February 14, 2018 Ash Wednesday
“Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord your God.” (Joel 2:13)
The season of Lent begins today. This penitential season allows us to journey closer to the Lord and to fully experience the resurrection joy that comes with Easter. May we have the strength and faith to persevere on the journey to Calvary.
God of forgiveness and grace, today I begin my Lenten journey. What can I do with these 40 days to return to you with a renewed heart?
“What does it profit you if you gain the whole world but lose yourself?” (Luke 9:25)
As we travel through this Lenten season let us remember that we are created in the image and likeness of God. We are valuable, as are those around us. Help us to slow down and spend time on our relationships, our families, friends and those in need rather than be consumed with our packed schedules and possessions. What can I do today to show myself and others that they are my priority?
“Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?” (Isaiah 58:8)
Fasting, along with prayer and almsgiving, is a part of Lent. Refraining from things such as food, sweets, complaining and shopping helps to remind us that sustenance and fulfillment are found in God. Sometimes in our times of “giving things up” we actually grow and rise with a newness of life. How are you growing and glorifying God through your Lenten fast?
What can I do to bring justice to my community every day?
Today’s reading from Isaiah reminds us that we are called to bring justice to the world around us – to “remove from your midst oppression, false accusation, and malicious speech…bestow your bread on the hungry.” Acts of justice do not have to be grand. They are strongest when they are small, consistent, and done with intention.
Often during Lent we choose acts that are extra-ordinary. We do something grand because this is a finite, special time. But what would happen if during this Lenten season you chose a new act or habit that you can continue in all seasons? How might God’s grace enter into our lives then?
See the possibilities for joy during Lent.
Lent is often portrayed as a somber time. A time to fast, to repent, and to “put our spiritual houses in order.” Many feel Lent as a burdensome time, but what if instead we look at Lent through the lens of joy – Gospel joy. A joy that comes through us when we choose to embrace and live the love being given to us by God and Christ.
Instead of seeing what we cannot do during this time, let us see what we CAN do. We can connect to those who are on the margins. We can choose to forgive those who have hurt us. We can embrace those who are different from us. Challenge yourself to find new ways to share God’s love and joy during this time.
The Corporal Works of Mercy can seem quite daunting. How can we incorporate them into our habits?
Looking deeper, there is a way of being at the heart of these acts of mercy to care for the poor and marginalized. It might not always be easy to spot, and it likely will not be easy, but we are called to see Christ in those around us especially the poor and marginalized. In a time when our country is divided and those on the margins are loudly vilified, how can we answer Christ’s call, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me?”
“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
This excerpt from today’s Gospel is an excellent reminder of the beauty of messy prayer. We are reminded that our prayers don’t have to be perfect. When we are children we are quizzed on our prayers as if God will only listen if we say the exact right words. But God already knows what is in your heart, and what you are trying to convey- even if you aren’t sure yourself. God is there beside you, walking your path with you. Feeling your pains and feeling you joys right alongside you. So you do not have to pray perfectly. You just need a desire to be present and honest with God in your prayers.
Our God is a God of Love.
These words are simple. But they give us one of the most profound insights into the nature of God, and into the nature of who we are called to be as Disciples. Love is hard and complex. And the love God calls us to is messy, complicated, and difficult. It does not fit in with many of the ideas and values we are taught in our Western Culture. This is especially true when it comes to how we view violence and acts of war. We are called to be imitators of God’s love to all those in this world- not just those within our borders. We are called to stand with those we have never met, whose lives are not like our own. We are called to see them with the love with which we see our own family. For as Christians that is exactly what they are: family.
Today is the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, commemorating the moment when Jesus told Peter he was the “rock” on which He would build His Church. As we listen to the readings which exhort the leaders of the Church to “tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint, but willingly, as God would have it,” we should remember that these leaders are acting for the Lord who is our shepherd. Because of Him we “shall not want” nor “fear evil.” Hopefully these very leaders will “give (us) courage … (allow our) cup to overflow” and lead us in the “ways of the Lord” as they act in the name of the Lord.
