We offer prayer, readings, music, and reflections to support our hearts and minds during this time of uncertainty.
Holy Week Services
- Livestreams from the San Francisco Archdiocese
- Sunday Mass with Monsignor Harry Schlitt and God Squad Productions
If you are looking for student counseling resources, please click here.
- May 31
- May 24
- May 17
- May 10
- May 3
- 2nd Sunday of Easter
- Palm Sunday
- March 29
- March 25 - The Annunciation
Dear Riordan Community,
It has been a wonderful experience serving as Chaplain for the Archbishop Riordan High School Community, alongside each and every one of you, even for a short period of time, for the last school year. I became very happy and fulfilled in serving this wonderful community. Starting July 1 I will begin a new assignment teaching full-time at St. Patrick's Seminary and University in Menlo Park and helping in the formation of candidates for priesthood. I thank the Lord for this opportunity to serve His Church in this important task and need.
My great appreciation goes to each and every one of you! In a special way I would like to thank Dr. Andrew Currier and the Campus Ministry team (including Mr. Alex Datoc, Mr. Leo Magnaye, and many others) for their wonderful support. It was also a real joy working with our staff and students.
I hope to be a bridge between two wonderful institutions, Riordan and St. Patrick's, and to stay in touch with you. May the Lord bless the entire Riordan community, your families and your work!
Fr. Goran Jovicic
Jesus came into this world "to give His life as a ransom for many" (Mt 20:28). By His loving obedience to the Father, Jesus, Son of the Living God, fulfilled the atoning mission of the suffering Servant, "He was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins...by His stripes we were healed" (Is 53:5). According to God's plan, expiation of Christ was a necessary precondition of our adoption as God's children. The baptism was needed in order to confer in us the grace of filial adoption, lost by the original sin: Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit! (Mt 28, 16-20). The power of the Holy Spirit was needed in order to sanctify our adoption and to make us living members of His Church and temples of the Holy Spirit. With the Ascension and Pentecost Christ's Paschal Mystery is fully completed.
The Second Vatican Council underlines in the Constitution of the Church, Lumen Gentium 10, that all the baptized are consecrated as a spiritual house and a holy royal common priesthood by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Persevering in prayer and praising God, they are called to offer spiritual sacrifices and present themselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. Everywhere on earth they must bear witness to Christ and give an answer to those who seek an account of that hope of eternal life, which is in them. (See Lumen Gentium, 10)
Saying that, we are probably asking ourselves, what is the role of priests and bishops then in the Church? Christ willed to establish His Church. The early Church Fathers are using a metaphor of the "ship" for the Church, which takes us to the safe harbor of salvation. Christ entrusted the leadership of the Church to His apostles and their successors, namely the power of teaching, sanctifying and governing. At the Ascension He promised them that He will stay with them until the end of the age (Mt 28, 20), not any more in physical presence, but in a new way. What is common and what is a difference between the priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood? They are interrelated: each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ. The ministerial priest teaches and rules the priestly people; acting in the person of Christ, he makes present the Eucharistic sacrifice, and offers it to God in the name of all the people. But the faithful, in virtue of their royal priesthood, join in the offering of the Eucharist. They likewise exercise that priesthood in receiving the sacraments, in prayer and thanksgiving, in the witness of a holy life, and by self-denial and active charity. (Lumen Gentium, 28)
My dear brothers and sisters in the faith! The Feasts of the Ascension of our Lord and the Pentecost are invitations for all of us to renew our bond with Christ and His Church. Christ is present in a special way in our Church through His Word and Sacraments. He is present in our lives and in our hearts. As we know, the Holy Spirit transformed the apostles into courageous witnesses of Christ's resurrection and salvific mission, and this message has to reach all peoples and tongues of the earth. Through the Sacrament of Baptism we are incorporated into His Body, the Church, and we are called to participate actively in spreading the Gospel under guidance of our Church. As we are approaching a new phase in opening our churches, let us intensify our spiritual life going back to our churches. There, we can find orientation in His divine Word and nourishment for our souls in the Holy Sacraments. The Lord is with us and we do not have any reason to live in fear, but to trust Him completely. May the Lord fill you with His presence and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Fr. Goran Jovicic
After His resurrection, the Risen Lord did not leave His disciples alone but assured them, that if they love Him and keep His commandments, He will send them the Holy Spirit as their Advocate, Counselor and Helper. (See John 14,: 15-16) Jesus asks the Father to give us His Spirit, to dwell with us and keep us united in the divine life He shares with the Father. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Father and the Son, rules, sanctifies and guides us in the way of truth, wisdom, and goodness through all changes and adversities we face in this life.
