The Word of God

Spiritual Wardrobe

Reflection on Mass Reading for July 2, 2022

“The Lord speaks of peace to his people.” From time to time, we are given a unique perspective into how Jesus truly wants us to understand what it means to follow Him. What is clear time and time again is how much God wants us to be happy in this life and how He wants us to be fulfilled to live the life He set us here to live.

St. Matthew illustrates an example of that fulfillment. “People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined.” As we have seen so many times, Jesus often uses concrete and dynamic images to illustrate his point. He was certainly the Master Teacher who constantly made teaching memorable and easily understandable. Likewise, by drawing from examples of everyday life, Jesus, even today, helps his hearers to connect the Gospel with their ordinary experiences.

How should we understand Jesus’ reference to wineskins? We are used to buying and storing wine in bottles. In the time of Christ, this was possible but impractical. Glass was a precious material and was usually produced in small quantities. Bottles could not be transported easily and, being a costly material, would have required too much care for the average home. At the time of Christ, liquids would be stored in clay jars or containers made of animal skin. The latter was particularly convenient for transportation, as they could be carried easily, were lightweight, and would occupy less and less space as the liquid was consumed.

Jesus uses this image to teach us about the new covenant that he inaugurates. You see, a complete and total conversion is necessary to “drink the new wine” of salvation and to maintain the level of fidelity and love of God to move forward in life. Without proper care, our souls, too, can become like old, thin wineskins, weakened by sin and spiritual sloth. What would be the point of taking a nice, hot shower after a full day of outdoor labor only to put on the same clothes? Sounds impractical. The same is true with our souls. They require vigilance and care. The great news today is that the Lord is always at hand, offering us his grace through the sacraments to repair what is broken, strengthen what is weak, and fortify what is healthy.

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When Evil Triumphs

Reflection on Mass Reading for July 1, 2022

“Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land!” The urgency for all of us who follow the Lord Jesus to be just and fair, especially when treating the poor, can never be underestimated. It is real to assume that the way we treat the most vulnerable, the weakest, and the most innocent in this life will go a long way in how we will arrive intact at our destiny after our earthly pilgrimage has ended.

“Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” We live in a very damaged, frail, and unjust world. History has recorded millennia of evidence to this effect. Our goal, while alive and spirited by the Gospel, is how we imitate and follow the great example of Jesus while He walked our planet. He wants us to be merciful, kind, and just in all our dealings. Only then will we find true peace in this life.

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” Haile Selassie

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Something Evil This Way Comes

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 30, 2022

“They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.” The Gadara was a pagan-infested area east of the sea of Galilee where evil was everywhere and deeply entrenched in the people’s lives. This was because God was not mentioned, worshipped, or loved. Don’t miss the interesting detail that tells us from where they were coming: the graveyard! (tombs) What on earth were they doing there? (Nothing earthly is the clue.) The ancient world believed that the air was thickly populated with evil spirits seeking entry into everyone. Often they did enter through food or drink. They caused all illnesses. The Egyptians believed there were thirty-six different parts of the human body, and any of them could be entered and controlled by one of these evil spirits. There were spirits of deafness, dumbness, and fever; spirits that took a man’s sanity and wits away; spirits of lying, deceit, and uncleanness. It was such demonic spirits that Jesus exorcised here. “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.”

However dramatic or dark, this topic of confronting evil and evil spirits is good for everyone: every day is a challenge, and struggles to live this life and walk this walk. Keep in mind from reading the Scriptures today, especially the Gospel of today, that Jesus truly intended to confront these evil spirits; that is to say, it was no accident. We live in a world of darkness and terror, and unless we hold the Light of Christ within us, we will be swallowed up in despair. We also learn from this passage that the envious and godless people in this world are tormented at the sight of generosity, as were the possessed grave dwellers in the Gospel. This is yet another sobering lesson for all of us. You see, the battle of light and darkness is not just outside us; it is also within us, as in every human being who grows, and we have Jesus, especially in the Eucharist, to help us move forward in faith. Evil is not sustainable because it has already been defeated. It is now up to us to join the winning, victorious team.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, free from me all that is not of You and cleanse my soul from all deceit, worry, and shame. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

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Peter And Paul

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 29, 2022

“Now I know for certain that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting.” (St. Peter) “The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.” (Responsorial Psalm) “And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom.” (Second Reading) It should not be of any surprise that the Lord seeks and wants to rescue us all. However, what is interesting is the nature of the word rescue. It is derived from the word meaning “to shake,” which suggests getting rid of something, as it were, to shake something free that is dangerously affixed or stuck to a person or animal.

We have that suggestion explained in the Gospel of today: “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” Today we celebrate the great Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul with the promise that we as the People of God, the Church, are to be rescued literally from here to eternity. These two great Saints were initially responsible for evangelizing and announcing the truths of our faith to all of the known world at the time of their lives. These formed the concrete basis and foundation of the Christian message for the following two millennia. This brings us to the completely jubilant truth that God wants, desires, and continues to rescue us. Evil can and does attach its ugly self to us in two distinct ways: meanness and weakness. By recalling and remembering the great love that Peter and Paul had for the Lord Jesus and the courage firmly placed within their hearts when they both faced martyrdom, we can find the hope of change in our personalities when we find that being or saying something mean is so tempting. Being mean is being lazy and an obvious sign of evil that has crept into our hearts and begun encrustation. Everyone carries human weakness, which often manifests itself when we are tired, frustrated, or lacking in patient civility. With this great commemoration of Peter and Paul, let us find the courage and motivation to shake free of meanness and weakness and give Jesus the glory in this life as we wait to see Him face to face in the next.

“The next time you feel as if you are drowning in life’s problems, remember your lifeguard walks on water.” —Quote scribbled in a book found in a library.

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Who Is Sitting At Your Table?

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 28, 2022

“The LORD departed as soon as he had finished speaking with Abraham, and Abraham returned home.” It is truly amazing how some Old Testament figures seem to have open, easy-access facetime with the Lord. God and Abraham seem to have taken just a causal walk with some rather deep and profound consequences. And in this episode, the fruit of their conversation has painted a wonderfully comforting picture that can and should help us and encourage us on our spiritual journey. What should be more than crystal clear is that God never gives up on us even if we may have surrendered hope ourselves. There can never be a valid excuse for denying this awesome truth. God truly loves spending time with us!

Knowing how much God loves us, especially in sending us His Only Begotten Son, it must be clear that Jesus has that same desire: spiritual intimacy. “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” Maybe there are some of our readers who want to cry out, “Lord, I am here for you. Rest with me!” Perhaps the message here is that we avoid being distracted by anything else while we are on the course of loving, knowing, and serving God. It may sound rude for Jesus to tell us that we should not bury our dead or departed loved ones or we should not bid our family and friends goodbye when embarking on a journey. But the salient message here is, do not give other people or things more preference over God.

Why do you think we stumble and fall at times? What nervous and erroneous mental distractions come between us and true happiness? What excuses do we offer? It will inevitably come down to whether or not we are people who pray. Some have assembled the main reasons why we do not pray: We think we do not have the time, or that it is important, or that we think it makes no difference. All these excuses are beyond silly; they are not even true. Today, let us be fed with the wisdom of the Scriptures and make and find the time to pray. The rewards are literally out of this world.

“Intimacy with God is the way to true fulfillment. How do you keep the Enemy from sitting at your table? You keep your eyes on Christ.” Louie Giglio

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We Can Be Better

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 27, 2022

“They trample the heads of the weak into the dust of the earth, and force the lowly out of the way.” One of the more astounding truths we encounter throughout our spiritual lives is the realization that many people in our immediate circle of contact and influence are challenged and burdened much like ourselves and carrying similar crosses that we are bearing. Yet, because of our attachment to routine and preconceived notions and prejudices throughout the day, we are blind to the plight of others around us, perhaps made that way because of our struggles which tend to make us insensitive. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a tragedy or horrible instance to open our eyes and see what we have been missing all along. That is why the time to act is now: “Remember this, you who never think of God.”

“Jesus answered him, ‘Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.'” Today we are also given an added touch to this reflection. Those people in our lives, which we treat with infrequent and perhaps unthinking care, could be Jesus Himself. He said as much. His words and promise are better than gold, so we can rest assured that all that is presented here is at least worthy of more than casual thought. What if that was Jesus I passed today? What if that person who pains me the most is the Lord watching how I will return responses and invitations to greatness? Let’s see.

“I know that people can be better than they are. We are capable of bearing a great burden, once we discover that the burden is reality and arrive where reality is.” James Baldwin

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The Illusion Of Excuses

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 26, 2022

“‘Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time. What if there are at least ten there?’ He replied, ‘For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.'” The beautiful Scriptures today paint a wonderfully comforting picture that can and should help us and encourage us on our spiritual journey. What should be more than crystal clear is that God never gives us on us even if we may have surrendered hope ourselves. There can never be a valid excuse for denying this awesome truth.

Jesus makes it clear that following Him to the brink of suffering and death is really not an option if we seek the final goal of heaven: “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.” First, let us be clear about this statement: please don’t think that he was speaking of the body of someone’s parent as it was waiting for burial. The real sense of this phrase is rendered, “Let me bury my father when he dies.” Seen in this light, it sounds more like an excuse rather than a real impending need. The issue here is a call for us to review and discover any excuses we make consciously or unconsciously in answering our call to follow Jesus.

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” George Washington

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Finding Halo

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 25, 2022

“After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers.” Today the Gospel Reading takes us to the meaning of the Fifth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary, best known to many as “Finding of the Child Jesus.” How could we faithfully summarize what we witnessed through the powerful Word of God today? Clearly, Jesus loved the art of teaching, asking and answering questions, and in every encounter with the Lord, there was always something astounding.

“Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And there is something else quite telling that we must not forget or miss today. The question His Mother Mary asked Him was also truly astounding. How could the Lord, even as a child, bring or cause in any way, even indirectly, anxiety to His parents? Since we could not honestly assume that that was Christ-child’s motive, what shall we make of the subsequent fear of losing a child in such a huge horde of people on the move? We could start with the obvious answer to the question, “where was He?” Jesus was in the Temple not to abandon His parents but in His Father’s House to do something for them and all humanity that would certainly last into eternity. He was beginning the framework for His suffering, death, and Resurrection, which would culminate in His own body, the Temple not made by human hands. When we feel we have lost Jesus in our lives, we must remember this element of today’s Scripture and never lose hope: “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

Let us pray: Lord, help me confidently reach for what lies ahead and help me seek you in the midst of my struggles. Lord, help me rejoice in the hope of tomorrow and give me the strength to just keep going. Amen.

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My Sacred Heart Belongs To You

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 24, 2022

“I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.” (First Reading) Devotion to the Sacred Heart, as we know it, began about the year 1672. On repeated occasions, Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, a Visitation nun in France. During these apparitions, He explained to her the devotion to His Sacred Heart as He wanted people to practice it. He asked to be honored in the symbol of His Heart of flesh. There is only one Person in Jesus, and that person was at the same time, God and Man. His Heart, too, is Divine — it is the Heart of God.
What does it mean when one person says to another, “I give my heart to you”? For some, it means that you are ready and truly able to trust another with your feelings, thoughts, and future. That person must also clearly demonstrate the following:

1. They take time out for you
2. They are honest about themselves, and you
3. They share intimate details about themselves
4. They readily show various personal aspects of their own life
5. They are consistently there for you and talk and listen about anything

“The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Second Reading)

Thus, what do you think it means that Jesus gives His Sacred Heart to us and opens the way for a mutual relationship which is forever with Him? Let’s take another look at the list we prepared before:

1. Jesus always takes time for us.
2. Jesus is Truth
3. Jesus has shared His very life by dying on the Cross
4. Jesus invites us to discover who He is in our day-to-day life
5. Jesus never leaves

“I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.”

Jesus calls every one of us to love. First, to love God above all things, second, our neighbor as ourselves, and lastly, ourselves. All together and all at once. Throughout our short lives here on earth, it may take a little more effort and time with one or two of these charges, but this is what we call faith in action! People who obey this command change their spiritual lives forever! If we are believers in Jesus Christ, we must ask where He called us to go? Who has God put on your heart to love and share the gift of salvation?

“Immature love says, ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says, ‘I need you because I love you.'” Erich Fromm

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Did You Say “Climate Change?”

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 23, 2022

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.” Real climate change has just dawned upon us. The life, teaching, and example of St. John the Baptist can never and should never be erased from our understanding of our salvation which is found squarely and fundamentally in Jesus Christ. St. John the Baptist lived so that everything depended on God, and his whole life was dedicated to preparing the way for the Messiah. So why do we say “climate change?” This is a very interesting aspect of today’s feast.

“He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.” What is most memorable about the life and death of St. John the Baptist is that he was determined to leave behind the legacy of decrease/increase. Jesus must increase in my life, and I, that is, my ego and selfishness, must decrease. Even more interesting is how the climate and the seasons exhibit this wonderful style of life throughout the year. You see, after today’s feast, the days will start to grow shorter and shorter, while conversely, after the birth of Christ in just six short months, the days will grow longer and longer, increase, if you will. I hope that you and I will decrease so that the Lord can shine through us like the morning dawn.

“Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.” Andrew Murray

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Strengthening For Tomorrow

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 22, 2022

“Every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.” Many of us have probably heard or even used the expression, “money doesn’t grow on trees.” While being a bit comical, there are several meanings nestled behind it. The first and foremost meaning should be clear: money must be earned and does not come freely, as do the leaves on any given tree or shrub. Typically, this idiom describes the idea that someone should be careful about how they spend their money. This phrase relates to the fact that trees often produce fruit for people to enjoy—regardless of whether or not the people cultivate these trees. This contrasts with the idea that money must be worked for with effort and is never given without reason.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.” Sometimes our vision for ourselves falls short of what is actually going on in our lives. At times our perspective on the world around us becomes bitter, and thus our actions and words become rude, unkind, and thoughtless with numbing regularity. We mistakenly think there is no good fruit to be found, but the real truth lies in the fact that we haven’t spent enough quality time with our beautiful and loving God. When we allow ourselves the time to realize how great our God is, we begin to see and bear good fruit. Then and only then does it become much easier to choose gratitude over a complaint. Furthermore, at the heart of the battle for our souls is a real enemy who prowls around seeking someone to devour. Evil will never stop gaining new ground and moving others away from the Lord. This is another reason why we must be aware of those who just “talk the talk.”

“Be patient. God is using today’s difficulties to strengthen you for tomorrow. He is equipping you. The God who makes things grow will help you bear fruit.” Max Lucado

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The Pain Of Not Being Appreciated

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 21, 2022

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Have you ever had the experience of working so very hard to celebrate someone’s birthday or another milestone and sacrificing quite a bit, only to have your gift and expression of care be totally unappreciated or even acknowledged? Most likely, we have all had a similar thing happen to us. This would help us understand that this passage from the Gospel is generally interpreted to be a warning by Jesus to his disciples, including all of us, that we should not offer biblical doctrine to those unable to value and appreciate it. This is similar to another warning about giving sacred things to dogs. In these very telling examples, Jesus uses dogs and pigs as representatives of those who would ridicule, reject, and blaspheme the message of the Gospel and, by extension, the messengers/evangelizers of the Good News. We are not to expose the elements of our faith in Jesus Christ to those with no purpose other than trampling it and returning to their evil ways.

“How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” You and I are responsible for the process it takes to live our lives integrally and share what we believe, but we are not responsible for people’s responses. Just as animals could never appreciate pearls or the finer things in life, some cannot or will not appreciate what God has done for them. Jesus’ instruction to His apostles on how to handle rejection was simply to move on to those still waiting to hear the greatest story ever told.

“Staying in a situation where you are unappreciated is not called loyalty; it is called breaking your own heart.” Trent Shelton

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Spiritual Eyesight

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 20, 2022

“You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” There are many personality types and weaknesses that Jesus expresses the most disgust and repulsion than the hypocrite. We could ask ourselves, what is truly the problem with hypocrisy? When someone condemns the sinful behavior of others and then engages in the same behavior, we seem to lose it, or at least, sometimes. It is objectionable to realize that someone is not practicing what they preach, but it goes much deeper than that: a hypocrite is trying to convince us that they are more holy, righteous, and moral than the rest of the people. This is what makes it so hateful.

“They did not listen, but were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who had not believed in the LORD, their God.” We simply do not have nor should we ever seek the luxury of being proud, stubborn, or arrogant when it comes to our faith and feeding our souls whenever possible. This is why the Eucharist is remarkable both in its simplicity and supreme awesomeness. This is exactly how we put on the mind and heart of Jesus Christ; seeing my brothers and sisters through His eyes radiate love and forgiveness. You and I are called to begin every day to adopt and develop a healthy, realistic worldview where no one is better than anyone else and that forgiveness if we truly want it at the end of our lives, must be practiced today and right now before yet another minute passes. Life, as it is, clearly remains as fragile as it has ever been. We can live what we read in St. Matthew’s Gospel, “only then will you see clearly.”

