Lent Reflection: Wednesday of Holy Week

Posted on April 12, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

April 12, 2017
Lent Reflection: Wednesday of Holy Week (April 12, 2017) - ‘Surely it is not I, Rabbi?’(Matthew 26:25)

Reflection

Today used to be known as “Spy Wednesday” as we read the account of Judas cutting a deal with the chief priests to hand Jesus over to them. Commentators tell us that thirty pieces of silver was the compensation paid to a slave owner by the owner of an ox if his beast gored a slave to death (Ex 21:32). So here we have the treasurer of the group of disciples squandering the life of his master for a paltry reward. Does that make his action better or worse than if he had been rewarded handsomely? What price are we prepared to pay to gain benefit for ourselves at the expense of our values?


Challenge

  • What am I prepared to compromise on for the greater good?
  • What am I prepared to defend at all costs?

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

The Paradox of Easter

Posted on April 11, 2017 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, April 16, 2017,
Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8
John 20:1-9 or Matthew 28:1-10 or Luke 24:13-35

Our responsorial psalm sings: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.” Easter is a time that invites rejoicing, gladness, and celebration, even when our life events might not feel so joyful, happy, or worth celebrating. But isn’t that what the Resurrection of the Lord is all about? From death, God raised Jesus to new life. From arrest, false accusation, and crucifixion, God brought about freedom, truth, and an empty tomb. From sin and darkness, God made possible reconciliation and light. We celebrate a paradox today, but the paradox reveals the mystery that God does not give evil the last word. God’s unconditional, merciful love wins the day, and the dark nights of our lives. Offered to us all, we are asked to respond by clearing out the old yeast of malice, wickedness, sin, and darkness, to let God bake us into the bread of kindness, goodness, forgiveness, and light. This is the day to rejoice and be glad. This is a day for hope. (more…)

Lent Reflection: Tuesday of Holy Week

Posted on April 11, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

April 11, 2017
Lent Reflection: Tuesday of Holy Week (April 11, 2017) - ‘You are my servant, he said to me, Israel, through whom I show my glory. Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength.’(Isaiah 49:3-4)

Reflection

Here we have not so much the calm before the storm, as the edginess of wondering if the right decisions have been taken. As the story of the Passion begins, we ask ourselves if we too are exhausted by our efforts and just want the pressures to stop. If we are to be a light to the nations, what steps do we need to take so that the light is not snuffed out?


Challenge

  • Today I ask myself: what particular light am I able to shine in order to show others the glory of God?
  • I remember that a cluster of lights together shine even brighter than one flickering candle. Who can I work with in order to be supported, so that together we might shine even brighter?

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Lent Reflection: Monday of Holy Week

Posted on April 10, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

April 10, 2017
Lent Reflection: Monday of Holy Week (April 10, 2017) - ‘...The house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.’(John 12:3)

Reflection

It is perhaps hard for us to really appreciate how unseemly this incident was—the intimacy of a woman anointing the feet of a male dinner guest and wiping them with her hair. The disapproval of the extravagance by Judas, who of course had his own agenda, and the shocking revelation that in order to regain control of the people, the opponents of Jesus were going to kill Lazarus as well. If we were to use the metaphor of smells, the heavenly scent of the ointment could not mask the stench of greed and corruption.


Challenge

  • What challenges me in the story of the smells? What situations do I manipulate in order to come out “smelling of roses”? I ask forgiveness for these.

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Lent Reflection: Palm Sunday

Posted on April 9, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

April 9, 2017
Lent Reflection: Palm Sunday (April 9, 2017) - ‘The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue...’(Isaiah 50:4)

Reflection

The Isaiah reading begins with the gifts of calming speech and attentive listening so that the needs of the weary can be met. It then unpacks the violence of being spat upon, torn, and insulted. Does the one necessarily follow from the other? By being good, do you always encounter evil? That is certainly what happened to Jesus. His story of the liberation of the oppressed sees him confined, tortured, and destroyed.


Challenge

  • I will spend some time today with the Passion story and walk with Jesus through that narrative.

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Lent Reflection: 5th Saturday of Lent

Posted on April 8, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

April 8, 2017
Lent Reflection: 5th Saturday of Lent (April 8, 2017) - ‘What do you think?
That he will not come to the feast?’(John 11:56)

Reflection

The tension is building and the sense of menace is palpable. The plot has already been laid by Caiaphas and the authorities and the visitors to Jerusalem are wondering if Jesus will show up. Jesus makes his decision. His journey to the city will be modest but his entry will be both humble and spectacular.


