March 2024: Easter Blessings

Michael A. Marinelli, Ed.D. '76
Dear Friends,

On Palm Sunday this year, we heard Saint Mark’s account of the Passion of the Lord. In anticipation of celebrating Passover, the disciples asked Jesus where they should go to prepare for the celebration of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Jesus replied, “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.”

In St. Matthew’s Gospel, he writes, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The teacher says: My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.’” (Matthew 26:18) St. Luke’s Gospel matches Mark’s account nearly word-for-word, and St. John’s Gospel account does not mention the Passover preparations and, instead, takes us to the upper room when Jesus washes the feet of his disciples.

It is interesting to note that in the three Gospel accounts, we do not know the name of the man who provided the room for the Passover meal for Jesus and his disciples. It seemed as if Jesus had selected this “certain man” in advance. Had he met him before? Was he a relative or acquaintance of his parents? Was he a follower or know of Jesus? Or by some divine intervention, did the man just know that he should accommodate the disciples’ request? 

I wonder if that man who gave Jesus and his disciples a place to celebrate the feast could have imagined the consequential and momentous event that took place in his home. Jesus would break the bread and share the cup of wine with his apostles, speaking the words of consecration, and instructing them to “Do this in memory of me.” With consecrated bread and wine, Jesus becomes physically present in the world through the Eucharist, his eternal gift to the world.

Maybe it is intentional that we not know the name of the man or his home where the Last Supper took place, because, in a sense, each of us, as Catholic Christians, becomes that “certain person” who invites Jesus into our home – our very heart. That invitation happens each time we participate in the celebration of the Mass and witness the miracle of the consecration, when Christ becomes physically present to us, just as he did to his apostles. 

The real presence of Christ in the Eucharist – transubstantiation – was believed to be a mystery from the early days of Christianity, and the doctrine of the Catholic Church was formulated by the Fourth Council of the Lateran, called by Pope Innocent III in 1215. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ." (1333)

Is it so difficult to think that God’s love for us is so immense that, even after the death and resurrection of Jesus that separates him from life in this world as we know it, we have been given the gift of the Eucharist that transcends this temporary physical separation? If we can hold on to that idea, I believe that we begin to view the world and our place in it with a different perspective.

This past Christmas, I came across a hymn entitled, “Miracles All Around.” It was incorporated into a Christmas movie with an endearing story line about “magic candles.” Perhaps you have seen it. At the end of the movie, not to give away the plot, we hear these words of the song as all of the sub-plots resolve:

On a starry Night in Bethlehem,
​a child was born to bring light to men,
And our faith waned, our eyes grew dim.
​In a candle's light, we found hope again.
​There are miracles all around,
​miracles yet to be found.
​Hid in every heart is an answered prayer.
​Like a candle's flame, hope will lead us there.
When the darkness comes, let the light shine through.
​A spark of faith will ignite in you.
​In a candle's glow, a virgin's womb,
​in a simple prayer in the empty tomb.
​There are miracles all around,
miracles yet to be found.
Hid in every heart is an answered prayer.
Like a candle's flame, hope will lead us there.

​When the light has dawned on Christmas Day,
​we will lift one voice in endless praise.
​When the light has dawned on Christmas Day,
we will say
​There are miracles all around,
miracles yet to be found.
Hid in every heart is an answered prayer.
Like a candle's flame, hope will lead us there.

Like Christmas, the events of Holy Week tell a miraculous story about the great love our God has for us. That love becomes manifested in the Eucharist and is meant to be shared with those who partake in the meal and are “in communion” with him. Fortified in our faith, we then share Christ’s love, hope, and joy of the resurrection with others. 

With eyes of faith, may we see the miracles around us and discover and appreciate new ones each day. May the blessings of Easter be abundant and long-lasting to you and to all those whom you know and love.


Michael A. Marinelli, Ed.D. ‘76
Head of School
Archmere Academy is a private, Catholic, college preparatory co-educational academy,
grades 9-12 founded in 1932 by the Norbertine Fathers.