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Daily Reflections for Lent

Date: Mar 20, 2017

Monday, March 20
Deacon René Pellessier
Sem. Class of 2017

 

A Man Who Was Not Afraid of Failure

 

“Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.’”  -Matthew 1:19-20

 

There is one question that every college student of this day and age must answer, and that is: What is God calling me to do with the life He has given me? This question can be extremely difficult for us to answer because the prospect of failure appears so high. Fear of failure drives us to think that we might pursue a career path that leaves us unhappy, a consecrated life that leaves us lonely, or a marriage that leaves us miserable. Such thoughts can freeze us with fear and anxiety, causing us to delay our decisions. But St. Joseph is there to show us that we need not fear failure because God is with us every step of the way.

 

When St. Joseph learned that Mary conceived a child through the Holy Spirit, he must have felt in his heart a deep and true sense of unworthiness to be the husband of Mary and the foster father of the Messiah. He initially made a decision to release Mary from her marital obligation. Joseph was a man of action. He was not one for freezing or delaying decisions. He discerned and then he acted. But in this case, he acted wrongly. He made the wrong decision by deciding to divorce Mary. But our loving God was not going to abandon him to suffer the consequences of his mistake. No, He had other plans for His servant.

 

Notice that when God addresses St. Joseph, He does not say “Joseph, you idiot!” Instead, He addresses Joseph as a son of David, the greatest king to rule the nation of Israel, reminding him of his royalty and affirming his fidelity. In this dream, God gently corrects the misjudgment of His faithful servant and guides him along the right path. This event can be a great consolation to all of us making big decisions in our lives. Whether it is a career-path, consecrated life, or marriage, God shows us in St. Joseph that He will be there to correct our mistakes. In God, through the intercession of St. Joseph, we do not need to fear making the wrong decision, because God will always write straight with our crooked lines.

 

 Lord, watch over us poor sinners as we try to continue along the path to eternity with You. Guide our minds and our hearts as we make the tough decisions in our lives. Cast out any fear that may haunt us. Fill us with confidence, knowing that You are always with us along our journey. Amen.

 

Ex 17:1-7    Ps 95:1-2, 6-9   Jn 4:5-42  or Jn 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42  

THIRD WEEK OF LENT
Sunday, March 19
Matthew Pousse
Assistant Director/Internship Coordinator
of the Career Center

 

What I Truly Need

 

“[Jesus said]…but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” - John 4:14

 

   Think back to a time when you either said or heard the word “need” in a sentence. “I need to go to the store.”  “I need to study for the test.”  In my work, it is sometimes, “I need a job,” or, “I need to find an internship.” Within each and every one of us dwell various needs, both great and small. We probably have learned or thought about some of these needs at different times and places of our lives, such as learning about the basic needs of food, water, and shelter in an elementary school, or learning about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in a psychology class. No matter how self-sufficient we may be, we must accept the basic truth that our lives are dependent on needing certain things in order to continue to survive. Amidst abundance or blindness, it is possible to lose sight of the awareness or significance of our needs.

 

   The Samaritan woman in today’s Gospel probably faced more than what she expected when she went to the well. Her encounter with Jesus, however, pointed out a necessity greater than water, which all humans (including her) need. To truly have life within us, we need to drink and carry the One who first gave us life. Not only do our physical lives depend on everything created by God, but our whole being and eternal life depend on the One who is “the way, the truth, and the life.” In the same way that water is abundant in different forms throughout the earth, God’s presence, truth, and love are not far from us when we seek, acknowledge, and find Him.

 

Lord, please help me to seek and accept You and the water You give.  Amen.

 

Ex 17:1-7     Ps 95:1-2, 6-9    Jn 4:5-42  or Jn 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42

SECOND WEEK OF LENT                                                                     Saturday, March 18
Matthew Thibeau
Director of Strategic
Planning/Initiatives

 

Forgiveness Is Hard!

 

“So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.”  -Luke 15:20

 

   In Luke 15:1-3, we see that the audience for the parable of the prodigal son/the forgiving father/wounded loyalist is the Pharisees, not the disciples. Those in authority, not those who wonder. Those who seek to rule, not those looking for leaders. Do the lessons learned from the parable vary based on who is the listener, or are we all Pharisees and    disciples, saints and sinners, leaders and followers at the same time?

 

   This parable is often interpreted as God being the father, welcoming his repentant son home. When we leave, sin, and return, God, as the father, welcomes all and asks those who never left to be overjoyed with gladness. Forgive and forget; does that really ever work? Do we not always aspire for forgiveness, being forgiven, and unconditional acceptance? Do we not seek first to be a community of inclusion and welcome? While Jesus sought to form and inform the faithful with this parable, He intended it as a challenge to the Pharisees, more of a mirror than a map.

 

   Forgiveness must be hard!

 

   If one has status, education, position, privilege, and power, it must be difficult not to sit in judgement or seek to extract punishment. It is the curse of having the answers before questions are posed. To be the “us” that condemns the “them.” Jesus challenged the Pharisees, those endowed only with man-made rights, to consider that forgiveness is of foremost importance. Details matter less than desire. A sincere authority creates a unified community without demanding unity.

 

   Must forgiveness be hard?

 

   Today’s world, society, Church, campus, and classroom afford us multiple opportunities to choose to be either a Pharisee or a disciple, often many times in the same day! Lent gives us forty days to reflect on the choices we made to influence the ones we will make. The Trinity offers us grace to live by, and an invitation to engage life. God the Father is and always will be, the Holy Spirit sustains us, and Jesus gives us a model to emulate. Pharisees judge, exclude and rule. Disciples proclaim, welcome, and empower.

 

   If Lent is a season of prayerful reflection then, by design, it leads to an Easter choice. Do we want to be Pharisees or disciples?

 

Loving God, the disciples asked Your Son, "how should we pray?    We know without the answer to that question we cannot walk in relationship with You. Jesus also warns us to not pray like the Pharisees, standing in synagogues and street corners for all to see. As we walk our Lenten journey, Lord, help us remember that the important part of a disciple’s prayer isn't the words; it is the heart behind  the words. May we always beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, hypocrisy.  During our days of self-examination and introspection, may we determine all the more to worship God with a sincere and honest heart, coupled with regard for both the letter and the spirit of His Word with respect that radiates towards all we meet. Amen.

 

Mi 7:14-15, 18-20            Ps 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12           Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

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