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Daily Reflections for Lent

2nd Sunday of Lent                                                                        March 1st

Dr. David McCarthy
Professor of Theology

Down From The Misty Mountain  

                                                                                                

“Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, ‘This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him’.” Mk 9:7

 

  The Gospel reading for today recounts Jesus’ Transfiguration. The events are told from the point of view of  Peter, James, and John. They see Jesus transfigured, clothed in “dazzling white,” and talking with Moses and Elijah. The voice of God – coming from a cloud – brings the events to a climax. “This is my Son. Listen to Him.” (Mk 9:7)

 

   The Transfiguration (Mk 9:2-8) occurs between Jesus’ first and second predictions of His Passion. After Jesus first speaks of his way to the cross, Peter has the nerve to rebuke Jesus (Mk 8:32). After the second time, the disciples start to argue about who was the greatest (Mk 9:33-37). Obviously, they are   unwilling or just unable to understand the pathway of God’s self-giving love on the cross. In this context, the command, “Listen to Him,” carries a particular force. It confirms Jesus’ own words about His  mission of service and suffering, of redemption and reconciliation for the world.

 

   No wonder we hear the good word of the Transfiguration on the Second Sunday of Lent, “This is my Son. Listen to Him.”  In the Transfiguration, Jesus appears in His glory, but the experience points us to the more surprising glory given to us through the cross. The Transfiguration also reminds us that the way of the cross is difficult to accept. Like Peter, we are likely to want to set up some tents and stay right there on the misty mountain. But the experience of the Transfiguration is a moment on the way to Jerusalem, to Cavalry and the cross. This way to Jerusalem is the pathway of Lent. It gives us days to come down from the misty mountain, so that we can learn of the full glory of God.

 

   Let us pray, this Lent, that we might be able to hear God speaking to us

in ways we do not expect. Amen.

Saturday, 1st Week of Lent                                                        February 28th
Sem. Brendan Fitzgerald S ‘20

                                                                                                                                                 

I Will Walk With God In The Ways Of Mercy And Forgiveness  

                                                                                                

“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Mt 5:4

 

   Our first reading today speaks of a covenant. We are to keep the commandments of God and walk in the ways of the Lord, and God will reward us with praise and glory. But within this passage there are few details concerning what it is that keeping these commandments entails. In our responsorial Psalm, we are told that those who keep God’s decrees and those who walk in the ways of the Lord will be happy. But once again, there are few details regarding what these decrees are, of what is required of us, of what it is to walk with the Lord. We receive these details and specifics in today’s Gospel. We are to walk with the Lord in mercy and forgiveness. Those are God’s ways, and they must become our ways as well. Yet when Christ tells us to love our enemies and to pray for those who harm us, He offers more than a divine decree. Christ gives us a reason to act with mercy and forgiveness that is more  substantial than that tired old trope of “because I said so.” We are to act with mercy and forgiveness because God bestows grace upon all persons, bad and good, just and unjust. As Christians, we are called to “be perfect,” just as God “is perfect.” Our perfection must mirror—as best we can—the perfection of a God who loves indiscriminately, who does not fail to respond with mercy and forgiveness to the good and the bad, and to the just and unjust alike. Our covenant with God obliges us to walk with God in the way of love: the way of mercy and forgiveness. And through that same covenant, God promises that a life spent in the service of  mercy and forgiveness will be the source of our eternal happiness.

 

   Lord, grant me the humility to respond to evil with mercy, and the charity to forgive injustice. May I strive for perfection through love, just as You are perfect. Amen.

Friday, 1st Week of Lent                                                      February 27th

Nathaniel Guest C ‘17

 

God’s Hope And Forgiveness  

                                                                                              

   “Now if the wicked person turns from all the sins he has committed, keeps all my statutes, and does what is just and right, he will certainly live; he will not die. None of his transgressions will be held against him.” Ez 18:21-22

 

   In reading this passage, there are two clear messages God is trying to bring to our attention. A message of hope and a  message of forgiveness. Due to our fallen human nature, even the most   righteous among us fall into sin. We all have committed acts against our Father. There is hope for us though. The first part of this passage states that we, as sinners, have the ability to turn away from our sins. Is this an easy task? No, it is not; the daily struggle with temptations is impossible to avoid and it is difficult to turn our backs on them. While we know that we can change our ways, we will need assistance in order to effectively do so. God’s forgiveness is what really creates the hope inside of us so that we can have the drive we all need to better our lives. His ability to forgive us goes far beyond what we as humans can understand! By Jesus’ Crucifixion we can get an idea of just how much God wants to forgive His children. Just think… the Lord and Creator of the universe wanted to forgive us so intensely that He sent His Son to die an excruciating death on a cross. This forgiveness is so powerful that after the priest absolves us, God will not even remember our sins. How beautiful is that?! A fresh start after every confession, and a hope that we can and will do better, not just during these forty days, but every day of the year.  Remember God is always ready and willing to forgive, no matter what we have done. All we need to do is ask and make an effort to better our lives.

 

   Father, I know I am a sinner, but I want to change my ways.

Please forgive me, and help me to become

the person You want me to be. Amen.

Thursday, 1st Week of Lent                                                        February 26th
Dr. Joshua Hochschild
Dean, College of Liberal Arts

                                                                  

Just Ask

                                                                                                

“The Lord will complete what He has done for me.” Ps 138:7

 

   It couldn’t be any simpler.  We need help, and God – and only God – can provide it.  All we have to do is ask.

