Tag Archives: Lent

Bless the Lord – a reflection by Bill Thornton

The Prophet Jeremiah

The Prophet Jeremiah

Today’s post comes courtesy of parishioner Bill Thornton.

In today’s first reading, Jeremiah says in part:

Cursed is the man or woman who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his or her strength in flesh, … but

Blessed is the man or woman who trusts in the LORD,
whose hope is the LORD.

This probably reminds you of Psalm 1, that we talked about on the Thursday after Ash Wednesday, and indeed the lesson of the two readings is about the same. However, there is a nuance that I would like to highlight in the today’s reading.

The prophet tells us today the one who trusts in the world, “is like a barren bush in the desert
that enjoys no change of season, but stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth.” On the other hand, the one who trusts in the Lord “is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream. It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.Continue reading

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Taking the cup – a Lenten reflection

'Interesting. . . I see you have a degree in 'Under Achieving'. . .'Another day in Lent, another Gospel challenge. Today – underachieving by design! Yes, you are thinking, “what is she on about now?” You know me, sometimes I like to kid – even, perhaps especially, during Lent.

Achievement. Our world seems pretty much built around it. I worked in the media business for 27 years. My first job was as what was then called (does it even exist now?) “sales assistant.” What did I do? I was a glorified secretary, working for a salesperson. In 1980, this was more likely a man than a woman. If you did your job really well, you would be promoted to – wow, I can’t even remember the title. In was the over-glorified secretary I guess, because you worked for the sales manager, and you supervised the other sales assistants. Yes, I did get this job and I was an incredible disaster at it. At that age I did not have a clue about servant leadership, or that such a thing existed – I was just not ready for any of it.

Today’s Gospel is very clear, if you seek greatness, be willing to serve, not lord your greatness over people. In this passage from Matthew, the mother of the sons of Zebedee approaches Jesus and Continue reading

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A Lenten Reflection by Don Wilson

341px-Carl_Heinrich_Bloch_-_Jesus_TemptedThis reflection was offered by Don Wilson at a Communion Service On Saturday, February 21, 2015, for the 1st Sunday of Lent, at the Coxsackie DOC. Don is part of the REC (Residents Encounter Christ) prison ministry . It is timely wisdom for us at any time during Lent!

Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Lent. Jesus is almost ready to begin his public ministry, but first He must go through some things as final preparation. He had to identify himself with sinful humanity at the outset of His ministry, and He did this by submitting to baptism. Then He had to face temptation. Mark’s gospel doesn’t list any specific temptations as you will find in the gospel of Matthew or Luke. Perhaps it is because each of us faces slightly different temptations, yet we do not have to give in to any of them because Jesus is SUFFICIENT to handle whatever life brings our way.

There are three things I got out of Mark’s account of the temptations Jesus encountered:
1. We all find ourselves wandering in the Wilderness
A wilderness is any place we don’t want to be. This wilderness was a place where Jesus found himself alone. His friends were not there. He had no support team to encourage him.

Now I don’t think I have to convince anyone here that times Continue reading

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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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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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