Fr. Bauer's Blog

 

Basilica Community,

Greetings once again from The Basilica of Saint Mary, I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during this challenging time.

We continue to miss you at The Basilica. However, we livestream daily Mass at noon, and Mass on Sundays at 9:30am, and we invite you to connect with us there. These and other services are recorded and available on our website.

Today I would like to update you on three things:
First, earlier this morning, at Coffee and Conversation, Johan Van Parys and I discussed some ideas about how people, who may not be able to join us for Mass, can do “Church at home” this summer.

We also discussed the protocols we will be using when we are able to have public Masses again. These protocols will include, but will not be limited to, pre-registering for Mass, entering through a particular door, taking each person’s temperature, requiring face mask, and sitting in an assigned seat.

The protocols will follow all State health and safety regulations. We will also continue to livestream our liturgies even as we begin to re-open The Basilica.

Second, I want to mention that next week at Coffee and Conversation, Terri Ashmore, our Managing Director and I will discuss some of the protocols we are establishing for staff and volunteers returning to campus.

It is our hope and my prayer that these protocols will ensure a safe and secure environment for everyone who comes to our campus. I invite you to join us next Wednesday at 9:00am for this conversation.

Finally, I just want to thank everyone for their financial generosity, their patience, and their prayers during this pandemic. People have been very generous to The Basilica during this time, as well as enormously patient as we try to make our way through this new reality. We are learning new ways to connect with people, as well as new ways to be community.

This is going to take some time—and it will probably be messy—and no doubt there will be some missteps along the way. Given this, I am extremely grateful for the many prayers people have offered and are offering for our Basilica community. Keep them coming. They are both needed and appreciated. 

 

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Basilica Community,

I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.

Today I would like to update you in regard to two items:

First, as I mentioned last week, we are working on plans for a gradual re-opening of The Basilica. This will be very challenging as we need to ensure a safe environment for all those who come to The Basilica.

Specifically, when we are able to have people at Mass again, we have developed some protocols to help ensure a safe environment for those attending. Those protocols will include, but will not be limited to, pre-registering for Mass, entering through a particular door, taking each person’s temperature, requiring face mask, and sitting in an assigned seat.

It is our hope and my prayer that these protocols will ensure a safe and secure environment for everyone. I will share more about these protocols as we move forward, but wanted you to know that we have been working on them, and that we will follow all State health and safety regulations, as well as directives from our Archdiocese as we implement them.

The second item I want to mention today has to do with our volunteers at The Basilica. As you know, The Basilica has a very large number of people who volunteer in many different areas. While some ministries have continued remotely or virtually, at the present time, our incredible staff is doing many of the roles that volunteers have done.

I know that many of our volunteers are eager to come back and help at The Basilica. And we are reengaging volunteers on a case by case basis, when we can ensure their safety and security.

We are doing this in an abundance of caution to ensure that when people are able to resume their volunteer activities they will be able do so in a safe and secure environment.

As I mentioned previously, I have no doubt, that Church will be very different when we are able to gather again, but we need to take precautions now so we can move forward in a thoughtful, deliberate manner so that we don’t inadvertently put someone’s health at risk.

Finally, if you have any suggestions, questions or concerns, please let us know. We may not be able to implement all your suggestions, or respond to all your questions and concerns, but we will do our very best.

Join us next Wednesday at 9:00am for Zoom Coffee and Conversation for an opportunity to talk about different aspects of our parish life.

 


O Mary, you always brighten our path as a sign of salvation and of hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who at the Cross, took part in Jesus’ pain while remaining steadfast in faith. 

O loving Mother, you know what we need, and we are confident you will provide for us as at Cana in Galilee. Intercede for us with your Son Jesus, the Divine Physician, for those who have fallen ill, for those who are vulnerable, and for those who have died. 

Intercede also for those charged with protecting the health and safety of others and for those who are tending to the sick and seeking a cure. 

Help us, O Mother of the Divine Love, to conform to the will of the Father and to do as we are told by Jesus, who took upon himself our sufferings and carried our sorrows, so as to lead us, through the Cross, to the glory of the Resurrection. 

Amen.

 

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I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.