We see the promised gift of the Holy Spirit conferred in today's First Reading. The scene from the Acts of the Apostles apparently portrays the Confirmation rite of the early Church. Phillip, one of the first deacons (See Acts 6:5) proclaims the Gospel in the non-Jewish city of Samaria. The Samaritans accept the Word of God (see Acts 17:11 and 1 Thessalonians 2:13) and are baptized. As the next step, the Apostles are sending their representatives, Peter and John, to pray and lay hands on the newly baptized, that they might receive the Holy Spirit. This is the origin of our Sacrament of Holy Confirmation (Acts 19:5-6) by which the grace of Baptism is completed and believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit. As long as we love God and keep His commandments, we remain in this sanctifying grace. The gift of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, also strengthens us to bear witness to our salvation and to the Truth. Christ our Divine Master points out however that the world is not able to accept the Spirit of truth, because it neither sees or knows Him. Only those who love Him and observe His commandments can share the divine life with Christ in the Holy Spirit.
My dear brothers and sisters! As baptized and confirmed members of the Holy Church, we are called to love God, observe His commandments and remain always temples of the Holy Spirit. The Sacrament of Confession is Christ's extraordinary gift of mercy for us, since it is the regenerator of the sanctifying grace in our hearts. May the Lord preserve this sanctifying grace in you and help you to withstand the spirit of this world and bear witness to the Truth, which is Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Mother's Day is a great opportunity to remember and honor our mothers for the gift of life and for their unselfish love and care. On this day we want to express our love and gratitude to all mothers in our Archbishop Riordan High School community, who are very important pillars in their families.
In the fullness of time, God's infinite wisdom chose that His beloved Son Jesus would be born by the Virgin Mary, who we rightly call Mother of God (ancient Greek=Theotokos). The Mother of God, became the Mother of the Church and our beloved Mother. In this way God sanctified Mary's motherhood and gave her as a model to follow in her obedience to God, in her humbleness and loving care for her Child, who became Savior of the world.
The Liturgy of the Easter season invites us to reflect on the Acts of the Apostles, in which St. Luke describes the birth and infancy period of the early Christian Church and her spreading like wildfire and reaching the "ends of the earth." The main theme of today's passage from the Acts of the Apostles is the ordination of deacons in the Church of Jerusalem, which at that time consisted of Hebrews (the Aramaic-speaking Jewish Christians) and of Hellenists (Greak-speaking Jewish Christians). Among them, there were many widows, who had settled in Jerusalem out of piety but lived in poverty conditions. Since the Apostles were devoted fully to the proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel and to the Liturgy, they have chosen deacons (diakonia, which meant service to the table), who would help them to take care of the widows and the poor in general. Deacons' main characteristics would be: good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom. (Acts 6:3) Here should we note, that the deacons in the beginning did not have any liturgical function but rather served the works of charity; with the time they were included in the Liturgy of the Church to serve the "table of the Lord."
On the other side, the passage of today's Gospel according to John falls within the last discourse Jesus had with disciples before his passion and resurrection. After Judas left, Peter promised that he would die with Jesus if necessary. Jesus responded with a prophecy about Peter's apostasy (see John 13:36-38). Jesus was aware of the disciples' anxiety and lack of maturity. Having this in mind, Jesus is using the "last" opportunity before his passion and is addressing them with "today" passage that He is going to prepare rooms for his disciples and followers in his kingdom.
Jesus is using the analogy of rooms in the Father's house not to refer to space, but to relationship. God and Jesus would prepare the kingdom for his followers in the Father's "house" as His extended family. According to Jesus, the intimate relationship with God however must entail the true faith and trust: Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
Further more, the Father's house is no longer a temple made by human hands. It is the spiritual house of the Church, built on the living stone of Christ's body. As Peter interprets the Scriptures in today second reading, Jesus is the "stone" destined to be rejected by men but made the precious cornerstone of God's dwelling on earth (see Ps 118:33 and Isaiah 8:14; 28:16)
Jesus reveals His divine identity and sole mission of salvation: I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. (John, 14:6) In this phrase, Jesus declares that He is the only means to the Father and He is the very presence of God on earth. When Jesus says "I AM...the TRUTH...," he asserts his divinity. The phrase "I AM..." echoed the name of God revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14-15.