In Matthew’s Gospel today Jesus broadens the scope of the Ten Commandments by explaining it is not enough to observe the letter of the law, but we must consider all our human interactions. Most of us will not kill someone during our lifetime, but at some point we will be “angry with (our) brother (or sister)” or say “You fool” to someone. Lucky for us that “with the Lord is kindness and with him is plenteous redemption.” Let us take a moment today and examine our human interactions and then let us “turn away from all the sins (we have) committed.”
In today’s reading from Deuteronomy we are exhorted to “walk in (God’s) ways and observe his statutes, commandments and decrees, and to hearken to his voice.” Jesus again expands the scope of the Commandments by urging his followers (and us) to not only “love (their) neighbor” but their enemies as well. We must “pray for those who persecute you that you may be children of your heavenly Father.” A pretty tall order, especially in this day and age, but this Lent perhaps we can make a start. By picking one “enemy” to pray for we can make some progress on the way to perfection.
February 25 Second Sunday of Lent
The first reading today from Genesis is always a tough one for me. Abraham has been asked by God to sacrifice his son, Isaac, and he is preparing to do it. Both of them are spared by God’s messenger and the Lord is pleased that Abraham would make this ultimate sacrifice. It is, of course, a foreshadowing of Christ’s Passion, death and Resurrection as is the story of the Transfiguration in today’s Gospel. What am I willing to sacrifice? When God calls, how will I answer? We are all in process…
Jesus again gives us some suggestions for improving our lives and turning from sin in today’s Gospel. “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” And since His words “are Spirit and life…the words of everlasting life,” we would do well to listen and act upon them. Luckily our God is one of “compassion and forgiveness,” but we must examine our daily lives and make any necessary changes, so that we may beseech the Lord that His “compassion quickly comes to us.”
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
To effectively serve the world, we must be humble. That does not mean that we need to have low self-esteem or to not act with confidence, but rather we must throw away the notion of superiority. We are not better than those that have differing political views, a different income level, or are at a different stage in life. To be truly humble is to view ourselves as a child of God among equals. From there, we must act to make the world just.
“Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.”
The Lord does not need us. Jesus did not die for our sins because he needed to. God’s kindness is infinite and his love for us is eternal. We may sometimes turn away from him, but he will never turn away from us. Today, think of the ways you can feel God’s kindness in your life, and think of ways in which you can show God’s kindness to the world.
“Blessed are they who hope in the Lord”
Today’s Gospel is the parable of a rich man who ignores a poor man, Lazarus, begging at his door. When they both die, Lazarus receives comfort in heaven, while the rich man is tormented. For those of us who receive what is good in life, as the rich man did, it is our duty to share that with the poor and marginalized. Today, think about some of the ways in which you may have acted like the rich man who ignored Lazarus and how you can be a source of God’s comfort to those who need it.
“Therefore, I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”
As Catholics, we have received the obligation to share the word of God with those in the world. We have heard the Good News and, in a little less than a month, we will celebrate the Resurrection. As we prepare ourselves for Easter, think about how you share the Gospels with the world. How do you bear the fruits of the Kingdom of God and the salvation that is to come?
Today we hear the parable of the Prodigal Son in Jesus’ response to the Pharisee’s complaint “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” The story focuses on the younger of two sons who asks his father for his portion of the family estate and then squanders it. Upon returning home his father immediately throws a feast in celebration whereas the older son harbors resentment.
Who are you in this story? Are you the rebellious son, lost and far from God? Are you the self-righteous Pharisee, no longer capable of rejoicing when a sinner returns to God? Are you a lost sinner seeking salvation and finding the Father’s love? Are you standing to the side, watching and wondering how the Father could ever forgive you?
March 4 Third Sunday of Lent
He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
Today’s readings begin with the Lord delivering his Ten Commandments to the Israelites, and culminates with John’s Gospel describing Jesus throwing the money changers out his Father’s house. In both readings we are encouraged to treat God and His house with respect and adoration.
Do we show God the respect and adoration he deserves? Do we treat His temple, His house, with the reverence and attention we should?
