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May 4 - Monday of the 4th Week of Easter

Gospel: Jn 10:11-18   We continue the theme of the Good Shepherd today in our gospel reading from John. Jesus speaks to his disciples in regard to this Good Shepherd, “I know mine, and mine know me.” Any good, responsible leader makes himself known to the people he works through. The Good Shepherd is the example of what is called a servant leader. A servant-leader is one that has the ability to empathize, listen, and has an awareness of their own strengths and limitations. Furthermore, the servant-leader cares for the spiritual, mental well-being. Other skill sets may include persuasiveness, foresight, building community, and a commitment of seeing growth in those he leads. All these traits force the good shepherd to have an investment with his people - and in turn the people develop a relationship with the shepherd. Continued development of these skills allows us to say, “I know mine, and mine know me.” Where in our lives can we build these practices of servant-leadership and become Good Shepherds in our communities? 

 

April 30 - Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter

St. Pius V 1504-1572

Today the Church celebrates the life of St. Pope Pius V. During his time as pope, Pius V, elected in 1566, had the responsibility of implementing the reforms set forth in the Council of Trent. This included the establishment of seminaries, publication of revised missals, breviary, and catechism. The practice of the pope wearing a white cassock is traced back to Pope Pius who insisted on wearing his white Domican habit throughout his papacy. Today’s readings from Mass reflect the life of Pius V. Like Philip, he was led by the spirit to perform daunting tasks of reform throughout the Church. This courageous task was fueled also by his love for the Eucharist which Jesus constantly reminds us that his flesh he gives is “for the life of the world.” St. Pius V, pray for us.

 

April 29  Wednesday  Feast of St. Catherine

Today the Church celebrates St. Catherine of Siena. Below are some interesting facts that you may not know about her :

She only lived to be 33 years old. 

She had a part in ending the Avignon Papacy. This was a time where a series of Popes were residing in Avignon, rather than in Vatican City. She persisted both in dialogue and prayer in convincing Gregory VI to return back to Rome. On January 17, 1377 Gregory relented and took up residency back in Rome. 

Blessed Raymond of Capua was her confessor, “spiritual son,” and her biographer. 

St. Catherine is a doctor of the Church, Co-Patroness of Rome and Europe, and Patroness of Italy. 

St. Catherine would describe her relationship with Jesus as a “mystical marriage.” 

We can learn from Siena the importance of the Eucharist in our daily lives. We can learn to be more like Christ following her example of daily prayer, reading Sacred Scripture, and frequent reception of the Eucharist. 

She had the gift of tears. 

St. Catherine’s description of Christ as a bridge between heaven and earth. As we cross this bridge, we detach ourselves from sin and increase in virtue with the end goal of being in union with our God.

(adopted from Jimmy Akin’s 8 Things To Know and Share about Catherine of Siena https://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/8-things-to-know-and-share-about-st.-catherine-of-siena)

 

April 27 - Monday of the Third Week of Easter Gospel: John 6:22-29

The account in the Gospel today from John follows on the actions that occur after the feeding of the five thousand. We read on Saturday, how after the multiplication of the loaves Jesus left to pray on his own. Today, the crowd that was there, recognizing the miracle Jesus performed, desires more from him. In fact, they organize what some may call a search party to find this Jesus. The people are motivated by their physical desires rather than their spiritual desires; they are limited in their vision to seeing Jesus as he truly is - the Son of God. What are our primary motivations? Is it the physical, i.e. job, money. etc.? Or are we motivated by more spiritual matters, recognizing that everything we do is for the honor and glory of God? 

Friday, April 24 

 Today is the memorial of St. Fidelis. He was born in Germany in October 1577 and died April 24, 1622. Trained as a lawyer in his early life, he later entered in the Order of Capuchin Reform. 

His education as a lawyer helped in his apostolic career of converting many heretics, especially those followers of Calvin and Zwingli. His zeal for the faith was so great that he asked God for two favors: first, that he may never fall into mortal sin and secondly, he may receive a martyr's death. In his journeys he was known to have only carried with him a crucifix, Bible, Breviary, and the rules of Capuchin order. Everything else he entrusted to God’s care and providence. He eventually would die a martyr’s death. Fidelis was dragged outside the church by crowds led by Calvinist preachers, and forced to deny his Catholic faith or face a penalty of death; he vehemently refused and was immediately killed. The efforts made by Fidelis provides a reflection for the psalm that read today: “One thing I seek: To dwell in the house of the Lord,” from Psalm 27. To be with the Lord is all that St. Fidelis desired. May we be as fervent in our faith as well - in that all we desire is to one day be with our Lord.

 

April 23   Thursday of the 2nd Week of Easter - St. George

Little information is provided to us about the St. George whose feast we celebrate today. The stories we do know about him are surrounded by myth and legend. Some stories claim he was chopped to death three times, buried, and burned. In each occurence, the power of God resurrects him. Other stories include his severed head flowing with milk rather than with blood. Of course, he is most famously known as St. George the Dragon slayer. What we do know is that George lived in Palestine, being martyred sometime around 303 AD. He was known to have been a constant defender of the faith which ultimately led to his beheading by the Emperor Diocletian of Rome. Overtime he became celebrated as the ideal Christian knight. In the crusades, King Richard I of England placed his forces under the protection of St. George. At one particular battle where the Christians were losing, many reported St. George rode from out amongst the soldiers to lead the Christians to victory. For this reason, St. George is noted as the patron saint of England. St. George is also patron to the countries of Portugal and Lithuania. In addition, he is the patron saint of soldiers, Boy Scouts, and farmers. In all these legends, one thing remains constant - St. George was a martyr for Christ. The Gospel used for St. George reading reflects the strength and courage St. George must have had, 

Jesus said to all, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels."

