIVE! (Luke 15:1-32)

Who is worthy to receive the love and unconditional forgiveness of God? During every Mass, we pray, “Lord, I am not worthy… but say the Word and my soul shall be healed.” Jesus illustrates in Luke 15:1-32 that we are all worthy, but not because of what we do — rather, it’s because of what Jesus did do: He died on the cross to take our sins into death so that we can rise up with him in the perpetual Easter experience of unity with God.

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, it’s not what the son did that made his return home acceptable. It’s not his repentance that made him worthy of receiving his father’s love. It’s what the father did. He loved his child. Unconditionally. He loved him even while he was far away, even while he was straying in a sinful lifestyle.

The dad’s unconditional, faithful love was his gift to the son even while the son was rejecting it.

The gift that the son gave to his dad upon his return home was an open heart to receive the love that had always been available.

During every Mass, we come to church as prodigal children. It doesn’t matter that we think we’ve been good Christians all week long. In some way or other, we have turned our backs on God’s full, unconditional, faithful love. This is why we always start Mass acknowledging that we have sinned. Let’s take this opportunity very seriously!

Next, we listen to the Word that heals our broken relationships with God. The homily should always be carefully planned to enhance this, but if it’s not, Jesus is nonetheless speaking to you through his Holy Spirit; listen in your heart. Jesus, who is the Word made flesh, has already begun to respond to your presence at Mass.

In the Offertory, we offer ourselves to the Father; it’s our moment of surrender: “I no longer deserve to be called your child, so do with me as you will.” What God wills is for us to be restored to a fully loving, give-and-take relationship with him and his family. And thus, in the grandest moment of the Liturgy, we receive the Eucharist as a gift of unity with God and with his whole family, the Church. (Those who cannot receive the Communion of the Host and Cup are graced with a Spiritual Communion.)

This Good News Reflection comes from one of our daily Good News Reflections. To receive them free by email, sign up at http://gogoodnews.net/.

 

COMPASSION CURES CONDEMNATION (John 8:1-11)

The Gospel reading John 8:1-11 shows us a good example of how to treat someone who is, as Jesus says elsewhere in scripture (Matthew 25) “the least of these.” The recipient of Christ’s compassion in this story was considered to be unworthy of life itself. She was first of all a woman, which in her society meant she was inferior to men. She was a sinner and deserved punishment. She was one single person facing a condemning crowd alone. How much more of a “least” one could anyone be?

When have you felt alone and insignificant? Perhaps you’ve faced a condemning crowd. Then again, have you ever treated others as if they’re not important? Yes, none of us can cast the first stone.

There are many in the Church who feel forgotten and neglected. We all know some of them. Their loneliness is usually hidden from us, and if we’re busy with many important responsibilities, seeking them out and giving them attention feels too overwhelming. Their needs become too insignificant to warrant the expense of our time, the development of parish resources, and the sacrifice of our personal comfort.

Divorced Catholics often feel condemned, and many who could be receiving Communion stay away because they’ve been misinformed about the Church’s rules, and no one is reaching out to lead them back. And although the Church has been stopping abuses against children, often the lustful or abusive treatment of adults is never addressed, because they are dismissed as “less vulnerable” — they are of least concern.

Identifying the least among us and reaching out to them is a good Lenten exercise — but only if the intention is to make it a year-round habit.

This Good News Reflection comes from one of our daily Good News Reflections. To receive them free by email, sign up at http://gogoodnews.net/.

JOY IN DAILY LIFE IS THE TRIUMPH OF THE CROSS

The doorway into heaven is the cross. Experiencing the glory of the celebration of Easter — deep within our hearts, within our needs, within our desires — began with accepting our sorrows and sacrifices and sufferings are our own personal connections to Jesus. And now, Easter joy comes not only from accepting what Jesus did for you on the cross but also from continuing the journey, side by side, step by step with Jesus.

When we’re sincere about following Christ, if we truly want to grow in faith, we do whatever he does, united to his ministry of helping others grow in their eternal relationship with God. In this, we face the cross again and again. There is no gain in salvation without the pain of sacrificial love.

The victorious alleluia of Easter is the triumph of the cross. It’s the realization that life doesn’t have to be free of troubles in order to be full of joy. It’s the day-to-day living out of a faith that comes from trusting that God is carrying us through the trials and bringing good out of bad.

Our cross is a soft word that we speak when someone else is angry and we feel like shouting. Our cross is a hand outstretched to comfort the afflicted when it’s inconvenient and we feel like withdrawing. Our cross is a good deed that we do to those who treat us unjustly and we feel like retaliating. And our resurrection is the joy that comes from knowing that we have made a difference in the lives of others for the sake of God’s kingdom.

Love that’s given when it’s difficult is a suffering love, a passionate love, a salvific love, i.e., it benefits the eternal lives of others. Then, our sacrifices have a value of endless worth. This is so much better than a self-serving, easy life. It’s eternally better! Easter Sunday Mass is the celebration of rising with Jesus into glorious victory over evil.

This Good News Reflection comes from one of our daily Good News Reflections. To receive them free by email, sign up at http://gogoodnews.net/.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta said, “Lent is a time when we relive the Passion of Christ. Let it not be just a time when our feelings are roused, but let it be a change that comes through cooperation with God’s grace in real sacrifices of self.” In this video reflection, Terry Modica examines how our sacrifices make a difference beyond our own lives when we have true solidarity with the Passion of Christ. Think about why we make sacrifices. Is it because we think it’s the right thing to do and it’s going to help us grow in faith and grow in our relationship with Jesus? This is good, but that’s not enough. Is it also because we care about how our sacrifice will impact others? That’s true Christian maturity.