Providing the Word of God.

Daily Reflections

  • Keeping Our Word

    Reflection on Mass Reading for March 22, 2018

    “On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.” (First Reading) The days before the holiest week of the year are approaching and by now all of us are having to become increasingly aware of how we dealt with our promises and commitments of the present Lenten Season. Did we and how well did we keep our word and participated in the covenant we made with our heavenly father to walk with his son through the desert of life these forty days and forty nights? We know for sure that our Lord is always faithful. “The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.” (Responsorial Psalm) Keeping our word is a life-long struggle and goal that is increased with the success of fidelity that is always apparent at the end of our fasting and abstinence to move closer to the very life and awesome presence of our Savior Jesus.

    There are other great reasons why we do what we say we are going to do: integrity, trust and reliability, respect, self-worth, and most importantly, eternal life. “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.”  What is clear to all of us at this time is that keeping our word keeps us right with God and continues to reform and establish the nobility of the persons we strive to be in this life so as to follow Jesus all the way to heaven. A contract is a legal binding document literally based on mistrust; a covenant is an agreement of hearts and souls based on the eternal love that God has for you and for me. That is precisely why God always remembers and keep his word.

  • Truth or Consequences?

    Reflection on Mass Reading for March 21, 2018

    By now there are many of us who could agree with the marvelous assessment of those deep within the fire bravely and accurately uttered 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 a little. If our beautiful and merciful Lord preserved us during these days of Lent then he can do even greater things. This much is certainly true and we have only a few more days, literally, 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.

    “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.”  God loves us so much that he 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.

  • Worn Out or Well Worn?

    Reflection on Mass Reading for March 20, 2018

    It is becoming increasingly apparent that dysfunctional interpersonal relationships are growing within the general population and can seriously drain and empty the joy and peace of mind that should be part of a very happy life. Emotions of those who whine and complain with ridiculous regularity are most often experienced as resentment and anger. We have more than a bird’s eye view of that awful pathetic prison of the soul in our First Reading today. “But with their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses…”  Perhaps they felt as if they were caught in a trap and the more Moses struggled to get them out, the tighter the clamps became and the less freedom they had. We read that they were certainly worn out by the serious trek into freedom, but they seemed to be driven by irrational thoughts that got in the way of rationally addressing the situation in the desert. With Lent ending sooner than later, perhaps this describes us, which then calls us to a greater response that is rooted in faith, courage, and love. “O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.” (Responsorial Psalm)

    Of course there are many times in life when complaining and bemoaning about our lot in life and other uncontrollable situations seem to be the only and most logical of all reactions, but they are clearly not the best. There are many more times in life when, instead of complaining, we must do something about our whining, because the sad truth is that although complainers may change their complaints, they never reduce the amount of time spent in complaining. This is why the Gospel gives us the only sane and healthy way not only to deal with suffering and frustration but also to get to heaven for all eternity. “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.”

    Instead of being critical of people or situation of anything, especially when we have no real control over them, let us remember what is waiting for us at Easter. Jesus Christ risen and totally alive. Be happy you are not responsible for everything in this world, and instead of piling on complaints, thank God for everything that is good with the world and thank as many as you can for what they do for you and others. Overwhelm the world with encouragement and appreciation.

  • The Carpenter’s Father

    Reflection on Mass Reading for March 19, 2018

    Today we joyfully celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph, the father of Jesus and another excellent installment of our Lenten journey so close to Holy Week. St. Joseph is the patron of the Church, of all fathers and of a happy death. How can all these three essential elements of life be brought together for our spiritual benefit to undergo the great mysteries of Easter? As always, we return to the precious Word of God beginning with our First Reading. “I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me,” and from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans, “I have made you father of many nations.” It is clear that the Lord God wished not only to shepherd us through this valley of tears but also show us a father’s love and guidance just as he bestowed upon his only begotten son with the awesome figure of Joseph, husband of Mary. Imagine the interaction and parenting that was occurring in the first years of the human formation of the Savior of the world. The Gospel also deepens this desire for loving obedience for us all through Jesus. “When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded  him and took his wife into his home.”

