Happy Easter 2023

Well, we made it! We’ve always known the end of the story, but it still feels miraculous. I think part of this, at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, is that we are also emerging from the cold and darkness of winter. Spring is here, or very nearly. The early flowers and green shoots are coming up, the days are lengthening, the sun feels warmer. The earth’s hopefulness of new life is contagious.

As an aside, I’m going to need to spend some time pondering our holidays and how they fall seasonly. I haven’t given serious thought to how the holidays like Christmas and Easter fall in opposite seasons in the Southern Hemisphere, what must that be like? I’d love to know your experiences if you are a Southern Hemisphere dweller or have visited during a holiday season. As our world becomes more interconnected, I am becoming more aware of how the seasonal imagery I have tied to specific holidays because of where I was born is not everyone’s experience.

Anyway, thanks for taking that little aside with me. Back to the main story – Easter! It’s here! Jesus is Risen!


So now what? What difference does this information make in your life? Does it make any difference at all?

We have spent the last 40 days preparing for this moment. Now that anticipated moment is here. Are we different? Have we changed? Or will we go back to work tomorrow the same person who was at our desk, washing machine, truck, or grocery store on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday?

Change is difficult. If we have been faithful to our fasts, prayers and almsgiving for these past 40 days, we ought to have made a start at change. We have created more room for God with our fast. We have deepened our conversation with God through prayer. We have recognized the need to rely on God’s providence in our almsgiving.

I think the hardest days of these two seasons are:

  • The Monday after Ash Wednesday when we begin to struggle with motivation and perseverance in our Lenten practices
  • Monday after Easter when we have to choose what to do now that the requirements of Lent are gone.

Will we go back to who we were, or will we become who God called us to be this Lent?

I have good news, Jesus knew this would be hard and scary. He knew He was asking His disciples to believe the impossible, to speak the impossible. He says to them over and over again, “Do not be afraid.”

Don’t make choices out of fear, make them out of love for Christ. What does Jesus ask us to do? To go out to all the nations and share the Good News – Jesus is Risen! But what does this look like, practically speaking? Here’s a few examples from my own life.

Sharing the Good News means not being afraid to share my faith with my children. When they ask questions, I give them honest answers. When they are confused, I share my perspective and how God calls us to view the situation. When I hear them being unkind to one another, I remind them they are all God’s children and we are called to love one another.

Sharing the Good News means not being afraid to consider a new ministry position, even if you’ve only been at your parish a few months and don’t know many people. There’s always a need for catechists, Bible study small group leaders, choir members, or lectors, just to name a few of the ministries I’ve participated in as we have moved from place to place. We aren’t in one place for long, there isn’t much time to “get to know” a parish before it’s time to move again. Jump in where you see a need, don’t wait.

Sharing the Good News means not being afraid to speak truth when presented with the opportunity. It means leaning into the Holy Spirit’s wisdom for how to speak and what to share. It means discerning what going to help a specific situation – a strict declaration of Church teaching (which is correct), or a gentle word of reassurance of Jesus’ love for each person, no matter the situation they find themselves struggling with (which is also correct). Both options are truthful, but depending on who you are speaking with, one might be better than the other. It takes both bravery and humility to ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom, it means relying on His strength and not your own.

Sharing the Good News means this blog and video series. These have been works of the Holy Spirit and come out of my prayer. God has placed these desires in my heart and has also given me the courage to share them with you.

I hope you find the courage to step out in faith and share the Good News this Easter season. Each of us is called to share Jesus’ resurrection in a unique way. How the world will change when we each take this calling seriously and live to proclaim:

Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father!

Good Friday 2023

Good Friday is always such a hard day to reflect upon. It’s one of the main reasons why I’ve struggled to write Lenten reflection books, so this is going to be short.

Toward the close of today’s video, I touched on Jesus’ greatest moment of suffering. Just before Jesus dies, He cries out, “My God, my God! Why have you abandoned me?” In this moment of furthest separation from God, Jesus offers up for us the greatest example of His love. He was willing to go so far, as far as to be emptied of everything. Yet at the same time, He was placing on display for the whole world exactly who God is – Love. Perfect, complete, unyielding, undying – God is Love.

Through Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, we have a name for this distinct moment. Jesus Forsaken. I am currently working through a book that contains all of Chiara’s writings about Jesus Forsaken, not light reading to be sure. But at the same time, it is so full of hope and love and light. Jesus’ darkest moment is also where we find His greatest love. Here’s just one quote, a poem of sorts, from too many to count that I’ve highlighted so far, and I’m not halfway through yet.

So that we might have Light, you made yourself blind.

So that we might have union, you tasted separation from the Father.

So that we might possess Wisdom, you made yourself “ignorance.”

So that we might be clothed with innocence, you became “sin.”

