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.

The Loneliness of Suffering

Posted on April 4, 2017 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, April 09, 2017, Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

Matthew 21:1-11
Isaiah 50:4-7
Philippians 2:6-11
Matthew 26:14—27:66

Human suffering cascades into our homes with the consistency of spilled oil. We can never seem to clean it up and the frustration leaves us sad and, most the time, feeling helpless. Beyond writing congressional representatives, contributing to charitable outreach and praying, we can’t escape the menacing cloud of knowing that half our brothers and sisters in the world are struggling with starvation, war, disease, or homelessness. I pray that we do not become immune to it all, but realize that those big starving eyes affect all of us and the entire world.

There is an incredible loneliness attached to suffering. In my last year of undergraduate work at a small Midwest Catholic women’s college, the Franciscan leadership reached out to Dr. Sterling Stuckey, now a professor of history at the University of California–Riverside, to teach a class in Black History. It was in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement and we were enthusiastic to find out more about the surge of justice that called us forth. Dr. Stuckey, facing an audience of well-mannered young white women, held back nothing. He taught black history with a passion and a fury that brought the reality of the slaves right to our study niches where we poured over the material. (more…)

Lent Reflection: 5th Tuesday of Lent

Posted on April 4, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

April 4, 2017
Lent Reflection: 5th Tuesday of Lent (April 4, 2017) - ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM.’(John 8:28)

Reflection

Jesus tells the unbelievers that when he is lifted up in death they will know that he is truly the Son of God. This echoes the first reading when Moses lifts up the bronze serpent in the desert to revive those who had been bitten by snakes. Jesus is telling us here that God can make our wounds our glory and transfigure us from death to life. We tend to say: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”


Challenge

  • I will take a few minutes today to think of something I thought would defeat me but which has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. If I am able to, I thank God for that blessing.

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 Monday of Lent

Posted on April 3, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

April 3, 2017
Lent Reflection: 5th Monday of Lent (April 3, 2017) - ‘Neither do I condemn you.’(John 8:11)

Reflection

Two readings today tell shocking stories about women who are condemned. Susanna, in the Book of Daniel, is unjustly accused yet saved because Daniel outwits her enemies. He interrogates them separately, uncovers their lies and the innocent woman is saved. In the reading from the Gospel of John, Jesus does not cross-examine those who have accused a woman of adultery, but calmly writes in the dust and invites whoever is without sin to throw the first stone. In this instance, the woman was guilty but was not condemned.


Challenge

  • I will call to mind someone I find difficult to forgive. With my finger, I trace their name in the palm of my hand and then close my hands, holding this person prayerfully before 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.

Lent Reflection: 5th Sunday of Lent

Posted on April 2, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

April 2, 2017
Lent Reflection: 5th Sunday of Lent (April 2, 2017) - ‘Let us also go to die with him.’(John 11:16)

Reflection

In all the drama of the raising of Lazarus, it is easy to miss these words of Thomas, the one we call “doubting Thomas.” The disciples were worried that if Jesus came to Bethany to see his sick friend, his enemies would stone him as they had threatened. Here, Thomas is prepared to go with Jesus and to die with him.


Challenge

  • Do I have the courage to follow Jesus when it might be easier not to?
  • What shall I do today to choose the right way over the easy way?

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.