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Daily Reflections for Lent

Keyword: holy week

HOLY SATURDAY
Deacon Zak Barry, S ‘14

 

"Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep."
– text from Office of Readings for Holy Saturday

 

This truly is a strange day. Lent is over and Good Friday just behind us, but Easter isn’t here yet. For the day, we’re stuck in an in-between period.

 

But what was this like for the disciples? We’ve just reflected on the passion and death of our Lord – the events that took place leading up to His death and the details of His crucifixion. This is part of our faith, a practice into which we enter every year as a Church. The challenge for us is to live these days with a reflective spirit and a recollected heart. But over 2000 years ago, the challenge for the disciples was confusion and ignorance.

 

They did not know the whole story, because they were living it as it unfolded. Christ tried to prepare them, but they could not understand. They didn’t know what was happening, but even had they anticipated the resurrection, they would have been overcome. Their teacher and friend, with whom they had dined less than two days earlier had suffered a horrible death and wasn’t even given time for a proper burial. Worse yet, they had almost all abandoned Him at the hour of His greatest need, even denying their relation to Him.

 

Surely they were in shock. And perhaps we feel some of that same disorientation even today. We have spent several weeks of Lent preparing for these days, meditating on our lives and on God’s great mercy, striving to better answer Christ’s call to live as sons and daughters of the Kingdom of God. And if we have allowed our liturgical participation in these last few days to work in our heart and soul, entering into meditation on the last days of Christ’s life, today we may well feel spiritually drained.

 

What are we to do today, after the Lord’s death but before His resurrection? It is a day of silence. Today, we meditate on the gift we have been given in Christ and the profound effect His death had on all of creation. And of course, we look forward not only to celebrating His Easter resurrection but also to His second coming.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, help me to enter into the mystery of Your death and resurrection. Stir up in me Your Holy Spirit so that my participation in these holiest of days may bear fruit in my soul to eternal life. Amen.

Gn 1:1-2 or Gn 1: 1, 26-31a, Ps 104: 1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24, 35 or Ps 33:4-7, 12-13, 20, 22; Mat 28: 1-10

GOOD FRIDAY
Deacon Matthew Capadano, S '14

 

"I thirst."
John 19: 28-30

 

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the scripture), "I thirst." A bowl full of vinegar was present; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the vinegar, He said, "It is finished;" and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

 

Good Friday recounts the day when Jesus is falsely accused, scourged to the point of visible bones and muscle fibers, rejected by His people, spit upon, made to carry a cross which he didn't earn, crucified, and then in his most desperate moment, He was given vinegar to drink. And why? Love.

 

During these moments of pain, humiliation, and total abasement, Jesus had in His mind and heart our faces; your face. With each lashing, mockery, thorn, step, nail, and drop of blood He imagined you and said, "I do this because I love you."

 

It is due to this love we venerate the cross today. We reverently approach and kiss a device of torture and corporal punishment because it is through this apparatus that Jesus proves His total, perfect, and undeserved love for us... For you!

 

On this Good Friday, do not allow yourself to focus on your sins, Jesus has done this for you today. Instead, focus on the incredible love Jesus has for you. Pray with the image of Jesus, bloodied and broken upon the cross and picture how He looks at you. Receive the love you see in His eyes, receive His mercy. By focusing on Him and not yourself, by receiving His love and mercy, you are quenching His thirst, because He thirsts for you to receive His love.

 

Listen to Him. Jesus says, "I thirst." How are you going to quench His thirst?

 

Loving Jesus. I come before You with the desire to quench Your thirst upon the cross. All You want is for me to receive Your love and merciful forgiveness. May I satisfy Your thirst by freely receiving Your love, and by so doing, give You what Your heart desires. Help me not to give You the vinegar of self-reliance with attempts to earn Your grace, I only ask You to help me understand just how free and complete Your love and forgiveness are. Amen.

Is 52: 13-53:12, Ps 31: 2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25, Heb 4: 14-16; 5:7-9; Jn 18: 1-19:42

HOLY THURSDAY
Deacon Corey Krengiel, S‘14

 

"If I, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do."
John 13:14-15

 

A model to follow. A way of life. The way of service. The way of: “If you want to be the greatest of all, then be the servant of all.” It is a way of following Jesus -of being Jesus - and of making our Lord’s Sacred Heart present as we respond to His prompting toward true, sacrificial love.

 

Is it more natural to look out for ourselves in the world or to look out for others? Which is more supernatural? As he awaits his death on the cross, Jesus calls us toward the supernatural -that is, He calls us out of our selfishness, to a higher, or “super” way of life. It is when we respond to that call, outward and upward, that we realize it is more natural to be supernatural. Our hearts and minds were designed to serve, and the designer become flesh reminds us of that by filling up a bowl with water and washing the Apostles’ dirty feet. A model to follow. The way of service. It is our path to happiness and our path to eternal life. It’s more natural to be supernatural.

 

Lord Jesus, help me to make the life a service my way of life, and so imitate You who laid down Your life on the cross for the salvation of the whole world. Amen.

