Fifth Sunday of Lent

Reading: John 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33b-45

The sisters of Lazarus sent word to Jesus, saying,
“Master, the one you love is ill.”
When Jesus heard this he said,
“This illness is not to end in death,
but is for the glory of God,
that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill,
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples,
“Let us go back to Judea.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
Your brother will rise.”
Martha said,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

He became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said,
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man
have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him,
“Lord, by now there will be a stench;
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,
“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice,
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

Reflection

The gospels portray Jesus crying on two occasions, once lamenting the fate of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41) and once, in this Sunday’s appointed reading, over the death of Lazarus. The Letter to the Hebrews (5:7) says that Jesus also cried in Gethsemane.

All three of these episodes were reaction to the same thing:  death.  The death of Jerusalem, his friend Lazarus, and his own filled Jesus with a sorrow—and, indeed, a horror—so intense that the Greek verbs we anemically translate as “wept” really suggest a loud clamor or wailing.

Why did the Lord have these reactions?  Because God abhors death.  The Book of Wisdom (1:13) tells us that “God did not make death, nor does He rejoice in the destruction of the living.”  Instead, He made us to be “imperishable.”  Moreover, as the prophet Ezekiel insists (33:11), God takes no pleasure even in the death of the wicked.

In fact, God abhors death so much—it is, after all, an alien resident in His creation introduced by our freely chosen disobedience—that He endures it Himself in order to break its hold on us. The raising of Lazarus, the widow of Nain’s son (Lk 7:11-17), and Jairus’ daughter (Lk 8: 49-56) are all foreshadowings of the glorious fact, cosmic-shakingly demonstrated by the Lord’s own Resurrection, that you and I, through God’s grace, will be raised from the dead in glorified bodies.

St. Paul had good reason to taunt death—“O Death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor 15:55)—because Jesus the Savior has vanquished it.

It’s good to be reminded of this in these dark pandemic days.

Prayer

Lord Christ, bring us forth from our tombs of death-fear into the light of absolute trust and joy in your ever-abundant grace.  Help us to grow steadily into you, dear Jesus, as a preparation for the eternal life you wish for us. Amen.

Rev. Fr. Kerry Walters

Pastor, Holy Spirit ANCC

Published in: on March 29, 2020 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday of the Fourth Week in Lent

Reading:  Gospel JN 7:40-53

Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said,
“This is truly the Prophet.”
Others said, “This is the Christ.”
But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he?
Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family
and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”
So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.
Some of them even wanted to arrest him,
but no one laid hands on him.

So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees,
who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?”
The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”
So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived?
Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?
But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.”
Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them,
“Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him
and finds out what he is doing?”
They answered and said to him,
“You are not from Galilee also, are you?
Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

Then each went to his own house.

Reflection:

Our Lord Jesus Christ is our refuge, and we take shelter in Him.  He changes hearts and transforms those He encounters.  When we take refuge in God we rest In His love for us.  Even when we struggle to feel God’s love for us, we can know that deep and abiding love is present.  God’s love for us is not dependent on our feelings.  When Jesus encountered the guards, they were moved by His words.  In the same way, we are transformed through Scripture and the Eucharist, two powerful ways we are called to encounter our Lord.

Action:

Pray this prayer as many times as you can throughout the day: “Jesus, Son of the Living God, fill my heart with your love and shelter me from harm.”

Rev. Fr. Jason Lody, FCM

Pastor, St. Anthony of Padua ANCC

Published in: on March 28, 2020 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Gospel Reading, John 7: 1-2, 10, 25-30

Jesus moved about within Galilee;
he did not wish to travel in Judea,
because the Jews were trying to kill him.
But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.

But when his brothers had gone up to the feast,
he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Is he not the one they are trying to kill?
And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him.
Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ?
But we know where he is from.
When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.”
So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said,
“You know me and also know where I am from.
Yet I did not come on my own,
but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true.
I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.”
So they tried to arrest him,
but no one laid a hand upon him,
because his hour had not yet come.