Please join us for the livestream of our daily Masses at Noon and Sundays at 9:30am.

We have been informed that The Basilica will receive a Payroll Protection Loan to continue our vital operations during this challenging time. 

Thank you to all of you who have continued to financially support The Basilica. Please know of my great gratitude for your generosity. If you find yourself needing financial support, we invite you to connect with our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry. 

We are beginning to work on plans for a gradual re-opening of The Basilica. We will follow all State health and safety regulations, as well as directives from our Archdiocese to keep everyone safe. 

Please look for our Domestic Church Resource packet later this week. It will be available on our website and sent out via email. 

Join us next Wednesday at 9:00am for Zoom Coffee and Conversation. 

 


To you, O Blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke your patronage also.

Through that charity which bound you to the Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God, and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by His Blood, and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

O most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ. 

O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corruption influence.

O our most mighty protector, be kind to us and from heaven, assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness. 

As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection, so that supported by your example and your aid, we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. 
Amen

Basilica Community,

 

 

Greetings once again from The Basilica of Saint Mary. I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.

We miss you at The Basilica. However, we do livestream our daily Mass at Noon and Sundays at 9:30am. We invite you to join us. These and other services are also recorded and they are available on our website

I would like to share three updates with you today:

1. We are putting together a summer “Church at Home” activities kit that we hope to email to all parishioners in May. Many people let us know they appreciated the “Holy Week at Home” kit that we sent out a few weeks ago. Our new kit will be similar and offer ideas for “doing” Church at home.

2. I also wanted to let you know that we are beginning to work on plans for a gradual re-opening of The Basilica. We will follow all State health and safety regulations, as well as directives from our Archdiocese. I wanted to mention it  to let you know we are beginning to think about it. No doubt, Church will be very different when we are able to gather again, but we need to begin to think now, about how we can “do” Church in the coming months in ways that will keep people safe and secure.

3. Wednesday we had our second Zoom Coffee and Conversation gathering. Wendy Caduff, our Director of Caring Ministries, and I talked about how we can care for each other and ourselves virtually. Please join us at 9:00am next Wednesday for our next Coffee and Conversation with The Basilica musicians. A link to the conversation can be found on our website.

Finally, thank you for your on-going financial support of The Basilica. Your support enables us to continue our many ministries, programs, and services.

However, if you find yourself needing financial support, we invite you to connect with our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry

 


O Mother of Divine Love and Mercy, 

you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope. 

In the certain hope that you will intercede, 

so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee,

joy and feasting might return after these moments of trial.

We seek refuge under your protection, 

O glorious and blessed Virgin. 

Do not despise our pleas, but deliver us from every danger.

And help us, O Mother of God 

to conform ourselves to the will of God

and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, for he is the way,

the truth, and the life, in his name we pray.
Amen.

Basilica Community,

I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during this challenging time. We will continue to livestream our daily Masses, Monday-Friday at Noon and Sundays at 9:30am for the foreseeable future. 

I’m pleased to announce The Basilica will receive a Payroll Protection Loan to continue our vital operations during this challenging time. While this is good news, our parish continues to need your on-going support. 

We know this is a challenging time financially for everyone. If you are able, please continue to support The Basilica. However, if you find yourself needing financial support, we invite you to connect with our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry. 

While we are not having any public gatherings at the Basilica, I hope you were able to connect with us via conference call, Facebook and Zoom. Join us for our next Coffee and Conversation via Zoom Wednesday, April 29 at 9:00am.

We would like to hear from you, if you have questions, concerns, or suggestions to better serve you. We may not be able to implement all your suggestions, or respond to all your questions and concerns, but we will do our very best. 
 

 

Lord Jesus, during your time on earth, you healed the sick and comforted the afflicted. We pray for your help now during this time of the coronavirus pandemic.

Guide the minds and hearts of medical personnel, researchers, essential workers, and government leaders to take the necessary steps to answer the challenges of this moment.

Bring swift recovery to those who are ill, and give comfort to those who have lost loved ones. Calm the minds of those who experience fear and anxiety and help us all to act prudently to reduce the spread of this virus.

