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Daily Reflections for Lent

5TH SUNDAY OF LENT
Ellen Klein, FOCUS Missionary

 

"I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
John 11:25-26

 

What is life? What does it mean to have a full life? We are all physically alive. We breathe, eat, sleep, study and move. We all have life. Jesus also had a life on this earth, but what does He mean when He says in today’s Gospel, “I am the resurrection and the life?” Jesus does not only have a life, but He says He actually is Life. Therefore, unlike some may think, Jesus did not come to just teach or to try to turn bad people into good people. He came to make dead people alive! He came to pull us out of sin, to give us life once again. In order to truly live life the way we were made to live, we need to follow Jesus. He is Life. All He did, and all He is, leads to life. Even His death led to life! In the same way, Jesus can transform our sin into new life if we accept Him. Oftentimes we confuse “life” with “fun” or “pleasure” when the truth is Life is Jesus Christ. No doubt Jesus wants us to have fun, but He also shows us there is more to true happiness than simply fun. He shows us that there is great meaning behind everything that we do, especially our sufferings and sacrifices. After all, His suffering and death was necessary for His Resurrection. When we unite our sufferings to Jesus’ suffering on the cross, we too will experience the gift of new life. We will die and rise again with Him! Do not be afraid to give your life to Jesus because in turn, He will give you something even greater: new life, eternal life! In today’s Gospel, after Jesus tells Mary He is the “resurrection and the life,” He asks her “Do you believe this?” Do you believe that Jesus can bring you to life? Do you believe He can change your life? He is waiting for you to respond. He will always wait for you. All you have to do is let Him in.

 

Get Jesus. Get a life.

 

Jesus, thank You for the many gifts You have given me. Thank You for creating me and giving me life. Jesus, please take my life and all that I am. I desire to give it all to You. Show me Your will for my life and help me to trust in Your plans always. I love you. Amen.

Ws 2: 1, 12-22; Ps 34: 17-21,23; Jn 7: 1-2, 10, 25-30.

SATURDAY 4TH WEEK
Alexis Rojas, C ‘17

 

"O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge."
Psalm 7: 1

 

When we face difficulties in life, it is easy to blame God or ask why He would let such things happen to us. We are quick to blame and often turn away from Him. However, this should not be the case. The moments we when feel most discouraged and when we are struggling most, should be the times we turn to Him. When we feel as if the world is on our shoulders, we must trust in God’s plan and know He will never give us more than we can handle. We all go through hardships and we should not get angry at God or blame Him. Struggling is simply part of life and we must accept it. It is easier to deal with the trials and pains of our lives when we trust He will always be there for us.

 

Lord, I pray You grant me the courage to fully trust in You. May I always turn to You in times of need and know You will always be there guiding me and granting me comfort. Amen.

Jer 11: 18-20, Ps 7: 2-3, 9b-12; Jn 7: 40-53

FRIDAY 4TH WEEK
Jenna Lewis, FOCUS Missionary

 

"For their wickedness blinded them, and they did not know the secret purposes of God."
Wisdom 2:22

 

Do we really know Jesus deep in our hearts or do we just passively accept a knowledge that never surpasses our minds? Do we find ourselves critiquing God, blaming Him for events in our lives, testing Him, or constantly trying to prove His existence? Belief takes going beyond the practicalities of our minds and what we can see. It takes going into the depths of our souls. It takes a trust and faith in something unseen. Ultimately, it takes an encounter.

 

Do you relate to the feeling God is inconveniencing you or He is opposing your actions, or even that following Him would be an uncomfortable way of life? Some of these negative feelings can keep us from drawing closer to God’s loving embrace. Let us not get hung up on these feelings. We must take the time to recognize where we stray and bring those sins to the foot of the cross to be transformed.

 

For Jesus promises He is near to the brokenhearted, He will respond to our cry, and He will deliver even the most afflicted. For He loves us dearly. Let us allow ourselves to experience His embrace. Let us not get caught up in the logistics of faith or the crosses we bear. Let us allow Jesus to move our hearts deeply, to go beyond the testing of our mind.

 

What is it going to take for you to let Him in… to transform your heart?

 

Jesus help me to be at peace, to quiet myself enough to accept You deep in my being. Help me to identify the things that are holding me back from truly feeling Your loving presence. Amen.

