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Daily Reflections for Lent

3RD SUNDAY OF LENT
Alyse Spiehler, C '17

 

"Let us come before him with a song of praise, joyfully sing out our psalms."

 

Let us rejoice in our Lord! The readings for today show reasons for rejoicing in God's marvelous deeds. In the reading from Exodus (17:3-7), God saves Moses and miraculously provides the much needed water for His people living in the desert. Again, in the Gospel from John (4: 5-42), Jesus gives hope to an otherwise hopeless woman. She was an outcast in society, a sinner. Jesus knew these things and spoke to her all the same. He revealed to her the good news of the Gospel: that He was here to save, to bring water which wells up to eternal life (Jn 4: 14).

 

There are so, so many times when I feel that I am beyond God's reach. Even though I "know" He is merciful and mighty, it seems too good to be true, or too good to believe. The readings from Exodus and John remind me that no one, not a woman in great sin, or even an entire tribe of thirsty people in the desert, can escape God's plentiful love and amazing gifts! Our God is love. His love is boundless. Like the Samaritan woman at the well, Christ seeks us and reminds us of His fidelity. How can I not rejoice in Him? How can I not, like the woman at the well, go out and proclaim His great deeds for me? The good news of Christ is for everyone and it is especially needed by those in dire situations; for those people, and for all of us, the help of the Lord is more precious than running water. Our God does not fail to pour His gifts upon me, upon us. Rejoice!

 

Lord, help me to rejoice in You always, especially when times are difficult. Amen.

Ex 17: 3-7, Ps 95: 1-2, 6-9, Rom 5: 1-2, 5-8; Jn 4: 5-42

SATURDAY 2ND WEEK
Nicole Michur, C ‘15

 

"Who is there like you? The God who will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins."
Micah 7:18-19

 

Lent is as much a time for renewal and hope as it is for sacrifice and meditation on the Lord’s passion and death. It is a time made dark only because of the light and radiance of Christ’s Resurrection at the end of these forty days. Lent is a period when we should prepare for Christ’s victory over death and the reason we all can come into the fullness of life in Heaven; we can now accomplish the goal for which we were created. For most of us at one time or another, this purpose seems utterly unattainable, we think we’re not worthy, not good enough; our sins have irreparably damaged our relationship with God. But Lent is not all about darkness; it is also about the light that shines through despite the shadows. Micah (7:18-20) shows us God is forgiving and our sins are not permanent: the Lord does not “persist in anger, but treads underfoot guilt and pardons sins.” And God has promised to show faithfulness in this to all of you, every single person. No matter what. Because of this, at Easter time, rejoice even more and be glad that you have been forgiven and you can never get to a point of no return. God has promised Himself to you, and He is enough, everything you need. This Lent, take comfort in Jesus’ sorrows and know that even in your deepest despair, you are not alone, for the Lord always provides.

 

Dear Lord, help me to know your forgiving grace, and in times of need, s how Yourself and all of Your gifts to me, that I might come to realize Your presence in my life and how blessed I am. Amen.

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

FRIDAY 2ND WEEK
Pia Saldarriaga, C ‘16

 

"I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled."
Luke 1:38

 

When we were little, we were taught to share. “Let your brother borrow your toy while you play with another one,” or “let her have a turn.” But it was never that easy. At least not in the beginning. You see, this feeling is similar when we’re faced with giving the Lord our most valuable possession: ourselves. God created us so we could give ourselves back to Him, but He made it a choice because He wants us to desire Him like He does us. So are we sacrificing our will for His? Think about the last time it was difficult to do God’s will in our life, but did it anyway. Does it happen often? Give yourself to Him, so that He may give back to you. Share with Him, so He may share with you.

 

Father, grant me the grace to give myself to You in full. Help me remember I do not belong to myself and that Your plan for me is infinitely better than anything I may have planned. Amen.

Is 7: 10-14, 8-10, Ps 40: 7-11, Heb 10: 4-10; Lk 1:26-38

THURSDAY 2ND WEEK
Micaela Kowalski, C '16

 

"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead."
Luke 16:31

 

One of the things that really stood out to me in today's Gospel is the last thing Abraham says to the rich man in the netherworld, "If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if a man rises from the dead." This sentence struck me and it took me a moment to go over it in my mind. It seems kind of harsh doesn't it? But if you think about it, it really isn't. God gave us so many testimonies, so many miracles, and so much grace, that the Scriptures recount over and over. God, time and time again proved to humanity He does exist, and He does care. Through the prophets, He warns us of what is to come, and provided grace for His straying people. Abraham is saying after all of these amazing events, testimonies and stories, there is nothing else that will convince the unbelievers who still stubbornly refuse to acknowledge God.