But before He could invite believers to enter the Kingdom, Jesus must go before them to prepare the way (John, 14:3). The way to the Kingdom was the cross; His death would bring new, eternal life.
Dear brothers and sisters, today's Epistle (1 Peter 2, 4-9) and St. John's Gospel emphases the mission of salvation acquired by the precious blood of Christ on the cross, the face of the loving God in the self-giving of His Son. The cornerstone of the new spiritual temple of the Church and her Head is Christ. The Christ's followers are also called to be a living stone in God's building, the Church (1 Corinthians 3:9, 16).
As God's covenant with Israel made them a royal and priestly people, who were to announce His praises (see Exodus 19:6), so by our faith in Christ's new covenant and High Priest, we arw called to glorify the Father in the temple of our bodies (see 1 Corinthians 6;19-20; Romans 12:1). Therefore all disciples of Christ, persevering in prayer and praising God (see Acts 2:42-47), should present themselves as a sacrifice, living, holy, and pleasing to God (see Rom 12:1 and LG 10). On the other side, the ministerial priest, by the sacred power that he has, forms and rules the priestly people; in the person of Christ he effects the Eucharistic sacrifice and offers it to God in the name of all the people. (LG 10)
Dear faithful, currently we are sadly deprived from worshipping God together in our churches and receiving the Holy Eucharist. As living stones of the God's Church we should not give up our fundamental right of religious liberty, but we should implement the necessary measures of health and safety, exercise our faith and help people in need, especially those around us who are affected spiritually and financially due to this pandemic. The faith and charitable works cannot be separated, as this the early Christian community in Jerusalem lived it authentically. May the Lord bless you all!
The Fourth Sunday of Easter is also called the Good Shepherd Sunday and the liturgy of the Church invites us to reflect on the figure or image of our Lord as a Good Shepherd. This is also the day dedicated in the Church for the prayer for vocations to the priesthood. Jesus calls his disciples to follow him as good shepherds of His holy people.
Already in the Old Testament, the figure of the shepherd was an image for God. The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel spoke of God as the shepherd of the people of Israel. The people were referred to as the Lord's flock. There is a beautiful reflection on God as shepherd of His people in the famous Psalm 23 which begins: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." In this psalm, the author writes that he lacks nothing as long as the shepherd is with him.
Already in the Old Testament the Messiah was pictured as the shepherd of God's people: He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms (Isaiah 40:11). It is significant that in the New Testament Jesus applies this image of God as the shepherd to Himself. He is the Good Shepherd who will risk his life to seek out and save the stray sheep (Matthew 18:12, Luke 15:4). He is the Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25) and gate of salvation (Jn 10:09).
Christ established the Holy Church to continue his mission of teaching, sanctifying and governing the people of God and as his instrument of salvation until the end of times. The Church Christ, who is her Head, is continuously present through the Word and sacraments and leads us to the Father, in his kingdom. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches accordingly, that the Church is a sheepfold, the sole and necessary gateway to which is Christ. It is also the flock of which God himself foretold that he would be the shepherd, and whose sheep, even though governed by human shepherds, are unfailingly nourished and led by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and Prince of Shepherds, who gave his life for his sheep. (CCC, 754)
Jesus revealed an extraordinary aspect of the Good Shepherd's love that had not been revealed in the Old Testament when He said that a good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. These words were confirmed during Christ's passion. Jesus laid down His life on the cross out of love and He did it freely.
There are other aspects of the shepherd that Jesus teaches us. He says: I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me. This is wonderful and consoling news. Jesus knows each of us. He knows our name. We are not anonymous persons to Him or just part of a crowd. We are each individually known and loved. We are also called by name to follow Him. Saint Paul grasped this when he wrote: Christ loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
In speaking of Himself as the Good Shepherd, Jesus contrasts this with the hireling or mercenary, whose sheep are not his own. When this hired shepherd sees a wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. Jesus says: This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. The image of a wolf here signifies the devil, which has the aim to devour the sheep. The Good Shepherd, in contrast, defends His sheep. He goes so far as to lay down His life for the sheep.
Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd is a model to follow. Every parent, every teacher, every leader in our society is invited to follow Christ as good shepherds, who are serving and providing the daily nourishment, love and even life if necessary for those who are entrusted to them. God also calls men and women to dedicate their life fully as members of the consecrated life, taking vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. We pray today for the young people from our school and entire world, who are called to this extraordinary way of life and service, to have courage and generous heart to respond to God's call as religious men and women following Christ, who was chaste and obedient to the Father and became poor.
On Easter Sunday, early in the morning, our Risen Lord and Savior gloriously triumphed over death, sin and power of darkness. This glorious event is the central belief of our Christian and Catholic faith. It is also the greatest revolution in our human history, because God has revealed Himself in the fullness through Christ. The Son of God chose to become man, to die instead of him, a sinner, on the cross and to save him. This seems contrary to human logic, but for all those who believe, it is a sign of God's greatest love for His creation and it is the only hope for our world. Hence, it is good and pleasing to God our Savior, that everyone be saved and come to knowledge of the truth. (See 1Tim, 2:4) This passage reflects Christ’s purpose of universal salvation as the one and only Savior of all.
The darkness around Christ's trial, passion and death on the cross, made even His disciples blind and scared. John persevered in faithfulness to His Divine Master, but after Christ’s death on the cross, confusion also entered his mind. All miracles that Jesus has performed during His public ministry, including raising the son of the widow of Nain, and the daughter of Jairus and Lazarus, seemed not to be sufficient for Jesus’ fragile disciples, dispersed far away from His Calvary. At that point, they were not yet ready to understand the purpose of Christ’s cross and death, but on the contrary, made them question their faith in their Messiah, Jesus. They will understand only later, that accordingly, the long awaited Messiah of the Old Testament, the Yahweh’s obedient and Suffering Servant, was about to fulfill God’s saving plan through His passion, death and resurrection.
In the Easter Sunday Gospel John reports the event of the empty tomb of Jesus. John along with Peter were among the first apostles to reach the tomb that morning. Like Mary Magdalene and the other disciples, John was surprised at seeing the empty tomb and to hear the angel's message: Why do you seek the living among the dead? (Luke 24:5) What was it like for the disciple who had stood at the cross of Jesus and then laid him in a tomb on Good Friday, to come back three days later and discover that the sealed tomb was now empty? What did John see in the tomb that led him to believe in the resurrection of Jesus? It was certainly not a dead body, because it would have disproved the resurrection and made Jesus’ death as a tragic conclusion of a Teacher-Dreamer.
The burial shrouds folded together in the empty tomb were the sign of hope for Mary from Magdala and both disciples. When John saw the empty tomb he must have recalled Jesus' prophetic words that he would raise again after three days. Through the gift of faith John realized that no tomb on earth could contain the Lord and giver of life. John saw and believed (John 20:8).
Furthermore John testified also as an eye-witness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ: What we have seen, heard, and touched we proclaim as the eternal word of life which existed from the beginning (1 John 1:1-4). John bears witness to what has existed from all eternity. This “word of life” is Jesus the word incarnate, but also Jesus as the word announced by the prophets and Jesus the word now preached throughout the Church for all ages to come.
And finally, John in comparison to the apostle Thomas does not necessarily need to touch the Risen Lord in order to believe, but through the gift of faith he understands that Christ has fulfilled God’s saving work and now victoriously shares the divine life with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He knows that Christ, the Light of the world has expelled once and for all the blindness of darkness from our world; that He broke the chains of our bondage to sin and so opened the gates of eternal life for those who believe and do the Father’s will.
Dear brothers and sisters, like Jesus’ disciples’ faith was, our faith is put to the test as well. Do we have a great faith and open hearts for Christ as John and Mary of Magdala had? Or are we still blind and scared, as Jesus’ disciples were before His Resurrection? Maybe our hearts are not yet open to accept Him because we want to have evidence and touch His wounds to make sure, like Thomas did, that He is his Lord and his God? (See JN 20:19-31) The Risen Lord appeared to Thomas despite his suspicions, but at the same time has admonished him, that “blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (JN 20:31)
I strongly believe and I’m deeply grateful for the gift of faith. I know that Christ is with us until the end of ages in His Church, which He Himself has founded and mandated after His resurrection to continue His mission in the world: Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. (MT 28:19-20)
May the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, enlighten also your mind and hearts to believe and come to the full knowledge of the truth. Happy Easter!
