5th Sunday of Easter
Jesus says in our Gospel today, "Remain in me, as I remain in you." Jesus, am I remaining with You throughout my day? Jesus, am I remaining with You throughout Mass?
4th Sunday of Easter
After healing a crippled man in the name of Jesus Christ, Peter says to the leaders and the people in our 1st reading, speaking of Jesus Christ, “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” That's a bold statement! Could it possibly be true?! Because if it is, then it also has some very large repercussions that modern society will not want to hear...
Our faith is not primarily a set of rules and obligations, nor is it a moral code. Our faith is not a collection of beliefs for a good life or that help us merit heaven. Our faith is in a person - Jesus Christ! - and the relationship He offers to us! Without that relationship, all we're left with is a bunch of rules and obligations that don't seem to connect or make sense. In light of that relationship, everything begins to fall into place and make perfect sense because it's all in light of growing in a relationship with Him! God is relationship (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and God in Jesus Christ invites us into this relationship. So how do you see our faith? How do you experience the expectations of our faith? Do you see it as about something or some things...or do you see it as about SomeONE?!
4th Sunday of Lent
The words 'Passover' and 'Paschal' are often heard in the prayers of Mass...but what on earth do they mean? As we approach Holy Week, and Holy Thursday - when Jesus celebrated the Last Supper, which was His celebration of the Jewish Passover meal with his Jewish disciples and became the outline for the Eucharist that we celebrate each weekend as Catholics - I think it very appropriate to revisit the meaning of those words 'Passover' and 'Paschal' and the rich tradition that they draw us into, even unknowingly, at every single Mass!
2nd Sunday of Lent
Jesus reveals himself in our Gospel as the fulfillment of the Old Testament, signified by his speaking with Moses and Elijah who represent the Scriptural writings of the Law and the Prophets. Jesus also fulfills what was begun in our first reading with the story of Abraham's near-sacrifice of his only son, Isaac. Jesus is the long awaited Lamb of God, who is sacrificed on our behalf for the forgiveness of our sins when we had broken our covenant with God, Jesus who cuts a New and Eternal Covenant in his own Body and Blood to open up for us eternal life!
What is Lent about? Is it about giving something up? Well...not exactly. Is it about sacrifice? Well...not exactly. Lent is about Jesus Christ. Lent is about us intentionally following Jesus and growing closer to Jesus. If we forget that, then anything and everything we do during Lent - all the practices, all the sacrifices, all the resolutions - in the end, mean nothing. The deeper presence of Jesus Christ in our lives is the meaning of Lent. In our Gospel Jesus gives us three rich Biblical practices for that presence to become a reality in our lives: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Done with Jesus and for Jesus, these have incredible power. Done purely by our own strength of will or just because "that's the rule"...then we're just spinning our wheels.
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
When we think of Lent we often think of some sort of sacrifice that we make, something that we "give up" for Lent. But a great question to ask the Lord as you consider your Lenten resolution(s) is, "How will this help me grow closer to You, Jesus?" The whole point of a sacrifice in Lent is to be a sacrifice of love to the Lord, an intentional turning to God. When our Lenten resolutions simply become a test of our own will power, however, then we've missed the whole point. The whole point of this Lenten season is to draw closer to Jesus Christ. If we are not intentionally growing closer to the Lord, then our Lent will be in vain. So as you consider your resolution(s) for this Lent, I want you to ask the Lord, "How will this help me grow closer to You, Jesus?"
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Our readings today give us an outline of the Christian life, the three necessary steps of what it means to live as a Christian. Our destiny is to be in a total, life-giving, rich relationship with Jesus Christ, the Father and the Holy Spirit for all eternity...and to begin living in that reality now through these three steps. Christianity is quite simple...it's not easy, but it's quite simple. G.K. Chesterton wrote, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” So this week, will you give it a try? Today, which step is God calling you to focus on?
The Baptism of the Lord
Today Jesus is baptized, not to be washed by the water but to wash the water; not to be cleansed by the waters but to cleanse the waters. Today Jesus isn't baptized by water - water is baptized by Jesus. So when we go down into the water in baptism, we no longer just get wet, we get Jesus Christ! At our baptism we were set free from the hold of sin, worry and anxiety in our life, brought into God's family, and given the power of the Holy Spirit to live this new life in God. The challenge this week: how are we doing? How are we living out the graces of our baptism? Have we in some ways forgotten the power and strength God gave us on our baptism day and settled for a less than full and vibrant life of faith? This week, let's ask for a renewal of that strength of our baptism!