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What is the Easter Vigil?

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In some sense, you might say that the Easter Vigil service is to Easter what the Christmas Eve service is to Christmas. Just as the Christmas Eve service is the first liturgical celebration of Christmas, so is the Easter Vigil the first liturgical celebration of Easter. Actually, many people who study liturgy consider the Easter Vigil to be the central and most important service of the entire Christian year. The Easter Vigil has four parts: The Service of Light (or Lucernarium) begins the night with the first lighting of the Paschal Candle (the large “Easter Candle” that we light through the entire season of Easter). The deacon chants an ancient song about the light of Christ and the salvation of God’s people brought about through the resurrection. The word “Paschal” comes from the word “Passover.” In English we call the resurrection celebration “Easter,” but many languages use the word for “Passover” like in Spanish, Pascua. Jesus’ death took place during the Passover. In his death, he became for us the Passover lamb sacrificed for our sins. In his resurrection, he is God’s deliverance for his people from the bondage of Egypt (sin and death). Therefore Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Christ, “our Passover.” The Liturgy of the Word. During this part, we read several Old Testament passages that recount God’s saving acts in human history—especially the Exodus and also the prophesies that promised that God would save his people, gather them, and fill them with his Spirit. Holy Baptism. In ancient times, catechumens (converts to Christianity preparing …

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What is Maundy Thursday?

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“Maundy” isn’t exactly a word we use everyday. You might be familiar with the word “mandate.” These words come from the same Latin root. On Thursday—the night Jesus was betrayed and arrested—Jesus washed his disciple’s feet and he instituted what Christians call “the Lord’s Supper” or “the Holy Eucharist.” In between the washing and meal, Jesus said, “A new command I give to you” or in Latin from which we get the word Maundy, “mandatum novum do vobis.” Jesus gave them a new command—that they love one another. This is the Maundy, the mandatum, the mandate. This is what feet washing (servanthood) is all about. This is what the celebration of the Eucharist is all about. This is what the cross is all about. It’s all about love. Come and get your love on. Thursday @ 7pm in the library of Iglesia de La Comunidad – 115 N. Ave 53 – 90042.

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What is Holy Week?

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During the first centuries of Christianity, many people would journey to the Holy Land to visit the places where Jesus lived. Often they would visit during Easter. It was the ancient custom in Jerusalem to reenact the last week of Jesus’ life before his crucifixion. They re-lived his triumphant entry into the city on Palm Sunday. Later that week, they would reenact the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet and the institution of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday, his crucifixion on Friday, and of course his resurrection on Sunday. Having returned to their homes from the Holy Land, the pilgrims brought back these experiences to their own towns. Soon, Christians throughout the world were doing the same as Christians in Jerusalem during Holy Week: they relived the last days of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. The story of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection is central to Christian faith. It is the story through which Christians interpret all of reality. In Holy Week, we re-live and reenact that story so that we ourselves might become participants. We become the palm-waving people who welcome Jesus as our Messiah into Jerusalem. We become the crowd that screams “Crucify Him!” On Friday, we sit at the cross and marvel at its meaning. At the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday services, we too become witnesses of the resurrection of Christ. We invite you to join us as we relive the greatest story ever told.

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Advent Day 28

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December 24, 2016 Artwork by Françoise Zavala Marker on Paper, Desert Christmas READINGS Rev. 22:12-17, 21 · Luke 1:67-80 Psalm 46 1 God is our refuge and strength,     a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,     though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 3 though its waters roar and foam,     though the mountains tremble with its tumult.Selah 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,     the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;     God will help it when the morning dawns. 6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;     he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us;     the God of Jacob is our refuge.Selah 8 Come, behold the works of the Lord;     see what desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;     he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;     he burns the shields with fire. 10 “Be still, and know that I am God!     I am exalted among the nations,     I am exalted in the earth.” 11 The Lord of hosts is with us;     the God of Jacob is our refuge.Selah   Isaiah 35 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,     the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus 2 it shall blossom abundantly,     and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,     the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of …