So that we might have hope, you almost despaired…

So that God might be in us, you felt him far from you.

So that Heaven might be ours, you experienced Hell.

So that we might have a glad sojourn on earth, among hundreds of brothers and sisters, you were banished from Heaven and from earth, from humankind and from nature.

You are God, you are my God, our God of infinite love.

Chiara Lubich, Jesus Forsaken, pg 33.

A few years ago, Bishop Kurtz of the Louisville Archdiocese, wrote a beautiful article about looking for and discovering Jesus Forsaken in our daily lives. I would invite you to follow the link to read his article. He does a much more eloquent job than I can about how we all have the opportunity to embrace Jesus Forsaken each day.

There will not be a video or blog post for Holy Saturday. Together, we will wait in anticipation for the wondrous miracle of Jesus’ Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Holy Thursday 2023

Holy Thursday, what a day. We heard this past weekend on Palm Sunday the Institution Narrative (the specific words Jesus used when breaking the bread and sharing the wine which we still use at Mass today for the consecration – the bread and wine becoming literally Jesus’ Body and Blood) from the Gospel of Matthew. Today, while it is the liturgically same moment, we read from John’s Gospel. We don’t actually hear an Institution Narrative on Holy Thursday, though any well formed second grader preparing to receive their First Communion will quickly tell you that Holy Thursday is when Jesus gave us the Eucharist. The Church instead, chooses to highlight the Gospel of John which is the only Gospel containing the washing of the disciples’ feet.

This Gospel passage is one of the critical pillars for the formation of the Sacrament of Holy Orders as a sacrament of service. Jesus is modeling for His disciples what it means to be a true leader, it means to serve. Today, we talk about the model of the servant-leader, someone who puts the needs of those who follow them before their own. This is rooted in Jesus’ model of leadership.

Because this reading highlights the roles and duties of ordained priests, I thought it would be a good time to expand upon that to encompass the priesthood we all take part in by virtue of our baptism. The video for today considers how each one of us, no matter what profession or life situation God has called us to, also has a priestly role to play in our corner of the world. Whole college and graduate level courses could be spent on this topic, so I hope you’ll forgive me another 9 minute video for today.

In this space, I wanted to write out for you the quotes I read in the video in full, as well as a few others that I feel support the idea that each of us is called to a priestly ministry. That’s really what this whole blog is all about, taking the everyday ordinary moments of our day and recognizing in them God’s calling to holiness. Each action, each conversation, each moment (however brief) of silence, is an opportunity to do God’s Will and take a step further in our journey of faith. When we come to the Mass, all these little moments can be united with the bread and wine offered by the community on the altar. Together, the bread, wine, and our very selves, are transformed into Christ. We become what we eat, we are transformed into Christ’s Body here on this present earth.

The baptized, by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated as a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, that through all their Christian activities they my offer spiritual sacrifices and proclaim the marvels of him who has called them out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Lumen Gentium no. 10

Hence the laity, dedicated as they are to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, ar marvelously called and prepared so that even richer fruits of the Spirit may be produced in them. For all their works, prayers, and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, if they are accomplished in the Spirit – indeed even the hardships of life if patiently born – all these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. In the celebration of the Eucharist these may most fittingly be offered to the Father along with the body of the Lord. And so, worshipping everywhere by their holy actions, the laity consecrate the world itself to God, everywhere offering worship by the holiness of their lives. (Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 901)

In each celebration of the Eucharist, there are two such invocations of the Holy Spirit [the epiclesis] that are at the heart of the divine action of the sacrament. In the name of the gathered assembly, the presider invokes the Spirit to act so that their offers of bread and wine may become the Body and Blood of Christ (the first epiclesis). Then, after the institution narrative, the presider prays that the Spirit may make of this who eat this brea and wine “one body, one Spirit in Christ” (the second epiclesis). Sent by the Father who hears the church’s prayer of invocation, the Spirit gives new life to those who celebrate the sacraments of Christ. So, in their turn, Christians become sacramental realities-living signs of God alive in human flesh through the synergy of the church’s prayer and of the Spirit’s anointing.

In this context, it is not an exaggeration to say that these two invocations bring about two transubstantiations: the first is the transformation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ; the second is the transformation of the believers into the Mystical Body of Christ (Philibert, pg 48-49).

Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ…But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:2-4; 9)

The eyes of faith behold a wonderful scene: that of a countless number of lay people, both women and men, busy at work in their daily life and activity, oftentimes far from view and quite unclaimed by the world, unknown to the world’s great personages but nonetheless looked upon in love by the Father, untiring laborers who work in the Lord’s vineyard. Confident and steadfast through the power of God’s grace, these are the humble yet great builders of the kingdom of God in history (Pope John Paul II, The Lay Members of Christ’s Faithful People, no. 17)

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1).

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com