In the readings today we hear the story of Naaman who was cleaned of his leprosy by advice from the prophet Elisha. The story focuses on Naaman’s quest for cleansing and purification by searching for prophets. However, it was not Elisha the prophet who cleaned him, but instead the water from the Jordan through the power of God. Are you listening and following God’s words? Do you believe that God wants to act with power in your life?
In the Gospel today Jesus tells the story of a king who forgives a debtor’s debt only to realize the debtor does not forgive his servant’s death. Upon hearing this, the king then hands the debtor over to the torturers. Jesus ends the story, “So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.” As we proceed through this Lenten season are there people in your life who you have denied forgiveness? Are there people in your life who have denied you forgiveness? How do we reconcile and clear ourselves of our “forgiveness debt” to God and to one another?
In today’s reading, Moses instructs the people to follow the laws of the land, a land so great it was given to us by the Lord. How great is our almighty God that he gave us such incredible things, people, freedom, statues, opportunity! But at times even I can forget how blessed I am by His riches.
“This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people. For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him?” (Deuteronomy 4:6-7)
Although the first sentence of the Bible verse below may make you chuckle when you think of all those “wise and intelligent people” you encounter throughout the week (i.e. Uber drivers, that person who cut you off on the sidewalk, the cashier so engrossed in their cellphone they can’t make eye contact), God created all of us. Moses reminds us of this and to never forget this and to teach the children of today.
Luke tells the story of Jesus driving out the demon in the mute man, setting him free of his disability. People are filled with amazement which quickly turns to questioning, “Who is responsible for this miracle?” It must be Beelzebul, he who drives out demons. They demanded a sign from Jesus, a sign they will not receive. Jesus goes on to explain a kingdom divided will never survive, even the evil kingdom of Satan. Whoever is not with Jesus is against him, whoever does not gather scatters. Be close to your faith, gather together with your community and stand with Jesus, for his kingdom is everlasting.
In Mark’s gospel today, the scribes once again bring their questions to Jesus. They ask, “What is the first of all commandments?” Jesus breaks it down into two simple rules:
1. 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.
2. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.
Jesus’s instructions remind me of my high school track coach, Coach Jackson. In all of our training we always kept God first: when we performed well, when we fell short, when we felt like we couldn’t go on, he reminded us of God’s strength and presence in our lives. With the Lord’s help and strength, we could be greater and stronger than we thought we could be. Secondly, weren’t all of us taught to treat your neighbor as yourself as children? Thanks Mark for the friendly reminder today. Got it.
In Luke’s gospel today, Jesus uses a parable asking us to turn inward and question our own judgements. In the parable, two men are asked to go up the mountain and pray to God. One is a tax collector, the other a Pharisee. The Pharisee prays to the Lord, thankful he is not greedy and dishonest like the rest of humanity such as the nearby tax collector. The tax collector heeds God’s love and prays for forgiveness for his sins. The parable explains the tax collector went home justified not the Pharisee, for “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18: 14). The Lord is not concerned with our trivial details, what we choose to do with our lives, he only asks us to be merciful and humbled, to seek forgiveness and to be true to Him,
March 11 Fourth Sunday of Lent
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. (John 3:16)
What’s better than winning a sporting event? The Paschal Mystery! God gave us Jesus and the ultimate victory over sin and death in the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. God’s love is limitless, endless and infinite. Today in some small way share the love that God has for humanity.
Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe. (John 4:48)
The signs and wonders of God come to us in many ways. A man rising from the dead, a conversation with a friend, the kindness of a stranger, or the beauty of creation are just a few.
What signs of God’s presence do you have in your life?
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?” (John 5:6)
The man Jesus encounters has the desire to be well, but needs help getting to the healing waters of the pool. Jesus does not just ignore the man’s suffering, but provides him with healing.
Today help me not to ignore those who need healing.
But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me: my Lord has forgotten me.” (Isaiah 49:14)
When we go through times of trouble and distress, it is easy to feel as though God has forgotten about us. The truth is that God is very much present with us in our distress, our anguish, pain and hurt. God has not forsaken us, but is loving us. How can you find the presence of God in times of hardship?
