Am I too late? A last day of Lent reflection from jail

tell-me-not(This Last-day-of Lent reflection is a guest post offered by Shannon O’Donnell. She is a longtime online Catholic friend, from the Seattle-Tacoma area, author, and jail chaplain. Her words never fail to move me.) It’s the last week of Lent, the last days, really. Some days I have been aware of the season, other days, not so much. In the county jail where I work, “Lent” describes more than just those six weeks before Easter. Some people refer to it as “Hell on the Hill.”

In mid-February, we distributed ashes at Catholic services. At communion services and prayer groups, at the one Mass, and I carried a small box of ashes with me as I met with offenders for private talks. Ashes were one thing most people could relate to, so anyone who asked received them.

Out in the parishes, Continue reading

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Last gasps of Lent

-1Here we are, another Lent come and nearly gone. How do we feel? Any different from how we felt on Ash Wednesday? Or how we felt last year? Or the year before?

If you look at the selected Evening Prayer in the daily devotional Give Us This Day, you will find a reading from the Book of Acts (Acts 17:27b-31). It is not the standard evening prayer for today, as found in the Liturgy of the Hours, but I read it (yes – early, because I thought I was giving a reflection on it tonight) and I thought it really delivered the message of what these last gasps of Lent might offer us.

imagesHere we are at the end of our 40 day trek through the desert. We are likely weary, hot, tired, thirsty, exhausted. Or maybe we are not, because we saw the “last oasis before Easter” exit earlier in our Lenten journey, so we did the sensible thing – we bailed. Some of us may be somewhere in between, straddling a well-practiced Lent and a lazy one. That last one covers me, as I careened from one extreme to the other, a sacrificial Lent and a somewhat less disciplined one. God, I’m sorry about eating so much of that cake that Erica baked; I did not mean to, it just happened.

It may seem Continue reading

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How will you enter? A Palm Sunday reflection

christs_entry_into_jerusalem_hippolyte_flandrin_1842Today we remember that Jesus’ entered Jerusalem to cries of Hosanna, meaning “save, we pray!” Hosanna is also interpreted to mean blessed as well. The messiah enters the holy city at the start of the festival of Passover to save and to bless – but not in any way that people might have imagined. We are also called to consider how we will enter into Jerusalem ourselves.

What are our hopes, dreams, beliefs, and prayers today? Do we cry out for Jesus to “save, we pray?” Do we cry out to be bless or be blessed? Do we believe that Jesus will , or in fact, has already, saved us? Or are we just showing up because they are giving out free palms? How will we enter Jerusalem?

628x471If you went to or will go to mass on Palm Sunday you will be blessed by the Sprinkling Rite at the beginning of the liturgy, as the priest, deacons, or others go around the church with Holy Water. Will you Continue reading

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The Annunciation – Say Yes

Silence. Listening. Emptying. Filling. Receiving. Giving.

Today I offer you something that I put on my personal blog, There Will Be Bread, a few years ago, with some new questions about what this day might mean to us as God’s people.  What seemingly impossible things are we called to say yes to today? What is in the space between God and our yes that makes for miracles? How will we each bring Christ into the world without reservation?

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Christmas vs. Easter – by David Carvalho

easter vs christmas-2I love Christmas and Easter. They’re my two favorite times of year. However, I will admit Christmas edges out Easter in certain regards. This is in part because Christmas gets a more pronounced lead up. Now don’t get me wrong, the lead up Christmas gets in the world is usually more about shopping than Advent. Nevertheless, you always know when Christmas time is upon us.

Easter on the other hand, well, it’s not the same show dog. I’d like to think (correct me if I’m wrong) that the extent of Easter in the stores is seeing Easter baskets, eggs, and peeps on the shelves. There aren’t the same elaborate decorations, displays, or sale campaigns, save for the occasional pictures with the Easter bunny. Even in the religious realm, I have never heard anyone say “Yes, Lent is here! I’m so excited!” There are many who take Lent as a time for spiritual renewal. Yet, I more often encounter alpha/omega people: we like Ash Wednesday at the beginning and Holy Week at the end. Call me when Palm Sunday gets here (if that). I include myself in this category. I’m reminded its Lent in the busyness of life usually when I remember it’s a meatless Friday or I forgot to keep up with my Lenten penance/addition. Continue reading

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Brokenhearted Community – by Doreen Salse

b238fce2288134abbf171e687597fbdfWow. We have had a bumper crop of excellent reflections on the Parish Blog this Lent haven’t we? I’ve been inspired by much of what I have read and am grateful to those who have shared their thoughts and insights.

I’d been thinking about focusing my reflection on the sadness in today’s Psalm: (34)

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just man,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him”

It was a natural place for me to go. After all, life is hard, right?

On Tuesday, like I do most mornings, I reached for my phone on my bedside table to read the Lenten reflections of the day on the parish blog. It was Charles Burre talking right at me about Psalm 20 about how weeping Continue reading

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St Joseph – By Bill Thornton

jesus-and-st-josephDon’t you wish we knew more about St. Joseph? I do, especially on his feast day. We will talk about what the Scriptures have to say about him below. But first, the Church teaches us that he was the spouse of Mary mother of Jesus, but the foster father or adoptive father of Jesus. Through church tradition and declaration he is patron of the universal church, of a happy death (since tradition says he died in the presence of Jesus and Mary), of families, fathers, expectant mothers (pregnant women), travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers (remember to bury his statue upside down in the lawn), craftsmen, engineers, and working people in general ( with a special feast of St. Joseph the worker on May 1, perhaps to set off the communist May Day). The Roman Martyrology is a book that contains lists of saints (not only martyrs) whose “birthday,” i.e. The day they died and entered eternal life, is listed on that particular day. This is often read aloud in religious communities. The page for March 19 begins, “In Judea, the birthday of St. Joseph, spouse of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.” I do not know why they think that he died on this day.


In Scripture, Joseph is not referred to at all in St. Mark’s gospel, and is mentioned only twice in St. John’s gospel where the evangelist quotes two different people referring to Jesus as “the son of Joseph.” [Jn 1:45, and 6:42] The first two chapters of St. Matthew’s gospel tell the story of the Nativity and the Flight into Egypt all from the point of view of Joseph, including the genealogy of Joseph descending from King David. Matthew also includes Joseph’s dreams and calls him a “righteous man.”   The first two Continue reading

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