“Truth without love is brutality and love without truth is hypocrisy.” Warren W. Wiersbe

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The Feast Of Corpus Christi

wine bread on table for Eucharist

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 19, 2022

Our First Reading begins to set the stage for a much deeper awareness of the simplicity of eating: “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words of his.” Our lives have been bought and purchased at an amazing cost! None of us are here “by accident.” We each have a deep and enriching purpose that we must find, and that journey must be fed: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.”

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord; whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Such a Feast begs all of us to take a step back and reflect on that quote from the Scriptures today. Jesus does so much more by giving us His Body and Blood. He teaches us that not only do we take meaningful time when we sit and share food but also take every opportunity and chance to serve, even to the point of washing each other’s feet.

“Take it; this is my body.” As Jesus feeds us with His very Body and Blood, He assures us that He is showing us and expecting us to be the least among us. It is easy to do great things for those we love. What about doing the hard things for those we don’t know or, even better, know who will never be able or willing to say thank you? This is selfless and what this night is all about: empty yourself as Jesus did, so where He has gone, we can follow.

“When you approach the (Eucharist in the) tabernacle remember that he has been waiting for you for twenty centuries.” St. Josemaria Escriva

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Divided Loyalties

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 18, 2022

“No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.” No one likes to be “caught in the middle.” This is especially noteworthy when we find ourselves amid conflicts and human drama not made of our doing. This is exactly why Jesus warns us and tries to prevent any of us from falling into divided loyalties. The pull and lure of this world with all its empty promises can create a severe split in our lives that spells certain trouble, not to mention a chaotic and frenetic lifestyle trying to please everyone, living a two-faced lie, and secretly maintaining a hidden life that costs much more than it is ever worth.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” The struggle between good and evil, which perpetuates all of our lives from start to finish, must be won. We will always have to face conflicts and discomforts, but we must never face those alone. When we accept our humanity and the people we truly are, we will see the great need we have for the Lord Jesus. Nothing and no one else will ever satisfy.


“More often than we realize, people see in us what we don’t see in ourselves.” Misty Copeland

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The Treasure Of Happiness

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 17, 2022

“When Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, saw that her son was dead, she began to kill off the whole royal family.” The First Readings we have been provided this week sound like the plot of a murder-mystery series that one might be tempted to binge-watch if anyone had that much free time these days. This wicked queen named Athalia has picked up where her mother left off. Yes, Jezebel, perhaps one of the evilest and most cunning figures in the Bible, rivaled only by Caipahas, Herod, and Pilate. As we just read, after the death of Ahaziah, her son, Athaliah, seized the throne and reigned for seven years. She massacred all the members of the royal house of Judah.

“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” What remains clear about living in this world is that you and I will meet ALL KINDS of people every single day, and all these encounters have in common is that we can tell what is in the heart of a person by their words and deeds. The Gospel underscores that claim by reminding us that whatever is in our hearts will undoubtedly find its way to the surface. Knowing that and trusting the Lord Jesus can make all the difference in the world, especially for the people around us. Ask yourself this question: “If people had to guess what was inside your heart just by your actions, what would they guess?”

“Try to make at least one person happy every day. If you cannot do a kind deed, speak a kind word. If you cannot speak a kind word, think a kind thought. Count up, if you can, the treasure of happiness that you would dispense in a week, in a year, in a lifetime!” Lawrence G. Lovasik

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Mind Walking

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 16, 2022

“Like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah whose words were as a flaming furnace.” There is a common principle of wisdom in most spiritual circles that states that we must watch our thoughts because they determine our words, actions, personality, and ultimately our destiny. History is full of episodes of confirmations of this truth. Even our own lives give rise to the belief that this is true. Guilt is the culprit that often robs our peace as well as fear. These, among others, are the source of the corruption of the mind and heart that often takes place slowly and methodically. But fear not, the remedy is not only clear but close: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

“If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” Perhaps there is no more obvious sign of a follower of Jesus than the desire and ability to forgive. By extension, the greater the offense, the greater the forgiveness, producing an even greater love to accomplish reconciliation. These are the thoughts we truly wish to walk through our hearts and minds, and if we invite Jesus Christ to walk with us daily, occupying our thoughts and feelings, success will be ours.

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” Mahatma Gandhi

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Prayer-Chariots Of Fire

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 15, 2022

“As they walked on conversing, a flaming chariot and flaming horses came between them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.” Many of us believe that there are two basic kinds of people in this life, “givers and takers.” If that’s true, it may suggest that that is how they see God. Stingy or sparing people usually have a relationship with God that sees Him as a taker rather than a giver. They perceive themselves as being drained away by God because he is so incessantly and solely demanding. Of course, they are ill-disposed to being generous. However, the heart which sees God as a giver wants to be like Him and bestow the same happiness they receive from Him upon others. When this person looks to God, he feels replenished, not drained. The prayers of these people are rich, meaningful, and life-giving.

Considering our lives of prayer, Jesus in our Gospel today has a remarkable suggestion: “But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” It seems that the closer and more inmate our prayer with God is, the more effective and fruitful it will be. Prayer doesn’t change the world. It changes people, and they change the world.

Our prayer may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” Max Lucado

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Love Is The Only Solution

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 14, 2022

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'” Right. That’s the way it used to be. That may be how some were raised or learned to act after so many disappointments and stabs in the back. It sure does take a lot of energy, though, and living by “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” just makes for a blind and toothless generation. “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Seriously? How is this done, especially in a world where cut-throat is the week’s game? What Jesus is asking us to do is not something impossible or unnatural. It is the only thing that makes sense and will bring peace to me and hopefully to the person who is hostile to me in time. It is possible to literally disarm a hating person by acting towards them positively and lovingly, refusing to be controlled by their negative attitudes, and imitating Christ Jesus in every way possible and any given situation.

Our call today is simple: remember that anyone who harms us also harms themselves as well, even if they get a twisted pleasure in the short term. If I have a true Christian spirit, I will reach out compassionately to that person. I will want that person to be healed, healed of their hatred, healed of their anger, and to learn how to love. “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This will not be easy, but it is not impossible either. The rewards are amazing. It is a phenomenal way to live precisely because it is a call and a challenge to do everything in our power to imitate God in extending our love, respect, and forgiveness impartially and unconditionally to everyone, especially to those who render injustice and sorrow upon us.
“I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” My friends, this is a new commandment because it makes us new and refreshed in the Lord Jesus. This is why many saints have referred to it as “perfection.”

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.” G. K. Chesterton

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Too Rich To Be Petty

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 13, 2022

“Lord, listen to my groaning.” Not too long ago, a writer came up with an interesting list based on a self-study based on interviews he conducted over the years. It was the top nine things people said before they died. Some of the things spoken were completely understandable, like “I see Heaven” or “I see Hell,” there was also this choice morsel: “I wish that I had let myself be happier.” Have you wondered what keeps us from being truly happy? Could it be pettiness and the resistance we sometimes take in forgiving someone who has hurt us deeply? The Gospel of today certainly addresses this question.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.” Today, Jesus gave us this teaching to help minimize the effects of evil and the current active spirit and echoes of hateful and vindictive spirits we encounter. Evil escalates when we respond to it with equal and, most times, excessive fervor. A small situation can get blown so far out of proportion that it can cause horrible harm. Even in everyday life, when someone wrongs us, the situation can blow up and get out of control, destroying marriages, families, friendships, and even faith, without which we simply cannot survive. Frustrating and ongoing issues of injustice will merely require more patience, more trust, more forgiveness, and more Jesus.

“That’s prayer to let God’s Word speak deep within you and tell you, “You are my beloved. You don’t have to take an eye for an eye. No, no you’re too rich for that.” Henri Nouwen

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Do You Like A Good Mystery?

person having a thrill rollercoaster ride

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 12, 2022

I know many who do, and I’ll bet so do you. I would like to propose at least three reasons why some deeply enjoy mysteries:

  1. They are a “safe thrill,” like an amusement park ride, a fast merry-go-round, or a wildly colorful Ferris Wheel. Similarly, mysteries are safe adventures because we get to visit exotic or otherwise interesting places and meet even more intriguing people. We encounter the dark side of people, but somehow we always know that good will overcome evil.

  2. We like mysteries because we can often relate to one or several characters. People enjoy following the detective or the CSI team because we believe that we can be a part of the solution. We belong to the “winning team” and restore justice, love, and peace.

  3. On perhaps the most basic level, we like mysteries for the same reasons others read romance, historical fiction, or sci-fi novels. We find ourselves instantly involved in the characters’ lives and being there with them, feeling what they feel, seeing what they see, and experiencing their emotional journey. What happens is that our worldview grows and fills our loneliness which helps us to figure out how to connect in the world. We learn about how others live and see the world, opening our perspectives and experiences.

Today, you and I are presented with a magnificent mystery: the Mystery of the Nature of God! It may be the same reason that people enjoy the literary genre of mystery, that we can find some inner excitement over what the Church provides for us today.

“Having come down in a cloud, the LORD stood with Moses there and proclaimed his name, “LORD.” (First Reading) Imagine! A front-row seat to the gift of the Ten Commandments is all ours! We meet Moses and the Creator God in the most intriguing of all places on Mt. Sinai. And today, on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, we are all certainly on the “winning team” as we remind ourselves of this miraculous membership every time we sign ourselves with the Sign of the Cross involving that same Glorious Mystery: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. “(Second Reading) Finally, The Most holy Trinity has been graciously given to us for the most sublime of all reasons: “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption, through whom we cry, “Abba, Father!” Jesus said to His Apostles, “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…” (Gospel)

If we truly enter into the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, even with just a simple act of Faith that involves our reason and our intellect, what happens is that our worldview grows. It fills up our loneliness and helps us figure out how to connect in the world. We learn about how others live and see the world, opening our perspectives and experiences. Remember this every time you make the Sign of the Cross with Holy Water:

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

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Say What You Mean

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 11, 2022

“Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.'” Our speech is a powerful gift that God has given to all humanity. It describes how we live and love and develop relationships with the world and those who will populate our years and create masterpieces with their friendship and care for us. Our words can also betray us, and there is much temptation in the present world to lie and damage the truth and cause pain even to those who want to love and care for us. We could say that, in some ways, our speech is a two-edged sword in that it can create or destroy depending on the integrity of the one who utters the host of words in a given lifetime.

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,’ Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.'” In today’s Gospel, Jesus also addresses the deep and dynamic power of our words. He goes beyond the legal aspects of vows and promises. He makes sure that even our daily conversations, especially our casual conversations, are imbued with truth and light and the desire to serve the truth. Otherwise, evil will thrive not because of the bad people we encounter but because of the good people in our lives who do and say nothing. Silence may be golden, but sometimes it is yellow (cowardice).

Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.” William Faulkner

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Hard Words And Hard Hearts

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 10, 2022

“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna (Hell).” These words of Jesus we just heard are hard words to hear. They are hard to think about. They are hard to process. They are hard because Jesus is addressing lust and adultery that cause more emotional pain and hurt families, perhaps more than anything else. Nobody wins when a family breaks apart under the horrible weight of painful pretense and broken dreams. Love is such a supreme and, yes, even Divine gift that any alteration or selfishness that enters such a relationship can have the most destructive consequences.

“After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.” We all have endured some of these painful experiences, either directly or indirectly. Yet, it is precise because Jesus is speaking about these that we simply cannot ignore what he has to say. We live in a broken world, and we pick up knocks and bruises as we go through, and if Jesus has something to say about all that, we need to tune in. If Jesus had nothing to say about the things that cause us the most heartache, he’s not asking us to live in the real world when He calls us to follow him. Love, not lust, is at the basis of our hearts. Truth, not lies, is the very air our hearts and souls need to approach God and one another. When we give our hearts to Jesus, we ask Him to allow us to love the way He does. Completely. Unselfishly. Purely. Daily prayer and the Eucharist are absolutely necessary for this spiritual approach to our human existence. What Jesus clearly wants for us is not natural; it is supernatural, and only then will we be happy in this life, waiting for the one to come. “Shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the Word of Life.”

Live life to the fullest. You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make your life a masterpiece. Laugh some every day. Keep growing, keep dreaming, keep following your heart. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Albert Einstein  

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The Secret Of Success

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 9, 2022

“Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” That is certainly something you don’t hear every day, at least in polite company. If you and I are going to understand what Jesus is communicating with us fully, we require a little research. In New Testament times, (much like today) anger was considered a very powerful emotion that could lead a person to horrible problems. If there were anger in someone’s heart, it would eventually show up in words and actions. The more anger, the more problems. Easy enough, right?

“Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him.” Throughout the year, as we have read in several places, Jesus also saw his followers as the light of a fire to the world. Placing a light fire under a basket would put the fire out. No, like a city high on a hill, the fire should be placed for all to see, especially when it comes to forgiveness and making peace even with the most incorrigible persons. So, one cannot hide faith through inaction. One must show faith in action for all to see, so those seeing the witness can be brought to faith and praise God.

In essence, Jesus told his followers they could not have it both ways. One cannot believe as a Christian yet act as if faith did not matter. Faith leads to action, and the action points to the Kingdom. Are we alive or lifeless? Are we who we say we are? Let’s see how the day progresses…

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Fighting Fire With Fire

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 8, 2022

“The God who answers with fire is God.” We have been presented with more than just an average display of God’s power and might, Elijah’s incredible and undying faith, and the almost comical and deeply ironic conclusion when the pathetic false gods of others are pitted against the mighty works of God, our Father. The false promises of false powers that claim to have power over life were literally left in the listless pangs of silence: “But there was not a sound; no one answered, and no one was listening.” This experience of the deepest disappointment when misdirected requests and longings go unanswered continues to play out even in the modern world. How many people do you know who is lost and empty because they backed the descendants of Baal and not the God of Elijah? Too many to mention, no doubt.

“But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” What is clear about today’s lesson should be evident: there are two sources of power in the universe, good and evil. Whatever is not of the God who has revealed Himself to us through Jesus Christ cannot ever hope to satisfy or bring about the goodness in this life we long for. For the rest of our lives, we must look for light and love and vision from the only source that can help us. This is where our prayer nourished by the Scriptures is not only essential but the only real guarantee of our happiness in this world: “You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.”

“Remember this. When people choose to withdraw far from a fire, the fire continues to give warmth, but they grow cold. When people choose to withdraw far from light, the light continues to be bright in itself but they are in darkness. This is also the case when people withdraw from God.” Saint Augustine

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Truth In Tension

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 7, 2022

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the salt of the earth.'” Let’s look at some of the uses/characteristics of salt. It is a preservative, gives flavor, is bright white, is used as a fertilizer, and produces thirst. As a preserving agent in this world, every Christian is to be in the world but not of the world and do whatever is in their power to keep those around from spoiling or degenerating. Christians can add flavor or joy to the world while living a life of purity and understanding while increasing the fruitfulness of those struggling alongside each of us. Just as salty food makes us thirsty, Christians, as the salt of the earth, can cause others to be thirsty for Jesus. “I want to be like you because you love God and it is obvious.”

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the light of the world.'” What does light do, and why do we need it so much? It exposes the hidden pockets of evil, enlightens greatness in this world, and shows us the way out of a dark space. This is precisely why we followers of Jesus need each other so much. We simply cannot do this alone. We need help more than just a few times to point out what is evil in this world to avoid it and help us realize the many blessings we have been given so we may be grateful lovers of God. We need help at every step and stage of our lives from others who love Jesus to find our way either out of the crisis, grief seasons, or just painful moments.

“Let your light shine before others so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Is there some hidden, secret recipe for being salt and light in this life? We have just discovered it. It has everything to do with living a holy, healthy, and happy life full of purpose. We need to beg to be filled with the Holy Spirit while there is breath in our bodies. We have the Commandments and Beatitudes, we have the Sacraments and the Mass, and we are constantly being challenged to continue to pray without ceasing or losing heart. This will be nourished by our reading and reflecting on the powerful Word of God as we do here. This is our life, our call, our invitation to greatness.

“Being salt and light demands two things: we practice purity in the midst of a fallen world and yet we live in proximity to this fallen world. If you don’t hold up both truth in tension, you invariably become useless and separated from the world God loves.” David Kinnaman

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Your Mother My Defense

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 6, 2022

“O happy Virgin, you gave birth to the Lord; O blessed mother of the Church, you warm our hearts with the Spirit of your Son Jesus Christ.” Today, the Church remembers and honors the intense suffering and grief of the Mother of Jesus during His Passion and Death and how these were gloriously transformed to bring us Jesus, Redemption, and the Church. There were actually seven individual sorrows that Mary endured as was foretold to her by Simeon, the priest of the Temple, on the occasion of the Lord’s Presentation. Here is a partial text of a very popular hymn somberly expressing these heartfelt sentiments: At the cross, her station keeping, Stood the mournful Mother weeping, Close to Jesus to the last. Through her heart, his sorrow sharing, All his bitter anguish bearing, Now at length, the sword had passed. Our present hope for our Christian journey toward Heaven is found here in the mystery of today’s Feast.