 

Looking at this passage in this perspective, it is truly amazing to think of how much God loves us, and how many opportunities He gives us to come to Him, to believe in Him. When you are feeling doubtful, or are struggling, all you have to do is open the Bible and read of how miraculous God is, and how patient He is with the human race.

 

This Lenten season, take some time to read the Scriptures and recognize how God time and time again proves to us His love and His amazing grace and how He patiently leads His people back to Him when they stray.

 

God our Father, I thank You for giving us such wonderful testimonies in the Bible we can read and come to a better understanding of You. Thank You for always leading me back to You. Amen.

Jer 17: 5-10, Ps 1: 1-4, 6; Lk 16: 19-31

SOLEMNITY OF ST. JOSEPH
Maria Marinelli, C '14

 

"When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and
took his wife into his home."

Matthew 1:24

 

Today we celebrate St. Joseph as the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary is the Tower of Ivory, just as a tower is a symbol of a nation's power, it is also in need of great fortification and protection. Should the enemy overtake the tower, the battle would surely be lost. St. Bernardine of Siena said that Mary and Jesus were God's "most precious treasures," and Joseph was chosen to be their protector. Joseph was given a crucial role in God's plan for our salvation; and as protector and provider, he had to rely fully on God. It was through Joseph's great humility and surrender to God's will that the grace of God protected and sustained the Holy Family.

 

Mary is also called the Tower of David. How beautiful the love and protection of St. Joseph, descendant of King David, fortified the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin, building up this holy Tower to withstand the sorrows she endured during his life, and to prepare for the greatest suffering she would endure - the death of her Son.

 

Lord Jesus, I ask You to strengthen my faith in You in imitation of St. Joseph, the head of Your Holy Family and the dutiful husband of Your Blessed Mother. Grant me the grace to grow in discipline, courage, purity, and selfless love, in imitation of Your Holy Family. Amen

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

TUESDAY, 2ND WEEK
Amy Strosser, C '14

 

"Those who offer praise as a sacrifice honor me."

 

This verse impacted me because of the word sacrifice. The word sacrifice is used repeatedly throughout Lent (Lenten sacrifices, sacrificing meat on Fridays, His sacrifice on the cross), but I want to look at this extraordinary word in a context that is part of any time of the year.

 

Have you ever had one of those days where you don't feel like going to Mass? All you really want to do is sleep, but you decide to go to Mass because you know it's the right thing to do. Those days when Mass seems to be the last thing that's on your mind are the days in which going to Mass means the most. Going to Mass is a sacrifice. A sacrifice of praise. "Praise as a sacrifice." Psalm 50:23

 

I'm sure you've heard this before: Mass is not only a celebration of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, but is a sacrifice of our time for the Lord. It is going beyond that which brings me to the next passage:

 

"For they preach but they do not practice." Matthew 23:3

 

Sacrificing your time to praise the Lord is a beautiful sacrifice and preaching to others the importance of the sacrifice of the Mass is also noteworthy. However, settling with only acknowledging the Mass as simply a sacrifice of time can stifle a person's growth as a Catholic. The Mass means so much more, and experiencing the importance of it through fully listening, fully participating, and fully appreciating the Mass is something to attain. Striving everyday towards fully appreciating the Mass is a perfect way to "practice" what you "preach."

 

Lord, help me to fall in love with the Mass each time I participate in it so one day I may fully comprehend the sacrifice of the Mass when I am with You in paradise. Amen.

Is 1: 10, 16-20; Ps 50: 8-9, 16-17, 21, 23; Mt 23: 1-12

MONDAY 2ND WEEK OF LENT
Nick Esposito, C ‘17

 

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.”
Luke 6:36-37

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that how we treat others will ultimately be how God himself treats us. He commands us to imitate the Father’s own mercy and forgiveness to everyone in our lives, whether we feel like they deserve it or not. Whenever we pray the Our Father, we ask “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In this, we acknowledge that God cannot extend his forgiveness to us unless we have done so to our neighbor, and done so sincerely, from the bottom of our hearts. When we refuse to forgive others, we carry around a burden that wounds us, creating resentment and bitterness in our hearts. But, when we choose to forgive, a weight is lifted off of our shoulders, giving us the freedom to love with the Father’s love. This Lent, as we work to draw closer to the Lord and reflect upon our own need for God’s infinite mercy, let us resolve to leave no one in our lives “unforgiven.” And let us pray for the grace to forgive those whom we find impossible to forgive, especially those who have hurt or wronged us greatly. Let us hope in our willingness to for-give, we may bear witness to the immeasurable love God has for each and every one of his children.

 

Heavenly Father, help me to always be merciful as You are merciful, and forgiving as You are forgiving. Fill my heart with the fire of Your love that no one in my life may be without my forgiveness. Amen.

Dn 9: 4-10, Ps 79: 8-9, 11, 13; Lk 6: 36-38

2ND SUNDAY OF LENT
Luke Reetz, FOCUS Missionary

 

"And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun,
and his garments became white as light.
"
Matthew 17:2

 

Today's Gospel reading tells us the story of the transfiguration of Christ. When meditating on this Gospel, I was struck by the words, "...and his face shone like the sun and his garments became white as light." The disciples, Peter, James and John, were given the privilege of seeing Christ in His full glory. And as a result, they "fell on their faces and were filled with awe." They were so awestruck by His glory, they literally fell prostrate on the ground. If we were in their shoes, I think we would have done the same thing. We couldn't handle it! It makes me think of the song by Mercy Me, I Can Only Imagine, and the refrain which says, "Surrounded by Your glory, what would my heart feel, would I dance for you, Jesus, or in awe of you be still, will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall, will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all, I can only imagine." Because our Lord's glory is so great, beyond anything we can imagine, He chose to give Himself to us in the Eucharist, in the form of bread and wine. He is there, in His fullness - Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity - yet, again, His glory remains hidden. Only when we get to heaven will we enjoy His presence with His glory fully revealed.

 

In the meantime, we should strive to look past the mere appearances of bread and wine, and give God the reverence and adoration He is owed as our Lord and King, Savior and Redeemer. What a gift we have been given to receive Him, even daily, into our very bodies. He wants us to share in His glory, with Him, in heaven. One of the best ways we can draw closer to Him, and receive the graces necessary to grow in holiness, is to receive Him in Holy Communion.

 

Lord, help me to love You more deeply, and receive You with a pure heart. Thank You for the gift of Yourself in the Eucharist. Help me to remain always close to You, so that one day I may see you face to face. Amen.

Gn 12: 1-4, PS 33: 4-5, 18-20, 22, 2 Tm 1: 8-10; Mt 17: 1-9

SATURDAY 1ST WEEK
Kaitlyn Troxel, C '17

 

"For thy steadfast love was established for ever, thy faithfulness is firm as the heavens."
Psalm 89:2

 

In our lives we are gifted with the beautiful ability to love and be loved. God has an unconditional and unfathomable amount of love for His children. Although He shows us this kind of love, we don't always reciprocate our love for Him and others. We are also blessed with the ability to love like God and love God as He loves us. Our gift to love and be loved is something not to be taken for granted, it is something where we should go forth and spread our love and God's love. The gift of faith, like love is given to be strengthened for God. Our faith in Him can constantly become stronger and it is with us every step of the way. He never leaves us on our own, He is always helping us even though it may not be apparent. We pray and ask God to bless us in our everyday lives.

 

Lord, bless us in our growth in faith and love, and help us to spread Your love. Give us the grace to grow each day, ever closer to You. Amen.

2 Sm 7:4-5, 12-14, 16, Ps 89: 2-5, 27, 29, Rom 4: 13, 16-18, 22; Mt 1: 16, 18-21, 24

FRIDAY 1ST WEEK
Brennan Ferris, C '17

 

"For with the Lord is kindness, with him is full redemption,
and God will redeem Israel from all their sins."

Psalm 130: 7-8

 

Are we living lives full of virtue or of vice? Do we refuse God's way when it gets hard, and fall into an easier, more sinful way? Are we ministers of mercy? God is calling each and every one of us to a life full of virtue and purity. This is not the easy path. It is the harder path that we are inclined to drift away from, from time to time. Our Lord knows our weaknesses. Our Lord is filled with mercy. He knows that we will slip up on the path and will fall into vice. Knowing this, He is always ready to forgive us and love us. Jesus Christ, Our Lord, died on the cross in order that we may be forgiven. Even when we sin, Our Lord is there ready to forgive us and show us mercy. We are all sinners and we can-not escape this, but if we place our lives into the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary and into the hands of her Son, Jesus Christ, we may live lives that are witnesses to this mercy and witnesses to the love that God has for us. During this Lenten season, let us look at the cross as the symbol of forgiveness and love. Let us ask Mary, who stands at the foot of the cross, to reconcile us to her Son. As we continue on this journey of repentance let us keep the cross close to our hearts and minds so we may always remember His love for us.

 

Dear Lord, I am sorry for not always living the life You want me to live. Through the suffering and death of Your only Son, we are reconciled to You. Thank You Father for forgiving us and giving us eternal life. Lord, through the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin, may we always strive to take up our Crosses and be witnesses to the love and mercy You have for us. Amen.

Ez 18: 21-28, Ps 130: 1-8; Mt 5: 20-26

 
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