                              Luke 9:23-26

Wednesday, April 22

Gospel John 3:16-21   The conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus continues. In this passage, God reveals the unconditional love that he has for us. Man in his sinful condition has severed his relationship with God. Unfortunately, we are unable to repair such a relationship on our own. What is required for reparations, is far beyond any of us can give. It required God to come to us in the form of his Son, Jesus Christ. In this manner he walked our walk, talked our talk. He was like us in every way except that of sin.  Through the power of incarnation, he came down in order to lead us to meet our Father in heaven so that we may receive eternal life. He came down so that he could lift us up. How many times do we stoop down to help others up? What does that look like? It could look like the one who chooses to work at the Food Pantry rather than binge watching a show on Netflix. It could look like the one that rather spending their money on frivolous items gives it as a gift to those most in need. Or it could look like the one who takes time for an extra prayer, holy hour, rosary, or other devotion. It may even look like the family member giving the one child in your family that extra boost - literally or figuratively. When we “stoop” down to help others, we imitate one of the greatest mysteries and gifts ever given to us  - God becoming man in order to help man.  

Tuesday, April 21 

St. Anselm of Canterbury Bishop and Doctor

Today our Church recognizes St. Anselm, a noted scholar and theologian. One of St. Anselm’s contribution to our faith was his proof for God’s existence which has been extensively debated by St. Thomas Aquinas and others. His proof is made with the following statement, that God is “that which nothing greater can be thought.” God is greater than anything we could possibly think of, therefore, he has to exist.  

St. Anselm, as Archbishop of Canterbury, stood in defense of religious freedom against political authority. The kings of his time were attempting to place the Church authority in service to the political realm. Anselm stood bravely against this movement by refusing to consecrate bishops that King Henry had invested. As a result of this firmness, others would take note. Bishops chosen by the king would refuse their office or refuse consecration by another. The king would later be forced to give up his claim that he had the power to invest both bishops and abbots. 

    Anselm is noted in a couple of instances to have fiercely fought against appointments made for him. In both his election as prior and abbot to the Abbey of Bec, Anselm would lie prostrate before the monks pleading, crying not to be elected into the positions. Anselm’s trust in God however helped him overcome any anxieties he may have had concerning his appointments. In the office of readings for today, Anselm writes, 

O God, let me know you and love you so that I may find my joy in you; and if I cannot do so fully in this life, let me at least make some progress every day, until at last that knowledge, love and joy come to me....While I am here on earth let me learn to know you better, so that in heaven I may know you fully; let my love for you grow deeper here, so that there I may love you fully. On earth then I shall have great joy in hope, and in heaven complete joy in the fulfilment of my hope.

His desire to love and know God allowed him the ability to take on the tasks that God had called him to do. In our baptism, and later in our confirmation, we take on the path to follow Christ in both our words, actions, and prayers. As Jesus describes to Nicodemus in our gospel reading,  the Son of Man came down from heaven to show us the way to be born into heaven, as Jesus describes to Nicodemus. May we use the example of St. Anselm to help carry out our own Christian life. St. Anselm, Pray for Us. 

Monday: April 20 

 

Gospel: John 3:1-8We hear the echoes of Baptism in the words that Jesus speaks to Nicodemus: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” Christ’s crucifixion makes this reality when his side is pierced and pours out water and blood. Saint Ambrose writes, “See where you are baptized, see where Baptism comes from, if not from the cross of Christ, from his death. There is the whole mystery: he died for you. In him you are redeemed, in him you are saved.” In the Baptism rite itself, the Church asks God to send his Holy Spirit down upon the water so that those who are to be baptized will be “born of water and Spirit.”  Water is a symbol of life, fruitfulness, liberation, and death.  In baptism one dies with Christ and is made new by the power of the Holy Spirit. Baptism, as one of the three Sacraments of Initiation, not only brings us into our community of faith, but we are given new life.  As the psalm reminds us, this new life gives us a place of refuge with the Lord. It is our responsibility to continue to work with God in continued growth. Baptism is not the end, but the beginning. Through the sacraments, prayer, and charity we grow in holiness.  Let us be thankful for our Baptism and the many blessings that we have received from Christ, our Lord.

His desire to love and know God allowed him the ability to take on the tasks that God had called him to do. In our baptism, and later in our confirmation, we take on the path to follow Christ in both our words, actions, and prayers. As Jesus describes to Nicodemus in our gospel reading,  the Son of Man came down from heaven to show us the way to be born into heaven, as Jesus describes to Nicodemus. May we use the example of St. Anselm to help carry out our own Christian life. St. Anselm, Pray for Us.