Most of all, remind us of the hope and promise of eternal life where there will be no harm that can come to us. Amen.

 

News and Events 

Zoom: Laborem Exercens Discussion
April 26, 11:00am
The Basilica Voices for Justice team invites you to read and reflect on the 1981 papal encyclical, Laborem Exercens (Through Work), which St. John Paul II published during the midst of a global recession. Please register for Zoom link.

Volunteer Appreciation Week Video
To the 1,300 people who help in volunteer ministry at The Basilica - Thank you! 

Children’s and Youth Ministry Registration
Online registration for 2020-2021 faith formation classes for children ages 3 through 10th grade. While we all wait to see what next fall will look like, we are preparing for both in-person and online classes. Early Bird tuition rates are available. Scholarship assistance available. Student tuition fees waived for volunteer Catechists or Room Assistants.

BYA Virtual Retreat
May 2, 9:00am
Basilica Young Adults Spring retreat. Email bya@mary.org for Zoom link.

Talking Through Our Fears
As the COVID-19 outbreak spreads through our region, nation, and world, and we follow the governor’s and various health care experts’ advice to practice social distancing, we realize that anxieties, fears, and a rollercoaster of emotions around the Coronavirus follow. Contact Wendy to speak by phone to a trained Emmaus Listening Minister.

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Basilica Community,

 

Greetings once again from The Basilica of Saint Mary. I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during this challenging time. I also hope you had a very blessed Easter. 

 

We did miss you at The Basilica during our various Holy Week services. All these services are available on our website. I encourage you to look for them. On Easter Sunday we reached over 25,000 people in some way via Facebook and QwikCast livestream.

For me, one of the more moving moments of our Easter Sunday celebration was when Archbishop Hebda walked down the center aisle of The Basilica with the monstrance and blessed the city of Minneapolis. With the snow falling all around it was a poignant reminder for me that God is present at all times and in all the circumstances of our lives.
 
 
 
Easter City Blessing Archbishop 2020
Photo provided by: 
Mae Desaire
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
While we are not having any public gatherings at The Basilica, I hope you were able to connect with us at The Basilica via conference call, Facebook and Zoom. From the responses we received in regard to our livestreaming efforts, people seem very appreciative of this outreach–and often replied with good wishes for our staff.

Earlier this morning our downtown ministerial group gathered via Zoom to talk about how our congregations are doing. It is clear that we all missed being able to gather with our people during this time. As I mentioned last week, our downtown ministerial group put together a virtual prayer service.

We will continue to livestream our daily Masses and Mass on Sunday on mary.org and facebook.com/BasilicaMpls for the foreseeable future.

We would like to hear from you, if you have questions, concerns, or suggestions to better serve you. We may not be able to implement all your suggestions, or respond to all your questions and concerns, but we will do our very best. 

Next Wednesday, April 22 at 9:00am, Johan Van Parys and I will host Coffee and Conversation via Zoom. 

Finally, I want to thank all those who supported The Basilica financially, especially at Easter. Please know of my gratitude for all those who are able continue to support The Basilica financially. 
 
If you find yourself needing financial support, we invite you to connect with our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry.
 
 
 
Almighty and eternal God, our refuge in every danger, to whom we turn in our distress, in faith we pray: Look with compassion on the afflicted, grant eternal rest to the dead, comfort to mourners, healing to the sick, peace to the dying, strength to healthcare workers, wisdom to our leaders, and the courage to reach out to all in love, so that together we may give glory to your holy name. Amen. 


I hope this message finds you and your family staying well during this challenging time. I want to assure you of my prayers for a blessed Holy Week and Easter. May it be a time of grace and blessing for all of us.

As I mentioned in my previous video, while we are not having any public gatherings at The Basilica, we continue to connect with people via conference call, Facebook and Zoom.

We have been sent out over 500 check-in emails to parish volunteers. People seem very appreciative of this outreach and often reply with good wishes for our staff. If you or someone you know would like to receive one of these emails, please let us know.

Our downtown Minneapolis interfaith community leaders shared a message of one voice and shared hope in virtual prayer service.