Think about the act of storytelling from a group of people. You could ask five different people what occurred at an event they were all present at, and you could get five different stories, and then some.
Now consider how differently those five people depict God in their minds. Is God a benevolent being? A teacher and shepherd? Or one who requires strict obedience and repentance? In today’s Gospel, Christ challenges his witnesses, and us, to confront how we alter our imagery and perception of him. How often do we change how we see God, to benefit our wants and needs, or blame God when things don’t go as planned? Let us remember that Christ is always present in our lives, through both strife and joy.
We’re nearing the end of Lent, and an end to our practice of fasting or giving, and we realize, it’s pretty hard. God is asking a lot of us; sometimes it feels like too much. So instead of acknowledging, yes, we are blessed to have had Christ sacrifice His life, and allow us to live this full life on earth, we often respond with frustration, or angst, or simply – give up. God is asking too much of us! So we alter our fasting or giving for the remaining weeks, or perhaps throw in the towel, or even go so far as to get angry at God.
That’s what happens in today’s reading. The journey of being a disciple is trying. The lessons are tough. The people are not ready for this responsibility. But, let us pause and remember, Christ’s sacrifice means we are not alone on this journey, or any other trial we encounter. He has already conquered the largest trial for us. So in these remaining weeks of Lent, let us rekindle our strength, look to others for support, and nurture our faith a bit more, even when we feel like giving up.
In today’s Gospel, we are reminded of Jesus’ impending death, through continuous threats from the Pharisees who judge Jesus’ truth, and His purpose. The arguments we read are not so different from those we hear, and participate in, every day. We like to cling to, and connect with, those who see the world the same as us. Any perspective that might shift that or shake it up, could be seen as a threat. So we deny it and push it away. In today’s Gospel, the Pharisees wish to execute it (being Jesus).
However, how often do we pause to consider another perspective, or consider a different way of thinking or living? Does the mere consideration mean we have to adopt it? No, but we are fearful of potential of change, which ultimately could mean loss. Loss of truth, or loss of self. This season of Lent allows us to reflect on our own “truths,” and how much we are willing to truly listen to another’s truth. Let us be open to that opportunity, and be willing to adopt different truths as possible, in both our minds and hearts.
March 18 Fifth Sunday of Lent
In today’s Gospel, we read about the crowds wishing to see Jesus, and witness his miraculous acts. His disciples search for him, and rather than feeling joy for his expanding church, he becomes unsettled and vulnerable, thinking about his approaching death and sacrifice. We don’t often witness Jesus in a vulnerable state, but he is fully aware of the impact of his impending sacrifice. While the crowds are concerned about their earthy wants, Jesus looks beyond human selfishness, and knows his sacrifice will result in eternal grace for all. As we approach Holy Week, let us be mindful of selfish moments, and instead, follow Jesus’ example to sacrifice for others, and work for the greater good of all.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, spouse to Mary, and father to Jesus. As we approach Holy Week, and follow the footsteps of Jesus to the Cross, we often do so during a Stations of the Cross encounter. We hear of Jesus’ journey, we hear about the disciples who help him along the way, and we hear about him meeting his mother, Mary, before his crucifixion. While we no longer have Joseph in our Scripture during this point, we must not forget the pivotal role he plays in Jesus’ life, and how he can guide us during our Lenten journey. Joseph is ever faithful to Mary and ever faithful to God’s call for him. Just as Joseph’s faith is deemed as a strong foundation for his descendants, we too must nurture a strong faith beyond the Lenten season, so it can be fruitful and multiply in blessings.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the Pharisees that he is never alone. This is a concept that we as Catholics learn before we take any of our sacraments, and we often think of it as very commonplace. But the Pharisees are clearly being introduced to the concept for the first time, but Jesus says this with a lot of conviction and many people came to believe this was true. So today, I invite you to think about how you’re never alone. Are we doing what God wants of us or are we only doing what we want?
