4th Sunday of Lent
We are certainly in a unique and unprecedented time in our country (and world) with this response to COVID-19. In the Gospel today Jesus opens the eyes of a man born blind. He smears a muddy mixture of saliva and dirt on the man's eyes - not a clean or comfortable experience - then asks the man to go wash in the Pool of Siloam. The man does...and is healed! This time of COVID-19 and our nation's response is an experience of a muddy mixture being smeared in our eyes and into our lives - it's neither pleasant nor comfortable. But Jesus invites us in this time, like He did the blind man, to go wash in the Pool of Siloam - trying new and different ways of prayer and service and learning to unite to God in this unique time. If we don't, this will all just be a muddy experience. But if we do, this mud might also become an opportunity for incredible spiritual power in our lives!
2nd Sunday of Lent
Temptations come from 3 main sources: the world, the flesh, and the devil. Movements of God within us start with a thought, and temptations also start with a thought. As these various thoughts and reasonings fill our mind, we eventually come to a fork in the road - we have to decide which thoughts to hold onto, and which thoughts to set aside...it's not as easy as it sounds. Those thoughts of temptation are so subtle, and so mischievous, they'll do whatever they can to draw us away from the one thing God is calling us to in that moment. They'll even tempt us with good things, actions and thoughts that are noble and virtuous, so long as those actions and thoughts are NOT what God is asking of us in that moment. God calls us, His children, to an incredible glory, prefigured in Jesus' transfiguration that we hear of in today's Gospel. This week: how will we resist the temptations that come our way, and resolutely follow the impulses of God within our hearts? One path leads to glory, the other to fleeting pleasure followed by lasting emptiness. Which thoughts will we decide to hold onto this week, and which ones will we decide to throw away?
1st Sunday of Lent
Our readings today present us the with tale of 2 men: The 1st man - Adam - and the New Adam - Jesus Christ. Both are tempted by the serpent. The Old Adam falls and turns away from the Father; the New Adam stands strong in faithfulness to His Father. This Lent is a journey into the desert with Jesus. It will be a time of testing and temptation for us just as it was for Him. In the face of the temptations to come, will we be like the Old Adam, or the New Adam?
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
God our Father is the Divine Physician, the greatest doctor of both body and spirit in this entire universe. In Jesus Christ the Divine Surgeon has expertly removed the cancer of our sin, through the Scriptures the Divine Physical Therapist gives us our necessary exercises, and in the Holy Spirit, prayer and the Eucharist the Divine Nutritionist gives us the sustenance necessary to be strengthened for the task. God's love and mercy is that He provides all of this to us for free (who by no means deserve it and have no means of paying Him back). But God's love and mercy can't do it for us - we have to work with these gifts to reap the healing benefits that are freely offered. And in this treatment plan, we all, when we're totally honest with ourselves, know what our next step is. This week, let' start with our own personal next step of that treatment plan.
The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Our first reading today foretells the coming of the Lord to the Temple, fulfilled in our Gospel when Mary and Joseph bring the baby Jesus to the Temple, according to Jewish custom, to present him to the Lord. But this Lord, says our first reading, comes to purify, like a refiner's insanely hot fire or a fuller's chemically harsh lye...and in both examples we are the thing that is being purified. God, like a good parent, wants to raise His children to be strong, mature, able, loving adults. The process is not magic, nor is it easy, nor can our Parent do it for us - it involves our own growth and maturation through the process of accepting the challenges and purification our Father offers. This week, instead of running from that purification or making excuses like, "It's just the way I am," how will we lean into God's purification and mature into the adult He knows we can be?
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Do you remember as a kid walking around outside in the dark, seeing something move in the shadows and then freezing in horror - you tried hard to focus on it, sometimes you were convinced it was moving, sometimes you were convinced it couldn't be - your imagination running wild...then other shadows and objects seem to start moving...only to come back the next morning, in the full light of day, to find that it was something as harmless as a pine tree or as simple as a fencepost?
In the darkness many things become confusing and uncertain - we think we see or understand something, we draw conclusions that seem to make sense in the darkness, only to realize in the light of day that the truth is quite different. In the readings today Jesus fulfills an age-old prophecy from Isaiah and enters the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali, historically dark and gloomy (from the perspective of faith in God), in order to bring the light. As Christians, we are called to follow Christ and bring the light to places of darkness and confusion in our culture. Those in the darkness become pretty convinced that they are correct in their deductions, but it is our call as Christians to bring the bright the light of day, the truth, to seemingly difficult and controversial contemporary issues. Christ came to bring the light, and we are Christ-ians - let's live up to our name at least one more time than usual this week!
Today three wise men/three kings/three magi arrive at the place where Jesus was born after following the sign of a star. The presence of these three non-Jewish kings shows that God is calling not only the Jewish people but ALL people of the world to believe in and follow His Son Jesus. God’s sign was a star; everyone can see the stars. So why is it only these three wise men who followed that star? Was everyone else just too busy? Were they so caught up in life that they didn’t even notice the sign? We encounter three different kinds of people in the Gospel today: those who don’t notice the sign, those who notice the sign but don’t follow it, and those who notice the sign AND follow it. This week: What are the signs God is placing in your life (what are the stars)? And when you see a sign, do you follow it?