“So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.” Let us reflect on the mystery and fruits of suffering presented by St. John Paul II in remarkable teaching borne out of his own incredible personal sufferings. First, he says that suffering empowers humility: To suffer means to become particularly susceptible, particularly open to the working of the salvific powers of God, offered to humanity in Christ. In him, God has confirmed his desire to act, especially through suffering, which is man’s weakness and emptying of self, and he wishes to make his power known precisely in this weakness and emptying of self. Secondly, he teaches that suffering is transformative: Down through the centuries and generations, it has been seen that in suffering, there is concealed a particular power that draws a person interiorly close to Christ, a special grace. To this grace, many saints, such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and others, owe their profound conversion. A result of such a conversion is not only that the individual discovers the salvific meaning of suffering but also that he becomes a completely new person. He discovers a new dimension, as it were, of his entire life and vocation. Finally, he writes that suffering enlivens and grows charity and love for and of others: We could say that suffering . . . is present to unleash love in the human person, that unselfish gift of one’s “I” on behalf of other people, especially those who suffer. The world of human suffering unceasingly calls for, so to speak, another world: the world of human love, and in a certain sense, man owes to suffering that unselfish love that stirs in his heart and actions.

Thus, in its purest sense, suffering is actually the road to holiness and a closer walk and friendship with the Lord Jesus. His mother shed human tears for the Divine Son she helped bring into this world, our world. We cry human tears but not always for what is right and just. Today we seek to move toward complete integrity on this walk toward Heaven, knowing and embracing humility, deep-seated change, and charity which are all great gifts when we suffer from each other with Jesus always in our hearts and minds as equally dignified members of the Church.

Let me mingle tears with you, Mourning him who mourned for me, All the days that I may live. Christ, when you shall call me hence, Be your Mother my defense, Be your cross my victory.”  Stabat Mater

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Pentecost 2022: The Christ-Event

holy spirit day of pentecost

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 5, 2022

“If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.” This is one of those days that we can honestly greet each other with the happy phrase, “Happy Feast Day!” Why is that? Today the Church celebrates Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles, and many gathered with them, and the birth of the Church ensued. In some ways, we could say that this is our Birthday celebration because this is how it all began. This is how all of life is transformed and made new again. This is the force of the Gospel, especially when it is lived through and in the hearts of believers. This is what motivates the Psalmist to invite us to sing with all our hope and might: “When you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.”

“I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” Our Gospel Reading clarifies another compelling reason to ask and openly receive all the gifts that God wishes to impart to us through the Holy Spirit. We are not alone in this life. We have a great impact on and a deep call for service for and with each other. This makes the Church a mystery and a hopeful presence in a world that is often without it. Make this day special by renewing your Baptism and continuing to ask God for the strength of mind and heart. As we have often said here, the best is yet to come.

“Without Pentecost, the “Christ-event, ” that is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, remains imprisoned in history as something just to remember, think about and merely reflect on. The Spirit of Jesus comes to dwell within us so that we can become ‘living Christs’ here and now.” Henri Nouwen

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The Person I Am Meant To Be

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 4, 2022

“I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord; he will guide you to all truth.” When you and I were baptized, we were marked with oil to signify that we are consecrated to God and anointed by the Holy Spirit. Our anointing is also a powerful sacramental sign that we are joined to Christ and share in His threefold mission as Priest, Prophet, and King. The Israelites anointed their priests and kings with oil. They spoke of their prophets as being anointed with the Spirit. Jesus fulfilled all these as we read the conclusion of the Great Gospel of St. John this fine Saturday.

A priest is a mediator, or bridge, between God and human beings. He offers sacrifice to God on behalf of all. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the Jewish high priest went into the Holy of Holies in the Temple. There he offered sacrifice to God to make up for his sins and the people’s sins.

A prophet is a messenger sent by God who speaks for God. They witness God, call people to conversion and are killed for their message. Jesus fits this description perfectly. He is the Word of God made flesh and called the world to turn away from sin and return to the Father and was put to death for it. Crowds identified him as “Jesus the prophet” (Matthew 21:11). He spoke of himself as a prophet: “No prophet is accepted in his own native place.” (Luke 4:24) He even foretold–prophesized– His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

A king is a person who has supreme authority over land and people. When kings ruled the Jewish people, they became a nation. They longed for a Messiah who would again make them great and free them from the oppression of the Roman Empire.

The references to Jesus as King in the Gospels are amazing and meaningful: The Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that the Lord God would give her son the throne of King David, his father, and he would rule over the house of Jacob forever.

What was the most important day of your life? Earlier in our Reflections, I mentioned that it was Mark Twain who said that there were actually two:
1. the day we were born and
2. the day we realized why.

That certainly is accurate, but let’s reflect on what the Scripture has shown us today: the best day of our life was the day we were baptized into Christ! It was there that we received our three-fold mission to go forward in this life and anointed Priest, Prophet, and King:

Priest: As Baptized Christians, we pray and lift each other to God
and assist and partake in the great Sacrifice of the Mass.

Prophet: As Baptized Christians, we teach by word and example
and stand up when necessary for the Gospel and the poor and defenseless.

King: As Baptized Christians, we act kingly when we serve, act selflessly
and practice noble generosity.

Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be – and becoming that person.” St. Thérèse of Lisieux

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Summer Blueprint

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 3, 2022

St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta was once asked about her prayer life. The interviewer asked, “When you pray, what do you say to God?” The beautiful Saint replied, “I don’t talk, I simply listen.” Believing he understood what she had just said, the interviewer asked, “Ah, then what is it that God says to you when you pray?” She replied, “He also doesn’t talk. He also simply listens.” There was a long silence, with the interviewer seeming a bit confused and did not know what to ask next. Finally, Mother Teresa broke the silence by saying, “If you can’t understand the meaning of what I’ve just said, I’m sorry but there’s no way I can explain it any better.”

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” The secret of the spiritual successes of this great Saint, and ours, is given beautifully in the Gospel. Jesus, like Moses in the Old Testament, comes down the mountain to deliver and impart “The New Law of Love,” and much like the Ten Commandments, these give life and point the clear way to salvation. These are known as the Beatitudes and “are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching.” (CCC 1716). “They shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the Christian life.” (CCC 1717) And “they respond to the natural desire for happiness. This desire is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it.” The Beatitudes create the blueprint for living a beautiful, Christian life. These eight blessings are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching and respond to the natural desire that we all have for true and lasting happiness.

And they do one more thing: The Beatitudes proclaim the blessings and rewards that have already been secured for those who love Jesus. Just imagine, there’s a place in Heaven for you, and it has your name on it!

“Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of himself.” Mother Theresa

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E Pluribus Unum*

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 2, 2022

“May they all be one as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that the world may believe that you sent me, says the Lord.” Unity and union have tremendous amounts of literary and spiritual appearances in the Scriptures and the course of everyday life. We are constantly and even sometimes painfully reminded of what brings us together and what tears us apart. Our background, whether social background, knowledge, experience, or religion, can bring us together, separate us, or even cause conflict. Still, even in the face of such daunting challenges, Jesus prays to His Father that we may be one. 

“I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.” Why do we need unity? Jesus asserts that it is primarily for our benefit. It benefits all God’s people and makes us more effective, and shines Christ’s love into the world. When there is no unity in the essential matters of life, we have disastrous effects. Let’s start with our inner circles and immediate spheres of influence. What can and should I do today to make things more unified? How can I be a source of unity rather than disunity? The answer is simple because it is found in the person of Jesus who is love and who taught us that the greatest thing we can do in this life is to love, forgive and serve. Today is a good day to start. Out of many, let us be one. 

*E pluribus unum – Latin for “Out of many, one” – is a traditional motto of the United States, appearing on the Great Seal; its inclusion on the seal was approved by an Act of Congress in 1782.

In the essential things, unity; in the non-essential, diversity. In all things, charity.” St. Augustine 

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Smile, Breathe, Give

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 1, 2022

“Consecrate them in the truth.” What does it mean to consecrate someone or something? Some definitions render the word as the act by which something or someone is made sacred and or dedicated for a clear and religious purpose when Jesus continues His prayer to the Father in Heaven and asks that those who would follow Him, His Apostles, the early Church, and all of us who seek the truth in the Church to be consecrated, it is clear that He is asking that we be set apart and made sacred for a specific role and place in this world. 

“As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” How can we live this “consecration” daily? First, it means that we are people of truth and not lies. Second, we continue to seek to be in union with Jesus, always staying in communication with Him just as He was with His Father. And finally, we must keep in mind the powerful description that Jesus gives to all of us today: “They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.” When worry, anxiety, anger, or deep-seated sorrow begin to overtake us, we must cling to this promise. We simply do not belong to this world; we belong to Jesus. Seen in this perspective, even the greatest problems we may ever have to encounter will always be met with Jesus right at our side. “In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”  

“I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.” Steve Maraboli

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The Visitation

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 31, 2022

Generosity is a willingness to give even at a cost to oneself. It expresses concern for meeting the needs of others, even if it means sacrificing something of one’s own. We are to extend ourselves to all of mankind, especially the neediest. To do so, we are emulating Jesus, who went after the one lost sheep. To love is to give. God loves us and gives us everything He wants us to have. When we give, as our Lord encourages, we truly deny ourselves. Generosity must be done in silence to merit grace from God and not merely the thanksgiving of mortal men. It is very easy to be generous to our relatives or friends, but that is not generosity since we will be repaid for that with friendship, thanksgiving, and praise. Generosity must extend to the poor and the needy. It is a quest for justice as we have the work of God to provide for those who don’t have it.

The most excellent example of Generosity (after Jesus Himself): The Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Blessed Mother exhibits the fullness of love and truth in the fullness of grace. She is generous in charity, patient, kind, and gentle; she is good and faithful, chaste, modest, and temperate. Her spirit rejoices in God, her savior, and she is at peace even in trying times because she trusted in the Lord: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.” (Gospel)

Three times in this life, Mary was blessed in a special way by the Holy Spirit – at her Immaculate Conception, at the Annunciation, and at Pentecost – and we are the beneficiaries of the immeasurable fruits of the Spirit produced in her. Through her maternal protection and intercession, we obtain pardon for our sins, health in times of sickness, the strength of heart when we are weak, consolation in the face of affliction, and help when we are in danger. Above all, she is the Mother of Christ, our Redeemer, and our Mother.

Today, we recall her famous visit to her cousin Elizabeth. John the Baptist leaped in her womb, foreshadowing our joy at the Birth of Mary’s Son, Jesus. She also shows us quintessentially how to evangelize, bringing Jesus to others at every opportunity. Mary also powerfully reminds us that every encounter we have has the potential to bring the Good News to someone who truly needs it. Thank you, Mary, for your wonderful YES!

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Ascension: I’ll Be Back

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 30, 2022

The Feast that we celebrate today brings a newness of understanding and a fresh and bold way to continue the path we have chosen all the way to Heaven. This virtual retreat that started on Ash Wednesday, culminating on Easter Sunday, is now being fully realized and planted in our hearts right as Pentecost looms with the promise of Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit: “So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God.” This does not mark an end of the relationship Jesus has with us, the Church, but rather a new beginning and new way of how we relate to Him as He returns to the Father. We are the Body of Christ, and thus we have also ascended with Him in a very hopeful and powerful way. This must change how we look at our lives today, knowing that the greatest is still yet to come for all of us. Our very nature now is in transition between Heaven and earth, and it will be up to us to decide how we are to act while we live and move and have our being. That must involve praying for, waiting for, and living in the gifts of wisdom and knowledge. We must be witnesses!

“We must show our Christian colors if we are to be true to Jesus Christ.” (C. S. Lewis) Perhaps the most awesome lesson to learn from today’s Feast is that Jesus is coming back just as He said He would. This does NOT mean that we lie in wait, scared and anxious about the cataclysmic doomsday that is so popular in science-fiction and pop culture. The opposite is true: doesn’t it make more sense than if you knew someone you deeply loved was coming to see you, wouldn’t you be outside eager and happy to greet them, having prepared a lavish welcome with mind and heart ready and poised to hold and embrace and even shout with a song upon seeing them again? Absolutely! To be honest, it is not always easy to maintain such a joyful demeanor, especially when there are crises we must face and problems we must address. Sometimes we are allowed to hit rock bottom so we may know that God is The Rock at the bottom. Discovering this mysterious truth, we then are set again to face whatever comes with the strength inside from Him, who is returning just as He left. Indeed, we could and should shout with the Second Reading today: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”

“What then are we to do about our problems? We must learn to live with them until such time as God delivers us from them…we must pray for grace to endure them without murmuring. Problems patiently endured will work for our spiritual perfecting. They harm us only when we resist them or endure them unwillingly.”  A.W. Tozer 

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Conquering In The Struggle

gloomy weather clouds over railway tracks

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 29, 2022

“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.” Each time we live through the great transforming Seasons of Lent and Easter, there must be some part of us that is changed. Understanding and embracing final justice and the Last Judgement has the remarkable effect of grounding us closer and closer to Jesus, knowing that as long as we stand with Him in the power of the Holy Spirit, life can never be the same again.

So my dear friends, what are we to do as we bathe in the grace of these powerful proclamations from Scripture? First, practice the faith. Of course, the spiritual life is a struggle, but we find ourselves and our road to holiness within that grind. Second, be generous in the things of God and pray for the spirit of detachment. The early Christians lived this remarkable spirit, and even though their lifestyle didn’t amount to much in monetary terms, their intention and hearts certainly did, as they were poised for entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Finally, reject discouragement: “I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”

“Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the Kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors. No evil can resist grace forever.” Brennan Manning

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Beauty No Misery

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 28, 2022

“I came from the Father and have come into the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” What kind of magnificent love has inspired and propelled God to send His Son Jesus Christ to be born in a filthy manger, live a poor life, then be crucified for our sins? Perhaps a line from today’s Gospel helps us answer this profound question: “For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have come to believe that I came from God.”

As we are surrounded by the great Feasts of the Ascension and Pentecost, we are called to respond with the enthusiastic joy of the awareness that is brought to the one who understands this gift and cannot help but be changed forever. My life must be different because of what happened to me and the world. Death has been defeated, and there is a place waiting for me in Heaven forever. This is also underscored by the opening lines of today’s Responsorial Psalm: “All you peoples, clap your hands; shout to God with cries of gladness. For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the earth.” Let us move forward into this weekend with new resolve and new hope. Darkness cannot and will not extinguish what we have been given.

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” Anne Frank  

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Labor Pains

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 27, 2022

“You’ll never understand life until it grows within you.” (Sandra C. Kassis). “When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world.” The Gospel today presents us with yet another powerful and insightful image to help us understand the depths of our spiritual lives and how we can best understand and live them to their fullest with Jesus Christ always before us. The basic wisdom at play here is quite simple: the greater the goal, the greater the sacrifice, the greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward. “Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, and so enter into his glory.” Jesus accomplished everything for us with a great amount of pain and suffering. But just look at the results: Our salvation and place in heaven have been assured and guaranteed. All we need to do is get there. Consider the following two quotes and allow for some quality time today to reflect on them:

“If God gives you an abundant harvest of trials, it is a sign of great holiness which He desires you to attain. Do you want to become a great saint? Ask God to send you many sufferings. The flame of Divine Love never rises higher than when fed with the wood of the Cross, which the infinite charity of the Savior used to finish His sacrifice. All the pleasures of the world are nothing compared with the sweetness found in the gall and vinegar offered to Jesus Christ. That is, hard and painful things endured for Jesus Christ and with Jesus Christ.” Saint Ignatius of Loyola

“When it is all over you will not regret having suffered; rather you will regret having suffered so little, and suffered that little so badly.” St. Sebastian Valfre

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Such Sweet Sorrow

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 26, 2022

“Good night, good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow that I’ll say good night until tonight becomes tomorrow.” –Shakespeare, (Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2, Line 185) “I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord; I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.” How can separation and painful longing be good? Perhaps we could also remember the adage repeated a million times all over the globe, which states emphatically that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Is that true? Because of our weakened humanity, always longing for things that will never disappoint, anger or end, we can see how separation allows us to be much more aware and grateful for the people and the things around us. Think of the ailing patient in a cold, removed hospital room who misses the outdoors. Then imagine the first day out of the hospital. What joy it would be!