Last Friday, we sent an email to all of our parishioners with ideas about ways to celebrate Holy Week at home. We have compiled tools and resources for you to plan and prepare for Holy Week in your home.

Holy Week at Home


During Holy Week we will be livestreaming all of our services on mary.org and facebook.com/BasilicaMpls including Mass at 9:30 on Easter Sunday with Archbishop Hebda. Easter Mass will also be broadcast on 830 WCCO Radio.

Holy Week Schedule


We would like to hear from you, though, if you have questions, concerns or suggestions to better serve you. We may not be able to implement all your suggestions, or respond to all your questions and concerns, but we will do our very best.

We know this is a challenging time financially for everyone. If you are able to continue to support The Basilica financially, particularly this Easter, we thank you. You may make a gift online at mary.org/donate.


If you find yourself needing financial support, we invite you to connect with our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry.

 


Let us pray: Father, your beloved Son Jesus brought your healing love to our world. We pray that Christ, the light of the world, will sustain us always in faith, hope, and love. And may the light of faith guide and comfort us at this time. And may we pray for and with each other, that together, we might find our way though these challenging times. Amen.

 

 

Light of Faith

 

Basilica Community,

I hope this message finds you and your family staying well during this challenging time. As you know, we have suspended all public Masses and gatherings; however we are still connecting via conference call, Facebook, and Zoom. 

We are live streaming our daily Masses at facebook.com/BasilicaMpls. The videos are available at here after each Mass.

We will be live streaming our Holy Week services beginning with 9:30am Mass on Palm Sunday. Easter Mass with Archbishop Hebda at 9:30am will also be broadcast on 830 WCCO Radio.

We will be sending an email to all of our parishioners with ideas about ways to celebrate Holy Week at home. 
 
We would like to hear from you, please let us know if you have questions, concerns, or suggestions to better serve you. We may not be able to implement all your suggestions, or respond to all your questions and concerns, but we will do our very best.

We know this is a challenging time financially for everyone. If you are able to continue to support The Basilica financially, we thank you. You may make a gift online at mary.org/donate.

If you find yourself needing financial support, we invite you to connect with our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry
________________________________________

In 2013 Pope Francis issued his first encyclical: “Lumen Fidei: Light of Faith.” In that encyclical Pope Francis said: 

“Faith is not a light which scatters all our darkness, but rather a lamp which guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey. To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything; rather, his response is that of an accompanying presence, and a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light.”

May the light of faith guide and comfort us at this time.  And may we pray for and with each other, that together, we might find our way though these challenging times.

Pastor's Column April/May

[This column was written prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.]

 

For Fr. Bauer's most recent message visit: Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Connected.

 

With this column I would like to update you in regard to several areas of our parish’s life.

1. Connect Desk: In case you missed it, in addition to our Hospitality and Information Desk in the lower level, we now have a new “Connect Desk” near the Hennepin Avenue interior doors of The Basilica. The idea behind this desk is to make it as easy as possible for people to connect with The Basilica. Whether an individual wants to become a member, volunteer, or just wants some basic information, the person at the Connect Desk should be able to respond to any queries quickly, easily, and personally. It is our hope that the Connect Desk will help facilitate people’s “connecting” with The Basilica easily and simply. 

2. An Update on Current Parish Initiatives: A little over 10 years ago I co-chaired a Task Force on planning for our Archdiocese. One of the things that became clear to me when I co-chaired this Task Force was that as pastor, I needed to keep an eye on the future, and not focus exclusively on the present. Fortunately, I also realized that looking to the future was a task that would need the keen eyes of many people in addition to myself. Given this, I am pleased to report that in the last several months, due to the hard work of many of our parishioners, we have developed a new five year Strategic Plan (Our Parish, Our Future). Further, for the past few months we have been working with a Change Management Consultant to help us identify those ministries, services and programs, etc. that are important and necessary for our parish community and need to continue, as well as those that need to change or end.

