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Daily Reflections

TAKE A MOMENT FOR LENTEN DAILY REFLECTION

Wednesday, February 26                              Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Today we begin Lent. Not a season I have had a lot of success with in terms of “giving up.” I’ve done better with commitments to pray. The main point of Lent is to draw closer to the Lord. Lent is more than a matter of self-will. It is more a matter of giving Jesus access to a softer heart, an open mind, a repentant soul.

Thursday, February 27                                    Lk 9:22-25

Jesus speaks today about denying oneself and taking up the daily cross. The Cross is the most well-known Christian sign. It is very public. Yet, the cross that a person carries is often very personal, known only to oneself. Don’t feel alone. Jesus knows your cross and will help you to carry your cross if youallow him.

Friday, February 28                                          Mt 9:14-15 

Allow your fasting today to help turn your heart, soul, and mind to Jesus. Your fasting may cause you to feel hunger. That’s okay. Hunger creates desire. Desire Christ!

Saturday, February 29                                    Lk 5:27-32

29 February days. An extra day this year. We hear that Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners. Can you see yourself as a sinner with whom Jesus would like to spend some time?

Sunday, March 1                                               Mt 4:1-11

Ugh: Temptations! Jesus went to the desert and met the tempter Satan. The tempter lost the battle. We’re told at the end angels came and ministered to Jesus. We know that sometimes we lose. Jesus knows that and still ministers to us especially through the Sacrament of Confession and Reconciliation.

Monday, March 2                                             Mt 25:31-46

Today we hear Matthew 25, sometimes known as the Last Judgment. It’s all about seeing the person of Jesus in others and treating them accordingly. Be on the alert today of seeing Jesus in others, not only strangers but also those with whom you live.

Tuesday, March 3                                             Mt 6:7-15

Jesus reminds us not to babble in prayer. He also gives us the Our Father as a model for prayer. Pray slowly the Our Father today. What expression in the Our Father leaves you with the strongest impression?

Wednesday, March 4                                      Lk 11:29-32

Jesus speaks of Jonah today. Imagine spending days in the belly of a whale. But really, Jesus wants to underscore the need for each of us to repent. In order to repent, we need to acknowledge sin. Do that today- acknowledge your sin.

Thursday, March 5                                           Mt 7:7-12

Surely today’s gospel is an encouragement to pray. As I read these words, I reflect that an essential quality in prayer is trust. Trust that our prayer is received by God who loves us.

Friday, March 6                                                 Mt 5:20-26

Jesus insists on reconciliation. These weeks of Lent are a good time to reflect on some lingering hurt and isolation in our lives. Lent is a good time to reconcile those differences.

Saturday, March 7                                            Mt 5:43-48

Be careful of the word perfect in today’s gospel.  Jesus is not insisting on a mistake free life nor is he encouraging perfectionism, which can easily become a form of idolatry. He is asking us to listen closely for his voice and his word so that we may become the more whole and holy persons he hopes for us to be. Perfectionists probably need to repent from their perfectionism.

Sunday, March 8                                               Mt 17:1-9

The Transfiguration is one of the mysteries of the Rosary’s newest set of mysteries, the Luminous Mysteries. Jesus shared this special moment of revelation with Peter, James, and John. He directed them to keep the event to themselves. We may have moments with Jesus that can be hard to explain to others.

Monday, March 9                                            

Stop judging. Stop condemning. Forgive. Give. A lot in three short verses. Try one of them today and another Wednesday and another…

Tuesday, March 10

Jesus encourages humility in today’s gospel. People understand humility in many different ways. I believe humility is more about how we see others than how we see ourselves. In fact, when we practice humility and are able to see the presence of Christ in others, then we might be able to recognize the presence of Christ in ourselves. I do not think humility is thinking negatively of ourselves. That only leads to poor self-esteem.

Wednesday, March 11

Not a good day for James and John, the sons of Zebedee and their mother. They are too self-concerned. Encountering Jesus, Jesus takes them out of themselves and teaches a lesson on service. Service reminds us we are not the center of the world. Teach kids service. Best to teach by example.                               

Thursday, March 12

Today’s gospel is a powerful parable on Lazarus and the rich man. He does suffer from indifference. He realizes his mistake and it is too late. He loved his brothers and genuinely wants a better outcome for them. It seems again too late. Changes in attidue and behavior are key components of lent. Those changes require Lenten repentance.

FrIday, March 13

Another tough parable. Sometimes we do need a sense of urgency and immediacy in changing inappropriate beahviors and attitude.

Saturday, March 14

The parable of the prodigal son. Along with the parable of the Good Samaritan, one of the most well known stories of Jesus. In fact, one of the best known stories in world literature. Appropriately known widespread, the parable deals with family, love, mercy, forgivness, and siblings. We can all learn something from this parable.