And there is yet another sweetening factor here: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.” Please realize today and for the rest of our tomorrows what access we have been given after the Ascension and in the power of the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost. We can and must ask God for our needs with the assurance and confidence that the Risen and Ascended Lord Jesus has given us. “Ask and you will receive” is better than all the promises of the world combined! That is why the parting of Christ at the Ascension is such sweet sorrow.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” A.A. Milne

“So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.” Helen Keller

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Gods Of Our Own Making

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 25, 2022

Our First Reading today reveals a remarkable experience that St. Paul had when speaking to the deeply religious Greeks living in Athens at that time: “You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious.” As we recall, the Greeks had an altar to an unknown or unrecognizable deity, and the brilliant St. Paul utilized this moment in what had to have been a breath-taking moment. He built on their spiritual experience of something beyond their immediate grasp. He began to introduce the wonders and miraculous comfort of our God, who clearly does not want to remain hidden or distant and who has been and will always be patiently awaiting an epiphany on the part of every individual who is looking for truth and meaning their lives: “God has overlooked the times of ignorance, but now he demands that all people everywhere repent.”

“But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.” These wonderful passages are preparing us for the great Feasts of the Ascension and Pentecost, which are being anticipated by the whole Church in the coming weeks. First, Jesus must physically leave to prepare a place for us. Second, The Holy Spirit must come down upon the Church so that Christians everywhere may fully enter the mystery of grace and salvation at a level of comfort, vision, and understanding. We pray during this time for an infusion of wisdom so that we might comprehend what is happening in our lives and place all those events, good and bad, happy and tragic, onto the backdrop and perspective of our eternal life in Heaven. Allow these days of waiting for Pentecost to make a real impact on your life. It promises to be amazing, even if it is just one small received insight. It could make a huge difference.

“Our society worships gods of our own making. Our culture is saturated with the worship of sports, sex and pleasure. We are busy humanizing God and deifying man. Our idols are not statues of gold and marble; our idols come from the things we love the most. Life does not have to be filled with such emptiness, but we can fill our minds and hearts with the things that bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. Dr.” Billy Graham

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Giving Us What We Desire

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 24, 2022

“Then he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.'” When we say that we believe in something or someone, that one little phrase speaks volumes. When you or I say that our belief is placed in a person, everything points to complete trust, respect, and love. This is why when we surrender power to people we love, and rightly so, we also risk a terrible plight of being hurt badly. Many of us have heard the statement that “no one can hurt you like the one you love can hurt you.”

“And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation.” This is why the ongoing promise on the part of Jesus for the Holy Spirit, often referred to as the Advocate in several of the passages this month, is how we come to put our trust in Jesus, believing in what He says to do, is of the most remarkable and utmost importance for the salvation of our souls.

And the great news is, unlike people, the Lord will NEVER hurt us. What a relief!

“As we journey through this life – through the easy times and the painful times – God is fashioning us into people who are like his Son, Jesus. That means God is in the process of changing what we desire far more than he is in the process of giving us what we desire.” Charles Stanley

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Lydia’s Legacy

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 23, 2022

“One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying.” From time to time, the Scriptures unfold and reveal certain special treasures that make sense to a handful of believers, even more so than to others. Today is one of those days. Although we may not have ever heard of Saint Lydia, she did exist, and in some parts of the Church on the planet, her veneration and memory are still celebrated. The site where she was baptized is marked with a modern Greek Orthodox chapel just outside the NW gate of Roman Philippi in Greece.

“And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.” Although, for most Catholics, praying to Saint Lydia for her intercession to the Lord for us would be very innovative and unique, there is something wonderful and insightful here. What she models for us is not new. In his 1995 Letter to Women, Saint John Paul II wrote, “In this vast domain of service, the Church’s two-thousand-year history, for all its historical conditioning, has truly experienced the ‘genius of woman’; from the heart of the Church there have emerged women of the highest caliber who have left an impressive and beneficial mark in history.” St. Lydia’s genius is instructive and worthy of our consideration for knowing the desires of her heart: She was a businesswoman who lived the virtue of hospitality, a leader of people, and a follower of Jesus Christ. She knew her own heart and followed its inspirations and attractions to the person of Jesus Christ. Let us ask Lydia to guide all women, indeed, all Christians, in their responding sacrificially to the holy desires of their hearts. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home.”

“Pour out upon us, Lord, the spirit of knowledge and love of you, with which you filled your handmaid blessed Lydia, so that, serving you sincerely in imitation of her, we may be pleasing to you by our faith and our works. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.” Amen.

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Never Alone

person on hill outstretched arms facing sunrise

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 22, 2022

“If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right.” If someone were to ask you what you thought clearly marks the life of a Christian, what do you think you would say? No doubt, some would say that they are people who are nice, friendly, and generous with their time and possessions. Others might also chime in and say that the mark of a Christian is a thirst for God’s Word. Even though answers like these are correct, there is one hallmark that is often forgotten. It is the hallmark of love. Christians should love each other. That means that at every opportunity we approach, especially in the face of evil and hatred, if we truly want to look like a Christian, we must act like one and forgive and love as often as possible.

“The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” This is why the promise on the part of Jesus for the Holy Spirit, called the Advocate in these passages, is of the most remarkable and utmost importance. You see, without the help of the Holy Spirit, we couldn’t possibly know what it means to forgive and move on with our lives; we would not know what it means to trust and place all of our lives, especially its worries and difficulties at the foot of the cross and know that we are never alone.

“You are never left alone when you are alone with God.” Woodrow Kroll

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I Just Want to be Happy

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 21, 2022

People are always disappointed. Think about the hateful disappointment of those over 2,000 years ago who were expecting their own created version of the Messiah! They expected a revolutionary who would wield such political and military power that anyone associated with him would be called “his friend.” Selfishly, they would then somehow share in that tremendous and overwhelmingly amassed power. It is little wonder why such as these rejected Jesus Christ flat out because, astoundingly, he promoted service as a basis for greatness. He even washed feet and wounds and ate with sinners and outcasts: “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.”

Those who rejected Jesus when He first came were steeped in their mistaken ideas about who God promised and how he would save them from their sins. This still happens today as Jesus comes to us every single day of our lives, which calls upon us to set aside any biases or unrealistic expectations and accept the Lord Jesus just as He says He is for the world: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” Love Jesus today with all your heart, and then allow that remarkable decision to permeate and affect everything you do and say. Sometimes the human heart needs more time to accept what the mind already knows.

“Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
C. S. Lewis

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To Live As Friends

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 20, 2022

“I call you my friends, says the Lord, for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.” Perhaps one of the greatest gifts we each have in this life is that of solid, lasting, and supportive friendship. We often do not think about this treasure in our lives, but it is one that we certainly miss when it is gone. Jesus offers the most remarkable share in His life by calling us His friends and providing us the same comforts and encouragements that come from good friends. And He promises that He is also present in those relationships that bring us closer and closer to Heaven and help build our relationship with Jesus Himself. “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”

The Lord also offers a deeper insight into love and friendship when he states what might have been so obvious beforehand: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” The ultimate sacrifice that people make for each other is the utmost extent of a loving commitment of one friend to another. Sometimes that sacrifice is carried out in one singular moment or lived out over many years of life. Nevertheless, friendship in the Lord Jesus is the greatest gift nourished by the Word of the Scriptures and the Bread of Life.

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends.”

Michael W. Smith

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Complete Joy

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 19, 2022

“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.” Joy is both a mysterious and complicated matter for some reason. What brings joy to one and not to another? Why do some people avoid being happy while others thrive on it? Perhaps part of the understanding of human nature is revealed within each person who feels and experiences life through their prism of life and love. Each person makes a fundamental decision practically every day of their life as to what will make them happy, sad, angry, or even apathetic. For our purposes in trying to unlock the Scriptures, we could say that joy, like happiness, is a choice and a very important one from the looks of things.

“My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.” It comes down to this: it all depends on who you listen to. We all know friends and acquaintances that are news aficionados and who have their hands on the pulse of all things newsworthy or not. We know people whose worldview is determined by those few people who occupy their inner circles. And, of course, some seem aimless and lost because they have no one. That is why listening for the voice of Jesus today is critical. What is He saying to you, right here, right now? So much is riding and depends on the answer to this question. If we want complete joy in Christ, we must listen. And we listen, we follow. Then our joy might be complete.

“Prayer is first of all listening to God. It’s openness. God is always speaking; he’s always doing something. Prayer is to enter into that activity… Convert your thoughts into prayer. As we are involved in unceasing thinking, so we are called to unceasing prayer. The difference is not that prayer is thinking about other things, but that prayer is thinking in dialogue,… a conversation with God.” Henri Nouwen

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Remain in Me

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 18, 2022

“Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord; whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.” This is yet another profound and useful image to understand our role and purpose in this life. How often have we asked ourselves or heard others ask about why we are here and our purpose? Sometimes our vision for ourselves falls short of what is going on in our lives. At times our perspective on the world around us becomes bitter, and thus, our actions and words become rude, unkind, and thoughtless with numbing regularity. We mistakenly think there is no good fruit to be found, but the real truth is that we haven’t spent enough quality time with our beautiful and loving God. When we allow ourselves the time to realize how great our God is, we begin to see and bear good fruit. Then and only then does it become much easier to choose gratitude over complaining.

This now brings us to this very telling and provocative warning from the Lord: “Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.” At the heart of the battle for our souls is a real enemy who prowls around seeking someone to devour. Evil will never stop gaining new ground and moving others away from the Lord. This is yet another reason we must be aware of those who just “talk the talk.” “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.” We must also realize that we will be able to recognize the true person living in every human being by their fruits. That includes you and me, especially in our day-to-day interaction with our fellow sojourners on this planet toward Heaven, always knowing and trusting that the Lord Jesus will make a great harvest even out of our most humble intentions as long as we remain faithful. Be great today! You may never know what kind of rich harvest you will be planting.

“Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.” Robert Schuller

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Slow Down Today

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 17, 2022

“And when they arrived, they called the Church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. Then they spent no little time with the disciples.” When everything is so clear and lucid at that wonderful moment in life, you just do not want time to end. We might say that time was relative in those special episodes around us. “Time is relative” means the rate of change of time is not the same for every frame of reference. Two people sitting in two other frames of reference can measure different rates of time, i.e., one’s clocks can tick faster than others or vice-versa. When the grace of God surrounds you, time stands still, and everything comes into such clear focus that we just do not ever want to leave that space. But unfortunately, reality knocks relentlessly, and we go back to the grime and gristle of it all. The joy that overwhelmed the disciples in our First Reading understood that very well. They knew and quickly realized that great things take great sacrifices but yield even greater rewards: “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” They couldn’t spend enough time listening to all the wonders that God had done for those who never lost trust or faith in Him.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” To find these deep, wonderful moments of clarity, we must slow down. If we think that somehow and somehow, we will finish everything we think we need to accomplish, we will wear ourselves down. This leaves little time to survey and realize how God our God is to us. Try slowing today. You’ll be so glad you did.

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” Saint Francis de Sales

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Looking for Scars

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 16, 2022

“When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they cried out in Lycaonian, ‘The gods have come down to us in human form.'” Have you ever wondered why so many seem preoccupied with the movie, sports, and music superstars? Take a look at the raw energy at concerts, movie premieres, award shows, and sports events and notice how crazy people get over these people, who, like Paul and Barnabas in our First Reading, are just human beings like ourselves. Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that too many people do not have God in their lives, so they will and have settled for a bunch of little, passing, inconsequential gods. They last for a moment until the next rage appears. So sad!

“I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” “Then he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.'” As we have heard in today’s Readings, the only remedy for this obsession with human idols is to be open to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and knowledge. Belief and trust in the Lord Jesus promise that we will have clarity in this life, peace in our hearts, and right judgments, especially when we watch the news of any given number of movies and television shows, not to mention sporting events. Jesus truly loves us and is not looking for fame or good looks but loving Him back in return.

“God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas but for scars.” Elbert Hubbard

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Friendship on Fire

senior man smiling looking at phone in hand

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 15, 2022

“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” One day an older gentleman received a call from his fifty-something son, whose relationship was always good but lived far away in another state. It was a brief call only to say that the younger man had been in a larger meeting, and the man sitting next to him had used the same kind of hair gel his dad had used for all these years (when he had hair). He just wanted his dad to know that remembered his father, missed him and loved him with all his heart. Can you imagine how that older man must have felt? What a great and comforting surprise. “He remembers me, still!”

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.” This hope is a little of what it is for those chosen by the Lord to follow Him, which truly includes all of us. This must be the Holy Spirit at great work in the world if it is so personal and yet so universal. The Lord is hungering for our faith while every one of us remains so special and truly close to His Heart. We exist as if there were only one of us in the entire universe. This is what the Holy Spirit does for the one who seeks God in this life.

“I give you a new commandment: love one another.” Perhaps one of the greatest gifts we each have in this life is that of solid, lasting, and supportive friendship. We often do not think about this treasure in our lives, but it is one that we certainly miss when it is gone. Jesus offers the most remarkable share in His life by calling us His friends and providing us the same comforts and encouragements as good friends. And He promises that He is also present in those relationships that bring us closer and closer to Heaven and help build our relationship with Jesus Himself. “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”

On this beautiful Sunday, take a moment first to remember all the people in your life whom you have loved and love today. Say a deeply felt prayer for them. Thank God for them. Then, follow your heart. If it is with Jesus, you will not be disappointed.

“Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.” Ann Landers

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St. Matthias: Love In The Time of Christ

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 14, 2022

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Here we have the most awesome and life-changing promise that the Lord offers to us to ensure that we know that He is absolutely and eternally serious about what he intends to provide for us for all time: He promises to make the ultimate sacrifice for those He loves intensely. Do you personally know anyone who would die for you? If you did, would they be able to assure your entrance into Heaven? Only Jesus can do both.

“Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.” Today is also the Feast of St. Matthias, who “replaced” the fallen traitor Judas after the horrible sequence of events after the Last Supper on Holy Thursday. Again, we have an example of Christ’s love for His Church by continually stocking and staffing good and solid leaders to shepherd and protect the flock. God never leaves us orphans because we live in the time of Christ until we live with Him forever in Heaven.

“If I am a friend of Jesus, I must deliberately and carefully lay down my life for Him. It is a difficult thing to do, and thank God that it is. Salvation is easy for us, because it cost God so much. And Jesus says to us, “…I have called you friends….” Remain faithful to your Friend, and remember that His honor is at stake in your bodily life.” Oswald Chambers

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Sanity In The Face Of Human Injustice

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 13, 2022

“We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you that what God promised our fathers he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.” Many continue to comment these days that the world seems to be out of control with no end in sight. Perhaps you know people who are despairing the more they keep watching the news worldwide, which seems so bleak and hopeless. We have people all around us who seem to have no joy left even after the great celebration of Easter! What do you tell someone like that?

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” The only possible response you and I can have is to joyfully and calmly repeat the words that Jesus has for every one of us today. The only real way we can respond to turbulence in our world, communities, and families is to have faith in the One who rose from the dead and continues to give light and promise to all who will listen. Start with yourself. Believe. Trust. Share.

“Do not let your heart become troubled by the sad spectacle of human injustice. Even this has its value in the face of all else. And it is from this that one day you will see the justice of God rising with unfailing triumph.” St. Padre Pio

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Love’s Search for Happiness

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 12, 2022

Imagine the disappointment of those over 2,000 years ago who were expecting their own created version of the Messiah! They expected a revolutionary who would wield such political and military power that anyone associated with him would be called “his friend.” They would then somehow share in that tremendous and overwhelmingly amassed power. It is little wonder why such as these rejected Jesus Christ flat out because, astoundingly, he promoted service as a basis for greatness. He even washed feet and wounds and ate with sinners and outcasts: “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.”

William Shakespeare once wrote, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” Although there is much truth in that statement, there perhaps is more that resonates with reality to say that unrealistic expectation is the blueprint for disaster. Those who rejected Jesus when He first came were steeped in their mistaken ideas about who God promised and how he would save them from their sins. This still happens today as Jesus comes to us every single day of our lives, which calls upon us to set aside any biases or unrealistic expectations and accept the Lord Jesus just as He says He is for the world: “From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise, has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.” Love Jesus today with all your heart, and then allow that remarkable decision to permeate and affect everything you do and say from now on. Sometimes the human heart needs more time to accept what the mind already knows.

“Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” C. S. Lewis

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Turn On Your Truth Light

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 11, 2022

“I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.” This clear and awesome self-description from Jesus in the Gospel today speaks more than just volumes for us to ponder. It calls out throughout the centuries for a deep and true response to reality whom we follow, whom we love. How is He the light? We immediately realize that this question would automatically posture and position our conversation that could easily drift into philosophy or history, or even politics. Light, by its very definition, illumines reality. It helps us see clearer and thus walk in a way that moves us toward fulfillment, happiness, and holiness. Let us recall the words of Christ who makes it crystal clear: “I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.”