Ex 12: 1-8, 11-14, Ps 116: 12-13, 15-18, 1 Cor 11: 23-26; Jn 12:1-15

WEDNESDAY OF HOLY WEEK
Mikayla Stratton, C ‘17

 

"…The Lord has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him that is weary. Morning by morning, He wakens, he wakens my ear as those who are taught…"
Isaiah 50:4

 

A few thoughts came to me as I encountered this reading. The other day my Theology class was discussing Moses. Parallels can be drawn between Isaiah’s texts to the classical story of Moses.

 

Moses was an average guy. When he was called by God to “let His people go,” Moses initially tried to dodge the bullet. He asked, “Who am I to go to Pharaoh?” and he even dared to ask God -the creator of everything, the omnipotent and omniscient, the mysterious voice coming from a bush -His name! But God assured Moses He would be with him when Moses went to Pharaoh, and promised Moses he would be capable of following God’s instructions.

 

In today’s reading, it says, “the Lord has given me the tongue of those who are taught” and He opens our ears so that we can understand. So sure, Moses had his brother Aaron to help him speak to Pharaoh, but he was able to lead the Israelites through the desert and beyond many instances of unfaithfulness. Through God’s help, Moses’ led the people to the Promised Land. Moses was able to “sustain with a word” God’s weary people.

 

So too, does God sustain us day by day. He has given us - average people like Moses - the ability to know and understand His ways. We have been given the gift of evangelizing and helping others with God’s teachings and Word. Sometimes we try to dodge the bullet. We say “who are we to do those things? Who am I to understand God’s ways?” God is mysterious, infinite, and all powerful, but He gives us the ability to spread the good news and He gives us the ears to hear it.

 

During this Lenten season, let us respond to God who is calling us. Let us accept God makes us worthy by giving us the graces we need. And let us take action to follow His instructions.

 

Lord, let us be the work of Your hands and may our hands do Your work. Amen.

Is 49: 1-6, Ps 71: 1-6, 15, 17; Jn 13:21-33, 36-38

TUESDAY OF HOLY WEEK
Allison Boyd, C ‘14

 

"So he dipped the morsel and [took it and] handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. After he took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly."
John 13: 26-27

 

On this last Tuesday of Lent before we enter into the Easter Triduum and celebrate the life-changing day that gives us all eternal hope, we contemplate the one who chose despair. Judas betrayed Jesus, but many speculate that this was not his greatest sin. Instead it was he despaired, he lost hope. What a different story it would be if Judas had come to Jesus on the cross, asking for forgiveness. Would our Lord in His infinite mercy and kindness not have forgiven him? Would he not have had the opportunity to repent and become one of the greatest saints? What a witness he could have been. And yet he chose death over life.

 

How many times have we done the same? How many times have we chosen the mirage of wealth and worldly happiness over true and eternal life? We should take a lesson from Judas and not let that be the end of the story. Always, always return to Him, and especially around this time, return to Him on the cross, the one who, by choosing death, restored us to life. When we feel beaten by the world, by our own sins and mistakes, remember the life-giving miracle that now is only a few days away. Instead of turning our back on God in our moments of weakness, and looking for comfort in the world that will never be found, we must set our faces like flint toward our cross, toward our Divine model, and ultimately toward our eternal salvation. We have an advantage that Judas did not: we know that we can have hope in the resurrection. So let us crucify ourselves with Christ, leaving this world and it’s temptations behind, so that we can one day rise to new life with Him.

 

Lord, in Your passion and death you showed that the road to salvation and eternal happiness is not an easy one. I pray that I will have the courage to follow You to the cross, to resist the temptations of the world and to stand firm in my commitment to You, no matter how difficult that might be, so that one day I can rise again to new life with You. With the intercession of your most blessed and loyal Mother, in Your name, I pray. Amen.

Is 49: 1-6, Ps 71: 1-4a, 5-6, 15, 17; Jn 13: 21-33, 36-38

MONDAY OF HOLY WEEK
Christine Saah, C ‘14

 

"Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me."
John 12:7-8

 

Today's Gospel touches on several events, including the raising of Lazarus from the dead, Mary anointing Jesus’ feet, and Judas the Iscariot criticizing the actions of Mary as “wasting” the oil. Judas wanted to sell the oil and give the money to the poor. But Judas would ultimately betray Jesus, and is not truly concerned about the “poor.” I want to ask you the question about your motives as we are now nearing the end of Lent. Did you make sacrifices or do extra things more for yourself or for Jesus? Were you really concerned about the poor or is your love for others sincere?

 

Do not despair if you have traveled this far into Lent only to realize you didn’t give it your all. We all fall down, and let our weaknesses overtake us. What you can do is give these last few days to Jesus? Do it for Him, whatever He is calling you to do. It could be more prayer, more fasting, or less time on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. This is your chance to really bring it home, and what better way to do it than with a home run for Jesus. Even if you did great in this time of sacrifice, you can always do more. I encourage all of you to remain thankful for the way Jesus has been in your life, and has been able to be with us through the sacrament of the Eucharist. Jesus did say to Judas and Mary that they may not always have Him, because He was going to die. However, He conquered death and is always with us. We must be thankful for Jesus’ saving power in our own lives.

 

Jesus, I believe., help my disbelief. Jesus, I trust You., help me to trust You more. Jesus, I am weak, help me to find my strength in You. Help me to finish my Lenten season strong as I prepare for the celebration of Your death and resurrection. Amen.

Is 42: 1-7, Ps 27: 1-3, 13-14, Jn 12: 1-11

 
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