 

Easter Friday, April 17 

 

Easter Thursday, April 16th:  

The Gospel picks up where we left off yesterday. The two men that were traveling to Emmaus
have returned to the disciples in Jerusalem. In the midst of the disciples present, Jesus appears
saying “Peace be with you.” The disciples of course are startled, amazed, perhaps even a little
scared. Peace is needed to help them and make them aware of the holiness they are encountering
as they witness the resurrected body of Christ. Whenever we enter into Mass, the Priest begins
with the “Lord be with you,” while we respond “and with your spirit.” It is acknowledgement of
the sacredness of the moment we are about to encounter. In fact, we repeat these phrases three
times - opening, at the reading of the Gospel, and the Preface to the Eucharist. When the priest
speaks these words, it is a preparation for the mysteries we are about to encounter. The priest
pray for us - and we for the priest - as we draw close to the resurrected body of Jesus in the
Mass.

 

Easter Wednesday, April 15  

Today we read the story of two men on their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Their hearts are
saddened and troubled by the recent events of Jesus’ crucifixion and tales of his resurrection.
Jesus, for these two men, was supposed to be a political figure that would give Israel its
redemption. Nothing has panned out the way it was supposed to occur in their own minds. As
their minds were clouded by this reality, they failed to recognize Jesus as they described the
recent events to him. On their journey to Emmaus, Jesus breaks open the word to them and when
they finally reach their destination he breaks bread with them. It is then at that moment the eyes
of the two men realize who is standing before them. The two rush to Jerusalem with great
excitement to tell their story to the remaining apostles. In this passage, we find the reflection of
the mass we celebrate everyday. In the Liturgy of the Word, we have the readings, followed by
the priest breaking open the Word. In the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the priest consecrates the
bread and wine using the words of institution and makes present the resurrected Christ. In this
moment of the mass, our eyes are unveiled just like the men who were traveling to Emmaus. At
our closing we are sent forth to bring the Gospel message to all just like those two men running
back to Jerusalem to tell the apostles. Every mass is a liturgical celebration similar to what the
men on the road to Emmaus experience. We may arrive downtrodden, sorrowful, angry, or
doubtful. Yet at the end of the liturgical celebration - we should be full of joy and happiness that
we have blessed with the opportunity to spend time with our Risen Christ - and from that
experience we should be willing to share it with others.

 

 

 

Easter Tuesday April 14

Today we hear the story of Mary Magadalene discovering the empty tomb. In her grief and anguish, she cries out to the two angels standing in the burial spot of Jesus, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” Mary, so consumed with her sorrow, is unable to see things for what they truly are. She fails to recognize the appearance of angels where Christ was laid. Later, because of her sadness, she lacks the ability to see Christ standing before her. Instead Mary thinks she is conversing only with a common gardener. Only when Jesus calls her out by name does the veil covering her senses is removed and is able to see Christ. Mary’s experience is a similar experience we all share. We often become overtaken with our emotions, we lack the ability to see things for what they truly are. It is only when Christ confronts us that we are able to clearly see the whole picture. That is why our faith life is critical. Our time in prayer - conversing with God - becomes a moment when we can look at Christ face to face. It is in those moments where Christ shows us the larger picture and allows us to see as he sees.

 

April 11/12 Easter Sunday

 

Alleluia! He is Risen! The Easter Mass today utilizes an ancient form of the liturgy known as the sequence.  The sequence dates itself back to the medieval era where it was used to transition between the second reading and the gospel. It often served as an accompaniment to longer Gospel processions. They had such popularity that there was a sequence provided for nearly every Sunday.  The liturgical reforms of the Counter-Reformation in 1570 reduced the number of sequences in the liturgy to four (Easter, Pentecost, Corpus Cristi, and All Souls’ Day). A fifth would be added to the feast of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. Eventually, the Vatican II reforms reduced the number After Vatican II reforms, there are only two required sequences: one for Easter (Victimae paschali laudes) and Pentecost (Veni Sancte Spiritus) with an optional sequence given for Corpus Crisit. 

    The sequence for Easter (ideally to be recited or sung during the Easter Octave) describes how Christ conquered death and reconciles us to the Father. It also tells the story of Mary Magelene who discovers the empty tomb and is the first to witness the resurrection. The Latin and English translation are provided below.  Watch it here: https://youtu.be/Vfcp19WpXxU

 

Latin Text

Victimae paschali laudes immolent Christiani.

Agnus redemit oves:Christus innocens Patri reconciliavit peccatores.

Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando: dux vitae mortuus, regnat vivus.

Dic nobis Maria, quid vidisti in via?

Sepulcrum Christi viventis,et gloriam vidi resurgentis

Angelicos testes, sudarium, et vestes.

Surrexit Christus spes mea: praecedet suos [vos] in Galilaeam.

Scimus Christum surrexisse a mortuis vere: tu nobis, victor Rex, miserere.

Amen. Alleluia.

 

English Translation

Christians, to the Paschal Victim Offer your thankful praises!

A Lamb the sheep redeems: Christ, who only is sinless, reconciles sinners to the Father;

Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous:

The Prince of Life, who died, reigns immortal.

Speak Mary, declaring what you saw wayfaring: “The Tomb of Christ, who is living, the glory of Jesus’ Resurrection; bright angels attesting,the shroud and napkin resting. Yes, Christ my hope is arisen; to Galilee he goes before you.”

Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining. Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!

Amen. Alleluia. 







