Category Archives: Lent

The loving father – by Madeline Longacker

MGK5000A“Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you…As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him.” Mt 7:7-11

I was trying to imagine how I would react to this scripture if I heard these words from Jesus spoken to me for the first time. I think I would be grateful and relieved that I had a loving Father who wanted to be in a close relationship with me. I would be amazed that He wanted me to ask, seek and knock with all my needs and to persevere in the requests. I would also have been encouraged by the reminder that God is good and is always giving good gifts to His family.

I had received a holy picture card when I was in school that had this scripture on it. The words were so exciting because I could ask God for anything. The scripture remains powerful today because a relationship with the Father has grown through a very simple, childlike conversation with Him. He already knows all my needs, but He desires my expression of them. Turning to Him shows my love and trust in Him.

This conversation over time shows me how God responds Continue reading

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Want peace? Start with yourself… by Anne Wasielewski

Advent Reflections - December 16, 2009 by Charles BurreGod is love. Sure, it is comforting to know that God loves us, but it is a challenge to really believe that God loves the non-believer, the person who may have hurt you intentionally, or worse, simply ignored you out of complete indifference. But God is love, and God loves everyone including our enemies, people of different faiths or no faith at all.

It is very easy for one to say that one loves their neighbor as in Matthew 5: 43-48. Often, that “neighbor” is an abstract concept/person, not your co-worker, fellow commuter or relative. God continually invites all of us into a loving and committed relationship with Him. It is not enough to merely accept His invitation and then move on. To really know and love God our Father, one must become a true follower of Jesus, and not just an admirer of Him. One must enter into a deeply intimate relationship with God based on complete trust, love and receptivity.

At first, this was downright terrifying that in order to enter deeply into a real relationship with God, I must reveal my inner thoughts and weaknesses to God. Do I even know my inner thoughts and weaknesses? Would both God and I be horrified as to what was unearthed? What if God rescinds His invitation to me to be His disciple? And if that is not bad enough, what if I discovered the same displeasing traits in me and the same people I struggle to accept?

I continuously asked myself, “Why should I delve into my most inner thoughts?” I read and re-read Psalm 139, which tells of the all-knowing and ever-present God. A God who loves us sinners unconditionally. I reasoned that I am basically a good enough person. I try to live a good Catholic Christian live by attending Mass regularly, going to Reconciliation and volunteering to serve Christ through faith based ministries. I have complete trust in God, and know that He will Continue reading

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Temptation

Brooklyn_Museum_-_Jesus_Tempted_in_the_Wilderness_(Jésus_tenté_dans_le_désert)_-_James_Tissot_-_overall-1From the Gospel of Mark heard on the First Sunday of Lent:
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.

Jesus was tempted. Sometimes it may be difficult for us, with our binary brains, separating everything into one side or the other, to fully hold and understand Jesus’ full humanity along with his full divinity. As a result, understanding Jesus subject to truly difficult temptation can be a challenge.

Recently I was in Baltimore for the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and I heard James Martin, SJ speaking about Jesus humanity, as he often does. Jesus, Fr. Martin reminded us, felt all the things that we feel, from nausea to annoyance, from exhaustion to being achy, and everything in between. Those are my words, not his, but you get the idea. Today we are clearly reminded of Jesus’ human state in the Gospel, but can we resist the temptation to dismiss Jesus’ Continue reading

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Choose Life – a reflection by Jean Padula

imagesToday’s reflection was submitted by Jean Padula.

The decorations and other vestiges of the Christmas season are boxed up and stored away. Next comes perhaps my favorite month of the year – January. I can cease being a slave to the demanding December “to do” lists. The pace slows and order is restored to my life.

As February and Lent approach, I often am led to turn my focus to the Deuteronomy 30:15-20 admonition to “choose life.” The Lenten holy season always seems the right time to think about the priorities of my life. This year on February 12 I read the Deuteronomy scriptures and happened to follow that reading with one from the front page of the Wall Street Journal. I was drawn to an article about Kayla Jean Mueller, who had been held by the Islamic State for 18 months and, sadly, had been confirmed dead Tuesday, Feb. 10.

258A5CA200000578-2947697-Killed_The_parents_of_Kayla_Jean_Mueller_pictured_said_on_Monday-m-17_1423581617912To quote the article, “Ms. Mueller, who was 26 years old, traveled to the Turkey-Syria border region in December, 2012, to work with aid organizations . . . . . . to help refugees displaced by the Syrian civil war. She was kidnapped in Aleppo in August 2013.
“Dedicated to service work, she previously spent time volunteering in India, Israel and the Palestinian territories before traveling to the border region.”

During Kayla’s imprisonment she tried to teach the guards crafts. Kayla and the other captives told each other stories and taught each other songs. President Obama, offering condolences Continue reading

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Lent and the Psalms – by Bill Thornton

keep-calm-and-read-a-psalm-Today’s post comes from parishioner Bill Thornton.

Today, the Church asks us to meditate on Psalm 1. This short psalm serves as the introduction to the whole book of Psalms and tells us how to be “blessed” or happy in our lives. The Psalmist focuses on two things: the way we live our lives and prayer. The blessed person “delights in the law of the Lord” and “meditates on God’s law day and night.”

The psalm contrasts how the blessed person lives with “the way of sinners,” “the counsel of the wicked,” and “the company of the insolent.” It is interesting that the life of the blessed person is presented as a one-on-one relationship with the Lord, but through the use of words like “counsel” and “company,” the psalmist suggests that sin is at least easier when it is done with a companion or a group. On the result side, the same comparisons hold true. The blessed person is like a tree, the wicked are like chaff. The one is “planted near running water,” the other is blown around by the wind.

But wait, is the psalm calling us to a solitary life like a Continue reading

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Staying and going – a Lenten reflection

MetanoiaIt is Ash Wednesday, and Lent begins. There were many Lents when I was away from church, and did nothing – barely noting the season. When I returned,  it was in a gung-ho fashion – excessively abstemious, but frequently failing and overdoing the mea culpas. What a pity that I lacked any insight about mercy, compassion, or the reconciliation that comes from metanoia.

That brings me to the present moment, a place that offers a different point of view. On my heart today is that Lent is a journey that is simultaneously about staying and about going. We are called to go to the desert, that is the going part. The staying? Well, that is often the hardest part, staying in those places of challenge, which paradoxically can only be found when we go out into the desert. We must go out and then we must stay put. Staying and going; no wonder we want to avoid Continue reading

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Stay, watch, remain, pray

1932412_10152279350617438_613759620_nWe are almost there, these final days leading to Easter triumph and resurrection. But first we must walk the Via Crucis with Jesus, suffering and dying. How will you walk with Jesus this week?

Perhaps the better question is this, how will we each stay with Jesus this week? The comic to the left is cute and funny enough, but then again, it is not funny at all. How do we fail to stay awake? How do we continually find ways to distract ourselves? How do we avoid what must be done?

As for me, I can name many ways in which I do not watch and pray, far too many to enumerate for you today. Yet, Jesus continues to ask me to stay, to watch, to pray, remain in faithful vigil. So once again, I make my meek attempts.

May your steps this week be blessed with the grace attentiveness to and hope in Christ.

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