The month of May is only one week away and beckons to us to continue our Easter joy with our Blessed Mother. The beautiful Month of Mary brings us into the full bloom of spring and the flowers of springtime. There is something delightfully useless about flowers. They don’t give us any utility for ourselves, but rather serve merely to beautify by sight and smell. Flowers are a wonderful sign of God’s Beauty and Delight.
Yes, May is a month especially for flowers and, most fittingly, especially for honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary. The flowers we give to her this month signify the overflowing and effusive nature of our love for her. We adorn her sacred images with flowers not for any utility for ourselves but rather to show her our deep love and honor.
Deacon Alvin Yu was one of the candidates from the Archdiocese of San Francisco that was ordained deacon by the Most Reverend Stephen Blaire, D.D., Bishop of Stockton at the St. Pius Catholic Church in Redwood City, CA on April 16, 2016. We were blessed to have been able to go to the Saturday 5PM mass at Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco, CA, where he gave his very first homily after his diaconate ordination that very morning! Here is the HD video of his homily. We hope to post the pictures shortly. Please keep him and the other newly ordained deacons on your prayers!
Today’s Gospel begins to turn our minds and hearts to the culminating events of the Easter season, especially the Lord’s Ascension into the glory of Heaven. His risen body is due a glorious worship far beyond what we could provide for Him on Earth. He will soon receive that external glory – fitting for the internal glory of the Risen Lord – on Ascension Thursday.
Our Lord promises that, after we no longer see Him on Earth, we will then see Him again in Heaven. In this movement of the Easter season, then, our hearts are drawn ever upwards, as we are exhorted by St. Peter in the Epistle to put away the desires of the flesh and to set our hearts on spiritual and heavenly pleasures.
Sunday, May 1, 3:30PM: High Mass with Fr. John Lyons, FSSP, at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church (5770 N Maroa Ave, Fresno, CA 93704) followed by an Italian dinner and talk titled “Pursuing Holiness in a Secular World” at the Cafe Via Restaurant (6640 N. Blackstone Avenue). $50 per person includes lasagna, salad, bread, dessert, wine, tea and coffee. No host wine/beer bar before event. Proceeds go toward a Traditional Latin Mass parish approved by Bishop Armando X. Ochoa. SEATING IS LIMITED AND YOU MUST HAVE A PRE-PAID RESERVATION. Bring your check to Mass or mail to Tracy Cruz, 6357 N. Milburn Ave., Fresno, CA 93722.
In today’s Gospel in the traditional Roman Liturgy, we meditate on the beautiful Easter figure of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, Who lays down His life for His sheep and Who has power to take up His life again. We marvel at the humility of the Shepherd Who became a Lamb, bleeding for the salvation of the sheep who had gone astray. We can never meditate enough on this solemn doctrine: that our Shepherd has loved us before we were good sheep, that while we were yet sinners He died for us.
The image of the Shepherd with His sheep comes to life if one studies the life of shepherds, so common in Jesus’s culture. I had occasion once to read a meditation on Psalm 22 from a Basque shepherd in Nevada. Among the fascinating details revealed in the shepherd’s simple work, I was most struck by the fact that each sheep personally checks in with the shepherd two times each day.
The first check-in happens in the first part of the day, after the flock has been taken out to pasture. This morning check-in is a moment of affirmation and love for each sheep. The shepherd pets him and reassured him that he’s a good sheep. This morning check-in reminds me of our morning meditation and prayer time. We rise with joy to place ourselves before our loving Shepherd, Who lavishes upon us His love and affirmation. Thus reassured by His loving embrace, we have the energy and confidence in Him required to live our duties of the day with great generosity and sacrifice.
Today is the Octave of Easter, also called “Quasimodo Sunday” and “Dominica in albis depositis.” It is the Sunday of the “white robes laid aside” for the neophytes, who today in the ancient Church joined the assembly without wearing their baptismal garments.
In our times, this Octave Day of Easter is called “Divine Mercy Sunday,” so named by St. John Paul II after he instituted the plenary indulgence for this day associated with the Divine Mercy revelations to St. Faustina. As is the case with Corpus Christi or the Sacred Heart, the Divine Mercy is a local devotion that has now become a universal liturgical feast in the Roman Church. We rejoice at the beauty of the organic development of the Sacred Liturgy!
In our gospel today, Jesus gives the Apostles the power to forgive sins. It was this gospel that prompted St. John Paul to make today the Sunday of Divine Mercy. He wanted especially to highlight the Mercy of God exercised through the mediation of the hierarchical and institutional Church. On this glorious Easter day, we marvel at the magnificent gift of Divine Mercy given in the Holy Church in the Sacrament of Baptism and the Sacrament of Penance. In these two sacraments, the Church continues to exercise the Power of the Keys given to St. Peter and all the Apostles by the Risen Lord Jesus.
There will be a Solemn High Dominican Rite Mass tomorrow, Saturday (April 2), 10AM at the St. Albert the Great Priory (6172 Chabot Rd., Oakland, CA). The celebrant will be Fr. Anselm Ramelow, OP, Professor of Philosophy at the Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology. Recitation of the Marian Rosary will follow immediately. Visitors and guests are welcome; pew booklets with the text of Mass in Latin and English will be provided. There is ample parking on the street and in the priory parking lot next to the chapel.