 

 

 

 

 

 

April 10 Good Friday 

Today Jesus’s mission of salvation is completed in his passion and death. As the suffering servant described in Isaiah, “he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins; upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.” After his death, rather than breaking his legs, Christ was pierced. Immediately blood and water flow from his side. Like Eve which was born from the rib of Adam, our Church is born out this blood and water flowing from his side. The blood is that of the New Covenant and the water is that of a new baptism.  We see the signs of a new beginning where in all appearances everything looks to be a loss and hopeless. Yet, note where Jesus’ body is both crucified and buried. John writes “[N]ow in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.” Where the Garden of Eden is where Adam and Eve fell and perpetuated original sin, Christ through his passion and death a new beginning is developing. How appropriate that this new creation - new life - returns to the original source of the garden. Thus even when all is dark and seems lost, there is hope. 

 

 

 

Holy Thursday, April 9: 

We go into the Garden with Jesus

Gospel Reading: John 13:1-15

Today’s Gospel reading from the Mass of Holy Thursday depicts Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. In washing their feet, Jesus is lowering, humbling himself to the status of a servant. Peter, perhaps noticing the symbolism, at first refuses to let Jesus wash his feet. Jesus tells Peter, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” Jesus is inviting not only his disciples, but all of us, into displaying a deep sense of vulnerability. He desires to wash us clean from the messiest and ugliest parts of our lives. We shouldn’t refuse this invitation to grow deeper into a relationship with him. Let us be willing to share with him our faults, all our emotions (yes - even our anger), shame, and guilt. If we wish to be his disciples we must be willing to be vulnerable to him. Today let Jesus not only wash our feet, but our hands, heads, and hearts as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, April 8th: 

The Gospel reading today put us back to the events that occurred at the Last Supper, specifically Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. Jesus tells his disciples that “one of you will betray me.” Judas responds to this statement with the words, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” We know Judas is lying because earlier in the passage Judas was given thirty pieces of silver to hand Jesus over to the chief priests. The Gospel states “from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.” What we may be able to speculate on the other hand is that Judas is in denial of his betrayal of Jesus. This denial eventually leads to despair - so great a despair that Judas committs suicide.  This denial and despair are common effects of the sins we commit. We may try to deny the severity or seriousness. In the end, we fall into a deep despair. A great tragedy is that Judas failed to see God’s loving mercy. May we in our times of sin not forget this mercy and partake in the sacrament of Reconciliation.

 

Tuesday, April 7th

At the end of the Gospel reading today, we hear Peter tell Jesus, “I will lay down my life for you.” However, as our Passion readings reveal to us, Peter will deny Jesus out of fear. Peter goes as far as to curse and swear that he had no knowledge of Christ.  How often in our lives do our own fears draw us away from Christ and his message? We can easily be motivated and overwhelmed by our feelings that we forgot the one constant in our lives - Jesus Christ. In comparison, we see St. John - the one whom Jesus loved - staying close to him. Even at the moment of his crucifixion we see St. John standing underneath the cross. This Holy Week let us reflect upon which disciple we want to imitate more - Peter or John? 

 

 

 

Monday April 6th

Today we read about Mary, brother to Lazarus and sister of Martha, anointing the feet of Jesus with expensive perfumed oils. Judas argues with Jesus on Mary’s use of the oil. Rather than using the oil to anoint, the oil could be sold and in turn help the poor. Jesus responds, “You always have the poor with you, but you don’t always have me.” Mary is responding to the blessings that Jesus has provided her with - including raising her brother from the dead. Mary is thankful and responds by anointing his feet. What is remarkable is the fact that Jesus is letting Mary grace him. Jesus, the Son of God, doesn’t need any of what Mary is offering. Yet he humbles himself to accept what she offers. Judas fails to see the significance of this action and is only focused on himself.  Our giving can become selfish when we fail to humble ourselves and let others grace us in the moment. We often spend so much time often focusing on trying to be a blessing to others, but when do we allow those exact same people to be a blessing to us? 

 

 

 

Saturday/Sunday April 4/5- Palm Sunday      

St. Isidore of Seville - Bishop and Doctor

Saturday, April 4 we celebrate the memorial of St. Isidore. Isidore wasn’t the best student. He
would often not do his homework and skipped his classes. When his parents died, he came under
the care of his brother, Leander. His brother Leander was a monk and would later become bishop
of Seville, Spain. Despite his dislike toward school, he learned the habit of perseverance and
stayed up with his subjects that his brother was tutoring him with. He succeeded his brother as
bishop of Seville. Under his authority as bishop, he reunited the Church in Spain, established a
college for seminarians, and authored an encyclopedia. This encyclopedia would be used as a
common textbook for nine centuries. As a result, St. Isidore is often known as “The
Schoolmaster of the Middle Ages.” St. Isidore is known to be the patron saint of computers and
the internet. Learn more about St. Isidore here:

 

Friday, April 3rd  First Friday of the Month- Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Gospel Reflection: Jn 10:31-42
Jesus tells the Jews today, “If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I
perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize and
understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Jesus is lending a hand to those who
are struggling in believing in him. He tells them to focus on his works so that they may be led
into belief of him.This is important for us as well. When we suffer fears,anxieties, and doubts,
we often forget to see the many graces and blessings that God has placed into our lives. Our faith
becomes stronger when we can focus on God has been active in our past and continues to be so
even now.

