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Daily Reflections for Lent

Tuesday of Holy Week                                                                                        March 31st
Veronica Halbur
FOCUS Missionary

Will You Say Yes?

“I will make you a light to the nations, that My salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Is 49:6

You have been chosen from birth and named for a specific task; you are called to share Christ with the world. Maybe you are inclined to question this call, to wonder if you are actually qualified. However, look back to the birth of Christ and realize that God has never relied on qualification. Rather, He first depended on a young girl to bring His Son into the world. Mary, when only a young girl, gave the first “yes” for humanity; she joyfully brought the Son of God into the world. Mary first gave God His human body; the human body that would be offered for the salvation of the world. Mary’s “yes” first brought God into the world so that He could suffer and die and save us.

In contrast to Mary’s immediate “yes,” John, in the Gospel today, relays to us the failure of the apostles. Jesus was betrayed and denied by His closest friends! Yet, God still worked through all of this for a greater plan. And when Peter returned back to Jesus, full of regret for His denial, Christ welcomed Peter back with open arms. Peter fell, yes, but he got back up and united with Mary’s yes to bring Christ into the world as well. Today, Peter and Mary and all the original disciples are no longer physically withus. So, who is bringing Christ into the world? God is calling you today. Like Mary did, we must give Christ a body in the world. As the great Saint Teresa of Avila once wrote: “Christ has no body now but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours, yours are the eyes with which He looks with compassion on this world, yours are the feet with which He walks to do good, yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world.” Will you embrace your call today? Will you be His servant?

Jesus, give me the grace, strength, and courage to be like Peter and get up when I fall and unite with Mary to say yes to Your call and carry Your message of salvation to the world. Amen.

Monday of Holy Week                                                                        March 30th
Joe Lebherz
Dir. of Professional Studies

“Leave Her Alone”: The Sufficiency Of Love

“You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” Jn 12:8

In the first reading today from Psalms (Psalm 27:1,2,3,13-14), we find a poetic expression of unconditional trust in the Lord – “The Lord is my light and salvation; whom should I fear?” This reading complements today’s Gospel reading, where Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, whom Jesus has only recently raised from the dead, has lavished an expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus. Jesus has returned to Bethany in advance of the Passover festival which is to occur that week in Jerusalem.

It was Mary’s deep faith in and insight into the presence of the all-powerful God in the person of Jesus that touched Jesus when He came to the place of Lazarus’ burial, and moved Him to make evident the power of God to overcome the power of death by raising Lazarus from his tomb and calling him forth to live again. Mary’s faith stands in contrast to the growing concerns of the Pharisees, who fear that Jesus will draw even more Jews to His teachings, and to the penurious and petty concerns of Judas at the lost value of the oil used by Mary to perfume the feet of Jesus. Against Judas’ lack of faith and insight, Jesus offers the rebuke: “Leave her alone.” (Jn 12:7) For Mary sees with eyes and a heart of faith, and her love is sufficient. This sufficiency of love was echoed by St. Augustine when he said, “Love, and do what you will.”

While the scene anticipates the death and embalming of Jesus’ body during the coming Passover, the actions of Mary and the words of Jesus should also pierce our hearts and remind us of God’s unconditional love for us, as the Holy Week activities once again reveal.

Father, grant us the simplicity and faith to experience the power of Your love, and to love in response to everyone with whom we engage this day and every day. Amen.

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord                                                                March 29th
Rev. Brian Nolan
Chaplain and Dir. of Campus Ministry

Were You There?

“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross.” Phil 2:8

One of the most memorable hymns sung during Holy Week is the African-American spiritual, “Were you there?” Each verse invites us deeper into the Way of the Cross: “Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?” And the verse that leaves many speechless, “Were you there when the sun refused to shine?” It continues, “Oh, oh, oh, oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when the sun refused to shine?”

Palm Sunday is the feast that ushers in Holy Week inviting each person to reflect on the mystery as if we were there. What begins with cheers and palms, quickly turns to jeers and the wood of the cross. It’s one thing to have God dwell with us, it’s another to have Him display the greatest love ever known. In fulfilling His mission, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords would offer Himselfas the Lamb sacrificed for us and for our salvation. He came to save us from our sins.

Will we allow ourselves to hear the shouts of the crowds, stand next to Him at His trials before Pilate and Herod, witness the scourging and mocking, see the crown of thorns and glimpse the weight of the Cross? Will we imagine ourselves watching as Simon and Veronica lighten His burden with another shoulder to bear the weight of the wooden beams and a veil to wipe His face showing compassion in His Passion? Will we stand at the foot of the Cross when He is stripped of His garments, nailed to a tree and spreads His arms of love wide to embrace the whole world and become the sign of victory?

Each one of us is there at the Sacrifice of the Mass where we become mystically present at the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Through meditating on the Passion and Death of our Lord, we can more fully appreciate the gift of Christ who won’t be held back by the grave. Although the sun would “refuse to shine,” it would not hold back the Son who will rise again.