Ws 2: 1, 12-22, Ps 34: 17-21, 23; Jn 7: 1-2, 10, 25-30

THURSDAY 4TH WEEK
Perfect Torkornoo, C ‘15

 

"You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life."
John 39-40

 

In today’s reading, John is sent to proclaim the truth to the people. In John (5:36), Jesus tells the people that He has a testimony much greater than John’s testimony, but the people refuse to believe this testimony because they do not believe in the One that God has sent to them to die on the cross. The people study the scriptures and believe they will find eternal life in the them and not in the One whom God has sent to save the world. Instead of believing in Christ they seek human glory rather than God’s glory. How many times have you neglected to spend time with Jesus in prayer and adoration? I can tell you from experience I have done this many times. Sometimes I get so caught up in making sure I am doing the right things that I forget to build a relationship with Christ. Today’s reading is a good reminder that we cannot have eternal life or know the truth without believing in Christ and having a personal relationship with Him. Reading the scriptures, being kind, having good morals, and fulfilling what some will call “the Catholic requirements” do not guarantee we will have eternal life.

 

We will not automatically have eternal life. Our eternal life is found in His Son, who died on the cross for us. Jesus is the life, the truth, and the way. Spend some time with Jesus in daily prayer and, or adoration, and build a relationship with Him. Having a relationship with Jesus is like having a relationship with friend or a loved one; it requires time and effort.

 

Father, help me to seek a relationship with Your Son and to seek Your glory, so I may know Your Son is the life, the truth, and the way. Amen.

Ex 32: 7-14, Ps 106: 19-23; Jn 5: 31-47

WEDNESDAY 4TH WEEK
Kate Quinn, C ‘17

 

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life."
John 5:24

 

I didn’t feel like praying. It was a cold day during Christmas break, I was sitting at home watching TV, and I did not feel like getting up to pray. I kept feeling a pull in my heart to pray the Rosary, but I ignored it with the excuse that I would pray one later. I did pray a Rosary later, but out of laziness I ignored His voice the first time (and the few times after) He called me to pray.

 

In John’s Gospel reading today, Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life” (Jn 5:24). The first time I read the passage, I skimmed over this verse because I had heard it a thousand times before, but when reading through it a second time, the words “he who hears my word” struck me. Jesus instructs that not only must we believe in God to enter Heaven, but we must also hear Him. He speaks to us from within our hearts every moment of every day, but how often do we actually hear Him? In the first reading, the Lord instructs Isaiah to say “to the prisoners, ‘Come forth’” (Is 49:9), and in the Gospel, Jesus speaks of the hour when “all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and come forth” (Jn 5:28). Let us no longer be deafened to the Lord’s voice by our sin and laziness. Let us instead make ourselves constantly aware of His presence in our hearts so we may hear Him when He calls us forth.

 

Holy Spirit, quiet my heart and mind today. Let me hear Your voice. How are You speaking to me? How are You calling me forth? Amen.

Is 49: 8-15, Ps 145: 8-9, 13-14, 17-18; Jn 5: 17-30

TUESDAY 4TH WEEK
Amanda Stoddard, C ‘14

 

"Rise, take up your mat, and walk."
John 5:11

 

Today’s Gospel focuses on Jesus who went to Jerusalem for a special feast day of the Jews. While in Jerusalem, Jesus encounters a man who has been lying ill by the pool at the Sheep Gate for 38 years. Jesus asks him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up.” Then Jesus replies by telling him to pick up his mat and walk. The sick man stood up and walked away. Now later when other people saw him carrying his mat they said to him it was the Sabbath, and it unlawful to carry the mat. The man tried explaining someone cured him and told him to pick up his mat and walk. Jesus did find him later and told him not to sin anymore, for he was well. After the man told the Jews, they persecuted Jesus because he cured on a Sabbath.

 

Have you ever done something you know is the right thing to do, but people said you did the wrong thing? I know I have and being a volunteer EMT, I have had this situation multiple times and it never gets easier. The only way I get through it is if I know I did the right thing and I tried my hardest. Another way this could be handled is, if you think it is wrong, or you are double guessing your choice, talk to someone…a friend, priest, spiritual director, or Jesus. He is always with you; you are never alone.

 

Lord, please give me the grace and the faith to make the right choices in my life. Give me love to spread to the people I help. Amen.