    What is also remarkably profound about today’s Feast and the patron of the Church, the Body of Christ, is the lesson or true and unrelenting obedience to the will of God the father and the acceptance of what lies ahead in our spiritual lives. St. Joseph accepted everything in his vocation and helped bring us Jesus the Messiah, true God and true man. While it is true that there is no objective magic formula for success, there is an unconditional acceptance of God’s gift of life to us and all that it brings. This he lived even unto his death, premature by some estimates. This is why St. Joseph is the Patron of a happy death because the last face he saw on earth was the first he saw in Heaven. May it be the same for us.

  • Emptying Graves of Fear

    Reflection on Mass Reading for March 18, 2018

    Holy Week is now just seven days in sight and the fruits of our Lenting are about to be harvested. Jesus is literally taking our minds and hearts and gently walking with us to face our deepest and darkest fear, that of death itself, in very much the same way he did. In wonderfully typical Old Testament dramatic delivery, our First Reading begins the healing hope of this victory over death. “O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them.” One of the most outstanding gifts that is waiting for us after an arduous time of fasting and abstinence is the strength to face the unavoidable last chapter of life with courage, faith and a most resilient hope that can believe even during the darkest nights of our souls. “Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice!”

    “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 dwelling in you.” (Second Reading) This pre-Easter approach must involve an internal conversion away from all the forces and vestiges of death and it must begin now. How can we hope to defeat our fear of death and despair by playing the tired old game of doubt and disbelief? The only way to move closer to the exciting gift of Easter is to concentrate on the one who promises us that we never have to live in despair and hopelessness. “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”  We can believe it because it is true.

  • An Irish Lenten Blessing

    Reflection on Mass Reading for March 17, 2018

    We cannot possibly ignore the glaring obvious and wonderful Feast which we have been given nestled within these remaining days of our Lenten journey. Today, we are all Irish within a miasma of purpled detachment to learn something remarkable and continue toward Easter with renewed spirit. Our First Reading is a classic slice of wisdom from the Prophet Jeremiah. “But, you, O LORD of hosts, O just Judge, searcher of mind and heart, Let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause!” This great stellar voice from the Old Testament opened up passageways to the deep loving care he has for all who would follow him and even establish right justice for those who would despise the Word and bring harm to our souls. St. Patrick had similar thoughts and hopes for ongoing conversation immersed in a veritable ocean of mercy. “It was there that the Lord opened up my awareness of my lack of faith. Even though it came about late, I recognized my failings. So I turned with all my heart to the Lord my God, and he looked down on my lowliness and had mercy on my youthful ignorance. He guarded me before I knew him, and before I came to wisdom and could distinguish between good and evil. He protected me and consoled me as a father does for his son.” (Confessio of Saint Patrick)

    The Gospel today gives a very interesting insight into the marvelous effect the Lord Jesus can have on those who even unintentionally hear and experience the one for whom we wait at Easter. It is simply overwhelming and life-changing. “So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, ‘Why did you not bring him?’ The guards answered, ‘Never before has anyone spoken like this man.'” On this Lenten Saturday that happens to room with an Irish icon and a slew of green and festive songs, we, too must be open to have the same blessings lavished upon us. It is a time as we wish a great Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all we meet to remember and remind everyone we love about our faith in Jesus.

    “That is why I cannot be silent – nor would it be good to do so – about such great blessings and such a gift that the Lord so kindly bestowed in the land of my captivity. This is how we can repay such blessings, when our lives change and we come to know God, to praise and bear witness to his great wonders before every nation under heaven.” –St. Patrick

  • Hour of Power

    Reflection on Mass Reading for March 16, 2018

    An hour can be the twenty-fourth part of a day culminating in sixty minutes or it can be a moment in time that can change everything. “This could be your hour” is a phrase that can have deep and meaningful meaning for many people. We could say that our moment can be upon us but we must be able to recognize it without distraction or fear. This is what we can glean from the Gospel today. “So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.”

    So how is it that so many miss their moment? We have a clue in our First Reading. “These were their thoughts, but they erred; for their wickedness blinded them, and they knew not the hidden counsels of God; neither did they count on a recompense of holiness nor discern the innocent souls’ reward.” If you and I are distracted by the things of the world, possibly we will not be present to the moment when God opens his heart and reveals his wonderful plan for our lives. They say that opportunity only knocks once but God’s love and mercy are everlasting. “Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the LORD delivers him.” (Responsorial Psalm) This is your hour, take it.