Additionally, in consultation with our Parish Council, The Basilica Landmark Board established a Master Planning Committee to work with HGA Architects and their team to develop a Master Plan for The Basilica and its campus. The Plan is very comprehensive and includes recommendations to support a broad vision for the campus, as well as solutions to identify needs to better perform our day-to-day ministries and works. The Plan did not filter against a budget or a financial target to ensure we addressed all opportunities. The Master Plan included 15 “groupings” of work and expense to reflect potential projects or campaigns for The Basilica to consider. These likely project groupings and the included detail will allow The Basilica flexibility in defining the scope of each project we pursue in the coming years. 

The detail in the Master Plan will be used as a starting point and will help guide us as we begin the work to determine the appropriate scope and phases of implementing the Master Plan. These project priority decisions will be reflective of the needs of our Parish community as well as the interests, budget and giving capacity of our Parishioners and donors.

In conjunction with the Master Plan, The Basilica Landmark Board also approved funding to hire the firm of Bentz, Whaley, Flessner to conduct a Feasibility Study to help determine the fundraising capacity of any potential Capital Campaign that would be needed to implement elements of the newly developed Master Plan. 

As the work of the Campus Space Planning, Master Plan Development, Feasibility Study and potential Capital Campaign have broad implications for our Parish, we have been actively engaged with The Basilica Landmark Board, Parish Council, and Finance Committee to ensure our leaders are informed and appropriately involved in providing guidance and approval. 

3. Easter Giving and Our Parish Finances: At the present time, we are holding our own financially, but the extra income we receive at Easter is a great help to our budget. For this reason, I invite you to be generous to The Basilica at Easter. Also, a big THANK YOU to all those who so generously support our Basilica parish. Your financial support makes it possible for us to continue to offer the programs, ministries, and services that are the hallmark of our parish. 

4. Archdiocesan Synod: On the weekend of January 18 and 19 members of our Parish Synod Committee spoke at all the Masses on the upcoming Archdiocesan Synod. As I have mentioned previously, a synod is a formal representative assembly designed to help a bishop in shepherding of the local Church. It is Archbishop Hebda’s hope that over the next two years, the synod process will involve every parish and draw on the gifts that have been bestowed in such abundance on the people of this archdiocese to discern and establish clear pastoral priorities in a way that will both promote greater unity in our Archdiocese and lead us to a more vigorous proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ. In doing so, it will help Archbishop Hebda discern, through a consultative process, the pastoral priorities of our local Church today—and into the near future.

The synod process began this past fall and continues during the winter and spring with prayer and listening events. After these events, in the summer of 2020, Archbishop Hebda will announce the topics that will shape the synod. In autumn of 2020 and winter of 2021 there will be a parish and deanery consultation process. On Pentecost weekend May 21-22, 2021 there will be a synod assembly. Delegates to this assembly will be invited from across the archdiocese and will meet to discern Synod topics and vote on recommendations for the Archbishop. The Feast of Christ the King (November 21, 2021) is the anticipated publication of pastoral letter from Archbishop Hebda addressing the synod’s topics with a pastoral plan to shape the following 5-10 years.

I believe the synod process brings with it much promise for the future of our Archdiocese. It will only be successful, though, if people pray, participate, and honestly share their concerns, questions, and hopes for our Archdiocese. To this end—since I first informed you of the synod—we have established a parish synod ambassador team who will work to solicit feedback from our parishioners and keep everyone informed as the synod process moves forward. There is a link to this group as well as information on the listening session on our website mary.org/synod. You can anticipate hearing more about the synod in the weeks and months ahead. 

5. The 2020 Catholic Services Appeal: This yearly appeal helps support many of the ministries, services, and programs within our Archdiocese. I am fully aware that many people are concerned that contributions to the Catholic Services Appeal (CSA), will be used for purposes they didn’t intend. In this regard, it is important to note that The Catholic Services Appeal is an independent 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. This was done, to insure that all the money that is collected through the appeal would go directly and solely to the ministries, services and programs supported by the CSA. No CSA funds go to the Archdiocese. 

By pooling the financial resources from generous donors throughout our diocese, much important and necessary work is funded by the Catholic Services Appeal. As your pastor, I wholeheartedly endorse the work of the Appeal; I encourage you to make a gift to support these important ministries, services and programs. Please look for the Catholic Services Appeal information in pews, or learn more at csafspm.org.
6. Civilize It: Dignity Beyond the Debate: The Bishops of the United States have launched a year-long initiative that invites Catholics to model civility, love for neighbor, and respectful dialogue. Civilize It: Dignity Beyond the Debate will ask Catholics to pledge civility, clarity, and compassion in their families, communities, and parishes, and call on others to do the same. 