 

Thursday April 2nd - St. Francis of Paola
Today is the feast of St. Francis of Paola (1416-1507). St. Francis is known as the Patron saint of
seafarers. By the age of 15, he decided he wanted to be a hermit and moved to a cave that
overlooked the sea. Five years later, two other men joined him. Together they called themselves
the Hermits of St. Francis of Assisi. Later they would change the name of their order to the
Franciscan Minim Friars. Minim meant they were the least in the household of God. In addition
to the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, their order instituted a perpetual Lenten fast. St.
Francis was known to have the gifts of prophecy and performing of miracles. He was active in
defense of the poor and the oppressed, even going as far as to scold rebuke King Ferdinand of

Naples and his sons for their offenses. Pope Sixtux IV would later send St. Francis to assist King
Louis XI of France in preparing for death. King Louis would die peacefully in his arms. In
addition to his aid to the king, he helped negotiate peace between France and Spain. Pope Leo X
would canonize St. Francis of Paola in 1519. Learn more about St. Francis of Paola here:

 

Wednesday April 1 

1st Reading: Dn 3:14-20, 91-92, 95

King Nebuchadnezzar sends three young men into the furnace after refusing to obey his order to abandon their God and follow his. So outrage is the King, he heats up the furnace - we are told - seven times more than normal. Additional passage describes the flames as rising 47 cubits in height (approximately 71 feet) above the furnace. God sent an angel to drive out the flames and made “the inside of the furnace as though a dew-laden breeze were blowing through it” (3:50). As a result the three young men were not impacted by the heat, smoke, or burning fire. Rather they danced and sang. There is a beautiful hymn that these three young men sing while in the furnace -  praising all the works and wonders of our Lord and God. The Church recites this canticle every Sunday in the morning prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours. As they are singing and dancing in the furnace, they are joined by one who looks like a Son of God. This passage serves as a reminder that God joins us in the midst of our sufferings. He doesn’t stand away - he comes into our current situations to be with us in order to help alleviate our sufferings. 

 

Tuesday March 31
1st Reading: Nm 21:4-9

God punishes the Israelites in their loss of patience. The community is fed up with the lack of
food and water. For punishment, God sent serpents to bite and kill them. Moses appeals to the
Lord for mercy. As a result, God has Moses create a bronze serpent to be placed on a pole.
Whoever is bitten and looks at this bronze serpent will be healed. However this was only
temporary. One was only healed from their snake bite. God has given us something even greater
through his son Jesus Christ. In looking upon the crucifix, we see a symbol of the great
sacrificial love that God has for everyone in the human race. Furthermore, the cross is a promise
of eternal life with God. It is a reminder of the one true constant in our daily lives - even in the
midst of these times of the pandemic - Jesus Christ.

Monday, March 30th: 

1st Reading: Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62
Our first reading today tells the story of Susanna who is falsely accused of adultery. Daniel, a is
called forth by God to come to the defense of Susana. As a result, he is able to bring to light the
lies that the accusers have made against her. Daniel was a just a bystander, a young boy,
witnessing the events that were on display. With the gifts of fortitude, understanding, and
wisdom, he is able to stand up against those who were ready to put Susana to death. Furthermore,
he is able to turn the assembly’s hearts and open their minds to the actual truth. Daniel is a
reminder of how God works through the Holy Spirit. Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit we are
able to cast light unto the darkest spot in our lives and the lives of others. How can we effectively
use the gifts supplied to us to help lead people closer to a relationship with the Lord?

 

Saturday/Sunday March 28/29   

Sunday’s gospel reading from John is about the raising of Lazarus, the brother of Martha and
Mary, from the dead. The first person Jesus encounters on his way to the tomb of Lazaraus is
Martha. Martha meets Jesus and announces “Yes Lord. I have to believe that you are the
Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” Despite her grief and anger
about her brother’s death, “ Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” she
still holds in faith of the everlasting life Jesus offers. As we begin to approach Holy Week we
will be faced in the position as Martha. We walk with Jesus as he is betrayed, put to trial, suffers
agonizing tortures, and is forced to die on a cross. Yet in all of this we yet hold firm to our faith
that he is the “messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world” - an assurance of
hope and new life.

 

 

 

Friday, March 27th: 

 

Thursday, March 26th

Gospel Reading: John 5:31-47
We find Jesus today establishing his authority for his words and actions. The Jewish people have
become awestruck at the signs, wonders, and teachings; he teahes “as one having authority and
as the scribes.” The rabbis and scribes appealed to the authority of Moses; however, Jesus did not
speak in appealing to the patriarchs. Jesus speaks with his own authority. The Word which had
been given to Moses and the prophets, is now visibly present among us and no longer must speak
through another. Do you accept Jesus as fully man and fully God? Do you have any lingering
doubts about his divinity or his humanity? (Adapted from Bishop Barron’s Lenten Reflections for
March 26)

 

Wednesday, March 25th: Feast of the Annunciation, our parish Feast Day!