Sunday, March 15

Whenever I read this story of the Samaritan woman, I always have the image of a woman burdened by carrying a lot of buckets. Jesus seeks to relieve her of her burdens. We all carry buckets. We might benefit by putting some of them down and be less burdened. Jesus will help ease your burden.

Monday, March 16

Jesus is not welcomed in his native place. In fact they want to expel him and hurl him headlong down the hill. Their anger is fueled by rage. The passage concludes: “But he passed through the midst of them and went away.” Their rage was blinding. Our anger can prevent us from seeing correctly.

Tuesday, March 17

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Glad St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t fall on a Friday. Enjoy your corned beef. The parable today is clear about the dangers of not forgiving others. When we find forgiveness difficult, try praying that God will forgive those we cannot forgive. Praying that way may soften our hearts and we may find we can forgive after all.

Wednesday, March 18

Jesus speaks about obedience in today’s gospel. In its root meaning obedience means listening. Listening is a Lenten virtue; listening to God and others. Someone said God needs you to listen today. Pay attention.

Thursday, March 19

Happy St. Joseph’s Day! Enjoy the traditional pastries of St. Joseph’s Day. Today we hear of one of the Joseph Gospel stories.   Joseph only wanted the best for Mary and Joseph. Want the best today for those you love. Among the best we can do today are pray and do our part in containing the virus. Maybe too we can check in on someone who needs a reassuring call in this time of trouble.

Friday, March 20

The conversation between Jesus and the scribe in the gospel causes Jesus to affirm this scribe. The conversation started with the scribe’s question. Prayers may start with questions that we ask the Lord. Like the scribe in today’s gospel we need to listen carefully for the answer. The quiet of these days may help us to listen better. Silence can be part of holiness.

Saturday, March 21

I love the tax collector’s prayer in today’s gospel. “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” He reminds me of Pope Francis when he introduced himself to the world eight years ago. “I am a sinner.” We need to be able to say “I am a sinner,” about ourselves. Our recognition of sin recalls our vulnerability. This virus reminds us of the vulnerability shared by all people.

Sunday, March 22

Today we hear the story of the miraculous healing of the man born blind. The crowds have a chance to learn something about Jesus and rejoice in the man’s healing.  Instead, the crowd grills him, ridicules him, and throws him out.  A great healing. A lost opportunity. Be alert to opportunities of drawing closer to the Lord. Perhaps this pandemic is drawing some of us closer to the Lord.

Monday, March 23

Another great healing story. The boy’s healing leads others to believe in Jesus. Recall a healing experience in your life or among those you know that led you to increased faith. We are in the midst of gospel healing stories. A key element to healing is faith. These days, try to keep your faith strong.

Tuesday, March 24

Another wonderful healing story. This man waited thirty-eight years to walk. Jesus cured him at once. Again complainers ruined the scene. How is Lent going? Maybe these remaining weeks might be a good time to complain less in order to enjoy more the joy of Easter. How I hope that when we get to the celebration of the Risen Lord on Easter Sunday, days of greater peace and calm will be in the Easter morning horizon.

Wednesday, March 25

We pause from Lenten liturgy to celebrate Mary and the first joyous mystery of the Rosary. Say three Hail Mary’s today as we recall this wonderful exchange between Gabriel and Mary. By the way are you getting any messages from God this lent? The Annunciation demonstrates Mary’s openness to God’s will. Do not let the evil of this virus cause you to close up. Remain open to God and his graces, even amid adversity.

Thursday, March 26

Jesus speaks with a personal tone to the crowds. Jesus acknowledges he is part of the faith tradition of Moses. Yet he knows he is not accepted by this crowd. People need acceptance. Who might need your acceptance today? Again, during these troubling days, perhaps reach out with good news to someone.

Friday, March 27

Today’s gospel makes clear there are persons seeking to kill Jesus. One of his responses is to cry out in the temple. I wonder how the people heard his cry. People cry out in different ways for different reasons, these days. How do we hear the cry of others? With our prayers, we cry out for the passing of this virus.

Saturday, March 28

Lots of discussion in today’s gospel about who Jesus is. There seems to be lots of disagreement and confusion. Note the conclusion: “Then each went to his own house.” These days our disagreements seem to isolate us from one another. Jesus does not call us to all agree. But Jesus does call us to be one. Can we do that in our time? We see in this virus how important “to be one” is for the entire community. We see in this virus how important “to be one” is for the entire community.

Sunday, March 29

Today we hear the story of the raising up of Lazarus. Jesus gives the command, “Untie him and let him go.” People are bound in many different ways at this time. Some are bound by fear; some by anger; some by guilt; some by…Let Jesus have you help him to unbound another. Some are bound by fears in these days of virus. Help to free them in some way.