This Gospel reading reminds me that Jesus was human. In this reading, He seems scared, but unwavering in his mission to teach and mentor his followers. Jesus states that they are trying to kill him even though he is doing the work from the Father. Obviously they push back and say that their father is Abraham, but Jesus is there to continue challenging them by telling them that killing him is not the work of Abraham, but the work of their fathers. In reflecting on this reading, I thought about the fact that it’s sometimes hard to understand what God wants from us, and I sometimes make the wrong choice. I am reminded that I have to constantly be open to listening to what God wants of me.
Abraham comes up a lot in the stories between Jesus and the Jewish leaders. It’s understandable because Jesus is introducing some radical ideas, and today we see them challenging Jesus to explain the role of Abraham. Essentially, He told his followers that if they follow him they will “never see death” and that Abraham was “rejoiced to see [his] day.” The followers were not pleased to hear this, and were understandably angry enough to pick up stones to throw and Jesus rightfully walked away. We must stand firm in what we believe even if it seems radical or contradictory.
Today’s Gospel is mostly a continuation of yesterday. The Jewish leaders are ready to stone Jesus, but Jesus will not waver in his beliefs. They accuse him of blasphemy and they accuse him of making himself God. Jesus’ message was radical, and it was contradictory to almost everything they believed. They are also missing the point – Jesus was there to deliver good works, but they only viewed him as someone posing as God. Jesus was forced to flee as they attempted to arrest him. Instead of focusing on the good works that Jesus offered, they focused on a mistaken belief that he was trying to pose as God. It is important in these days before Easter to clear our minds and hearts of hatred and distrust, and focus on what is truly the work of God, unlike the people in this Gospel.
Today’s reading immediately proceeds the raising of Lazarus from the dead, a miracle no doubt. However, some of the people who witnessed this went and told the Pharisees so that they could prosecute Jesus. While we should not act in the same way that the Pharisees did, we should ask ourselves the Pharisees asked themselves upon hearing of Jesus’ actions: “What are we going to do?” It is very easy to see things happen in our world and let them slide by, thinking that it is not our place. However, we must always think of what must be done.
March 25 Palm Sunday
Hosanna! Jesus has arrived in Jerusalem for Passover. However, despite the procession for his arrival, Jesus was not liked by many of the people, and as we heard in today’s gospel, was put to death for the works he had done. Jesus knew that he was going to be put to death for the salvation of God’s people, but nonetheless obliged to what the Romans were doing. Today, we remember this greatest of sacrifices that Christ made for our salvation, and reaffirm our belief that Jesus is the son of God.
March 26 Holy Monday
How do we prioritize things in our lives? For Mary, she prioritized the care of Jesus – giving him her compassion and tender love just prior to Jesus’ crucifixion. Judas, on the other hand, was seemingly more concerned about the expensive oils that Mary was using for Jesus, and asked why the oil wasn’t sold to get money to give to the poor. Of course, as we all know, Christ has done far more for all of humanity than any amount of money has ever done. What can we do to help the poor that would be more than just giving money?
March 27 Holy Tuesday
None of us wake up in the morning and think “I’m going to betray a good friend today.” However, that doesn’t mean that we have never betrayed someone else, whether they be a friend, a family member, or God. Oftentimes, this is because our desires conflict with the best thing for someone else. This type of selfishness comes into our daily lives more often than we may want to believe. What is the deepest desire of our hearts? Is it to truly know, love, and serve the Lord? Or is it to be the one who is known, loved, and served?
March 28 Holy Wednesday
The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.
The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame. He is near who upholds my right; if anyone wishes to oppose me, let us appear together. Who disputes my right? Let him confront me. See, the Lord GOD is my help; who will prove me wrong? (Isaiah 50:4-9)
Have you ever been betrayed? Perhaps someone you trusted knew something they did not share with you. Or, on the flip side, maybe you knew bad news about someone else. When they asked, you denied knowing anything. In either case, how did you feel when the truth came out?
In today’s familiar Gospel, as Jesus and his disciples prepare for Passover, Jesus announces that one of them will betray him. Judas, the guilty one, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” How does Jesus react? He doesn’t call Judas out, but continues to set an example for the others to follow and moves forward with the meal preparation. Jesus ultimately trusts in God’s plan for him, even knowing how the events would unfold.
