Skip Navigation

Lenten Reflections Logo

Daily Reflections for Lent

Deacon Eric Silva
Sem. Class of 2016

Branches Bear Fruit

“It may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.” Luke 13: 9

The beautiful aspect of this parable lies in understanding what it means for us and understanding what it says about us. In the parable of the barren fig tree, the tree has not yet borne fruit for its owner. He offers to cultivate the soil around the tree for one more year before cutting it down, barring whether or not it has borne fruit at the end of that year. Analogies do indeed fall short at some point but the alarming truth that the parable of the fig tree communicates is incredibly profound: if Jesus Christ is the man who cultivates the ground around the tree and fertilizes it, then we, the “fig trees of the world,” are the ones who bear the fruit. It is God who sustains us always, but we are called to physically manifest the works of God who feeds literally.

Everyone knows that the fruit on a tree is a reflection of its environment, its nutrients, and the stimuli in which it is surrounded. The only difference in this analogy is that trees do not have a choice where they are to lie while we do have that choice. If we surround ourselves with friends who will authentically nourish us and who push us to bear real and true fruit in our lives, we are much more likely to do so. This Lent, as the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ approaches, re-dedicate yourselves to where your roots lie. Are we resting them on fertile ground or are we surrounding ourselves with thickets and thorns, which choke the good nutrients the Lord offers us, most especially in the sacraments? There will be a time when we stand before Christ, the heavenly gardener, who will ask us, “What fruit have you borne in your life?”

Heavenly Father, source of all Goodness, increase in us the awareness and desire to be Your saints here on earth. Help us to surround ourselves with only that which is good and grant us the graces to always do Your will, so that we may bear fruit for You and neighbor in this life and the life to come. Amen.
Ex 3:1-8a, 13-15, or Ex 17:3-7 Ps 103: 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 11 1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12 Lk 13:1-9
Ariana Aragon
Class of 2019
Dead While Living

“My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.” Luke 15:32

I think when we, as human beings, talk about death, we tend to think about the act of a person or animal (even object) not having any energy or will power left in them. The parable of the prodigal son is probably one of the most relatable parables to my life. Have you ever been so hurt by a person that they are dead to you? It could be a family member, a friend, a co-worker, or a boss. This happens when a person has emotionally, physically, or mentally hurt you. These people tend to exit your life one way or another, and we can’t help but wonder about the what if’s. What if they stayed? What would it be like if the relationship between the two of you did not break apart, and if you still talked? In today’s world we tend to see Facebook updates, Instagram posts, and even SnapStories that are a little too long informing us of what they are doing and it hurts. Now imagine the father in the story, and how he didn’t have the luxury of seeing any social media updates about how his son was doing. The father simply had hope that his son was doing okay. For us, through social media, and the father through his faith, both hope for this “dead” person to come back to life; to come back to us. One of the worst feelings in the world is losing someone that is special to us and when we see them restored to us again, it is the best feeling in the world. Just because a person may be gone for now, doesn’t mean they will be gone forever. Don’t give up hope, just be ready to accept them back with open arms.

Lord, as we continue on in our Lenten journey, let us remember those who we have lost. Help us be willing to accept those back into our life who may seem lost, and help us to remember we all distance ourselves from time to time, but You are always there for us. Amen.
Mi 7:14-15, 18-20 Ps 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12 Lk 15:1-3, 11-32
Kieran Damitz
Class of 2018

Living Gratefully As A Result Of Christ’s Sacrifice

“But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’” Matthew 21:38

In today’s Gospel, we hear the story of the tenants in the vineyard. A man builds the vineyard and finds tenants to work for him. However, when he sends servants to collect his share of the produce, the tenants reject the servants, even killing some of them. Finally, in desperation, the owner sends his son to the tenants, but even the son cannot sway the tenants. The tenants say to each other, “This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.” In the Gospel, Jesus’ listeners do not seem to understand the meaning behind the parable and the reason why the tenants thought they could acquire the householder’s inheritance by killing his son. The idea that killing the son would lead the father to give the son’s inheritance to the murderers seems ridiculous. Our perspective of this parable changes in the context of Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection. God created a beautiful world for humanity. We often work so hard to make it better for ourselves and yet consistently reject God and His servants (the prophets). Finally, God the Father sent His Son Jesus to the world to explain that all glory belongs to God, who created everything and gave it to us freely. Rather than accepting the message, humanity killed Jesus. From this perspective, we realize that the parable is about us! WE killed the son. As painful as this realization might be, it is only through His death that it became possible for us to share in Jesus’ inheritance: eternal happiness in Heaven. Therefore, in light of this great gift, let us strive ever more to avoid that which caused us to kill the Son, sin. For while His death made salvation possible, our greatest enjoyment of salvation comes from discerning and living out God’s plan for our lives.

Jesus, thank you for loving us so much that you willingly died for us so that I might share Your inheritance. Help us to always remember Your gift, and may it inspire us to give our best to You in all circumstances. Amen.
Gen 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a Ps 105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21 Mt 21:33-43, 45-46
Faith Berard
Class of 2017

How Will You Choose To Live?