We encounter people in our lives, some who add to the joy and peace that is ours and those who attempt to rob us of that light that we take so long and with great effort to maintain. Do we surrender power to people who will use it to destroy us? Jesus saves us from precisely such horrible pitfalls and mental traps. Think of all the conversations you had yesterday, and then think of all the ones you will have. How many of them will be about important, eternal matters? Some people feel very uncomfortable and awkward talking about their faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. However, everything true will speak for itself, and we are just its servants. No matter how educated, talented, rich, or “cool” any of us believe that we are, how we treat people ultimately tells everything anyone ever needs to know about who we are versus who we say we are. Go into today and travel into your world armed with what you know is good, sound, and holy!

“The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.” St. Augustine

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The Suspense Is Filling Me

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 10, 2022

“How long are you going to keep us in suspense?” In the discipline of literature and creative writing, suspense is the element of both fiction and nonfiction that makes the reader uncertain about the outcome. As an emotional response, being in suspense could be good or not, depending on how sure we are of the outcome of any given situation. “And a large number of people was added to the Lord.” Humanity has always been in suspense about one thing or another. Perhaps the great number of people who turned their lives over to the Lord Jesus suggests strongly that they knew something better was waiting for them, and they found it all in Jesus. In this regard, the suspense kept the mind and heart open to find the true and lasting answers to life and love and eternity.

“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” A very old and equally wise saying boldly states, “tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.” It means that we often surround ourselves with the voices of those we tend to agree with and trust, making all the difference in the world. If we associate and fill our minds and hearts with meaningless passing things, it will be no wonder why we sense a vague, empty relationship with God and others. Who we listen to and what we watch will shape our very approach to life now, here on earth, and later in Heaven. Perhaps we don’t have the patience to wait on what God wants to say to us. A little suspense can reveal wondrous things about the world and grace and our place on the way back to God. Spend some time today and just listen. Endure the suspense.

“Even cowards can endure hardship; only the brave can endure suspense.” Mignon McLaughlin

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Climbing the Mountain of Life

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 9, 2022

George Mallory was the famed mountain climber who may have been the first person ever to reach the top of Mount Everest. In the early 1920’s he led several attempts to scale the mountain, eventually being killed in the third attempt in 1924. Before that last and fatal attempt, he had said: “I can’t see myself coming down defeated.” Mallory was an extraordinary climber, and nothing would force him to give up. His body was found in 1999, well preserved by the snow and ice, 27,000 feet up the mountain, just 2000 feet from the peak. He never gave up nor looked for the easy way to the top. In that same year, a banquet was held for the team that accompanied George Mallory. A huge picture of Mt. Everest stood behind the banquet table. It is said that the leader of the group stood to be applauded and with tears streaming down his face, turned and looked at the picture:

“I speak to you, Mt. Everest, in the name of all brave men living and those yet unborn. Mt Everest, you defeated us once; you defeated us twice; you defeated us three times. But Mt. Everest, we shall someday defeat you, because you can’t get any bigger but we can.” In 1953 two climbers, Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzig Norgay, reached the top.

“I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.” Today, Jesus invites us with perfect clarity to enter through the narrow gate. This gate path could mean following the Lord Jesus when it is convenient or inconvenient. It could mean doing the right thing even when no one is watching. Entering and climbing through the narrow gate means following Christ, not just sometimes or partway, but completely. It means we persevere and sacrifice and surrender even how we think things should unfold, even in the face of disappointments and sadness. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”

God never said that the climb up the mountain of life would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worth everything.

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What’s My Assignment?

golden gates of heaven

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 8, 2022

“So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.” One of the great gifts we can collect from the Easter mystery is a profound ability to tell the difference between good and evil; even in the most simple day-to-day experiences. More specifically, the joy of Easter lets us remove the weight we tend to place on very petty matters that rob us of the joys of living.

“For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Easter must be the time of our lives! If we could catch a mere glimpse of what Heaven would be like, we could hardly let anything annoy or upset us. And yet, in the course of things, we surrender power and attention to the wrong things.

“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” This still happens today, especially with the amount of anxiety and restlessness in the world, especially these past two years with the outbreak of COVID-19. The task for all of us is clear. We must listen. We must attempt with all our might to recognize the Lord’s voice and heart in this troubled world, and with the divinely-inspired help of the Scriptures, the suspense of the future can and should and is resolved in the hearts of those who love Christ first, then all who have been placed alongside us on this earthly journey of ours. It takes true courage inspired by the Holy Spirit to even imagine a greater and fuller existence in anticipation of our life in Heaven. Yet, this adds color and suspense to life, making us believe that the best is always yet to come. And so it is.

“Every day, we have to ask God for our assignment, we must not assume we understand His plan but rather surrender to His will daily.” E’yen A. Gardner

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Easter Eggs of Peace

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 7, 2022

“The Church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace.” Are you at peace today? Why or why not? These questions are sincerely important because of who we are: Christians, that is, people who believe in and follow The Lord Jesus, risen from the tomb. People in our lives who do not have any faith or wonder why we have ours will certainly be looking to us to see how we handle every kind of life situation, especially disappointment, tragedy, and bad treatment. What they may be searching keenly in us is a profound sense of gratitude: “How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?” This thankful-for-living attitude can make all the difference in the world, not only in the way we live our daily lives with family and friends but also in how we subtly impact the lives of all those around us who are also searching for meaning in their own lives.

“It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” This openly optimistic and encouraging attitude has more to do with the grace and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives than it does with just simple cognitive shifts in our personality. It has everything to do with believing that Jesus accomplished everything He said and promised He would do. This is highly crucial for us. We have been so immeasurably blessed that the only response for us today is to be a blessing to others. Loved people love people, and freed people lead others to freedom.

“The Easter eggs symbolize our ability to break out of the hardened, protective shell we’ve surrounded ourselves with that limits our thoughts and beliefs. As we break open our hearts and minds we discover a transformation to a new life enhancing thoughts and beliefs.” Siobhan Shaw

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The Heart of the Matter

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 6, 2022

“‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ He said, ‘Who are you, sir?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.'” There is a very telling and interesting detail in our Scriptural Readings today. It concerns the very nature of the question that Jesus asks Saul, later the great St. Paul, as to his previously recklessness and heartless persecution of the early Christian Church. Keep in mind that he has been rounding up all those following the “New Way” of the Lord and imprisoning most of them for their beliefs. But notice what Jesus asks him: “why are you persecuting me?” What inescapable conclusion can we draw from this telling detail? Jesus is equating the Church with his very person, His own body. His new creation of the Church has everything to do with a deep and lasting, wonderfully engaging personal relationship with Himself. What a joy it is to discover that in prayer today!

The effect of this real joy is what we do with the knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has done for us. We share! This can and does bring life to others in a very broken world in which we live. “Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.” If we came across someone in our homes or places of schooling or work literally in obvious distress, our first reaction would be to do something positive and proactive. How much more does that matter when we know that someone needs to hear of God’s great and marvelous love for us? This is precisely how we can help Jesus and the community of believers. Be a friend to someone in need. It is just too easy to dismiss people who are not like us or perhaps do not like us! How can you be a blessing for that certain someone today? And even though we cannot expect anyone to change just because we forgive them, it is the change in our hearts and within all our attitudes that we are after. Our prayer reveals that Easter means a new life for all. Imagine all the possibilities!

“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is a daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” Mahatma Gandhi

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Share to Remember

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 5, 2022

Edgar Dale was a nineteenth-century American educator who developed the “Cone of Experience,” by which he made the following amazing assertions: we remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, 50% of what we see and hear, 70% of what we discuss with others, 80% of what we experience, and a whopping 95% of what we teach others. There is probably some of this that would ignite debate or conversation to any varying degree of an agreement. Still, for our purposes today, let us consider the scene presented to us in the First Reading today: “‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone instructs me?'” When it comes to our approach and use and love of the Scriptures, it seems that our reading or listening to the beautiful Word of God is deeply enriched and expanded only when we share the wealth that we have discovered with others who also want to know Christ.

“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” Today, during this great Easter Season, we are passionately called upon to reflect on what difference it makes in our lives. We believe that Jesus has risen from the dead, defeated all the powers of darkness and hatred in this world, and saved us a place in Heaven. Something reasonably must be different in the way we approach life, and one of the more profound ways that are accomplished is how we share our faith. Take a chance today: share with someone who Jesus is for you and what great things He has done for you. Then let’s see how much you remember.

“If Easter says anything to us today, it says this: You can put truth in a grave but it won’t stay there.” Clarence W. Hall

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For The Smell of Bread

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 4, 2022

“Jesus said to the crowds, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.'” Have you ever been rushing from Point A to Point B without realizing how fast you are going, and then, suddenly, you catch the aroma of something that almost immediately catapults you to another space and time? Ask anyone around you about their favorite smells, and more often than not, in the top 5, you will discover, not unsurprisingly, that the smell of freshly baked bread is there. The more interesting item for today is that the aroma of freshly-baked bread has more than just the power to make your mouth water. According to a new study, it can also make you a kinder person. According to the Daily Mail, researchers at the University of Southern Brittany in France found that shoppers were more likely to alert a random passerby that they had dropped a belonging if, at the time, they were also passing a bakery giving off the sweet scent of baking bread. The findings, published in the Journal of Social Psychology, suggest that certain smells can trigger a more positive mood, which leads to a greater degree of kindness and charity to strangers making for a great level of happiness. “For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice came out of many possessed people, and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured. There was great joy in that city.” In a very similar and mysterious way, Jesus has risen from the dead, giving us Himself as the Bread of Life so that we might go through thigh this life with an immense amount of confidence and joy to face no matter what is right before us, especially the challenge to forgive, move one and thrive in the Spirit of God who in face raised Jesus from the grave.

This power to thrive, forgive and surrender one’s being is supernatural and requires supernatural food to accomplish: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” It should be clear by now that none of us will make it off this planet alive; that is, we will all come to that door of eternity where we must, by definition, surrender our spirit and everything else that accompanied it while we spent rented and precious time here. Today we are all called to partake of the most wondrous and miraculous meal known as the Eucharist so that we might truly enter into that mysterious life and move forward in faith toward our destiny which lies in Heaven; in the meantime, there is sufficient power and healthy living right here, right now. It begins with forgiveness and the wonderful smell and presence of bread which brings to life today the Bread of Life.

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” Mahatma Gandhi

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The Holy Trifecta

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 3, 2022

“Jesus said to Thomas, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” How is Jesus “The Way?” Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think about how precious the time you have to spend is at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored. (Earl Nightingale) Once we accept Jesus into our hearts and carry Him wherever we go, there is a certain appreciation for life that never leaves us. Once we realize and accept that Jesus is the way I want to follow, every minute of my life is a true gift, and others begin to see and experience that.

How is Jesus “The Truth?” Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learning. Work hard and never give up on your dreams, even when nobody else believes they can come true but you. (Philip Sweet) People all around us worship many things in this life, anything from money to power and pleasure. When Jesus becomes our Truth, everything He has taught us is maintained in a life of remarkable integrity. This is critical, especially in the face of temptation, when we must make that daily choice of which version of ourselves we choose to be for that moment. It also means we are now posed to forgive even the meanest and cruelest individuals we will ever meet. Jesus is stronger than any of those!

How is Jesus “The Life?” There is only one happiness in this life: love and be loved. (George Sand) When a person accepts Jesus as their universe and pattern of living, love becomes nearly effortless. That is because God is love, and for those who truly understand the overwhelming love shown to us, especially in the death and Resurrection of Jesus His Son, the only response can be a life of generous giving of self, amazing patience, and love. This prepares us for eternal life in Heaven where there is no more pain, no more guilt, no more tears. “If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

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Look Who’s Talking

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 2, 2022

A wise man once attempted to comfort a younger apprentice who seemed to have been the target of several slimy and vicious remarks from a coworker by stating the following: “whatever is ever said to you is never more important than the one who said it.” Now just think about that bit of advice for just a minute and then consider the passages we have been gifted today in the Scriptures: “Though princes meet and talk against me, your servant meditates on your statutes. Yes, your decrees are my delight; they are my counselors.”

Do we ever truly realize how many words and phrases are spoken to us on any given day? Some are surely good, and others are not so. In the First Reading in the ugliness hurled at Stephen, we received a glimpse of this: “We have heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.” We can safely conclude from these two Biblical selections that all of us, throughout the entire span of human experience, have to decide quickly and wisely what we will allow to settle, grow, or fester into our ears, hearts, and minds.

With that in mind, the Gospel screams for attention to the only voice that we can truly trust 100% of the time and in every situation before us: “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.'” Let us call out to one another and challenge each other to pay even more attention to the words of Jesus uttered in the Scriptures for us, especially in the coming week believing that it is important to see who is talking and what He is is saying.

“Somewhere we know that without silence, words lose their meaning, that without listening, speaking no longer heals, that without distance, closeness cannot cure.” Henri Nouwen

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Only So Many Tomorrows

father pointing upward holding infant son

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 1, 2022

“…but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” It is an interesting and acquired taste of irony that we enter this life needing someone else to dress, feed, and clean up after us, only to find that toward the very end of this amazing life, we will depend on others, not the same people to do the same for us. What can we learn from this? One aspect is clear. We are brought into the world with the almost inescapable lessons of service and self-emptying to hopefully initiate for the years that we have with the not-so-unrealistic hope that others will still be there for us when we are at the depths of need and dependence.

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” This is precisely why the question that Jesus asks of Peter in the Gospel (and three entire times obviously to make a divine point) is startling and realistically geared for every one of us who seeks to live a life of integrity and peace and one day finds our eternal home in Heaven. Life is certainly too short and too fragile to live selfishly. We are placed here to help each other, and everyone has a distinct mission to fulfill. God put you and me here for a definite and wonderful reason, and we first find out what that is and then live life to the absolute fullest. When Jesus asks us, “do you love me?,” the only way to answer is to show Him how much we love each other.

“Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.” St. Pope Paul VI

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Storms Of Mystery

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 30, 2022

“The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid.” In today’s Gospel, we have all been gifted with one of the more famous and breathtaking moments in all of the Scriptures, at least in the top ten! Try to imagine the scene where hurricane-force gale winds are blowing mercilessly against a tiny boat. At the same time, the crashing sounds of the thunder in the distance are only rivaled by the crashing of the waves. The drama unfolds in three distinct phases: first, there’s a horrible storm that scares everyone on board; second, they see Jesus walking over the storm, thinking He is a ghost; third, Jesus utters the most iconic words of comfort born from faith, “It is I, do not be afraid!” and then calms everyone’s storm. This process is the quintessential outline and summary of our spiritual lives! We face our storms of doubt, we call upon Jesus, He makes His loving presence known and empowers us to believe, then we doubt again, and the cycle starts all over again, but each time it does, we are closer and closer to Jesus who never leaves our ship of life.

This episode raises the age-long question that has faced every Christian since Jesus first walked the earth: why do we doubt, and how do we deal with this very human and expected experience? First, doubt is a natural process of every intellectual and moral process. It is almost necessary because it strengthens our ideals and beliefs, but it must never overtake the very treasure we are trying to discover. We must realize that doubt is part of the natural growing pains of faith, and having said that; it is also a mystery. No one human being could ever totally grasp the fullness of who God is, so understandably there will be gaps due to our limitations. “Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.” Spiritual or emotional setbacks do not make a good case for abandoning Jesus or questioning why we are here. Perhaps the greatest spiritual gift we need when confronted with doubt is humility. Humility reminds us that faith is a powerful gift that must be opened slowly and without pretense. This is precisely how we run to Jesus through every storm we encounter on the water.

“Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.” Brene Brown

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Healthy Gratitude

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 29, 2022

“One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.” When we realize all that we have been through these past few months, how can we not see the great blessings every day? What kind of power or force are we blindly following to make a day, an hour, or even a single minute blessed or cursed? “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?” Doubt and pessimism are useless and truly squander time and energy in all their forms. The Pharisee Gamaliel made a very poignant observation that could help our understanding: “For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them.” What makes today blessed, fortunate, and awesome has nothing to do with some outside, uncontrollable force over which we have no power, but with one simple fact: Jesus died for us sinners, and now we have a shot at eternal life.

“Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted.” We have all been blessed by the complete and selfless act of self-sacrifice that Jesus accomplished on the cross. By His blood, we have been washed and made clean, and we can and should avail ourselves of all the promised blessings every day we are alive. Shallow people believe in luck; strong people believe in cause and effect; blessed, healthy, and happy people believe in Jesus.

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” Zig Ziglar

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What’s In A Name?

