Articles for Lent

Holy Saturday

April 16, 2022

  We have all probably heard the encouragement, “God will not give you anything you can’t handle.” The truth, however, is far from this. Examine your life; is it true? No, we receive suffering, in all forms, far beyond our strength. God allows or gives us suffering far beyond what we can handle, and that…

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Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion

April 15, 2022

  Today we commemorate the gift of Christ dying on the cross on our behalf. Here Christ offers himself as a sacrifice for the world’s sins, healing the rift between humanity and God. In this gift, we can reenter the gift of God’s presence and enter into heaven, the New Eden, once again. We must…

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Holy Thursday

April 14, 2022

  Holy Thursday is an extraordinary time. Next to Easter, Holy Thursday is one of the most important days of the Church’s liturgical calendar. Holy Thursday commemorates two significant events; the first is the institution of the Eucharist, and the second is the institution of the ministerial priesthood. The Eucharist, the Holy Sacrifice of the…

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Wednesday of Holy Week

April 13, 2022

  “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” These are tough words to hear. They speak of the betrayal of a close friend, the betrayal of God. We have become very familiar with the story of Judas and his actions, affirming for ourselves that, “no, I would never do that, Lord,…

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Tuesday of Holy Week

April 12, 2022

  “The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.” Our names matter. They tell us we are someone, that we are unique, known, and often cared for. When someone calls out your name, you turn and listen. We frequently receive our name at birth from our parents, but…

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Monday of Holy Week

April 11, 2022

  “You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” Jesus affirms that the poor have a special place in the heart of the Church. Consider another Gospel, Matthew 25. Here, Jesus says to those who were faithful stewards, “you gave me food when hungry, clothing when naked, a drink…

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Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

April 10, 2022

    One of the most gut-wrenching phrases uttered in the scriptures is spoken today in our responsorial psalm, “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me.” From the Cross, Jesus cries out these words, expressing his great anguish and pain. Hanging on the cross between two criminals, enduring torment by Roman soldiers, the…

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Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent

April 9, 2022

  Today we are on the threshold of the holiest days of the liturgical year. The stage is being set for the events of the Paschal Triduum. At the entrance, we hear Jesus’ prayer as the religious leaders devise their plot to kill him: “O Lord, do not stay afar off; my strength, make haste…

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Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

April 8, 2022

  Holy Week draws near. In the entrance antiphon of today’s liturgy, we glimpse the darkness of the coming days: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in distress. Deliver me from the hands of my enemies and those who pursue me. O Lord, let me never be put to shame, for I…

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Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent

April 7, 2022

  At the beginning of today’s liturgy, the entrance antiphon speaks directly to the heart of the first reading from Genesis 17. “Christ is mediator of a New Covenant, so that by means of his death, those who are called may receive the promise of an eternal inheritance” (Heb 9:15). Christ is the fulfillment of…

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Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

April 6, 2022

  “My deliverer from angry nations, you set me above my assailants; you saved me from the violent man, O Lord” (Cf. Ps 17: 48-49) This opening acclamation of confidence in God’s saving action echoes the prayer of Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego that we hear in the first reading from Daniel 3. The three young…

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Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

April 5, 2022

  The liturgy begins today with the words, “Wait for the Lord; be strong; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord!” (Ps 26:14). These could well be the words of Moses spoken to the Israelites who have lost heart during their desert trek and are complaining about the wretched food that they must eat. They…

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Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent

April 4, 2022

  The liturgy today opens with the profound prayer of one who implores God for help: “Have mercy on me, O God, for people assail me; they fight me all day long and oppress me” (Cf. Ps 55: 2). It could be a prayer that is on the lips of Susanna who is falsely charged…

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Fifth Sunday of Lent

April 3, 2022

    The tone of the entire fifth week of Lent is set in the entrance antiphon of this Sunday’s liturgy. “Give me justice, O God, and plead my cause against a nation that is faithless. From the deceitful and cunning, rescue me, for you, O God, are my strength” (Cf. Ps 42: 1-2). In…

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Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent

April 2, 2022

  You, O LORD of hosts, O just judge, searcher of mind and heart… One of the mysterious aspects of God’s search for us is his knowledge of our sinfulness. Our sins are a mysterious part of our lives. We think we know why we do this or avoid that. Yet there remains a mystery…

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Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent

April 1, 2022

  … they knew not the hidden counsels of God; We can easily become dull against the hidden purposes of God. Of course, one can ask, ‘Who can know the hidden purposes of God?’ But the Scriptures, in what they say next, point to what is meant: neither did they count on a recompense of…

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Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent

March 31, 2022

  A theme in our readings today is stubbornness, obstinacy, a troubling resistance. In the first reading, it is Moses who faces it in the people; in the Gospel, it is Jesus who faces it in the Jewish leaders. The evangelist sees it in this statement: you do not have his word remaining in you,…

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Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

March 30, 2022

  “Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for what he does, the Son will do also.” Jesus has come so that we can believe in the One who sent him! He sent him for this purpose so that we…

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Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

March 29, 2022

  When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be well?” (v. 6) It is a question put to us as we enter the Eucharist. ‘Do you want to be well?’ Christ asks us: Do you consider it…

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Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

March 28, 2022

  “Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.’” Jesus is exasperated over the unbelief he experiences. This exasperation arises from his perception that his hearers are unwilling to grow up and take responsibility for their desires. It is wanting signs and wonders which has to do with wanting…