O Lord, may our pondering of the Way of the Cross lead us to a greater hope in the One who shines forever in Heaven and in our lives. Amen.

Saturday, 5th Week of                                                                                     Lent March 28th
Kate Quinn C ‘17

God The Healer

“I will take the children of Israel from among the nations to which they have come, and gather them from all sides to bring them back to their land.” Ez 37:21

The Lord is gentle and good. In today's readings, He speaks to our broken hearts. No matter the point we are at in our journey to Heaven, the reality is that we are hurt by sin. It tears down all that is good. God, in His mercy, recognizes our brokenness and longs to heal it. In the reading from Ezekiel, He speaks about His desire to unite His people and bring them back to Himself. He says, "I will deliver them from all their sins of apostasy, and cleanse them so that they may be my people and I may be their God." (Ez 37:23) In the Psalm, our hearts sing about the Lord being our shepherd (because in the depths of our hearts we know that the Lord is our shepherd and is good). In the Gospel reading, Caiphas, the high priest, "prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.”(Jn 11:22)

Jesus came to earth to heal our broken hearts through His death. As sin hurts and breaks us, His blood heals so much more. The shedding of His blood from the cross fills all of the holes in our hearts. Do not run from His healing love. It is the only thing which can satisfy us. It is the only thing which can give us peace. It is the only thing which can heal us. As Lent comes to a close and we enter into the Easter season, let Him heal our broken heart.

Lord, cleanse my heart in Your love to better prepare me for what You have in store. Amen.

Friday, 5th Week of Lent                                                                                       March 27th
Matt Palardy C ‘15

With God In Your Corner, You Will Triumph

“But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion:
my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.” Jer 20:11

When talking about God nowadays, much of the focus is on His love and goodness, which is appropriate. After all, God’s mercy is one of His most beautiful attributes. However, to truly appreciate His mercy we must learn of His justice. God is called the LORD of hosts for a reason: He is the commander of an angelic army. He holds all power in His hands. In the battle against sin, Christ has already conquered; the war is already won over sin and death. That’s a lot of power. But with all this power, what does God fight for? The answer, as it happens, is you and me.

With all the power in the world, God pursues us, as He wants us for His own. This is not to say He’s chasing us down like in some action movie, rather, He pursues us with the gentle and unyielding determination of one courting their beloved. This gentleness goes hand in hand with His power, for to be gentle at all is to be delicate in using one’s power. God is jealous for our hearts, and wants that no other thing should possess us. He wants only to be loved by us in our words and actions. Once He has us, He will fend off all who attempt to pick us up. If we simply call upon Him, He will fight our enemies for us. God hears the call of those in distress, and He will deliver us from evil and rebuke the enemies of temptation, sin, and the devil. Remember to call upon Him when persecuted and alone, for He will defend us.

Lord, come to our aid amidst persecution; deliver us from evil, and protect us from those who would harm our souls. Amen.

Thursday, 5th Week of Lent                                                                 March 26th
Anne O'Neill C ‘17

Finding God In Everyday Life

“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek His presence continually. Remember the wonderful works He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He has uttered.” Ps 105:4-5

Sometimes I find that I am not thinking of God in my everyday life. I know He’s there but am I actively acknowledging it? When I get a good grade, do I think of Him and what He has blessed me with or do I thank myself? When I am sitting in my room with nothing to do, do I converse with Him or do I go online and distract myself? I should constantly be seeking God in His endless glory! I should be thanking Him for all He has given me, getting to know Him better, building a stronger relationship with the One who loves me. When I do remember to take the time to talk to Him and to tell Him about my day as I would a friend, I do not feel as though I have wasted my time. Instead, I feel full of joy. Joy that I was able to spend time with Him. When I struggle, when things are bad, He has always been and will always be there for me. Should I only turn to Him when things are tough? No, I should constantly recall what He has done for me, both in times of struggle and times of joy. He will never turn His back on me, so why would I ignore Him? The Lord loves and cares for me without stipulations.

Lord, thank You for all You have given me. Please help me to recognize You in the everyday, and come to You; both when I need to and when I don’t. Amen.

Wednesday, 5th Week of Lent                                                                              March 25th
The Annunciation of the Lord
Lori Stewart Dir. of the Grotto

When Will I Have Time for God?

“Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.” Lk 1:37

Do the will of God? May it be done to me right now? But I have an important project at work, my mother is not doing well and she needs my help, and my husband just bought his own business… how can I do the will of God right now?!

I doubt Mary had the same daily routine as me, but I am confident she had some things going on in her life when the angel Gabriel visited her. She was betrothed and about to live with her husband, Joseph. She had to be doing something for this life change! God must have truly been with Mary just as Gabriel told her, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you”(Lk 1:28). Other-wise, I don’t know how she had the strength to accept God’s will to conceive in her womb and bear a son (remember, Gabriel did not ask Mary “would you mind bearing a son for God?”). Mary quickly accepted God’s will to be the deliverer of salvation to all the world!