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 28, 2022

On this beautiful Thursday, we are presented in the First Reading with a dramatic and very telling dialogue that makes perfect sense for all of us who are attempting to follow the light of Christ throughout the days we have been given on this planet. First, the Sanhedrin, clearly angry and disgusted with the Apostles, began this exchange: “We gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in that name.” What is curious about this inflammatory statement is that it seems the high court is more upset about the name of Jesus than over the fact the Apostles are still alive and being received with great respect much more than themselves. It is all about the name! Invoking someone’s name like this announces a closeness and reverence for the person who bears the name and the willingness to follow, emphasize, and share this relationship with everyone in one’s circle of influence, with, in fact, the whole world. The Apostles made this crystal clear in their quick and concise response to the Sanhedrin: “We must obey God rather than men.”

Many years ago, I saw a short film that told an imaginary story that, at the heart of it, asked this question: “If it were a crime to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” With today’s Readings still echoing in our hearts today, we could ask ourselves the same question. The answer would have to rest on the amount of time, energy, and vigor we place in following Christ and believing everything He taught and said He would do for us, especially on our last day on earth. Everything depends on this powerful relationship which Jesus would prefer to call a “friendship” because it is truly based on love and forgiveness. So, what’s in a name? Everything.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene 2

“There are two hundred and fifty-six names given in the Bible for the Lord Jesus Christ and I suppose this was because He was infinitely beyond all that any one name could express.” Billy Sunday

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Stained Glass Life

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 27, 2022

“But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.” So much of our planet needs light to grow and survive. Conversely, things like mold and mildew flourish in the darkness and cause a whole slew of problems ranging all across the board. Amazingly, today we are instructed that the same values and standards apply to our spiritual life and our relationship with God and our present-day happiness, and our future fulfillment.

When we expose our lives to the light of Jesus in our prayer and our honest assessment of our conscience, we can expect great things to happen and experience great peace of mind and heart. Guilt does an incredible amount of damage to the human soul. We are the only ones who can make the difference by choosing to be transparent, honest, and truthful, especially in our dealings with one another.

“God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.” This kind of living is not complicated. It will involve a deeply open, honest, and loving relationship with Jesus Christ which is nourished by prayer and sacrifice and a strong desire to spend more and more time with Him in this busy and frantic life. Perhaps the great gift of our imagination can be a service to us with all this in mind. Let us imagine Jesus sitting next to us when we are perplexed by anything. Can you see yourself slightly turning toward Him, asking for advice? Can you hear Him gently whispering to you? So what are you waiting for?

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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Lifting Up The Proof Of Love

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 26, 2022

“You must be born from above.” There are not many more phrases in Sacred Scripture than this one that has been interpreted and re-interpreted, applied, and reapplied, both accurately and otherwise, than this one that we find at the beginning of today’s Gospel. How does one understand being re-born or born again? Perhaps there are some clues in the other sections of the Scriptures today.

We could point first to the generous spirit that has experienced the joy of the Resurrection: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.” Then there is the powerful witness that we can give to the Lord as did the Apostles: “With great power, the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all.” And finally, we can be born again by the sheer and deep confidence we place in God: “Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed: holiness befits your house, O LORD, for length of days.”

However, the most profound path to rebirth in the power of the Resurrection is simply to gaze upon the Crucified Christ, unite our sufferings with His, and hope for all our days in His power to save and the promise that is ours to be saved: “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” We must slow down to catch up, pause to soar, and reflect on learning. This we can do with the Lord Jesus right at our side, guiding, if we allow Him, every step of the way with the Scriptures as our friend. This is the Easter joy we so desperately seek.

“God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, “I love you.”” Billy Graham

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Put On Some Clothes

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 25, 2022

“Beloved: Clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another.” The quote that opens our Reflections today is not about fashion or style. Many of us do not have many options for the clothing we wear to work or school, so perhaps we could open our discussion into the world of dreams to find this wonderful phrase’s deeper meaning and application. The clothes we appear to be wearing in our dreams often represent a particular side of ourselves that we choose to show the world. Some would refer to this as our outer personality or “Persona.” If we were to consider these applications, we could ask ourselves simply, “what am I showing the world today with my words and actions?” The Reading from St. Peter gives the following suggestions for a happy, spiritually fulfilled life:
1. “So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.”
2. “Be sober and vigilant.”
3. “Peace to all of you who are in Christ.”

We could then summarize this trifecta of holy, healthy, and happy living: Practice humility, be attentive and bring peace.

“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” The Gospel builds on the elements of our God-given personality, which daily we wish to share with others, especially in our own families, ministries, coworkers, and fellow students, by carefully presenting us with a spiritual strategy: Rely on the positive nature within you, speak softly and slowly avoiding harsh criticism and gossip and attempt to be a catalyst for change and healing, especially through the words we choose to use and yes, not to use. The fruit of this kind of living can be redacted into the Responsorial Psalm, which we have been gifted today: “For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.” Truly, suppose we remain in Him throughout the day. In that case, our lives will be a song of thanks, our smile a reminder of heaven, and our presence and demeanor like a brand new wardrobe waiting for the greatest invitation to an eternal celebration.

“Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.” Benjamin Disraeli

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Traitor Doubts

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 24, 2022

“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” On this Second Sunday of the glorious Easter Season, we are presented every year with this insight into human behavior related to doubt and confidence and how the normal process of knowing and believing either feeds or starves our doubts. Our main character in this lesson is the Apostle Thomas, who, by most accounts, has been unfortunately dubbed with the nickname “doubting Thomas.” However, it hardly adequately describes his whole life, which he gave completely to Christ in martyrdom. However, his painful doubts teach us something very real about our faith. Perhaps St. Thomas was so used to seeing Jesus right in front of him, talking and teaching daily, that when he was suddenly taken away, he refused to believe and get his hopes up over what he considered a “reasonable” doubt. “You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord; blessed are those who have not seen me, but still believe!”

“Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord, great numbers of men and women, were added to them.” Doubt has the potential of strengthening our faith and hope but not if we entertain too much of it and then surround ourselves with people who neither have faith nor hope, which, according to the last survey, are growing in number and kind. In the Gospel, the very opposite was true. The faith spread like wildfire, and the miracles in life began to increase exponentially. This is where a healthy prayer life, a daily dose of Scripture, and adherence to the Eucharist make all the difference in this world and the next. Starve your doubts and feed your faith.

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act I, Scene IV

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Easter Boldness

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 23, 2022

“Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.” Among the nuances in the dictionary world, there seems to be consistent agreement regarding the definition of boldness: a willingness to take risks and act with innovation, confidence, or courage.

This would certainly more than adequately describe Peter and John and all those who experienced the first Easter. Some believe that the real challenge in life is to overcome the fear that tends to overwhelm and inhibit real, healthy living. For this level of life, we all truly need the virtues that come from the side of the Resurrected Christ. He is who is the source of all we need to make our way through the hills and valleys of the swinging moods and seasons of our journey: “My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior.”

The Gospel for this beautiful Easter Saturday reveals the real purpose and mission of this boldness that is bestowed on all believers at Easter: “He said to them, ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.'” The bulk of us reading this today are not being placed on the next flight into a war-torn area on the planet, nor are we walking into any real danger as so many have died for the faith. However, we are being sent. Where? We are placed on this earth for a very specific and awesome purpose. That purpose is all about what happened on that first Easter morning, about life and death, and all the elements that form the fabric of existence. Think about all the things you said to others today. Were you bold?

“People who ask confidently get more than those who are hesitant and uncertain. When you’ve figured out what you want to ask for, do it with certainty, boldness, and confidence. Don’t be shy or feel intimidated by the experience. You may face some unexpected criticism but be prepared for it with confidence.” Jack Canfield

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What’s In Your Net?

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 22, 2022

Sometimes a great and significant event in life, while answering some very perplexing worries and anxieties, also produces another level of questions that have the potential of taking us to a new and deeper level of living. There is a hint of that aspect of life nudged within the confines of the Psalm today: “The LORD is God, and he has given us light.” The touching scene in the Gospel also supports this approach when Jesus, already risen from the dead, invites his Apostles and closest friends He had on earth to go deeper: “So he said to them, ‘Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.'” Indeed, they did find something. It was the living, breathing, loving Church that Jesus had died to start and give to the world.

“There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” Like so much of the accumulated wisdom that has been gathered over the centuries over such an amazing period of time, what is real and holy and immersed in truth is usually quite simple. It is the name of Jesus that has the power to save, producing a true and abiding adherence to Him personally and to all, He has taught and given to us, even today. This is what we search for here on earth. This is what brings us peace. This is yet another wonderful fruit of Easter. Before retiring from the day, go fishing: call out His name, then listen.

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” Henry David Thoreau

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Quintessential “Ghostbuster”

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 21, 2022

“Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” Take special note of what just happened in the Gospel. The Apostles talk about life, suffering, God, and the Messiah. Jesus appears to bless peace to everyone, and yet, their first interpretation of the event is that they are witnessing an episode from the SyFy Channel. The problem here is simple to see while the remedy is close by. Jesus first asks why there are troubled hearts. Right after that remark, He tenderly instructs the only way to combat fear and doubt: “Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.” We must see today that unreasonable and irrational fear can only successfully be combated by reverting to the entire mystery of Easter, which is the awesome Truth that Jesus has defeated death and all the forces of evil and darkness. He is on our side. We start to shake and quiver when we forget this wonderful Truth.

The First Reading also recognizes that human beings, still affected by the vestiges of Original Sin, make mistakes for many different reasons and faulty mindsets. St. Peter was certainly generous in his assessment of this predicament of ours: “Now I know, brothers and sisters, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did,” and then later in that same reading: “For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.” Easter brings light and clarity to our minds because it reveals that the massive, archetypal, and age-old battle between good and evil has already been won. We are now offered the chance to share in that victory should we choose to do so with the freedom and wisdom that has been purchased for us by the blood of the Lamb. Remember during this glorious Easter Season that the earth’s worst day and best day were just one day apart.

“In one aspect, yes, I believe in ghosts, but we create them. We haunt ourselves.” Laurie Halse Anderson

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A Most Precious Name

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 20, 2022

“I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.” How often have any of us heard something like, “I would give a million dollars to see my father again!”? What that emotional phrase (and many like it) screams to connect is simple. What is precious to the world is not necessarily precious to my soul. After forty grueling days of Lent, we can begin to see what truly has value and supreme importance, as was described in our First Reading today. The transformed disciples of Jesus now have the most wonderful and awesome of all gifts in their circle of life: the name of Jesus and the faith that supports a life that can have deep meaning, healing, and eternal consequences.

“Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” The answer to this surprising revelation of the two travelers who were actually walking with the Lord and even breaking bread with Him is simple: Yes, they were! And the best news for you and me today is that they can continue to burn if we allow them to. This will come from thanking God for Lent’s rich blessings and lessons, asking Him to guide and direct us today, especially in the ongoing effort to change, transform, and become forgiving people, no matter what is happening around us. Remember, Jesus does not want us to be like other people. He wants us to be like Him. This is so much better than silver or gold.

“To holy people, the very name of Jesus is a name to feed upon, a name to transport. His name can raise the dead and transfigure and beautify the living.” John Henry Cardinal Newman

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Why Are You Weeping?

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 19, 2022

“And they said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?'” With all the wonderful talk and mention of the glorious Resurrection of Jesus at this great time of Easter, there will no doubt be the recollection of the state from which our resurrected bodies will join the Heavenly faithful and crowds of immense joy, which, by definition, is death. Many flock to the cemetery in some parts of the world to place Easter flowers, mostly lilies, which mimic the blare of trumpets of the season at the tombs of those who did not live to see this particular Easter and perhaps those who long been since absent from the table. And because of the humanity we share and the tender hearts that beat within many brave souls, there will be tears today. This is why we need the witness of Mary Magdalene today to bring everything into sharp and hopeful focus: “She said to them, ‘They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.'”

Like Mary Magdalene, many of our crosses and sufferings that produce momentarily crisis phases in our souls stem from the not-so-obvious fact that we may be looking for God’s comfort and consolation in the places that could never provide them. Once again, Mary points us in the right direction: “Mary went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord,’ and then reported what he had told her.” Excited or mournful, the only true way to celebrate the Easter Season, officially fifty days of commemoration, after the forty days of fasting and penance, is to look for Christ and find him in everyday life and then tell others that you have seen Him. Life can not possibly ever be the same.

“Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.” Emily Dickinson

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Fear Is Useless

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 18, 2022

Every so often, we or someone we know has the experience of waking up from a terrible dream nearly paralyzed with fear and even at times unable to speak or move. Likewise, we may have most likely heard well-intentioned people attempt to explain these terrifying moments as attributed to stress or worry over circumstances in our lives. Be that as it may, we must face the glaring fact that life can and often does hurl directly at us episodes of challenge, difficulty, and internal and external struggles that can be frightening and cause us to respond as we do in those terrible dreams. Unfortunately, there seems to be no rest from these terrors for some others, even more. Life itself appears to be a nightmare with no end. For such as these, the gift of Easter is so precious. Imagine holding Jesus tight and close to us, never to be afraid again. The Scriptures today assure us that we can. “God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses.”

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.'” Another rich and exciting element of the newly begun Easter Season is the call to engage the spirit of the time with all we meet. We must tell others why we are an Easter people and why we must keep singing and remembering that there is always hope in every single situation, no matter how dark it may seem. Let us begin on this first Monday of Easter. Continue to tell all you meet of the hope we celebrate by keep saying “Happy Easter” with a great big ol’ smile on your face. Tell them all, “Jesus sent me.”

“The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.” Basil Hume

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While It Was Still Dark

Replica of the Tomb of Jesus in Israel

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 17, 2022

“On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.” We have come to the morning of our dreams at this wonderful culmination of these days of Lenting and detachment. God has accomplished the victory He promised for us, and we are glad indeed. Death has been destroyed forever, and now the gates of Heaven, once closed because of selfishness and sins, are open for all humanity to enter with integrity and hope. 

On the “first day of the week,” this glory was discovered because it is the beginning of all our expectations every time we awaken in the morning. Thus, every beginning we have before us is the glimmer of the bright promise of tomorrow. Mary of Magdala was alone in approaching the burial place of the dead. This detail reminds us that each of us must face this truth on the path that we choose and envision, enlightened by the Church and the Word of God. Then, we join the millions who experience the same longing fulfilled and relieved even in the face of death. Although she did not see the moment of Resurrection, (she) “saw the stone removed from the tomb,” Mary knew what the scene meant: death had been conquered, and Jesus is alive. This is assuredly our call for today and every day on this planet. We must look for, find and cling mercifully to the wonders of our lives, which all point to the miraculous endings of all our stories nestled wonderfully in the heart of Jesus the Messiah, who has risen from the dead.

Perhaps the most telling and soothing detail of John’s Easter Gospel today is this tender yet poignant morsel: “while it was still dark.” Our lives often take swings and turn into chapters that we would never have imagined! How often have we found ourselves “in the dark” as well? And yet, whatever joy and happiness we may feel today must be kept safe and sound deep within the recesses of our hearts so that when we find that it is still dark, we must continue to make our way to the Lord with all the hope and faith that we can muster and share.

On behalf of all those who make CityOfAgape, its mission, and its hope to bring the Word of God to everyone hungering for meaning and purpose in this life, please accept our heartfelt wishes for a happy, holy, and beautiful Easter! “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.”

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” St. John Paul II

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Why Is This Night Different?

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 16, 2022

Those among us who are blessed to attend the Easter Vigil tonight will have encountered and entered a most wonderful mystery that the Church has to offer to truly make the Easter experience the great moment it truly is. What we do tonight is nothing more than waiting at the Lord’s tomb, meditating on His passion and death, and awaiting His glorious Resurrection with prayer and fasting. 

When we think about it, we spend a great part of our lives waiting for everything from simple mundane things like traffic lights and parking spaces to remarkably awesome milestones in life like the announcement of a new baby, job, or the tragic news we have all been waiting for. A vigil is the liturgical commemoration of a notable feast held on the evening preceding the feast, much like Christmas Eve. The actual term means “wakefulness” because we stay awake to pray and prepare for the dawn of Easter and, by extension, the individual experiences we will have of our death and resurrection and of those we love and cherish in this world. For our purposes here, let us take a look at the diagram of Liturgical Readings for tonight and follow them in our journey toward the empty tomb:

Reading 1: Genesis-God creates with His Word and Holy Spirit over the waters.
Reading 2: Genesis-God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his only son.
Reading 3: Exodus-Moses parts the Red Sea and leads his people out of slavery through the waters.
Reading 4: Isaiah-The prophet reminds us of the safe passage of Noah through the waters.
Reading 5: Isaiah-The prophet invites all to come to the waters
Reading 6: Baruch-The prophet issues a pledge of wisdom and a return to God
Reading 7: Ezekiel-The people of God will be cleansed by water and live in God’s land
Epistle: Baptism through water and the Holy Spirit is our way to union with God and the promise of Heaven

Gospel: The tomb is empty; God did not spare His own Son, and thus Jesus has defeated death forever

Easter is about the continuing cycle of life, death, and life in an amazingly complicated and mysterious pattern that underscores and straps all reality together. This means so much to our human race, and yet different takes and aspects based on the conditions and lived experiences of everyone alive. But one thing is certain. Everyone dies; not everyone lives. Let us live in the light of Christ this night and always.