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Fourth Sunday of Lent

March 27, 2022

    “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” The welcome which appears in today’s Gospel of the Prodigal Son is the grace of repentance. We received it in our baptism into Christ. There we were welcomed into the unfolding mystery of God at work in us. The word, “synergy” is helpful to describe…

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Saturday of the Third Week of Lent

March 26, 2022

  In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us a powerful parable about two individuals. One is called a Pharisee; the other a tax collector. What kind of persons are they? The Pharisees are presented in the Gospels as very self-assured. They brag about being better than others. This particular one proudly proclaims that he is “not…

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Solemnity of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary

March 25, 2022

  In today’s Gospel, the angel promised two things to Mary. Gabriel said, firstly: “You will be with child”— that is, you will conceive and become pregnant. And secondly, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called…

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Thursday of the Third Week of Lent

March 24, 2022

  In this Gospel, Jesus drives out a demon from someone who couldn’t speak. Jesus is immediately accused of being in league with Satan. Some people from the crowd said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” Jesus’ response is wonderful in its directness: “Every kingdom divided against itself…

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Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent

March 23, 2022

  Today, the Book of Deuteronomy describes Moses as the great teacher of the Chosen People. The Book is made up of three very long speeches in which Moses explains to the people how much God loves them. God entered into a special relationship with Israel. God would be their God. They would be God’s…

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Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent

March 22, 2022

  If we look back over our lives, most of us will find something or other that we very much regret. We might remember speaking or acting in ways that hurt others. Sometimes these experiences of personal failure leave us very burdened. In today’s Gospel, Peter asks Jesus, “How often must I forgive?” Jesus answers,…

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Solemnity of the Transitus of St. Benedict

March 21, 2022

  Today at Conception Abbey, we take a break from our regular observance of Lent. Instead, we celebrate a solemnity to honor St. Benedict. Tradition holds that this is the day he died. St. Benedict is one of my favorite saints. After Jesus and maybe St. Paul, he has been a big influence in my…

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Third Sunday of Lent

March 20, 2022

    In today’s first reading, we are called to identify with the Chosen People, especially their experience of the Exodus. The Bible says that God led His people by day with a cloud and by night with a pillar of fire, feeding the people on their journey through the desert with Manna and bringing…

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Solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary

March 19, 2022

  Working in our seminary, I see how greatly the relationships between fathers affect the lives of their sons. So important is the father’s relationship that it influences the adult practice of faith, self-discipline, self-worth, and identity. Nearly every psychological study on this issue has born out that a father who is present, caring, and…

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Friday of the Second Week of Lent

March 18, 2022

  O my Lord, what you had to endure! O my Lord, what you must still endure from us, your wayward children! The parable of the Wicked Tenants is a strong indictment. The Jewish religious leaders apparently did not realize Jesus was using it to speak about them. They did, however, understand clearly that He…

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Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

March 17, 2022

  In his new book Things Worth Dying For, Archbishop Charles Chaput shares a common image to describe both heaven and hell: a lavish banquet. The difference between the two, however, is vast. In heaven, guests use long utensils to feed one another. Conversely in hell, each soul feeds himself but starves! We can see…

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Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

March 16, 2022

  Why is Lent forty days? Why do we celebrate Lent every year? Because it takes a lifetime to be conformed to Christ. Perseverance and constancy are hard. Those who become martyrs were frequently not last-minute zealous disciples. Rather, their choice each day to place the Father’s will first allowed them to make the ultimate…

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Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent

March 15, 2022

  Have you gotten to the point in your life where you think: “Observing nine out of the Ten Commandments isn’t bad, right? Let me have one.” We should know that God is merciful but he is not nice. He will not abide any cooperation with evil or settle for anything less than holiness. Will…

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Monday of the Second Week of Lent

March 14, 2022

  If someone needs to gather within himself the confidence to have a job interview or speak in front of a large audience, there is a simple thing one can do. For two to five minutes before the event one stands up straight, plants his feet wide, and raises hands high and broadly above the…

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Second Sunday of Lent

March 13, 2022

    Each Lent, we hear about the Transfiguration. It is a sign of hope in the glory to come in the Resurrection despite the Cross. Yet, there is much more to draw from it. This particular account from Luke begins as so many of his do: with prayer. And given that prayer is one…

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Saturday of the First Week of Lent

March 12, 2022

  We believe that God truly speaks to us in times of peace but even more in times of turmoil, violence, and the brutality of war. We desperately need to know how to respond in this particular moment of history. The prophet Moses presented God’s covenant with instructions attached. God was promising to be their…

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Friday of the First Week of Lent

March 11, 2022

  “Black Lives Matter” is a phrase that not only catches our attention because of recent history but also speaks to a universal truth about human nature. It resonates at the core of a thoughtful person. Being a member of the human race is based on the fact that our very existence is a gift.…

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Thursday of the First Week of Lent

March 10, 2022

  We could hardly imagine a more desperate moment of prayer than the one described in our first reading. Queen Esther representing her entire Jewish people was about to plead her case before the King and the outcome would determine the future existence of her people. She and her maids were preparing for this encounter…

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Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

March 9, 2022

  If there is one thing that seems to drive commercial advertising these days, it seems to be the accepted first principle that every new product must be tagged as “new and improved.” The “new and improved” syndrome may have been at play when the crowds pressured Jesus for more and more miraculous signs. They…

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Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

March 8, 2022

  It would seem that the format for making a promise in times past was a bit more formal than today. It was common for people to say “I give you my word,” or “my word is my bond.” Today, the most likely setting for those words is in the sacrament of marriage where the…

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