Easter Potpourri

Papal Teaching
This morning's Audience was a crowd of 50,000 --mostly young people preparing for Confirmation. The Pope offered a litany of the names given to the risen Christ and taught about the significance of his various appearances to his followers. (Text here when it's available.)
Benedict XVI urged those present to do as the disciples do and “seek the Lord”. Citing Peter and John’s “race” towards the empty tomb following Mary Magdalene’s words (John. 20, 1-8), he said that this is the image of a “legitimate competition between believers: zeal in the search for Christ.”
So... it's okay to be a grace pig. I think I've posted and commented on all the Holy Week events already, except for the the homily for the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, which he sets up by reference to a wonderful Tolstoy short story in which none of a king's wise men can show him God until a shepherd shows him that his eyes aren't fit to see God. Demanding to know what God does, the shepherd tells the king they must first exchange clothes. Then, the king in rags and the shepherd in finery, the shepherd says,
this is what God does.
From there it's a masterful exposition of the sacraments, especially Holy Orders, all the while hewing close to the image of the exchange of clothing as it appears repeatedly in both scripture and rite. This little bit I'll quote is not more than a tangent, but it surprised me because it's funny how the most obvious things can escape us.
The Book of Revelation says that they had washed their robes in the Blood of the Lamb and thus made them white and shining like light (cf. Rv 7: 14). When I was little, I used to ask myself about this: when one washes something in blood, it certainly does not become white!
I've never noticed how strange that is before he mentioned it. Explanation:
the "Blood of the Lamb" is the love of the Crucified Christ. It is this love that makes our dirty clothes white, that makes our clouded spirit true and bright; that transforms us, despite all our shadows, into "light in the Lord."
RTWT. His teaching is so lucid and carefully crafted it's a delight to read.
By the way, you're invited to the Pope's 80th birthday party, which he'll celebrate with a special mass on Sunday (his actual birthdate is the 16th). And the Vatican is issuing stamps for the occasion (Germany & Austria, too).

  • Open Book collects great photos of the Triduum & Easter from all over the world here and here respectively.
  • She also collects instances of an especially egregious example of stupid religion reporting connected to the Pope's Stations at the Colosseum on Good Friday.
  • Philippines: hip bishops are using YouTube to evangelize.
  • China: thousands of new Catholics were baptized into the faith on Easter Vigil --so many, there's trouble finding godparents.
  • Iraq: 7 Sunni & Shia imams attended Easter Vigil in Kirkuk and sent Easter greetings to the Pope. And many Muslims took the opportunity to visit the local bishop in a gesture of good will. Read this whole story.
  • Russia: Catholic & Orthodox Christians enjoyed celebrating Easter together. (I don't know why we don't arrange to do this every year --it would give more fitting witness and be a huge ecumenical step --and how hard could it be?)
  • Oz: the godfather of Natural Family Planning passed away. AP's headline rather misses the point, applies a derisive nickname to the wrong method, and accepts false reports about "reliability," but he's still a hero who did more for the genuine liberation of women in the past 50 years than possibly anyone else.