Challenge

  • How can I work humbly for what is right even in the face of disapproval?
  • Today I will imagine what it was like for Jesus to walk towards Jerusalem, knowing what might happen to him there.

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Lent Reflection: 5th Friday of Lent

Posted on April 7, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

April 7, 2017
Lent Reflection: 5th Friday of Lent (April 7, 2017) - ‘Even if you do not to believe me, believe the works.’(John 10:38)

Reflection

Again, Jesus is engaged in a heated argument and again just narrowly avoids being stoned for blasphemy. Rather than using clever words, he suggests his opponents look to his actions rather than words. We might call it “walking the walk.” In Jesus’ case, the lame are walking upright again, the sick are cured, the blind can see, and the outcasts welcomed. Who needs words when the evidence is there for all to see?


Challenge

  • Today, I will try to do something that I know in my heart reflects my commitment as a good steward of the Lord. How will I “walk the walk” today?

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Lent Reflection: 5th Thursday of Lent

Posted on April 6, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

April 6, 2017
Lent Reflection: 5th Thursday of Lent (April 6, 2017) - ‘Who do you make yourself out to be?’(John 8:53)

Reflection

These words are a direct challenge to Jesus. He is accused of being a Samaritan and possessed by a devil and of uttering blasphemy against Abraham and the prophets. His opponents are about to stone him. We know who Jesus was claiming to be and who Jesus is. What if the question were asked of us? Who are we claiming to be as followers of Jesus? Would we say we are holy, set apart, adherents to a set of rules? Perhaps we could say that we have been entrusted with something very precious that we are not to hoard but to generously share. We are the stewards of the story of Jesus and the Christian life.


Challenge

  • How will I share today the wonderful gift that I am stewarding for the Lord?

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

The Truth Will Set You Free

Posted on April 5, 2017 by - Everyday Stewardship

Post by Steve Botsford

“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” John 8:31-32

The Truth Will Set You FreeIn today’s Gospel reading Jesus tells the Jews who believe in him a simple formula for success. It is so simple, however, that it can almost seem impossible to completely understand. How is a good steward to interpret this statement?

Literally

The word “if” could almost be taken as a threat, for “if” one does not remain in his word one will not be set free.

The word “remain” could mean that one could be set free unless they do not “remain” in his word.

The word “word” could mean the scriptures as we sometimes refer to scripture or the bible, yet, the “word” might refer to Jesus himself, as we understand Jesus as the “word” of God.

“Truly” could mean that one might possibly could be a disciple but not “truly.”

And so on. Imaginably, we could be overthinking it!

In Context

Ironically, the Jews listened but didn’t hear. They listened to Jesus literally and missed the point entirely! Jesus wasn’t talking about literal slavery or earthen fathers. He was talking about doing the RIGHT THING! He was saying to follow him as the way, the truth and the life, and they would be free from the slavery of sin.

The Good News

We can also interpret today’s gospel within the context of the Good News. When we read The Appearance on the Road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35, we see Jesus as a companion on our faith Journey. The Latin meaning for companion is derived from two words: com meaning “with” and panis meaning “bread.”

With bread. As we recall in the Bread of Life Discourse, “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” John 6:35.

As we continue our faith journey this Lent, perhaps we should consider our companion for the journey. We are never alone as long as we are receiving, and walking with, the Bread of Life.

Lord, in my effort to become a better disciple, a mature steward, and your hands and feet, let me remain in you today trusting that to be with you is to become truly free from the slavery of sin.

Steve Botsford is a husband, father, catechist, educational consultant, blogger,  and game designer.

Lent Reflection: 5th Wednesday of Lent

Posted on April 5, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

April 5, 2017
Lent Reflection: 5th Wednesday of Lent (April 5, 2017) - ‘If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’(John 8:31-32)

Reflection

The American poet Robert Frost wrote in his poem “Death of the Hired Man”: “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in.” The freedom spoken of today in John’s Gospel opens us to welcome both the stranger and the ones who have become estranged.


Challenge

  • Today, I will think about those who are estranged from me. How can I welcome them home?
  • I think too about the “newcomers,” the “strangers.” How can I reach out to them with a hand of welcome?

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.