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.” Psalm 1:1

It's hard to reflect on the readings without reflecting upon my own life, and the reality that the decisions I make matter. All of the readings today draw attention in some way to the fact that there are generally "two ways" to live: righteously or wickedly. We are called to live a righteous life, and while this can be a daily struggle that involves many failings, we can persevere with God’s grace.

This can be seen in all aspects of our life: whether it be our daily habits, weekend habits, our vocation, our relationship, and our friendships. These things matter and the way we bring Christ into them matters. There are always two roads when it comes to the decisions we make and the way we live our life. One road may be easier, but it does not necessarily make it the right choice. The narrow road may be lonely, but can potentially produce more fruit in time.

The Gospel message today is seemingly simple: if you treat your neighbor poorly, you risk your eternal life with God in Heaven…but I think it's deeper than that. No one wants to live a life like Lazarus. We all have our own sufferings that can either cause distance in our relationship with Christ or we can use that suffering to allow Christ to get closer to us. The story of Lazarus reminds us that we are not destined for an earthly life without suffering, but we are promised perfect happiness in the next, as long as we live striving for union with the One who made us.

Heavenly Father, please help us to see You in our sufferings and to let it propel us to grow closer to Your Son each day. Bring us to You each day and help us to receive the graces to accept Your unconditional love. Amen.
Jer 17:5-10 Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6 Lk 16:19-31
Hugh Kinsey
Class of 2019

The Road To Success

“But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28

Everyone wants to be the best. The best player at the sport they play, the best student in the class, the best employee at their occupation, or the best artist or musician. Everyone wants to succeed in the things they commit their time.

Being successful in itself is not a bad thing; God calls us to lead happy and successful lives. He calls us to make progress in our spiritual life and our lives of virtue, ultimately striving for holiness. He cares less about what career we choose than He does about the way we go about being successful.

Striving for success becomes a problem when we break God’s Law in pursuit of worldly success. God calls all of us to live lives of service and to love others, especially the poor and weak. This is difficult to do when there is only a single opening, position, or seat that many people want. When we idolize promotions and raises and abuse others to get them, we offend God. Cheating, lying, or stealing to succeed is not what God calls us to do. He calls us to love and care for others while working and pray-ing hard. Striving for success becomes a problem when we put others down to raise ourselves up.

It is possible to follow God and be successful, even in the competitive and success-driven world in which we live. It is possible to climb with-out knocking others off the ladder. With strength, endurance, prayer, faith, and love, we can all achieve what God really calls us to, happiness and holiness.

God, give us the strength to be merciful, the power to be peaceful, and the love to be faithful. Allow us to be successful and more importantly a successful follower of Your Word. Amen.

Jer 18:18-20 Ps 31:5-6, 14, 15-16 Mt 20:17-28
Kathleen Hollenbeck
Alumni Relations Office

Beauty In God’s Laws

“Come now, let us set things right, says the LORD: though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they may become white as wool. If you are willing, and obey, you shall eat the good things of the land.” Isaiah 1:18-19

There is beauty in God’s laws. God created us and He understands man’s true needs. Don’t you think He knows what self-restraints we will need to follow in order to help us flourish? As followers of Christ, we should strive always to remember that God knows us better than we do. When God’s commandments are understood and followed in love, God’s difficult teachings will enable us to live as creatures fulfilled in every aspect of our life here on earth. More importantly, they are a roadmap to eternal life, assisting us to life with Him after death as His children for eternity.

Many do not understand Catholic teachings. How often did Jesus articulate difficult teachings, doing so with a gentle spirit? During this Lent, in the Year of Mercy, let us ask God to enable us to be good examples of Christ’s laws in action.
Lord, please help us to focus on Your perfect love for us so as to try
and understand the teachings that we sometimes may not appreciate. Even when we do not, let us trust You enough to obey all Your laws, if only because we revere them and love You. Amen.

Is 1:10, 16-20 Ps 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23 Mt 23:1-12
Pia Saldarriaga
Class of 2016
Seeing Christ In Everything

“Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My heavenly Father.’” Matthew 16:17

I’m sure we’ve all heard that cliché “See the beauty in everything.” Though this sounds easy enough, it can be hard to do especially in our busy lives. However, in today’s reading, Jesus reminds us of the importance of recognizing the blessings He has given us and inviting others to open their eyes to His love.

Jesus said, “They look but do not see and hear but do not listen or under-stand.” It can get so easy to get to a point in our faith where we simply stop giving thanks, either because things seem to be going so well, or because we feel like we’ve been pretty good and we start to relax. But it is so vital for us to truly “see with our eyes” and acknowledge all the blessings in our lives. When we do this, it gets easier to see God in even the smallest things and that’s how our hearts are transformed. In yesterday’s Gospel, we saw how Peter, James and John witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus. They were able to encounter Him because they truly saw with their eyes and listened with their ears to God’s message. In today’s Gospel, Jesus brings us back to the importance of being open and attentive to His blessings so that we too may encounter Him and share this beautiful gift of salvation with others.

Lord, help me to see You in everything and hear even Your whispers so that I may be open to what You have in store for me. Amen.

1 PT 5:1-4 Ps 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6 MT 16:13-19
16300 Old Emmitsburg Road | Emmitsburg, MD 21727
Map & Directions | | 301-447-6122
Frederick Campus | 5350 Spectrum Drive | Frederick, MD 21703
Map & Directions | | 301-682-8315