Reflection

In this Gospel reading we see that the intensity of those who do not like what Jesus is preaching is growing. So much so that he goes up to Jerusalem in secret. However, he still preaches openly in the temple. I find it interesting that everyone seems to know that the religious leaders are trying to kill him , yet, Jesus is not afraid because he knows his time is not yet at hand.
He seems to admonish them by saying,” You know who I am and where I am from”. But I don’t believe they are listening? He is really answering their previous statement and telling them exactly who he is, the Christ.
How often do we do the same? How often do we not see what is right in front of us? We should see Christ in all who are around us. For that is the truth, as we are the Body of Christ.

Action

As we go into the last week of Lent, let’s look for Christ in each other. Try to recognize Christ in those you pass on the street or interact with at the store or at work. Also, take the time to reflect inward and look for Christ in ourselves.

Rev. Fr. Donald Simon

Pastor, St. Katharine Drexel ANCC

Published in: on March 27, 2020 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent

READING: Responsorial Psalm 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

REFLECTION

Today’s responsorial Psalm gives us hope when we distance ourselves from God and one another. It tells how Moses stood “in the breach” between God and God’s people when they turned from God to follow an idol made in the image of a golden calf. In their fear and anxiety at Moses’ delay in retuning down Mt. Sinai from communing with God, they turned to an idol to calm and placate themselves. Moses “stood in the breach” between God and the people to argue their cause. Now it is Christ Jesus who stands in the breach and makes intercession for us when we turn away from God and one another.

This year’s Lenten journey has become uniquely challenging, a profound testing of our faith. Confronting the Covid-19 virus and its impact on our daily lives challenges all of us. It arouses insecurities and fear much like the Hebrews experienced as they ventured into places they had never been before. It arouses the temptation for quick fixes and easy answers, all of which elude us as we slowly realize there is no way around this present crisis: we must walk through it.

In times of fear and anxiety, such as we experience today, we too may be tempted to forget God and to turn away from the love and guidance God desires to give us. Social distancing (I’d prefer “physical distancing” instead) threatens to make us feel even more isolated and apart. Isolated and alone, it becomes easy to forget or downplay God’s role in our lives. We risk making idols – false gods – to reduce our anxiety and alleviate our fear.

The Psalmist reminds us that we are a people favored by God. As St. Peter wrote, we are “ a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Peter 2:9).  As God’s own, we find solace in the reassurance that God is with us, especially in difficult times.

This solace can empower us to reach out to others instead of closing down and isolating ourselves. Modern technology makes reaching out easier and more effective than in the past: telephone family members, friends and fellow parishioners, especially those who are elderly and those living alone; maintain contact with friends and neighbors via Facebook and Twitter and other social media. Use Skype and Zoom to observe physical distancing but not “social distancing.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, observed that “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. What affects one directly affects all indirectly.” Our faith calls us from isolation into community, from fear into faith, from anxiety to action. Rather than make an idol of our isolation and fret in fear, let us remain faithful to our loving God who calls us to action in the light of his goodness. Rather than cower with anxiety, may we find faithful ways to live amidst this time of crisis.

In your prayers and meditations, remember those easily forgotten in these days of stress: truck drivers who deliver the very goods we desire to maintain our comfort; mail carriers; barbers, hairstylists and other cosmeticians; military members, fire fighters, police, EMTs, medical personnel, and others similarly situated who are putting their health and their lives on the line to keep us safe and whole. Remember the hundreds of thousands of people whose livelihoods and lives are threatened by the closing of the stores and businesses that provide them a living. Remember those in prisons and jails who may have more to fear from a biochemical assailant they can’t see than from the cellmate they can. Remember those who are food insecure, the hungry and homeless, those shuttered in nursing homes and mental institutions.