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I Smell Victory

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 15, 2022

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, Love leaves a memory no one can steal.” From a headstone in Ireland

Today is Good Friday. Why do we call it “good?” This is the first day of what the Church has long in her Sacred history called the Triduum. These are the three glorious days that end Lent, enter the tomb of Jesus, and rise with Him at Easter. 

It could be said that we call this “good” because although everyone wears a mask of sorts as we present to the world the person we want others to see, today we remember the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus so that you and I can reach true spiritual maturity which is that point where a person no longer hides behind any pretense, removes the mask of deceit and fear, exchanges the fashion statement for integrity and truly begins to live a holy life. Every year on Good Friday, when this day arrives, it is certainly different for us. It’s always different because either someone has died in the last year, a friend has become ill or incapacitated, or another year has passed since we lost a dear loved one. We have lived another year, presumably, one year closer to our death.

The Scripture passages and the yearly reading of the Passion we have for Good Friday are simply priceless. We came from God, and slowly but surely, we are moving back to him, face to face, to give whatever account we have of how we used these precious pearls of time while we were alive. I guess that’s why some can’t (or won’t) deal with death. The message and experience must be too much, too overwhelming. I have also known people who have downright rejected God with indignation and misplaced anger for “having taken my loved one away.” That’s more tragic than death itself. Without the One who defeated death on the cross, there is absolutely no way you can arrive at a spiritual and mental place of peace and comfort— or even effectively through the grieving process. Grief is the price we pay for loving, and less we think that getting through this life without Love is a viable option when you think about it; it is indeed a fair price.

According to St. John, the readings from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, Psalm 31, the Letter to the Hebrews, and the Passion all clearly and effectively underscore that truth. God is in control. He sent His Son Jesus to take away the eternal price of our sins, and Jesus gave us the Church so that through the centuries of time and space, we would remain together in hope and prayer until the day comes for us.

May the Divine Assistance always remain with us, and May the souls of all the faithful departed, through your mercy, O God, Rest in Peace. Amen

“Because I could not stop for death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.”

—Emily Dickinson

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This Is My Body, My Life

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 14, 2022

Although it is not plausible to debate that eating is essential to our survival, that it is deeply symbolic, and that it is enjoyed across the board by every known culture on the planet, we can and should open the debate lines concerning how we have lost the meaning of meals and richness of gathering to feast, especially in our modern times. 

For example, it appears that breakfast is often a shake of everything from protein, fruits, or a soda with ice, lunch a sandwich gobbled in front of the computer, and dinner, when hurriedly arranged or just accidentally falling into place, is quickly consumed usually in front of the television blaring or everyone with their phones checking Facebook posts and or texts. Even though we see commercials to the contrary and movies and listen to heart-felt pitches to act otherwise, we continue with this rapid-feeding frenzy. Perhaps it is because eating like this satisfies some basic needs as it fuels our bodies. But being fed is not the same as being nourished. This is how and why we must understand the great significance of Holy Thursday when Jesus the Christ uttered those immortal words that have since been repeated over the centuries and the great period of time: “This is my body…this is my blood…do this in memory of me.” Our First Reading begins to set the stage for this deeper awareness of the simplicity of eating: “This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.” Our lives have been bought and purchased at an amazing cost! None of us are here “by accident.” We each have a deep and enriching purpose which we must find and for that journey must be fed: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.”

While thought-out mealtime practices and rituals can draw us into a state of increased awareness, our appreciation for the Eucharist can give sight to the vision we need to focus on the things that matter in this life and get home safe to Heaven when it is all said and done. Jesus does so much more this night as well. He teaches us that not only do we take meaningful time when we sit and share food but also take every opportunity and chance to serve, even to the point of washing each other’s feet. “I have given you a model to follow so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” Today, especially on this day, we need to remember what the initial impression of this passage made on the initial First Century audience: even art and literary works have somewhat romanticized this event, it was not beautiful to them. It was not even humbling; it was humiliating. To wash another’s feet was a dirty job reserved for enslaved people. Today this action would be equivalent to going to someone’s house to clean their bathroom, including the toilet. Maybe caregivers who have to clean and wash and witness the worst in a person’s life are closest to the real meaning of this marvelous gesture. As Jesus feeds us with His very Body and Blood, He assures us that He is showing us and expecting us to be the least among us. It is easy to do great things for those we love. What about doing the hard things for those we don’t know or, even better, know that will never be able or willing to thank you. This is selfless, and this night is all about: empty yourself as Jesus did, so where He has gone, we can follow.

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world”. J.R.R. Tolkien

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A Fate Worse Than Death

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 13, 2022

“The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” Imagine a person’s pain when they realize they have wounded and perhaps forever severed the most wonderful and awesome relationship that they will ever encounter. Now compound this upon the world stage of history, and we may have something close to the experience of Judas, the man who betrayed the Son of God. “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” His name has become synonymous with any notorious traitor, even today. In addition to this remarkable infamy, there has developed a popular hatred of Judas in various parts of Christendom. For example, on the Greek island of Corfu, the people throw vast quantities of pottery from their windows and roofs into the streets at a given signal on Holy Saturday night. Thus, they execute an imaginary stoning of Judas.

However interesting, the painful truth for us to face in this midway of Holy Week is the potential for each of us to betray love itself in our own lives. This comes when we allow selfishness and hate to brood within us so that we do not even realize the pain and misery we inflict upon others and, by extension, on our very souls. What happens is that we become so accustomed to disguising ourselves to others that, in the end, we become disguised to ourselves. Perhaps the pains and disappointments of life create hurt and deep wounds beyond our imagination. The paradox of this week deeply entwined with the whole teaching of Jesus the Christ is simple in many ways. If we love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, just more love to give. (St. Theresa of Calcutta) It is then, and only then, can we shout and sing with the most joyous voice we have, joining the refrain of today’s Psalm: “I will praise the name of God in song, and I will glorify him with thanksgiving: ‘See, you lowly ones, and be glad; you who seek God, may your hearts revive! For the LORD hears the poor, and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.'”

“The shattering of a heart when being broken is the loudest quiet ever.” Carroll Bryant

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The True Cost Of Words

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 12, 2022

George Bernard Shaw is credited with saying that the “single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” While there are many different explanations and approaches to explain and or further expand on this thought, for today, let us consider what Jesus has done for us and how we respond based on what we have the dramatic unfolding of events in the Gospel as we move through Holy Week this year.

First, we begin with the explosive observation that Jesus makes to His closest friends that one of them is about to betray Him and send Him to death: “Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Each Apostle in the upper room took a phrase in a different light. One or two began to blame themselves. Perhaps a few couldn’t or wouldn’t believe what they had just heard. Peter impulsively sprang to action and pledged undying loyalty and protection, while Judas knew exactly who the Lord was talking about.

“Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, Yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God.” This Tuesday in Holy Week, we are called to pay even closer attention to what is being said to each of us as it may relate to our individual circumstances, especially in our spiritual lives. When you hear, “one of you is about to betray me,” what is that first comes to your heart and mind? Is there any evidence whatsoever that would or could suggest betrayal in our lives? The next pertinent question would then be, to whom or what? To God? Our spouse? Our family and friends? The reality is simple during this holy time: everything uttered and celebrated has deep meaning and significance and must be addressed with courage and fidelity. We must make this week different by what we do with it. Now, lift that in prayer and wait patiently for the inspiration, guaranteed!

“Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed, and rare.” Brené Brown

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Open-Handed Holy Week

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 11, 2022

“You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” This particular and perhaps familiar Gospel passage has been quoted and misquoted, applied, and misapplied by many over the centuries, literally ever since it was first transcribed. This, among many other factors, is exactly why it is not enough to know what the Bible says but what it means. At first glance, the phrase always having the poor seems almost fatalistic, suggesting that there is no use to address the issue of poverty because we will never rid our society of it, but that is so far from the meaning.

Jesus was quoting another well-known Biblical passage from Deuteronomy, which sets the context of the poor and our response in a very different context: “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be … For the poor, you will always have with you in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and the poor, in your land.'” (Deuteronomy 15:7-11) Thus, realistically and with the greatest of authentic interpretation, the Lord Jesus is enthusiastically begging us to be “open-handed” toward the poor among us. Holy Week begins for most of us with this deep and emotional call to be aware of those who suffer in our circles, perhaps right in front of us, and respond quickly, deeply, and readily.

In this most awesome week, we must see our roles to feed the hungry and lift the poor among us. In the New Testament’s humble beginnings of the Church, there were no needy persons among them. Everyone shared and cared for each other. Poverty, even as we can describe it today, was eradicated in their midst. That was the natural outcome of taking Jesus’ teachings seriously and to heart. Just imagine that: a world where all are free to love and serve! This is not some nimble-headed utopia but the goal of being a follower of Christ right here, right now. The fulfillment of Lent, Holy Week, and all that Jesus taught and lived and died for is now about to be realized and celebrated. Today, spend some time reflecting on those in your own homes and friendships who need you. Pray for all those unhappy in this life and beg Jesus to live deeply within them and in you. He has the ultimate endorsement from Heaven: “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, Upon whom I have put my Spirit.”

“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.” Saint Augustine

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Who Are You Carrying

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 10, 2022

Among several cultures on our planet, there exists a delightful little story about a young donkey and his mother who was trying desperately to prepare her young son for the ravages and cruelty of the world, which typically never treated these animals with much respect. Coming home, however, one day, the young animal was full of excitement and unbelievable joy. He had a small job earlier that morning, and everyone was shouting with respect and joy and even throwing palm branches in front of him so that the walk on the hard surface would be less strenuous. “They love us, Mama!,” he shouted with almost unbelief. “They now respect us! We are free!” His kind mother looked with love upon her somewhat idealistic son and simply said, “We are free as long as we carry greatness upon our backs.”

“Go into the village opposite you, and immediately on entering it, you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here.” (Opening Gospel Before Procession with Palms)

Today we celebrate Palm Sunday while ushering in the great mystery of Holy Week when we commemorate Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey with gleeful and exuberant shouts of “Hosanna.” It was, however—a short-lived moment of public popularity for Jesus. The feckless crowds would become violent and hostile in just a few days, crying out for His execution. The donkey would be traded for a cross. By the end of the week on Good Friday, the burden-bearer would be Jesus Himself, and a donkey would not be carrying Christ – Christ would be carrying the cross. He would not be astride the back of a donkey’s back, but rather a cruel, albeit redemptive cross would be crushing upon His back! So let us begin and let us pray:

All-powerful, eternal God, You have chosen to give us all a model of humility; our Savior took on our flesh and subjected Himself to the Cross. Grant us the grace to preserve faithfully the lessons He has given us in His Passion and to have a share in His Resurrection.

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The Countdown Begins

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 9, 2022

The Book of Ezra is most remembered in some circles for the opening reading for Ash Wednesday, in which the prophet calls the people to repent, fast, and put on sackcloth and ashes. Interestingly enough, he is also credited for placing our beloved Psalms in the amazing order we find them today. In our First Reading today, he uses the imagery of unity and destruction to discover how well his audience knows the Lord, warns them of something much worse happening if they ignore his preaching, and expresses his solemn belief that all those who are faithful will one day be richly blessed.

In the Gospel of the Day, Jesus is nearing His Passion, Death, and Resurrection as we are approaching Holy Week with Palm Sunday tomorrow. We must now set our sights on the end of our Lenten journey and begin to hope for the fruit that we so desperately long for. The Evil One, and all its co-workers, will try to limit your prayers because it knows that your prayers will limit evil. Sometimes, it only takes one prayer to change everything.

The Word of the Day is Focus: We are almost there! Stay focused on all we have been through with prayer, fasting, and selfless acts of kindness. Be ready for victory and the battle.

“Life is a battle. Every day is a struggle. If I do not pray, then I am fighting with both hands tied behind my back. I will lose. I will cave in. I will die. I will easily forget why I am here.” Fr. Alfonse Nazzaro

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Distress Call

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 8, 2022

“In my distress, I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.” In some dictionary excerpts, distress is extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain. Human life encounters distress throughout the experience we engage in while on earth, and the Lord knows that we must be ready and fully equipped to face whatever we must to grow and become a new creation in Christ. In fact, in a very poignant and real way, it is truly the only way we will become transformed into that new existence.

“Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?'” There are, however, not a small number of people who do not accept the call of grace to see things in life with the eyes of faith and then, in turn, blame God for every ill and problem under the sun. Because of spiritual blindness and a faithless approach to reality, they seem to attack God as Jesus was in the Gospel today. Our stance, especially throughout these days of the Lenten Journey, must be entirely different: “Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD, For he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!” Imagine singing to God when life is hard and burdensome. Yet, that is exactly the remedy!

The Word of the Day is: Sing – Dig deep today and instead of counting all the wrong things, remember the one great element. GOD LOVES YOU!

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.” Paulo Coelho

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Name Changer

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 7, 2022

“On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.” If there is such a thing as a “science of belonging,” it would have to include behavior as an essential element of what it means to be part of something much larger than life itself. Today in the Scriptures, this belonging has to do with the Family of God in faith and acting in certain modes of belief that cause an entire group of people to stand apart from the rest. This is what is meant by “holy.” This is precisely where our modern-day understanding and practice of fasting and other Lenten practices have originated, especially the actual marking of ashes on the forehead. This sets us apart as a group of people with the same or similar mindset and the same goal: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.”

“No longer shall you be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham, for I am making you the father of a host of nations.” Such an acceptance of so universal an invitation makes a definite and indelible change within the individual and the whole people. Such was the case with Abram, who became Abraham. The same happened to Saul, who became Paul, and Simon, who became Peter. All had their names changed because their destiny and future had undergone a magnificent and overwhelming overhaul. Lent is the same for us. Hopefully, we can sense these deep-rooted changes in our hope and our direction toward Heaven by now. We are so close to our goal this year!

The Word of the Day is: Prayer – As we near Holy Week 2022, our prayer life must increase to prepare us for these amazing days.

“Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.” Soren Kierkegaard

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Out Of The Fire

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 6, 2022

By now, many of us could agree with the marvelous assessment of those deep within the fire bravely and accurately uttered by the three young men hurled into the hottest of all possible flames in today’s First Reading: “If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us!” Our specific take on this observation would need to be tweaked: If our beautiful and merciful Lord preserved us during these trying and unprecedented days of Lent, He could do even greater things! This is certainly true, and we have only a few more days until the fulfillment of the Easter promise of Resurrection will be ours in abundance. We just need to hold on to this truth in our lives and practice endurance without whining or dramatic overreacting.

“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” And this is the truth: God loves us so much that He even wants us to be better with every passing day, especially the passing days of our Lenting this year. The Lord has been, is today, and will always be at our side, assisting us in our daily struggle to become more like Jesus in every way possible. This is the bright promise of Easter made during the somewhat dark, at least purple, days of Lent. If we accept this truth, the consequences are literally out of this world.

The Word of the Day: Perseverance – The promises of Lent are still within our reach. Do not give up.

“The difference between a good life and a bad life is how well you walk through the fire.” C. G. Jung

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Look Up And Be Saved

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 5, 2022

“Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” Our First Reading makes an inspiring case for the deep relationship between our sins, our pain, our ongoing desire for healing, and the free offer of forgiveness of the sins that cause us so much pain and guilt. Moses dealt with the criticism and pessimistic reaction of the Israelites for all that the Lord had done for them, and in response, they were bitten by horribly attacking snakes which must have been quite a sight!

Their unending complaints were answered by sheer harshness and fear. What is beautifully clear today is that the Lord truly wants us to be safe, happy, and holy. Our sins and failings often stand in the way and present an enormous stumbling block to achieving all God have intended for us, including acknowledging and receiving His healing forgiveness to a greater healthier spiritual life. Moses was commanded to construct a bronze serpent so that anyone who would look up would be cured and saved. That must have taken an immense act of faith and well worth it.

“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me.” It is, however, in the Gospel where the real truth is to unlock the mystery of true inner freedom that is characteristic of a true believer and those who desperately want to get to Heaven. It takes seriously the innocence, total trust, and openness to look up at the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, lifted on the cross so that all may be cured and saved. Jesus made this more than crystal clear in the Gospel: “Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.”