Today’s reading from Isaiah is a beautiful one that reminds us that even when we are pushed down, or when someone wrongs us, God is always there for us. When we trust in God and keep to the high road, we come out unscathed. This is the example that Jesus wants us to follow. Today, pray for the strength to know that God is your help and your salvation. Ask Him to be with you as you place your trust in Him, especially in times of distress.
March 29, Holy Thursday
“You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” (John 13:12-15)
Today we one day away from Good Friday, when the Lord will carry out his Passion and die on the cross.
The Old Testament gives us a glimpse of the past and the celebration of the Passover in the days of Moses. Those who marked their houses and followed the laws and rules for the Passover were spared by the Lord. We hear familiar scripture and words of Jesus at the Last Supper in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
Before having his last meal with the disciples, Jesus washes their feet, saying, “As I have done for you, you should also do.” The disciples do not know what to think of their teacher and leader taking on the role of a servant. With one action, Jesus had summarized all of his teachings.
How do the actions of Jesus, the day before he is to die, and before his last meal with his closest friends, strike us? That night, Jesus also told his disciples, “No slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.”
Take some time to pray and reflect on Jesus’ words and actions in the Gospel. What do they say to you? How could we change the world if each of us vowed to take the ‘living Gospel challenge’ and found a way each day to do something in remembrance of Jesus and his teaching?
Good Friday, March 30
Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth.
Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away, and who would have thought any more of his destiny? For he was cut off from the land of the living, struck for the sins of his people. (Isaiah 52:7-8)
Today, as we did on Palm Sunday, we read the Passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is a sad, painful story. Jesus’ followers, the very people he had been close to, turned away from him when he needed them most. Jesus was betrayed by Judas and handed over as a prisoner. Peter, a faithful follower, denied three different times that he knew Jesus. The very people who claimed to be faithful followers of Jesus later called for Pilate to crucify him.
As a parallel to the Passion, Isaiah’s words in the Old Testament speak of an unnamed servant who is treated harshly, condemned, and ultimately killed and nearly forgotten. Like Jesus, the servant does not cry out or complain.
The story does not end there though! The good news, even though it is difficult to see in all of the darkness of the story, is that the servant bears the guilt of many through his suffering and as a result, saves others from their sins. If we focus on death alone, it is difficult to see good in the story of Jesus dying on the cross. Pray for the ability to see the light in the darkness. Jesus died so that our sins would be forgiven.
March 31, Easter Vigil
When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large.
On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.'” (Mark 16: 5-7)
We have finally reached the Easter Vigil where we hear the good news in the Gospel. The tomb is empty! Jesus has risen and conquered death! Alleluia! Light now shines in the world after so many days of darkness.
The Easter season is a time for renewal. The people who followed Jesus had to learn how to carry out his teachings without their leader to guide them. It took time, and faithful followers to bring it all together, but everything worked out. Jesus was with them the whole time, just as he is with us today.
Women and men who have answered the call to conversion to the Catholic faith are going through a renewal. They have prepared for many weeks through RCIA programs. We now welcome the newly baptized and members into the church. They are beginning their journey as Catholics. How wonderful we can be here to support them and accompany them on their faith journey.
We are a few weeks from spring, when the earth will reawaken with life. The days grow steadily longer and soon we will be in the heart of summer.
As each day passes, keep a theme of renewal in mind. Each day is a new day. No matter what happened yesterday, or last week, or what might happen today, begin each day with new hope and enthusiasm for what is to come. Embrace the ability to start fresh each morning and stay open for God’s word and plan. Most of all, embrace the fact that you have Jesus there to walk with you, no matter what the day has in store.
April 1, 2018 Easter Sunday
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. (Psalm 118:24)
Alleluia, Jesus Christ is risen! How can we not rejoice and be glad?! Get out the good china, pop open some champagne and rejoice in the salvific love of God! It is indeed a glorious day!!!
Lord, help me to live out the Easter joy that comes with the Resurrection of your Son, not only today, but throughout the entire Easter season.