Lent invites us into a time of introspection and self-examination. During this very different Lenten experience may the need to keep physical distance not overcome our desire to maintain the networks of social mutuality that tie us together, one to another. As we draw near to the end of the Lenten season, we know Easter is coming. The promise of Easter’s new life encourages us to be patient, to be faithful, to remain steadfast in the sure and certain knowledge that “this too shall pass.” Mother Julian of Norwich witnessed the devastating Black Death (1348-1350). She wrote these encouraging words that should echo in our hearts today: “In the end all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well.” Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

ACTION:

  1. Make a list of people you may have forgotten and reach out to them virtually if you can.
  2. Think of some of the people who make your everyday life endurable, like garbage collectors, cashiers, cable and television technicians and others whose jobs aren’t so glamorous but whose work makes your life easier.
  3. Give thanks to God for your blessings; even though we don’t celebrate Mass publicly these days, make an effort to join our parishes that offer Sunday and even daily Mass online (check the ANCC website for a listing and thank God for our clergy and parishes that offer their services in this way).

Rev. Fr. Joseph Harmon

Pastor, St. Augustine of Hippo

Associate Director of Vocations

Published in: on March 26, 2020 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Gospel LK 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Reflection

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Mary said “yes” but her response wasn’t automatic. It wasn’t a given. Mary had questions and those questions were answered by Gabriel. Once those questions were answered, Mary surrendered herself to the Divine Plan and gave herself completely to the One who had created her. She would repeat that “yes” every day of her life. What Gabriel tells Mary is all she needs to know in that moment. None of the clouds, none of the heartache, none of the broader implications of her Yes are part of her now. All that would be revealed over time is shrouded in the future. None of that matters in her present moment. Mary said “yes” to all of whatever her future held for her, but most of all, she said “yes” to being the Mother of the Son of God and in that instant the Word became flesh of her flesh and bone of her bone. In this way, the first steps to that very first Easter became possible. May we all emulate Mary’s trust in God, her utter confidence that he would lead her in all things. Like her, may we always say “yes”.

Action

Spend some time in prayer today as if you were in the room with Mary when the angel came. Hear the words of the angel and Mary as if for the first time. Ask Mary for the grace to accept those things God seems to be asking us. May our yes always reflect her own.

Mthr. Phyllis McHugh

Pastor, St. Thomas More Parish

Published in: on March 25, 2020 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Gospel JN 5:1-16

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.
One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
“Do you want to be well?”
The sick man answered him,
“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
“It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.”
He answered them, “The man who made me well told me,
‘Take up your mat and walk.’“
They asked him,
“Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?”
The man who was healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
“Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you.”
The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a sabbath.

Reflection

Looking at Jesus’ solidarity towards this man, who had been waiting for 38 years to heal, and in today’s circumstances, drove me to reflect on our concept of solidarity. Many of us are today at home, not only thinking about what is best for us but all. Many others are giving everything they have to keep us fed, healthy, and safe, no only because of their job, but because that is their vocation and they genuinely care.

Everything that is happening right now leads us to ask and be asked: “Do you want to be well?”

During this unprecedented lent, when we have to reset ourselves entirely, and the “normality” of our lives has been shaken, the gospel presents us with this perfect example of a carrying Jesus, who, against all norms, says “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” Jesus saw and heard the desperation of this man, and in solidarity, with his pain and affliction, he healed his suffering and his illness. How many of us would love to hear those words of hope and would like to take our things and keep up going? But in today’s reality, those words are probably a little bit different, because it is no only the suffering of one person, but many.

We are gathering to fight for a single cause while caring for our neighbors, we, in solidarity with the entire human race, are called to modify the way we work, eat, study, worship, the way we approach and socialize with each other. Everything is different right now and probably against our customs, culture, and desires; however, out of solidarity, as Jesus did, we are to go out of the norm to care for all while doing what is best for everyone. There is a lot of anxiety, fear, desperation, and it is entirely understandable. But in the words of St. Theresa of Jesus “Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things Whoever has God, lacks nothing; God alone suffices.”

Prayer

Almighty and Everlasting God, the eternal salvation of those who believe in You, hear us on behalf of Your servants who are sick, for whom we humbly beg the help of your mercy, so that, being restored to health, they may render thanks to you in your Church. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Rev. Fr. Julian Garcia-Londono

Associate Pastor, St. Anthony of Padua ANCC

Published in: on March 24, 2020 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Reading John 4:43-54

At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee.
For Jesus himself testified
that a prophet has no honor in his native place.
When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him,
since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast;
for they themselves had gone to the feast.