He was born in a new condition, for, invisible in his own nature, he became visible in ours.
Beyond our grasp, he chose to come within our grasp. Existing before time began, he began to
exist at a moment in time. Lord of the universe, he hid his infinite glory and took the nature of a
servant. Incapable of suffering as God, he did not refuse to be a man, capable of suffering.
Immortal, he chose to be subject to the laws of death. - From a Letter of Saint Leo the Great.
Today we celebrate the feast of the Annunciation. This is the day we recognize when the Angel
Gabriel visited the Virgin Mary The office of readings from the Liturgy of Hours shares with us
the Saint Leo’s reflections on Christ entering into our world. Through Christ, God is made
visible for us and shares in our joys, sufferings, and sorrows. He loved us so much that Christ
came into our time and walked our journey with us even to the point of experiencing death. As
he descended to be with us, he lifts us all up to be glorified in him. Here are 8 things about the
Annunciation that you may not know:

Tuesday, March 24   

The gospel reading from John today depicts Jesus’s third miracle. The ill, blink, lame, and crippled are gathered around a pool of water thought to have healing powers. Jesus approaches one man and asks, “Do you want to be made well?” The man, rather than responding with a “Yes,” attempts to excuse himself for why he hasn’t been made well. The scenario is quite opposite from the gospel reading yesterday where the Roman official approaches Jesus to have his son healed. The ill man doesn’t see Jesus for who he is and what he is capable of. This man is caught up in his anxieties that he cannot recognize what Jesus is offering. How often do we find ourselves like this man - caught up in our own fears and anxieties - that we forget to bring them to our Lord? During this time of Lent, let us reflect on what we may be holding back from Jesus. This is a good time to take whatever that may be and offer it up to him so that we may be healed. 

 

Monday March 23      
Today’s gospel reading John 4:43-54 tells a familiar story between Jesus and a Roman official.
The official’s son is sick and near death; out of desperation he seeks out Jesus in hopes that his
can be healed. This passage is often compared with the stories found in the other gospel passages
concerning the Roman centurion. The words said by the centurion are almost the same words we
repeat before we receive the Eucharist, “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my
roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” Jesus tells the man, “Your son will
live.” The official returns home in faith in the words of Jesus. It is a long journey back home - at
least a full day or more. During this journey home, he is left to solely rely on his faith that his
son is to be healed. I imagine on his way home, he suffered doubts - i.e. the “what ifs” that we all
experience in our own prayer life. The Roman official held steadfast to his faith and in holding to
his faith, he saw his son healed. May we hold up as an example this faith of this Roman official
in our prayers especially during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be doubts and
worries, but we must remain faithful and trust in the Lord. Continue to attend mass even if you
can’t be physically present, stay with your prayers and devotions, and take time to visit the
Blessed Sacrament. The journey, like the Roman official had, may be a long, treacherous
journey, but in the end if we stay faithful we will be rewarded.

Friday, March 20th


Which is the first of all commandments? Jesus replied, “This first is this: ...The Lord our God
Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all
your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as
yourself. There is no greater commandment than these. - Mt. 12:28-31
This passage occurs in a series of narratives in which the chief priest, scribes, and elders are
attempting to find a way to arrest Jesus. All prior attempts have failed. The responses Jesus
provides in their questioning surprises and amazes them. So much so, that the scribe who asks
the question concerning the first commandment had begun to develop a great deal of respect for
Christ. The scribe comprehends the importance of these most important commandments by
placing them above any sacrifice or offering one brings to God. As we are made in the image of
God, we should radiate him with our whole being. Furthermore, we need to see God in all those
we come across for they too are made in the image of God. Our ability to recognize and honor
God both within ourselves and in those we meet is greater than any personal sacrifice or offering
we make. Our desire to offer sacrifice must originate in our love for God that shines forth with

all our being and is a response to seeing God around us. Watch Fr. Schmitz discusses sacrifices -
and whether our sacrifices are working:

 

Thursday March 19 - Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“For this just man was given by you as spouse to the Virgin Mother of God and set as a wise and
faithful servant in charge of your household to watch like a father over your Only Begotten
Son…” - Preface of The Mission of Saint Joseph.
Not much is known about Saint Joseph; no words are attributed to him in the Gospels. What we
do know is that with grace, confidence, trust, and obedience he took Mary as his wife and
welcomed the Incarnated God into our world. As a foster father to Jesus, he protected the Christ
child as if it was of his own flesh and blood. St. Joseph serves as an example to both fatherhood
and spiritual fatherhood. In his own quiet, humble, and courageous way he took Mary and Jesus
and cared for them. We can look to him and learn how we can become more obedient to the will
of God. St. Joseph, Pray for Us. Bishop Barron on St. Joseph:

 

Wednesday March 18    
...take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which you own eyes have
seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children
and to your children’s children. - Dt 5:9

These words spoken by Moses to the Israelite community speak of the importance of
remembering and memory. Memory gives us identity - without it we simply are grasping at
straws. Memories - both joyful and painful - allow for reflection and renewal. In the act of
remembering, we relive those moments and draw strength from them. Our Catholic identity is
formed by the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God through the Incarnation has
come into the world, and experienced our joys, sufferings, and sorrows, and has created a plan
for our salvation. At each Eucharistic celebration, Christ’s sacrifice is made present on the altar.
This is not a moment of passive remembering, but active. The priest in the role of Jesus Christ
re-presents this once-and-for all sacrifice made by Christ. In addition to the Mass, sacraments,
adoration, praying the rosary, and other celebrations recall and strengthen this Catholic identity.
Watch Bishop Barron discuss the importance of memory here:

 

 

Tuesday March 17
...you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not
prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on
earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. -
Matthew 16:18-19
What does it mean to bind and loose? It is a Jewish term that refers to forbidding and
permitting. With this statement Jesus is establishing his Church with Peter as chief steward of
this new kingdom. Having this position allows Peter to bind and loose (forbid and permit) within
the spiritual realm, knowing that God has this backing.

 

 

Monday March 16

Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. - Matt. 5:17.

As Jesus states, he hasn’t come to remove one’s obligation to the commandments. Rather Jesus desires for us not only to fulfill the laws in an outward manner but also within our hearts as well. In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he provides us with the Beatitudes (Mt. 5:1-12). These Beatitudes challenge us to grow beyond simply following rules but developing a deeper relationship with our Lord. Watch Bishop Barron discuss these Beatitudes as the key to joy

Please pray one Hail Mary for the end of the Virus Situation.

 

 

Friday, March 13

Was there really 400 Silent Years?

A commonly held belief that between the time of the Old and New Testament there existed 400 years of silence in communication between God and his people. This typically relies on the idea that there were no prophets between Malachi and the start of Jesus’s ministry which implies that scripture could not have been written except by divine inspiration from the prophets.  Several ideas contradict this line of thought, according to Jimmy Akin. First, we don’t know if all the books of the Old Testament were written before 400BC. Secondly, not all scripture writers are prophets. And lastly, the absence of prophets occurs frequently. There are several times through the Old Testament where there was a prophetic lull (see Sam 3:1, Ps 74:4-7, Lam 2:9). Even without the prophets, God continues to reveal himself to his people. Read more about the prophets both in the Old and New Testaments here:

 

Thursday, March 12
There were four prominent Jewish sects that existed during the time of Jesus: Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, and Zealots. The Sadducees were part of the priestly aristocracy and together they formed the Sanhedrin. They were well educated, wealthy, and powerful. The Sadducess relied solely on the Torah and rejected concepts of the resurrection and angels.  After the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70AD, they disappeared. The Pharisees were observant Jews. They were not priests but encouraged the observance of Jewish Laws. Often the Pharisees were leaders in the local synagogues. Although not mentioned in any of the Gospels, the Essenes were a separatist group of Jews that focused on aesthetic practices in protest of corrupt priests of the time. Finally, the Zealots were a radical group of Jews. They would initiate a revolt in the years 66-70AD. You can learn more about the different groups of Jewish groups here:

 

 

Wednesday March 11          
The Old Testament books needed to be written for those who could not read Hebrew or Aramaic. As a result, Ptlomey II ordered a translation of the Torah to be done in Greek. Legend has it that seventy scholars were ordered to translate the Hebrew Torah to Greek. Each scholar did their work independently. However, each scholar ended up with the exact same translation of the Torah! The name given to this Greek translation is called the Septuagint (or LXX). You can read more about the Septuagint here

 

Tuesday March 10 
Some prophets wrote books and some did not. For example, the prophet Elijah is not have known to have written a book. However, as an oral prophet he was held in high regard among the Old Testament prophets. Samuel, among other prophets, did write, but none of his books were placed into the bible. Isaiah wrote more books than just what we have in the Bible. The Hebrew people would have seen any of these books written by these prophets as having the authority of the word of God. Thus, we should always honor the fact that the Bible is not the complete, definitive Word of God. God spoke to people in many ways and only some are included in the Bible (Akins, The Bible is A Catholic Book, 32). Read more about proving inspiration here:

 

 

Monday March 9
The Deuterocanonical Books
The deuterocanonical books were those books of the bible that people debated as to whether they
should be considered a part of sacred scripture. This includes the books of Judith, Tobit, 1 and 2
Maccabees, Sirach, Wisdom, and Baruch. As Catholics, we believe that these books are truly
inspired by God and included within the Old Testament itself. Protestants, on the other hand, do
not see these books as having any inspiration from God and are referred to as the Apocrypha. In
addition, the Catholic bible has expanded sections of Daniel and Esther that demonstrate the
power and the role of God in our own lives. Read this article concerning how to answer
questions and clear-up misconceptions of the Deuterocanonical Books here:

 

Sunday, March 8

Saturday/Sunday March 7-8

In reading the Old Testament, we come across various prophets. These prophets, through the work of the Holy Spirit, instructed and prepared the way for the coming of Christ. The Catechism identifies a prophet as anyone “whom the Holy Spirit inspired in living proclamation and in the composition of the sacred books, both of the Old and New Testaments” (702). It is with John the Baptist that the Holy Spirit concludes the work that it began through the prophets. The Church recognizes the possibility that private revelations do continue, and some have been recognized by the Church, however, these types of revelations do not add or complete anything to what Christ has already revealed himself. Rather, these private revelations can and should aid in living our faith more fully in our times. Examples of these private revelations include Marian Apparitions such as Our Lady of Fatima or Our Lady of Guadalupe. Watch this clip from Catholic Answers on Public versus Private Revelations

Saturday, March 7

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, March 6

The Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) are thought to be the first authoritative collection of books and thus the first to enter into the Biblical canon. In Hebrew, these books are known as the Torah (meaning “instruction”) or the Law of Moses. The Samaritans have their own Pentateuch – known as the Samaritan Pentateuch. It uses the same books with some variations in detail. The Samaritans, unlike other Jews, do not accept any other writings from the Old Testament. This gives more credence to the fact that the Pentateuch was the first to be canonized in the Bible we read today (Akins, The Bible is a Catholic Book).  Read more about the Samaritan Pentateuch here: 

 

Thursday, March 5

Which book of the Bible was written first?

The Church doesn’t have a position on precisely when individual books of Scripture were written or how they were composed. It leaves these matters to scholars...The important thing is that God began to give his inspired word to man. The precise dates on which he did so are secondary – Akins, The Bible is a Catholic Book, 24

Meditation:

It is believed that the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) were all published at the same time. Historically, it is believed that they were written by Moses either in the 1400s BC or 1200s BC. On the other hand, The Documentary Hypothesis, claims that the Pentateuch is a compilation of four documents (Yahwist, Elohist, Priestly, and Deuteronomistic sources) written between the 10th and 6th centuries. If the Pentateuch wasn’t the first ones to be written, some believe it may have been Job. Read more about the history of the Pentateuch here

 

Wednesday, March 4      

Before he [God] began to inspire Scripture, God used and guided the tradition of his people through the long ages before the first biblical author began to write.

- The Bible is a Catholic Book, Jimmy Akin pg. 22

Meditation:

The oral tradition relied on a method of transmitting that was controlled and reliable.  Authorized bearers of tradition, called tradents, structured their information in easy to memorize parts. They would utilize methods of meter, rhyme, and melody to help pass on these traditions. Some parts of the Old Testament such as the Blessing of Jacob (Gen 49), the Song of the Sea (Exod. 15), the Blessing of Moses (Deut. 33), and the Song of Deborah (Judg. 5) use the form of a poem or song to aid in memorization. A particular structure called chiasms are used frequently in the book of Genesis (Akin, 21-22). Learn more about chiastic structure here:l

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 3rd 

Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua – Exod. 17:14

This is the first mention of writing occurs in the above passage from Exodus – well after the Exodus event (from The Bible is a Catholic Book, Jimmy Akin).  God wants his people to remember his promise he makes to the Israelites in the defeat of their enemies. The passage comes from the defeat of the Amalekites. As long as Moses’ hands are outstretched, the Israel, led by Joshua, gains the upper hand of the battle. Moses hands grow tired and only with the support from Aaron and Hur, is Moses able to keep his hands up. We are reminded that we are called to support and lift up others just like Aaron and Hur did for Moses. Who are the people in our lives that we can support and lift up? Watch how you can live your lent for others here

 

 

Monday, March 2nd: 

...And when through disobedience he had lost your friendship, you did not abandon him to the domain of death. For you came in mercy to the aid of all, so that those who seek might find you. Time and again you offered them covenants and through the prophets taught them to look forward to salvation – Eucharistic Prayer IV

The glory of God is a human being fully alive – St. Irenaeus of Lyons

Meditation:

Even before there was the written word, God was making himself known in human history. This is the age known as the spoken word. Although God does not need anything from the world, He continually makes himself available to the human race; always offering communion even after the fall in the forms of various covenants. His relationship to the world is out of complete love – a desire to will the good of the other. At every moment God is making himself present to us. How is God making his love present to you today? Watch Bishop Barron talk about more God and his relationship with us: Video

Sunday, March 1st:  

 

Saturday, February 29

Saturday, February 29 – and Sunday, March 1 

Saturday, February 29 is known as leap year day; every four years we have an extra day added to the end of February. It takes 365.2422 days to rotate around the sun; therefore, we end up every year with a quarter day short. We add an extra day every four years in February to make up for this difference. This adjustment had its origin in Pope Gregory XIII’s attempt to fix the date for Easter so that it would occur in the Spring. Without this adjustment, Easter would have eventually would have been occurring in the summer months. Read more about the origins of the leap year and the Gregorian Calendar here: https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2020/02/leap-years-extra-day-has-a-catholic-origin/.

 

Friday, February 28

To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their power and faculties so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written and no more. (Dei Verbum, 11)

Meditation:

Sacred Scripture, although divinely inspired, were written by human authors. The Holy Spirit worked through these authors' own talents, minds, and personal experiences to help convey the messages God desired to provide to his people. Listen to Fr. Mike Schmitz discuss how this knowledge can change the way you approach reading the Bible: Fr. Mike

 

Thursday, February 27

            By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth (Ps. 33:6)

            In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the earth (Gen. 1:1-2)

Meditation:

When we speak our breath carries our words – “our breath and our words are intertwined.” We can say the same thing about the breath of God – his Spirit and Word go together. We can say the Bible is inspired because God has breathed his word into them.  In fact, the word inspire comes from Latin roots which means “to breath into.”  (from The Bible is a Catholic Book, Jimmy Akin).  Watch this video about how the Bible is divinely inspired:  The Bible

 

Ash Wednesday, Feb 26th: 

Ash Wednesday begins our Lenten journey once again. Take a moment to reflect on your daily life, what are your strong points, what are your weaknesses? What would help bring you closer to being able to talk with Jesus every day in a friendly conversation?  Sometimes it's just taking time to sit and listen.  So today, take a few minutes to sit and listen for His voice. Let yourself forget all your other worries, concerns and busyness of today and just listen.  God bless you!

Meditation: 

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made (John 1:1-3)

“Although the Bible is important, the word of God is not confined to or only found in it.” – Jimmy Akin, The Bible is a Catholic Book

 Jesus Christ is the Word of God. He reveals himself not only through the Sacred Scriptures but also the Sacred Tradition. When we speak of Sacred Tradition, we speak of those teaching and interpretations of Sacred Scripture that have been handed down to us by the apostles". Listen to Fr. Mike Schmitz talk about Scripture and Tradition: Fr. Mike

 

 

 

"The Bible Is A Catholic Book" by Jimmy Akin is the book given out by St. Mary Cathedral parish for our parish members to read during Lent, provided free thanks to the generosity of Marian Charities.