Do you know we can be just like Mary? We may not receive a visit from the angel Gabriel, but we do get daily signs and messages from God. They might be in a conversation with a coworker or a comment made by a stranger. However, we won’t receive these messages unless we stop our inward thinking. We need to let go of our worldly trouble, trust in Jesus, and most importantly, give ourselves to God as Mary did. If you listen, the messages become clearer and soon become as loud as a trumpet. Our day-to-day life will become less of a burden but more of an opportunity to do God’s will “…for nothing will be impossible for God.” (Lk. 1: 37)

God, I want to give You all my worries and ask You to lovingly lead and guide me each day. Please empower me to open my ears so that I can hear Your still, small voice. Amen.


Tuesday, 5th Week of Lent                                                                   March 24th
Andrew McCarthy C ‘16


“So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me.” Jn 8:28

Jesus came as God’s ambassador so that we may open our hearts to the Lord. However, He is not the same as the numerous prophets before Him. Though fully human, Christ is not fully of this world in the same sense that Moses or Elijah were. Jesus did not just come as a holy man who spread God’s word, He is God. This is something that must have been extremely challenging to grasp for the first century Jews. This is why Christ uses three different expressions to explain His identity. Christ refers to Himself as “I AM,” in the same way God did for Moses. Jesus wanted the Jews of the time and all those after Him to realize just who He was and what He came to do. He came into a world in which He did not belong. He came to reveal God’s love for us and open our path to salvation. Christ is not just the messenger of God; He is also the message itself and our salvation.

Dear Lord, thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son. Help us to always remember who Christ is and the salvation He brought. Though we live in this imperfect world, remind us of Your perfection and give us hope that through Your Son we can achieve salvation. Amen.

Monday, 5th Week of Lent                                                                                     March 23rd
Mike Herlihey C ‘16

Put Down Those Judgment Stones

“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Jn 8:7

I heard a joke (I don’t remember by whom) given in a homily about this Gospel passage once. Jesus says to the crowd that whoever is without sin, throw a stone at her. There is silence. No one moves. Then all of a sudden one pebble goes flying at the woman. Then Jesus yells, “Mom!”

Our society today is paranoid about being judged for our sins. Many of us are quick to judge other people’s mistakes, yet tell others not to judge our sins. Jesus shows us perfectly that instead of judging others, we must love them first. This is a message Pope Francis has emphasized time and time again. However, before we can properly love others, we must first love Jesus. To properly love Jesus, we must rid ourselves of sin, for our sin pushes us away from Jesus. Imagine the silence after Jesus tells those around the woman to reflect on their own sin. The silence is only broken by the sound of the stones hitting the ground one by one as the people come to realize their sins. Dear Jesus, help us to cease judging others and instead look inward to see how we can reject sin and grow closer to You.

In John 8:10 Jesus says “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” I smile to myself because Jesus is being a little sarcastic. He uses humor to calm her fears down and lighten the mood. Then in 8:11, He says, “Neither do I condemn you.” Jesus is not allowing adultery. He still acknowledges that she has sinned, for He follows this last sentence with, “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” Jesus is merciful in His forgiveness of her, yet He is still just in His acknowledgement of her sin. Jesus help us to balance mercy with justice.

Lord, allow me to temper my judgmental thoughts and give people chances for redemption. Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Lent                                                                                  March 22nd
Prof. Dana Sauers
Institute for Leadership

Grace’s Window

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You.” Ps 51:12-13

Being reared in the Catholic tradition is a blessing, most especially because it is a faith that provides sacraments— the resources that keep us in the race that St. Paul references. In Psalm 51: 12-13, the poet emphatically asks God to create a clean heart for him and to renew within him a steadfast spirit. The sacrament of reconciliation is a physical and spiritual ritual that allows just that. It is God’s answer to the poet’s request. All of the baggage of our day-to-day existence can be shed so easily there. Where else can modern people go to entirely rid themselves of all sin, guilt, shame? Have you ever considered the posture of so many? Heavy weights and burdens keep their shoulders stooped, their eyes fo-cused on the ground. To be unburdened through the spiritual shower of reconciliation allows a space within you for renewal to begin. Suddenly you are looking upward. You are lighter. Consider yourself to be a window. By removing all the smudge marks left by sin, you become a translucently clear vehicle of God’s grace and joy! Pope Francis says, “And the first word that I wish to say to you: joy! Ours is of having encountered a Person: Jesus, in our midst.” When people ask me what I wish to offer most at The Mount, I respond truly by saying the most important contribution I can make is to be a daily bearer of joy.

Dear Jesus, by Your cross and resurrection You have gifted us salvation, eternally free of sin and sorrow. Allow us to eagerly seek reconciliation this Lenten season so we may more readily act as Your holy vehicle, Grace’s window, manifesting the irrepressible joy that only comes from You. Amen.

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