Then he returned to Cana in Galilee,
where he had made the water wine.
Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum.
When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea,
he went to him and asked him to come down
and heal his son, who was near death.
Jesus said to him,
“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”
The royal official said to him,
“Sir, come down before my child dies.”
Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.”
The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.
While the man was on his way back,
his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live.
He asked them when he began to recover.
They told him,
“The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.”
The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him,
“Your son will live,”
and he and his whole household came to believe.
Now this was the second sign Jesus did
when he came to Galilee from Judea.

Reflection

In today’s gospel, a royal official goes to Jesus seeking help for his child who is dying.  Jesus tells the man that the child will be okay.  The man believes Jesus and heads home.  While on the way he is given the news that the child has recovered.

When I reflect on scripture, I ask myself, “what is God saying to me, to us today in this scripture?  What are we supposed to take away from this?”  As I reflect on this reading, I am currently sheltering in place.  We are surrounded by a threat to human life that we have not seen in our lives.  Potentially, we are all in the position of the royal official.  We might be pleading for the life of a loved one, or even ourselves.

This is not a time to panic, but rather to follow the example of the royal official.  In time of trouble, he sought Jesus.  It is right for us to do the same, we need to recognize our total dependence upon God and his mercy.  The official trusted and believed Jesus when he told him that the child would be okay.  We too, need to put our trust in God.  He has told us that everything will be okay.  We need to live and speak as people of hope.

“They shall name him Emmanuel, which means, ‘God is with us.’”  We are called to be witnesses to the fact that God is with us.  I wrote a letter to my children at Christmas, I told them that “God would never let us down.  That does not mean life is easy, or that there are not desperate times.  It means that God walks with us, always.  Jesus came into this world to unite himself to us.  It is Christ on the cross who has united us to God.”

We might not find the end result that we desire, but in faith, we believe that God will be with us and bring good out of the end result that we encounter.  We should not be indifferent to human suffering.  Real people, even ourselves are likely to encounter one or more of the following, sickness, financial hardship and/or death.  God is with us.  In the agony of the garden, Jesus faced human disaster.  It was not easy for him, but he walked in obedience and faith.  He passed from life to death and back to life.

Fr. Jim likes to relate the following story (the quote is from Wikipedia), “The Midrash relates that during the Exodus, when the Israelites reached the Red Sea, it did not automatically part. The Israelites stood at the banks of the sea and wailed with despair, but Nahshon entered the waters. Once he was up to his nose in the water, the sea parted.”  We are called to walk by faith, not by sight.  Let us seek the Lord.  Let us put our trust in the Lord.  Brothers and sisters let us walk remembering that you only get to Easter Sunday by passing through Good Friday.  Let us be people of faith.

Prayer

Dear Lord in this time of uncertainty we know that you are with us, even if we may be filled with anxiety as we face an unknown future.  Help us to remember always that you are with us and will not abandon us.  Help us to be witnesses to your love and faithfulness to all people.  Keep our hearts and minds focused on you.  We ask this in the name of your son Jesus, our Lord.  Amen

Rev. Fr. Louie Amezaga

Associate Pastor, Holy Family ANCC

Published in: on March 23, 2020 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Reading 1 1 SM 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A

The LORD said to Samuel:
“Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,
for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”

As Jesse and his sons came to the sacrifice,
Samuel looked at Eliab and thought,
“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel:
“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because man sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.”

Reflection

When I hear this scripture, I am reminded of the many times we as a society judge by appearances.  Once I was at a church and a young man came in with a muscle shirt and he was asked to leave by one of the priests.  He left with his family. Do you think that he ever returned to church again?  Some say that Sunday is the day when we as a country are the most segregated.  We have Black Churches, Gay Churches, Asian Churches and Hispanic Churches.  How did the Body of Christ become so fractured?  Do we not remember the words of St. Paul?  What can the hand do without the finger?  God does not see the externals but looks into the heart.