 

   How could it be any other way?  God made you, God cares for you, God hears you.  No one knows you better than God does.  Of course God will provide whatever you need. Esther’s is not a cry of despair, but of trust and hope.  But it is a cry nonetheless, a cry of one who is weak and in need: “Help me, who am alone and have no help but You.”  Asking for help is not the same as feeling helpless.  Indeed, one cannot ask for help unless one is aware of one’s need and trusts that help is available.

 

   Esther knew in her heart the truth that would be spoken by Jesus: “Ask and it will be given to You; seek and You will find; knock and the door will be opened to You.”  Do You need help?   The more You are aware that You do, the closer You are to receiving it.  For it is precisely in acknowledging our dependence on God that we are disposed to receive His grace.  Jesus’ words are simple enough to make sense to a child. Why would God refuse to help us?  Only ask!  Even bad parents know how to provide decent things for their children!  “How much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask Him.” (Mt 7: 11)

 

   Lord, help me.  Help me to know where I most need Your help,

 and help me to trust that You will provide the help I need. Amen.

Wednesday, 1st Week of Lent                                                  February 25th

Darrin Schultz                                                     Varsity Catholic Missionary

                                                                  

Opening The Door Of Your Heart       

                                                                                        

“A heart contrite and humbled, O God, You will not spurn.” Ps 52:19 

 

   Hidden in our heart, there lives some resentment of being a creature. Whether we admit it or not, all of us, at one time or another, have approached life as if we are the center of the universe. Have you ever wondered why pride is the deadliest of  the seven deadly sins? Pride is not deadly because God is power-hungry and just wants the credit for everything, although He deserves it. Pride is deadly because we make ourselves into our own God. Pride is the sin of idolatry…and you, yourself are the idol. The extent to which you do not view yourself as helpless without God, is the extent to which you are living an illusion.
 

   Make no mistake about it, the Lord wants your heart. But God will not enter into your broken heart unless you give Him the permission to do so. Pride is the lock that keeps the Lord out of your heart. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “The doors of hell are locked from the inside.” Humility is the key that opens the door of your heart and allows the life of Jesus to enter. Hear these words spoken to you: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Rev 3:20).
 

   How do we counter the sin of pride in our lives, and live a life of humility? Pray for the grace of humility. Simply defined, humility is self-knowledge of who you are in relation to God and the world. Humility is the virtue of identity. When we learn who we truly are before God, a humble and contrite heart is the natural response. During this holy season of Lent, stop trying to achieve God’s love. Let Him achieve your love.

 

   “Dear Lord, I surrender to You today with all my heart and soul.  I give You permission to enter my heart, and form me according to Your Most Holy Will. Amen.”

Tuesday, 1st Week of Lent                                           February 24th Sarah Bomberger C ‘18

                                                                                                    

Father, Teach Me How to Pray

 

“Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Mt 6:8

 

We often hear in movies, books, from good friends or loved ones, the phrase: “You know me better than I know myself,” or something along those lines. People throw out this phrase all the time, but there is really only one person that truly knows us better than we know ourselves, and that is God. Our God knows what we need before we even ask Him, and even when we don’t know it ourselves. Although God knows what we need, prayer is a key part of our faith and our relationship with Him.

 

In the readings today, we are taught how to pray. In Matthew 6: 9-14, we are given the greatest prayer of all: the Lord’s Prayer. The “Our Father” is the best of all prayers, because it is taught by Jesus Christ Himself. In saying the “Our Father,” we offer ourselves completely to God and ask of Him the greatest things, not only for ourselves, but also for our neighbor. It is important to pray the words of the Our Father with meaning and understanding. Say all prayers with meaning, as it is more important to say few words filled with love, than many empty ones.

 

Lord, bless the words I pray, and may they be filled with meaning and love for You. “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”

 

Monday, 1st Week of Lent                                                           February 23rd

Sasanthi Fernando C ‘16

 

I Will Reflect You, My Lord, With Loving Compassion 

                                                                                              

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine,
you did for Me.’ ” Mt 25:40

 

   At Mass, we always hear the phrase “my brothers and   sisters.” However, do we all respect each other as that? Do we even see others as a brother or a sister? I know that I struggle with it. It is so easy for us to forget this connection and our actions seem to reflect it.

 

   When was the last time that you helped someone in need? Not family, not friends, but a stranger? Did you provide a meal for a homeless person, assist the elderly, or do something that can only be labeled as an act of kindness? If so, good job and keep up the good work. As for the rest of us, don’t you think we should step up our game? There are many opportunities provided by our loving God and yet, we still fall behind. Look around you: you only have to grab one opportunity to start your redemption.

 

   So, why do we see fit to act with kindness and compassion? Why do we need to help others in order to stabilize our relationship with God? Well, we know that as an individual, we are all sons or daughters of God.  Also, as stated in Genesis, we are  created in the likeness of God and therefore reflect Him.  Although we are aware of these two points separately, we fail to recognize that the people around us are a mirror image of Him. Through charity, we not only show compassion to others but to God Himself. Therefore, loving others translates to loving God.

   So ask yourself, “Did I make the right decisions? Do I have a stable and complete relationship with God? If not, what can I do to improve it?” After all, every relationship requires the participation of both individuals.  

 

   God, I crave to see You and to know You, but I appreciate the love surrounding me. I am blessed to have my friends, my family, my community, and even those that I do not know. They reflect You, my Lord, and I see You through them. Therefore, grant me the strength to reciprocate compassion, kindness, and love to others that You have shown to me. Amen.

 
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