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Daily Reflections for Lent

Holy Thursday                                                                                                  April 2nd
Anna Filosa C ‘17

Faith In Action

“‘If I therefore, 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.’” Jn 13:14-15

On Holy Thursday, Christians have a tradition of the washing of the feet t to emulate what Jesus did the night before He died. In Jesus’s time, that was the job of the lowest of the low, yet here is Jesus, the Son of God, displaying the ultimate act of humility. Jesus humbled Himself to serve others and holds us to the same standard. That’s a pretty intense call to action when you think about it. It can be really hard these days to “wash one another’s feet” because we live in a society that glorifies individual pride. Even Lent can sometimes get us caught up in how much we’re praying or giving up. While prayer and fasting areimportant, we can’t forget about putting our faith into practice in our daily lives.

Let us all take some time during this last little bit of Lent to serve others and make Jesus smile. It can be as simple as helping someone pick up the papers they dropped or bring their packages back to their dorm. It could mean swallowing your pride and acknowledging fault or avoiding excuses, or it could mean giving up a Saturday to give blood or to clear out your closet and donate your old clothes. Whatever service means to you, challenge your-self in the way that Jesus knows you can. I’ve found that the times my heart has been the fullest and my faith is the most alive is when I’m thinking less of myself and more of those around me. It has a way of making m happier. As Mother Teresa once said, “Faith in action is love, and love in action is service. By transforming that faith into living acts of love, we put ourselves in contact with God Himself, with Jesus our Lord.”

Heavenly Father, show me how You want me to put my faith into action, and give me the opportunities and the humility to do so. Amen

Wednesday of Holy Week                                                                   April 1st
Faith Berard C ‘17

What's In It For Me?

“What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?' They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand Him over." Mt 26:15

When I was reflecting on this passage, it brought so many memories from my life that were hard to face; times that I desired recognition more than I desired God's love. I wanted to be known as a person that loved Jesus more than I wanted to love Jesus with my whole being. It's hard to think about how easy it is to fall into these feelings and desires. I feel like even if we don't say this out loud as Judas did, it's common to think these things and even pray for them. We want to be recognized for living the right way, but that comes as a gift from God when we come to Him selflessly. God will give you what you need most when you need it trust in His plan and He will present Himself to you in ways and relationships that will brighten your life.

During these last days of Lent, let us work on increasing our trust in God through prayer. Let us focus on not taking advantage of Jesus offering His whole self for us by looking for praise or recognition, but believe that the gifts that we receive are greater than we could possibly imagine.

Lord Jesus, help me to give myself wholly and authentically to You. Help me to trust that I will receive You in ways that will strengthen my relationship with You and Your followers. Amen.

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.

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