The initiative is built on the recognition that every person—even, and perhaps especially, those with whom we disagree—
is a beloved child of God who possesses inherent dignity. Civilize It is an invitation to imitate the example of Jesus in our daily lives in our encounters with one another through civil dialogue. 

In talking about this initiative, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, of Venice, and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development emphasized the importance of Civilize It in the context of the current divisive climate: “Conversation in the public square is all too often filled with personal attacks and words that assume the worst about those with whom we disagree. We are in need of healing in our families, communities, and country. Civilize It: Dignity Beyond the Debate is a call for Catholics to honor the human dignity of each person they encounter, whether it is online, at the dinner table, or in the pews next to them. I invite all Catholics to participate in Civilize It. In doing so, they can bear witness to a better way, approach conversations with civility, clarity, and compassion, and invite others to do the same.” You can find out more about Civilize It at CivilizeIt.org. 

I also invite people to take the Civilize It pledge of: 
1. Civility
2. Clarity and 
3. Compassion
and to pray for civility in our conversations. Let our Basilica community know you are taking the Civilize It pledge at mary.org/civilizeit.

7. Second Collections: While no one likes special collections, it is heartening to report that the people of The Basilica have been very generous to the last special collections here:

  • On the weekend of November 30 and December 1, $9,525 was collected for our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry. 
  • On the weekend of January 11 and 12, $9,768 was collected for our visiting Missionary from the Franciscan Mission Service. 

On the weekend of January 25 and 26, $7,528 was collected to help defer the cost of heating The Basilica during the cold winter months.
The contributions to these collections testify to the generosity of the people of The Basilica. Please know of my gratitude and prayer for your generous and caring response.

 

Rev. John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary

For this Sunday’s readings Click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/040520.cfm  

Each year on Palm Sunday we read one of the accounts of the Passion of Jesus Christ.  This year we read Matthew’s account.   While the accounts of Jesus’ passion share much in common, each one has some unique elements.   In this regard, Matthew’s Gospel contains a more detailed account of the betrayal of Judas and his tragic end.  Another element unique to Matthew is the request of the Chief priests and Pharisees that Pilot help them make sure Jesus’ disciples do not steal Jesus’ body and then later claim that he had been raised from the dead.   Also, since Matthew wrote for a primarily Jewish audience, he was writing to convince them that Jesus was the fulfillment of the prophets’ promise of a Messiah. 

Perhaps the most important element that is unique to Matthew, though, occurs when Pilot asked the crowd about the fate of Jesus.  Specifically Matthew adds the verse that Jesus’ blood “should be upon us and on our children” (Mt. 27.25).   Unfortunately through the centuries this verse (and others) have been used to suggest that the Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus.   This idea was definitively rejected by the Second Vatican Council in its document: “Nostra Aetate,” and more recently by Pope Benedict XVI in his book:  “Jesus of Nazareth – Part II.”

For Matthew, Jesus’ death is the result of living a life of forgiving love, and teaching others to follow his way of forgiveness.  The question for us is whether we, like Peter, will be able to accept the forgiveness, that Jesus offers, or whether we will be like Judas and not be able to accept that forgiveness.   

Our first reading this Sunday is taken from that section of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah known as the “Suffering Servant Songs.”  We see these words as prefiguring the suffering and death of Christ. 

Our second reading this Sunday is from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians.  It is a hymn to Christ’s divinity.   In it he holds up Jesus as one who “became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  And “because of this God greatly exalted him……….” 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

1.  Believe it or not, I once had someone complain about reading the passion on Palm Sunday.  They didn’t like it because it was such a “downer.”   Why is it important to read the passion on this day? 
2.  Why is it so hard for us to believe that because of Jesus Christ our sins are forgiven?  Or perhaps the question really is: why is it so hard for us to accept this forgiveness?  
3.  What part of the passion narrative strikes you most deeply?  

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