Let us pray

God of us all, help us to see ourselves as truly that Body of Christ where it is because of our diversity that we gain strength to proclaim a God who loves us all to the world.  Help us to live this out each and every day and not judge by the tattoos someone has, by the color of their skin, by their sexual orientation, by the language they speak or by the God they pray to.  Help us instead to see a reflection of your power and glory in the diversity of the world and help us to be empowered to change this world into a Kingdom of Love.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.   Amen

Rev. Fr. James Lehman, FCM

Pastor, Holy Family ANCC

Published in: on March 22, 2020 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday of the Third Week of Lent

Reading HOS 6:1-6

“Come, let us return to the LORD,
it is he who has rent, but he will heal us;
he has struck us, but he will bind our wounds.
He will revive us after two days;
on the third day he will raise us up,
to live in his presence.
Let us know, let us strive to know the LORD;
as certain as the dawn is his coming,
and his judgment shines forth like the light of day!
He will come to us like the rain,
like spring rain that waters the earth.”

What can I do with you, Ephraim?
What can I do with you, Judah?
Your piety is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that early passes away.
For this reason I smote them through the prophets,
I slew them by the words of my mouth;
For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice,
and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Gospel   LK 18:9-14

Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity —
greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week,
and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Reflection

How many of us know someone that when something goes wrong it is never their fault but someone else?  Event when it can be pointed out that it was their fault, they continue to point elsewhere.  That is what we see in the scripture today. 

During lent, we are called to take a good look into ourselves.  We are called to look at what needs improvement in our own lives.  If you think about it, this time of the liturgical year is rather self-centered.  We are called to take stock of how we treat others in our life.  We are called to see how we can change our lives for the better.  It takes a certain attitude to do that and the gospel gives us two examples of how we might do that.  We can be humble before our God or we can be boastful.  Which do you think will be the best way to improve ourselves this Lent.?

Prayer

Let me have too deep a sense of humor to be proud.
Let me know my absurdity before I act absurdly.
Let me realize that when I am humble I am most human,
most truthful,
and most worthy of your serious consideration.

-Daniel A. Lord, SJ

Rev. Fr. Anthony Martinez

Pastoral Associate, Holy Family ANCC

Published in: on March 21, 2020 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday of the Third Week of Lent

Gospel MK 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself

is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Reflection

Lent is difficult at its best. With the ever escalating impact of Covid-19, we are face with many emotions, unexpected trials, and daily tests to our faith.  In todays readings, we are assured of God’s love. The Prophet Hosea write, “I will love them freely; for my wrath is turned away from them.”   It sure doesn’t feel like wrath is turned away, does it?

Today is a day to live into discipline of the Great Commandment.  Begin your prayer by turning to God to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”  Let that love transform you for the difficult day ahead. 

How will grow this of God to loving you neighbor s yourself?  Who is your neighbor?  In these times, it is your spouse and children with whom you are cohabitating in close quarters for endless hours.  This maybe the greatest challenge we face with this commandment.  What can we do to be loving in a situation that is a powder keg of emotions and boredom as the days of  Covid-19 epidemic pass? 

There are many resources that have been produced and available on-line that offer practical suggestions.  Perhaps this prayer will provide some calming, grace.  It is in the humility to ask for the grace that we need that grace is found.  The love of God is our certain assurance.  The psalmist sings, “I  the LORD, am your God who led you forth from the land of Egypt.”  We will be led through this trial to an Easter of endless joy. This is our lenten journey.  Today, make the focus of your journey loving those neighbors with whom you are now living in close quarters.

My prayers are with you in God’s love.

Prayer

“Love the Lord, your God

with all your heart

with all your soul

and with all

your mind.”

Lord,

let this be.

Show us how.

“And love your neighbor as yourself.”

Lord

let this be

Take us where

we surely need to go.

Let

your love be

the lens that lets us see,

the power that enlivens our lives,

light that points to the path,

and the very grace

that saves

us.

Kindly fill us with your love.

— A. Osdieck. Copyright © 2011, The Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Rev. Fr. Owen Borda, OPA

Pastor, St. Dominic de Guzman ANCC

Published in: on March 20, 2020 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  
%d bloggers like this: