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Showing posts from March, 2017

5th Sunday of Lent

Last week, the 4th Sunday of Lent, marked the halfway point of the season… Laetare Sunday… one of only two times during the year where the presiding priest wears rose colored vestments instead of the seasonal purple.  This week we begin to sense the end of Lent is near.  In horse racing terms we’re rounding the final turn heading into the stretch.  The last Sunday before Palm Sunday.  For many people, the end of something usually means death, but as our readings teach us, it is actually much more…

The Word for the 5th Sunday of Lent Ezekiel 37:12-14
Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
Romans 8:8-11
John 11:1-45

We open with a reading from the prophet Ezekiel.  While not often read during the Liturgical cycle, Ezekiel is considered one of the major prophets, and his message is as unique as his calling.  Ezekiel, having been born into the priestly class, received his call to prophecy 10 years into the Babylonian Exile.  This makes him the first Israelite prophet to receive his call out…

4th Sunday of Lent

Our journey through Salvation History continues as we enter the 4th week of Lent.  Not only are we exposed to some pivotal moments in our journey of faith, but in remembering our Baptism, we continue to reflect on the symbols and meanings of this Sacrament:

The Word for the 4th Sunday of Lent 1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a
Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
Ephesians 5:8-14
John 9:1-41

Our first reading is from 1st Book of Samuel.  Samuel, as you may remember, was the last of the Judges, and to whom the people of Israel came to ask for a king.  This was not what God wanted, but he granted their request, and Saul is appointed as the first King of Israel.  At this point in the narrative, Saul is getting on in years, and the people need a successor.  None of Saul’s sons are suited to the task, so God points Samuel to David, whom he anoints as the chosen one.  But how does this story fit with our Psalm, which has us singing, “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.”  This well …

3rd Sunday of Lent

We are now deep into our Lenten season of reflection, and from this Sunday through to Palm Sunday, our readings take on much deeper meaning as we continue our journey through Salvation History.  In fact, the Church has found this cycle of readings to be so important, she has chosen them to be used specifically for the RCIA in the Scrutiny Rites.  As we are in Cycle A this year, the entire Church gets to have an encounter with these powerful readings…

The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Exodus 17:3-7
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
John 4:5-42

We open a reading from the book of Exodus.  At this point the Israelites have escaped Pharaoh and his army having crossed the Red Sea.  They are now free, but have yet to reach Mount Sinai.  They are traveling through the “wilderness,”  a barren stretch of land between the sea and the Sinai.  Food was running out so the Lord gave them manna.  Now the water is running out and there is none to be found, so the refugees are crying o…

2nd Sunday of Lent

On this second Sunday of Lent we continue our journey through Salvation History, focusing on those people and their lives that reveal to us God’s loving and saving grace.  Lent is also a time to prepare for or remember our baptism, so with that in mind, let us turn to our readings:

The Word for the 2nd Sunday of Lent Genesis 12:1-4a
Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
2 Timothy 1:8b-10
Matthew 17:1-9

We open with a story from the book of Genesis where we are introduced to the first great patriarch, Abraham.  Of course, he hasn’t yet received this new name.  At this point in the story, he is introduced as
Abram, son of Terah, and is called by God to go forth from his land and from his relatives to a land that God will show him.  All this with the promise that the Lord will make of him a great nation.  God is essentially asking Abram to give up everything based on a promise of great blessings.  This reflects a great deal of trust that Abram must have in God’s promises.  Trust that is ref…

Give up Church for Lent?

A very interesting article was posted in today's Angelus email.  Give up Church for Lent.

Obviously the headline is meant to grab you, but the message is important, not just for this Lent, but for many other times too...

Those of us who work in ministry, and especially for those who are employed by the Church, it is all too easy to get caught up in the politics and palace intrigue that surrounds the institutional Church.  The Church, in many ways, is no different than any other  government or corporation or family, where we can get lost in the minutia of the day-to-day, and forget the larger picture... and in our case, the picture can't be any larger... building a relationship with God through his creation.

I have heard many Catholics complain about certain aspects of the institutional church, and I too have gotten caught up in this.  In working with adults who seek to join the Church, through the RCIA or other conversion process, some complain that their family or friends don&#…

1st Sunday of Lent

When you think of the season of Lent, what do you think of?  When you ask this of most Catholics, they will usually say that it’s a season of penance, for giving something up, for prayer and for giving alms.  These are right, of course, but not entirely.  According to the Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy promulgated from the Second Vatican Council, “The season of Lent has a twofold character: primarily by recalling or preparing for baptism and by penance, it disposes the faithful, who more diligently hear the word of God and devote themselves to prayer, to celebrate the paschal mystery.”  While those who are preparing for Baptism use this season of Lent as a period of “Purification and Enlightenment,” all of us Catholics are called to remember our own Baptisms as a primary focus for Lent in addition to penance.  With that emphasis in mind, let us see how baptism plays into our readings for this first week of Lent:

The Word for the 1st Sunday of Lent Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7