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Advent Day 27

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December 23, 2016 READINGS Revelation 22:6-11, 18-20 · Luke 1:57-66 Psalm 93 1 The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty;     the Lord is robed, he is girded with strength. He has established the world; it shall never be moved; 2     your throne is established from of old;     you are from everlasting. 3 The floods have lifted up, O Lord,     the floods have lifted up their voice;     the floods lift up their roaring. 4 More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters,     more majestic than the waves of the sea,     majestic on high is the Lord! 5 Your decrees are very sure;     holiness befits your house,     O Lord, forevermore. Isaiah 33:17-22 17 Your eyes will see the king in his beauty;     they will behold a land that stretches far away. 18 Your mind will muse on the terror:     “Where is the one who counted?     Where is the one who weighed the tribute?     Where is the one who counted the towers?” 19 No longer will you see the insolent people,     the people of an obscure speech that you cannot comprehend,     stammering in a language that you cannot understand. 20 Look on Zion, the city of our appointed festivals!     Your eyes will see Jerusalem,     a quiet habitation, an immovable tent, whose stakes will never be pulled up,     and none of whose ropes will be broken. 21 But there the Lord in majesty will be for us     a place of broad rivers and streams, where no galley with oars can go,     nor stately ship can pass. 22 For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler,     the Lord is our king; …

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Advent Day 26

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December 22, 2016   READINGS Psalm 80 · Isaiah 29:13-24 Revelation 21:22-22:5 22 I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. 22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4 they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be …

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Advent Day 25

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December 21, 2016 Artwork: Greetings, favored One! by Micah Collins READINGS Isaiah 28:9-22 · Revelation 21:9-21 Psalm 72 1 Give the king your justice, O God,     and your righteousness to a king’s son. 2 May he judge your people with righteousness,     and your poor with justice. 3 May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,     and the hills, in righteousness. 4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,     give deliverance to the needy,     and crush the oppressor. 5 May he live while the sun endures,     and as long as the moon, throughout all generations. 6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,     like showers that water the earth. 7 In his days may righteousness flourish     and peace abound, until the moon is no more. 8 May he have dominion from sea to sea,     and from the River to the ends of the earth. 9 May his foes bow down before him,     and his enemies lick the dust. 10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles     render him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba     bring gifts. 11 May all kings fall down before him,     all nations give him service. 12 For he delivers the needy when they call,     the poor and those who have no helper. 13 He has pity on the weak and the needy,     and saves the lives of the needy. 14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life;     and precious is their blood in his sight. 15 Long may he live!     May gold of Sheba be given to him. May prayer be made for him continually,     and blessings invoked for …

Advent Day 24

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December 20, 2016 Artwork: The Angel and The Priest by Javier Solis, 2016 READINGS Psalm 66 · Isaiah 11:10-16 Luke 1:5-25 5 In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years. 8 Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. 10 Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11 Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. 16 He will turn many of the people of Israel to the …

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Advent Day 23

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December 19, 2016 Artwork by Mena Hutin Zavala Hope and Love, Mixed Media READINGS Isaiah 11:1-9 · Revelation 20:1-10   Psalm 62 1 For God alone my soul waits in silence;     from him comes my salvation. 2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,     my fortress; I shall never be shaken. 3 How long will you assail a person,     will you batter your victim, all of you,     as you would a leaning wall, a tottering fence? 4 Their only plan is to bring down a person of prominence.     They take pleasure in falsehood; they bless with their mouths,     but inwardly they curse.Selah 5 For God alone my soul waits in silence,     for my hope is from him. 6 He alone is my rock and my salvation,     my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 7 On God rests my deliverance and my honor;     my mighty rock, my refuge is in God. 8 Trust in him at all times, O people;     pour out your heart before him;     God is a refuge for us.Selah 9 Those of low estate are but a breath,     those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up;     they are together lighter than a breath. 10 Put no confidence in extortion,     and set no vain hopes on robbery;     if riches increase, do not set your heart on them. 11 Once God has spoken;     twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, 12     and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all     according to their work. John 5:30-47 30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment …

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Advent Day 22

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December 18, 2016 READINGS Psalm 24 · Ephesians 6:10-20 Isaiah 42:1-4 Here is my servant, whom I uphold,     my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him;     he will bring forth justice to the nations. 2 He will not cry or lift up his voice,     or make it heard in the street; 3 a bruised reed he will not break,     and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;     he will faithfully bring forth justice. 4 He will not grow faint or be crushed     until he has established justice in the earth;     and the coastlands wait for his teaching. John 3:16-21 16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” …