The words of the Day are: Look Up – When you are suffering or worried or anxious, look up at the cross to see your Jesus there wanting everything good for you. Accept this in faith and never look back. It would also help not to complain so much, either.

“When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it. All else is madness.” Eckhart Tolle

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Truth Is In The Garden

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 4, 2022

“As soon as the maids had left, the two old men got up and hurried to her. ‘Look,’ they said, ‘the garden doors are shut, and no one can see us; give in to our desire, and lie with us.'” Today we have an interesting pair of Scriptures to help prepare for these awesome days of Lent. The first concerns the famous attempted fatal lie against Susanna on the part of two ruthless and morally bankrupt individuals who tried to frame her in the garden where she innocently passed her time. Thank God for Daniel’s confident, wholesome and honest voice, who exposed their treachery by asking just a couple of simple, innocent questions. Susanna’s trust in the Lord was confirmed: “Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.” Her resolve to stand with the truth and to trust in the Lord is more than just a model of behavior for us during Lent and during the duration of our time on earth, but the same pattern of existence because of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the cross and out of the grave.

“You testify on your own behalf, so your testimony cannot be verified.” In the Gospel, we hear annoyingly again from the Pharisees who seem never to lose a chance to try either to trap Jesus in some monstrosity or attack His authority and wisdom. This is how it will be for all of us who want desperately to follow Jesus to eternity. We will be maliciously attacked and accused, just like Susanna and Jesus in the Gospel, but we know to whom we must run to seek comfort and resolution. Jesus’ truth was also found in the garden, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the garden tomb from whence He rose and defeated death forever. We must remember these garden experiences so that when we are attacked, confused, or even overly tired and anxious, we may never forget that God is love, and often, truth is found in the garden.

“Truth makes all things beautiful.” Edward Counsel

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The Mystery Of Grief

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 3, 2022

“Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people!” The promise of New Life, where there was death, brings remarkable blessings upon those who dip their finger into the water of generosity towards others, especially strangers. The benefits of this leap of faith are then made crystal clear and even more desirable in the Gospel today. The scene there is similar to the many experiences we have had when we become anxious and worried about too many things. There is sometimes sorrow, then doubt, and sometimes there is darkness.

The impact of the death of someone close to us can quickly turn our world into a very cold and unfamiliar place. What used to be routine for us daily soon becomes exhausting. The simplest task may seem almost impossible. The emotions that accompany grief affect both emotionally and physically. However, when we approach this time openly and with the confidence that we have from Christ and His defeat of death, we can begin to understand how grief affects us and thus are better equipped to deal with its grip. Sometimes the only way to fully heal is to completely face all the pain and heartache honestly, which may offer us comfort in our times of sorrow.

It is clear to us in the Gospel today that Mary Magdalene was struggling with grief after the death of Lazarus. What does this mean for you and me, following the Lord today? First, there is, of course, a natural crying when we encounter sadness. This is only human. But there does come the point when grieving can be selfish when it becomes self-centered, revolving around MY loss and MY feelings and MY life. This can prevent us from recognizing what Jesus accomplished for all of us by dying. The second aspect is the preoccupation with death itself. Fearing death and constantly dwelling on all the people killed in our lives also tend to block the life we have to live today, right here and now.

Jesus calls us to live in the light of His Resurrection from death and the defeat of all the negative forces that keep us from loving and believing in the wonders of God in our lives. Today, think about the victory that was won on the cross while still acknowledging the pain it takes to live and feel in this life. Both are necessary for an effective balance. But never let the clouds and storms and grief and sorrow ever block the hope and mercy that is ours in Jesus and the spirit of Easter, which longs to take root in our souls.

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and Alleluia is our song.” St. John Paul II

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We Must Live The Truth

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 2, 2022

“Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, ‘This is truly the Prophet.’
Others said, ‘This is the Christ.'” When we look at and study all the moments of the life of Jesus, we realize that The Lord does not introduce anything new in terms of human experiences but rather elevates and imbues tremendous meaning and purpose into them. When evil and the demons of our lives approach, we realize first-hand that we truly need faith in the One who can handle and defeat them. These present themselves as conflicts that call us to make choices:

Conflicts: Every last one of us must face conflicts practically every day of our lives, even if they surface from within us. Therefore, it is not an indication or measurement of how much we are loved when we have issues or problems, but rather what we will do with them.

Choices: When Jesus calls a person to follow Him, it necessarily involves the fundamental option of whether to accept him or to reject him; and the world is always divided into those who have accepted Christ and those who have not. Everyone makes choices every day. This choice, however, affects eternity, and forever is a very, very long time.

A Cross. The original audience of Jesus experienced tremendous suffering and loss. They knew very well what a cross was. The Jewish historian Josephus mentions the swift & cruel action of Publius Quinctilius Varus, a Roman General under Emperor Augustus who crushed a revolt in Judea in 4 BC. After occupying Jerusalem, he crucified 2000 Jewish rebels and placed the crosses by the wayside along the roads to Galilee. This is why Jesus had and has tremendous compassion for His people, then and now.

The Words of the Day are: Conflict, Choice, and Cross – Our daily dose of the Word leads us to understand and fully engage the conflicts, choices, and crosses in our lives. When we are worried, we try to do things ourselves. When we are at peace, we remember that God is in control.

“Any organization which works for peace, I will join. If you want to resolve a dispute or come out of conflict, the very first thing is to speak the truth. If you have a headache and tell the doctor you have a stomachache, how can the doctor help? You must speak the truth. The truth will abolish fear.” Christina Lamb

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“Something Wicked This Way Comes”

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for April 1, 2022

“The wicked say: ‘Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us.'” Something Wicked This Way Comes is a 1962 dark fantasy novel by Ray Bradbury which tells the story of a pair of 13-year-old best friends and their nightmarish experience with a traveling carnival that comes to their town. It describes magnificently how they learn about combating fear and darkness that exist in and all around them. As an outstanding piece of literature, it is a most significant and brilliant way of speaking about the passage into adulthood from practical innocence and how that particular ingress into another stage of life can be frightening when one has to admit that there is wickedness in this world, including death. “Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.” This is the most fascinating and spiritual enlightening way to begin our new month! The Lord Jesus entered a very sinful and wicked world to save us who want to spend all of eternity with Him and learn and experience the grace of living a life of true freedom to cast off the deeds of darkness that keep us from fully becoming Christians. One might say that the earlier in our spiritual lives that we adopt this life-giving principle, the better.

It is now clear to say that the process of spiritual maturity must not only include an understanding and foreknowledge of how evil works but also the ultimate and forever remedy that will bring us all victory. “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord sustains my life.” We can not march against the forces of wickedness without the loving mercy and strength of our Savior, Jesus Christ. His ultimate sacrifice of selfless love guaranteed that abandonment would never happen, and his teaching about life learned as children would never be forgotten. “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.” What we have received on this fine First Friday of April is nothing short of a spiritual paradox. While we must be ready to confront and defeat whatever wickedness might be arriving at the cusp of childhood, it is the pearls and gems of the childlike state that we will need as an adult, mature Christians to share the crown of life and love with Christ the Lord.

The Word of the Day is: Courage – We must confront what we do not like in ourselves with courage if we have any hope to confront it in the world today. Pray for this courage, and then let the Lord lead you.

“Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.” G.K. Chesterton
Be Not Afraid – Jesus

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Be Determined Not Stubborn

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for March 31, 2022

“I see how stiff-necked this people is. Let me alone, then, that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them. Then I will make of you a great nation.” For those of us who are sincerely trying to follow Jesus and live by the Gospel, we must be convinced that our behavior shapes our personality and, therefore, our moral and otherwise important decisions in life. The Scriptures clearly show the track record of those who abandoned their own set of values and goals toward Heaven and those who never gave up even though it was tough to stay focused and faithful. It is all about balance and humility. Jesus wants us all in Heaven, and every day we are either moving closer or further away from this awesome destiny of ours.

“The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.” As we prepare to close yet another month in 2022, let us carry Jesus deep within our souls so that we do or say nothing that would displease him. A stiff neck is neither pleasant on the body nor the soul. To be stubborn when it comes to growing closer to God and surrendering our pride is not a virtue. This is the challenge and fruit of being loving people who love God and our neighbor. Be determined, not stubborn. Determination is positive, feels light, and will take us far with the grace of God. It is a willingness to change as needed and always keeping an open mind. Stubbornness is a heavy feeling and refusal to budge. A negative, closed mind can never reflect the face and attitude of Christ. It is truly an exciting adventure.

The Word of the Day is Humility:
 – Realize who you truly are in the presence of God.
 – Do not be inflated or arrogant today.
 – Accept your life as it is today and ask God first for the wisdom to know what to change and then the      courage to start on this exciting project of transformation.

That is what Lent is all about.

“A Christian is not a person who believes in his head the teachings of the Bible. Satan believes in his head the teachings of the Bible! A Christian is a person who had died with Christ, whose stiff neck has been broken, whose brazen forehead has been shattered, whose stony heart has been crushed, whose pride has been slain, and whose life is now mastered by Jesus Christ.” – John Piper

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How Can I Forget You?

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for March 30, 2022

As we move with ever greater speed and anticipation to the great mysteries of Holy Week, the words of the Scriptures that are lavished upon us are simply breathtaking. The Psalm assures us that our beautiful God is always there waiting for us and waiting for us to live in happiness and joy: “The LORD is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works. The LORD lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” Jesus can and will accomplish the greatest miracle in our lives because of the intense, powerful and loving relationship that exists in the Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: “For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed.”

But perhaps the most tender of all morsels that have been distributed in due season to us today is the awesome image of a mother and her child that is provided in our First Reading from the Prophet Isaiah: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” How precious! The relationship between a mother and her child is so powerful that it affects everything from health and self-esteem to all other relationships. This is what makes today a delight because what the Lord asks from each of us to form the most powerful bond in the world. This is why The Lord will never forget us and why we cannot afford to forget Him.

The Word of the Day is Remember: Today, God holds you in His heart until He can hold you in Heaven, face to face. That is how much He loves you. Think about that.

“God will never leave you empty. He will replace everything you lost. If He asks you to put something down, it is because He wants you to pick something greater.” Jordan Smith

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Get Up And Thrive

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for March 29, 2022

“Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.” Without a doubt, we would all die without water. By extension, our souls are in grave danger without the flowing waters of Baptism that make an end to sin and death and shine the bright promise of eternity with God upon our earthly lives. Healing and strength are gifts that we need to keep going along the way.

Imagine for a second the sick man in today’s Gospel who had been fighting his disease (we are not sure what it was) for thirty-eight years! And still there he was by the pool of Bethesda, hoping with all his might for a cure and a new life. That sounds a lot like you and me. Then there came that day when Jesus approached him and changed his life forever: “Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your mat, and walk.’ Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.” Sometimes we learn the hard way that we must get up first from our old ways of life and self-loathing and reach out for the loving hand of Christ. He is certainly there waiting. The great news for this Lenten Weekday is that Jesus wants us to walk with Him and live the life He wants for us. He wishes for us to thrive, not just survive.

The Words of the Day: Let Go – Today, we grasp the truth that we cannot move forward unless we let go, forgive ourselves, the situation, and realize the past is over.

“Today I close the door to the past, open the door to the future, take a deep breath, step on through and start a new chapter in my life.” Emmy van Deurzen

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Tears Are Welcomed

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for March 28, 2022

As we move closer and closer to the great mysteries of Holy Week, the Lord is slowly but surely drawing back the curtain of the Lenten Season to reveal great things ahead: “Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind.” Clearly, something new is promised and on the horizon for all of us. These days of detachment and longing have not, nor never have been in vain. There is great love behind the intention of Lent and there is a great reward for us who wish to experience a newness of life and love on this earth while we prepare for the Easter newness within our hearts. We realize today that the Lord has always been right with us during these 40 days: “O LORD, you brought me up from the nether world; you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.”

And there is so much more: the promise of these days of self-denial and prayer has healing and miraculous effects if we allow them to work through us and if we believe that miracles are still possible for those who believe and trust Jesus. This is made crystal clear in our Gospel today with the royal official whose son was deathly ill and on the verge of a certain demise. What do we know of the outcome of trusting the Lord with everything?: “The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.” Such was the confidence of the official in the words of Jesus that this was all he needed. He immediately got back to the daily drudge of life expecting a miracle and believing from where it came. This is the lesson for us today and for every day we have left. Ask, Listen, and Trust. “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” We have seen and we do believe.

The Word of the Day is: Trust – Keeping in mind through this day that God knows how to turn things around, ask Him for anything and everything today: just let him in.

“Draw aside, into the secret place no one but you and God can explore. This is a place from which all questions can be revered. Doubts and struggles are safe to open up and wrestle with, in this place. Tears are welcome.” Jenneth Graser

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Do You See What I See?

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for March 27, 2022

One of the great fruits of fasting and abstaining during this great season of renewal and transformation is how he can allow us to notice things and situations before we only live forgetfully. Case in point: abstaining from certain foods and behaviors can bring about a keen awareness of the hold those things had on us. Spending more time in silence helps us appreciate the world we tend to speed through with alarming and unthinking speed.

“Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.” Let us not rush to judgment and be quick to rely on the appearances of things. Treasures are lurking. “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” When we trust in Jesus, the light will shine even through the toughest of moments. “I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.” We can never be lost if we follow close by the Light of the World because that is precisely why he came to us: “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” Spending more time thinking about the Lord, committing to deep prayer, and just listening to the voice of God whenever and wherever possible will reap so much reward that we will be changed people by the end of Lent more than we had ever imagined.

The Word of the Day is: Silence – Remembering that silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom, let us find some quiet, still time, and let God take care of the rest.

“Everyone chases after happiness, not noticing that happiness is right at their heels.” Bertolt Brecht

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Return To Sender

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for March 26, 2022

“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.” Have you ever needed to return something? It could have been something you ordered through the mail, or perhaps some food item that was damaged or not all that ripe, or even an entree at a restaurant that just did not make the grade. Why did we do that? We did precisely because it was unacceptable or “good enough” for our use and consumption. Perhaps in this Lenten Season, we could apply a similar application to our efforts to return what we want to change or reform to the Lord. None of us can rationally say that we are perfect, but we can also say with much assurance that we need transformation all the time, up until the day we die. This is why humility is such a gift and a basic need for the spiritual journey, in and outside of Lent.

“Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” From time to time, we are given a unique perspective into the disputes which Jesus faced while He walked the earth. Today in the Gospel, we find the haughty, arrogant attitude detailed in one of the visitors to the Temple. He was a Pharisees who were very concerned about the national identity of Israel, rooted in the Covenant between God and the Chosen People. The Torah (or Law), contained in the first five books of the Old Testament, gave concrete instructions on living the Covenant faithfully. Although they seemed to have meant well, the problem with their position was that their teaching robbed the Law – the Word of God, after all – of its dynamism and life-giving power. “Blind guides,” Jesus called them, and rightly so because we read today that this particular Pharisee and all his ilk were not justified. Time for a “return to sender.”

The Word of the Day is: Return – Let us consider sending the following messages: To an enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, our heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity, To every child, a good example, To ourselves, respect.

“True freedom is only to be found when one escapes from oneself and enters into the liberty of the children of God.” François Fénelon

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Good News In Lent

“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

– Kate McGahan

Reflection on Mass Reading for March 25, 2022

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us!'” Today we receive good news for this trying struggle of our wills during the Lenten Season. The goal of finding Jesus and embracing His spirit into our souls forever is coming near. This is the basis of the announcement or annunciation that we celebrate today. The Feast of the Annunciation remembers and celebrated when the angel Gabriel informs Mary that she has been chosen to be the Mother of Our Savior. Her freedom was completely intact throughout the encounter. This underscores why we wait and fast and abstain during these days so that our hearts and souls will be ever ready for the Lord to enter our hearts and our entire lives to make sense of this life now and later. It also reminds us of the sacred moment when Jesus was conceived in the womb of His mother. It also means that Christmas is now just nine months away!

“Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.” Our response is to be patterned after the Virgin Mary responded to the Angel Gabriel. This is what is meant by total openness to God to accomplish on earth what is according to God’s mind and heart. Once we trust that Jesus loves us and wants only the best for us, then all we can do is open our souls in total confidence to His most holy will as we pray in the Our Father, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Today, as it is the custom in some cultures, is the day where we ask the Lord for the most profound, awesome, and seemingly unattainable miracle that we could ever need. This is the day that the Holy Spirit descended onto earth to bring us the tiniest beginnings of our salvation. Ask, and you shall receive, “…for nothing will be impossible for God.”

The Word of the Day is: Miracle – On this day of Annunciation in Lent, ask the Lord for the miracle you need in your life.

“Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.” C. S. Lewis

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