Fr. Goran Jovicic
Christ's Death and Resurrection is a central belief of our Christian faith. The Risen Lord gloriously triumphed over death and sin and has won a new life for us. This is the greatest revolution in our human history, because God chose to become man, to die instead of him, a sinner, on the cross and to save him. The mystery of our salvation is a sign of God's greatest love for His creation and it is the only hope for our world, which rejects His saving power.
Even if we cannot celebrate these most sacred days in our churches, let us reflect on the greatest mystery of God's love for us and participate remotely in the sacred liturgies of this Holy Week. May Christ's suffering, death and resurrection bring you peace, joy and grace, and that you may give your trust and life completely to God, who wants everybody to be saved.
Happy Easter to you and your families!
Fr. Goran Jovicic
Trembling for joy cries all creation;
What is this mystery, so great and new?
The Lord has risen from among the dead,
And Death itself He crushed with valiant foot.
Behold the cruel tyrant bound and chained,
And man made free by Him who rose!
-Priest Melito of Sardes in Asia Minor praised the Resurrection, 2 century AD
For five weeks of Lent we have been preparing, by works of charity and self-sacrifice, for the celebration of our Lord's paschal mystery, the summit of the liturgical year and of our faith. We start our Holy Week celebration with Palm Sunday, the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem on a donkey. The use of a donkey instead of a horse is highly symbolic as it represents the humble arrival of someone in peace, as opposed to arriving on a steed in war. Palm branches on the other side are widely recognized symbols of peace and victory, hence their preferred use on Palm Sunday.
Though chronologically three days, the Easter Triduum is liturgically one day unfolding the unity of Christ's Paschal Mystery. Holy Thursday or the Lord's Supper has a great significance for the life of the Church, as Jesus establishes the sacrament of Priesthood and Holy Eucharist, in order to stay with the Church, His Bride, in a new mysterious way. Good Friday commemorates the Lord's passion and death. Christ, the long-awaited Messiah of the Old Testament, High Priest and Son of God, offers voluntarily and in obedience to the Father the most sacred sacrifice of His life to the Father, instead of us sinners, for our salvation.
The Resurrection of the Lord marks Christ's glorious victory over death and sin. The ancient hymn describes Christ's glorious victory in a very beautiful way: Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat! (Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ rules!) Our Lord and Savior did not suffer, die and rise in vain, but did so that we may live with Him forever. Let us unite us to the celebration of these most sacred mysteries of our faith: the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. After Good Friday, there is Easter Sunday!
Fr. Goran Jovicic
Dear Riordan Community,
To be honest, for long time, I personally tried to avoid carrying my own cross until, with the grace of God, I was finally able to understand that my cross and my life struggles are here for my own good, to purify and sanctify me and bring me closer to God. Embracing my own cross, it became clear that God is ultimately in charge in the midst of everything that is happening around me, and that I just have to trust Him.
I'm sure we all will remember this Lent and the coronavirus pandemic for a long time. We are dealing daily with different emotions: sadness, uncertainty, even anxiety but at the same time we are full of hope that this crisis will be over soon and we will be able to go back to our routine. Despite all, it would be wise to not waste this time, but to use it for our benefit, for deepening our faith and trust in God and for improving the quality of our relationships.
In all the challenges we face in the current situation let us draw strength from Christ, our Savior and Lord, who willingly accepted suffering and death, taking our sins and our weaknesses on the heavy burden of his cross. This Lent can teach us how to accept sufferings and struggles as essential parts of our life, since they do not have purpose in themselves, as we know from Christ's salvific work, but are here as valuable means for our sanctification and for our eternal salvation. This life is not our final destination but an exam of maturity for heaven, because our citizenship/homeland is in heaven. (Philipp. 3:20-21)
The word of God on the Fifth Sunday of Lent invites us to strengthen our faith in the resurrection, our trust in God and to live not according to flesh but spirit.
As we draw near to the end of Lent, today's Gospel clearly has Jesus' passion, death and resurrection in view. That's why John is talking about Lazarus' resurrection and gives us detail about Lazarus' sister, Mary--that she is the one who anointed the Lord for burial (see John 12:3, 7). When Lazarus is raised, John notices the tombstone being taken away, as well as Lazarus' burial cloths and head covering--all details he later notices with Jesus' empty tomb (John 20:1, 6, 7).