Ez 47: 1-9,12, Ps 46: 2-3, 5-6, 8-9; Jn 5: 1-16

MONDAY 4TH WEEK
Gianna Tucker, C ‘16

 

"Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, Lord, God of truth."
Psalm 31:6

 

Following Christ requires we act as servant leaders and remember that we are here to do His will by radiating His love through our actions to those who do not yet know of Him and His love. Living with these goals at the forefront of everything we do is challenging to say the least, but it is important in order to bring others closer to Christ, the one who loves us best. In this time of Lent, let us do our best to remember in order to do God’s will we must be humble in all that we do. Let us recognize our own failings, forgive ourselves, ask for God’s forgiveness, and forgive others for their shortcomings. Let us be quick to love rather than quick to judge, so we might lead others closer to God through our actions of love. Let us recognize all we do cannot be accomplished through our own strength, but only with God at our side, guiding us every step of the way.

 

Lord, help me to know I need You in all I do, and help me to serve You in all I do. Help me to recognize how much You love me and help me to spread love to all that I meet. Amen

Jer 18: 18-20; Ps 31: 5-6, 14-16; Mt 20: 17-28

4TH SUNDAY OF LENT
Carolyn Shields, C '14

 

"I will fear no evil."
Psalm 23:4

 

There are certain Gospels or Bible passages I sigh at when we hear them at mass, or when we go over them in Bible study. Ones like the Creation story, the Prodigal Son, Psalm 23; ones we have heard a trillion times... but scripture is so infinitely rich and I'm continually shocked at how much spiritual juice we can squeeze out of it. Our reading today tells us in Psalm 23:4 that even though we may find ourselves in dark valleys, we should not be afraid. Can you imagine a life without fear? Fear is so crippling and prohibits us from living fully, as Christ wants us to live. But there is no need to fear the evil in the dark, for He is beside us, "with his rod and staff." He cloaks our own darkened shadows with His "goodness and love" which will follow us all the days of our life. What have we to fear when we walk alongside Him?

 

Lord, I entrust to You all of my fears, anxieties, and worries. I lay them down and offer them up. I know You go before me, that You guide me, and You walk beside me. And I pray, never leave me. Amen.

1 Sm 16: 1, 6-7, 10-13, Ps 23: 1-6, Eph 5: 8-14; Jn 9: 1-14

SATURDAY 3RD WEEK
Vicente Garcia, C '17

 

"Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense."

Psalm 51: 3

 

Sometimes we might think, "I am doing many good things, unlike other people I know (and even unlike myself in the past). What could I possibly have done to offend You, Lord?" And yet remember that one time…in that one place… God loves it when we recognize that the only remedy to our own sinful nature is through His mercy. A central idea to Lent is recognizing our constant struggle with sin and thus our need for God's mercy. What a great blessing it is to have an abundance of graces flowing from heaven; yet what a great sacrifice it was through Jesus' crucifixion to open the floodgates. With this in mind, let us remember our loving Father wants to shower His mercy on us "like spring rains watering the earth," and all we have to do is say, "Lord, I am a sinner. I am imperfect. I'm sorry for those times, past and present, when I have given in to temptation." Then open your heart. Take a chance and trust. Encounter Christ's sacrificial love in the sacraments.

 

Heavenly Father, I praise You for Your loving mercy which has redeemed us from the eternal fire. Holy Spirit, help me to open my heart and to trust in God. Thank you, Jesus, for being with me at all times. Amen.

Hos 6: 1-6; Ps 51:3-4 & 18-21; Lk 18: 9-14

FRIDAY 3RD WEEK
Victoria Nikole Blandon, C '16

 

"Straight are the paths of The Lord, the just walk in them, but sinners stumble in them."
Hosea 14:10b

 

In today's readings there is a general theme that stood out to me: the path of the Lord. God has put a path ahead of us that will lead us to Him. We are on this path until we reach Heaven. There may be times where we may stumble on this path due to the distraction of sin. Though we may stumble, the Lord will never abandon us. He will help us up when we fall; He will take us by the hand and lead us in the right direction. He has done it before so we can trust He will do it again, for all God wants is for us to love Him as much as He loves us. For this reason He will never misguide us. If we trust Him with all of our hearts, it will be easier to navigate away from sin and instead, toward heaven.

 

Lord, please allow me to stay focused on Your path. Give me the strength to never fall away from You for I trust that You will never lead me astray. Amen.

Hos 14: 2-10; Ps 81: 6-11, 14, 17; Mk 12: 28-34

 
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