Like the blind man in last Sunday's readings, Lazarus represents all humanity. He stands for the "dead man"--for all those men and women Jesus loves and wants to liberate from the bonds of sin and death. Saint John even recalls the blind man in his account today (John 11:37). Like the man's birth in blindness, Lazarus' death is used by Jesus to reveal "the glory of God" (John 9:3). And again like last week, Jesus' words and deeds give sight to those who believe (John 11:40).
If we believe, we will see--that Jesus loves each of us as He loved Lazarus, that He calls us out of death and into new life.
By His Resurrection Jesus has fulfilled Ezekiel's promise in today's first reading. He has opened the graves so that we may rise, put His Spirit in us so that we may live. This is the Spirit that Paul writes of in today's Epistle. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead will give life to those who were once dead in sin.
St. Paul explains to the Romans, that our body is dead because of sin, and all those who live according to the flesh cannot please God. And the Spirit of Christ will dwell in all those who live according to the spirit. And the Holy Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, will one day also raise our mortal bodies with Him (Rom 8:8-11).
Faith and holy life is the key for our eternal life and happiness. If we believe as Martha does in today's Gospel--that Jesus is the resurrection and the life--even if we die, we will live. "I have promised and I will do it," the Father assures us in the First Reading from the Book of Ezekiel. We must trust in His word, as we sing in today's Psalm-that with the Lord is forgiveness and salvation (Ps 130).
Fr. Goran Jovicic
Dear Riordan Community,
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, one of the important events in the history of our salvation and the Patronal Feast of the Marianist Family. We had previously planned to gather as a school community for Mass, but now we come together virtually.
You can find today's readings and musical reflections from Riordan's student Marianist Choir in the right column of this page.
The Feast commemorates the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would become incarnate and enter into this world through her womb.
In this event we see the fulfillment of the prophet Isaiah's prophecy in the Old Testament and the unfolding of God's plan of redemption in the events leading up to the Incarnation, the birth of the Messiah King. The new era of salvation begins with the miraculous conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary. This child to be born is conceived by the gracious action of the Holy Spirit upon Mary, who finds favor with God (Luke 1:28). As Eve was the mother of all humanity doomed to sin, now Mary becomes the mother of the new Adam who will father a new humanity by his grace (Romans 5:12-21). This child to be conceived in her womb is the fulfillment of all God's promises. He will be "great" and "Son of the Most High" and "King" and his name shall be called "Jesus" (Luke 1:31-32), which means "the Lord saves." "He will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). The angel repeats to Mary, the daughter of the house of David, the promise made to King David: "The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end" (2 Samuel 7:12-16, Isaiah 9:6-7, Luke 1:32-33).
In our uncertain times we can learn from the Virgin Mary, namely, how she responds to the word of God delivered by the angel Gabriel. She knows she is hearing something beyond human capability. It will surely take a miracle, which surpasses all that God has done previously. Her question, "how shall this be, since I have no husband" is not prompted by doubt or skepticism, but by wonderment! She is a true hearer of the Word and she immediately responds with faith and trust. Mary's prompt response of "yes" to the divine message is a model of faith for all believers.
We cannot understand fully the significance of modern events, natural disasters and pandemic diseases, however we can learn from the Virgin Mary and follow her example in our Christian life, because she believed God's promises even when they seemed impossible or complicated. She was full of grace because she trusted that what God said was true and would be fulfilled. The Virgin Mary responded with great faith and trust to God's plan of redemption. She was willing and eager to do God's will, even if it seemed difficult or costly. Mary is the "mother of God" (Theotokos = "God-Bearer" and Christotokos = "Christ-Bearer") because God becomes incarnate when he takes on flesh in her womb. When we pray the Nicene Creed we state our confession of faith in this great mystery: "For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man."
God gives us grace and he expects us to respond with the same willingness, obedience, and heartfelt trust as Mary did. When God commands he also gives the help, strength, and means to respond. We can either yield to his grace or resist and go our own way. Do you believe in God's promises and do you yield to his grace? Do you believe that everything is in God's hands, that He is in charge in our world, our future and destiny? Sincerely yours,
Fr. Goran Jovicic
Prayer for the End of the School Year
Lord, As we come to the end of this school year, we voice our gratitude for the good things you have done in us,
and we praise you for all who have shared in the work at Archbishop Riordan High School.
We praise you, God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
May the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
be glorified in all places through the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Amen