Articles for Lent

Monday of the First Week of Lent

March 7, 2022

  Have you ever wondered if there is a difference in motivation to follow a posted list of “dos and don’ts” and the motivation to follow a spoken list of “dos and don’ts” by someone you know? Maybe our own childhood experience or raising children can add some insights here. I suggest that our Lenten…

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First Sunday of Lent

March 6, 2022

    Isn’t it true everyone loves a story, even if we’ve heard it over and over? It’s easy to remember family get-togethers when someone begins telling stories that trigger other stories about the funny things that happened, or the exciting times with rescues just in time, or the hard times when everyone had to…

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Saturday after Ash Wednesday

March 5, 2022

  Jesus said to The Pharisees, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.” St. Isidore of Seville says, “Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin, all hope consists in confession; in confession, there is a…

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Friday after Ash Wednesday

March 4, 2022

  I remember a couple of years ago when my brother got married, he and his wife took a bus around Kansas City to take pictures, while all the guests were waiting on them to arrive. They arrived late because the bus got lost to the reception venue, so all of the guests waited and…

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Thursday after Ash Wednesday

March 3, 2022

  Today Moses tells us in our first reading, “Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving Him, and walking in His ways, and keeping His commandments, statutes, and decrees, you will live and…

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Ash Wednesday

March 2, 2022

    As I read today’s readings, the word that comes to mind is humility. Yesterday we ate, drank, and were merry, but today we hear in our first reading, “Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and…

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Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 2, 2021

  The reading from Genesis today is lengthy, and yet it cuts out a very key section in the liturgy. The underlying issue in this passage is that Abraham’s wife is dead and he has no more descendants for the covenant. He only has the promised son Isaac. Isaac is distraught at the loss of…

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Easter Sunday | The Resurrection of the Lord

April 4, 2021

    The summit of the Triduum occurs at the Easter Vigil when we celebrate the core mystery of our faith: that we are saved from sin and death through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These rites are meant not only to remind us of this mystery but also to insert us into…

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Holy Saturday

April 3, 2021

  This is an unusual day in the Liturgical Calendar. There is no event to commemorate and no Eucharist. However, there is profound meaning in this day and much to ponder. The first Holy Saturday was a day of quiet and rest because it was the Sabbath. Out of respect for the Sabbath, the body…

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Good Friday

April 2, 2021

  The part of the Paschal Mystery that we celebrate on Good Friday is God’s victory over sin and death. By the death of Jesus on the cross, we have access to the Father’s love and forgiveness. How difficult it is to forgive. Especially an intimate friend who has betrayed us or a loved one…

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Holy Thursday

April 1, 2021

  This evening we enter the Sacred Triduum or “three days” of our Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection—what we call the Paschal Mystery. However, these events in Jesus’ life are one act, one gesture of love by God. Further, they are not separate from the other events in His life. The Triduum contains Jesus’ whole…

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Wednesday of Holy Week

March 31, 2021

  “The teacher says, ‘My appointed time draws near.’” It is good for us to remember that “the teacher” is the Incarnate Word! God’s Word, sent into the world to redeem it, is calling our attention to “the hour” when not just unredeemed humanity but the universe will be created anew in his act of…

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Tuesday of Holy Week

March 30, 2021

  “After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him…. When he had left, Jesus said: ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him.” The lavish love of the Trinity pours forth into the universe only through one opening: the human heart of Christ, the Sacred Heart! There is no other…

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Monday of Holy Week

March 29, 2021

  “Then she dried his feet with her hair, and the house was filled with the ointment’s fragrance” As we continue to gaze upon the central figure of Jesus in this holy week, we come upon an ingredient in the link, which bonds desire for conversion: lavishness. For implicit in the baptismal grace – the…

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Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

March 28, 2021

  As we celebrate Palm Sunday, it is important to notice what Jesus is doing. Jesus is entering Jerusalem to begin the greatest week in all of history. How is he entering the Holy City? By riding on a donkey. That’s an animal of simple country people. And the donkey didn’t even belong to him.…

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Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent

March 27, 2021

  Jesus had just raised to life Lazarus, the brother of Mary, a friend of Jesus. This unheard-of act of raising the dead lead people to believe in Jesus. Everyone was witnessing Jesus’ signs and miracles, some of the Jews were believing in Him, but some were resisting belief with every ounce of strength. Since…

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Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

March 26, 2021

  The tension in the readings is tangible, which is setting the stage for the drama that will unfold during Holy Week. Jesus is threatened by being killed by stoning, he is rejected, despised, and like the Prophet Jeremiah, Jesus hears the “whisperings of many” with “terror on every side.” Imagine the hurt, pain, and…

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Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

March 25, 2021

  After years of teaching the Catholic faith, a religious sister emphasized not only the importance of communicating intellectual knowledge of the faith but also teaching people how to pray. Her experience was that she could help others grow in their knowledge of the faith, but it often did not have as strong of an…

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Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

March 24, 2021

  During my junior year in high school, I was preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation. My pastor suggested that my two friends and I took the names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (who all appear in today’s first reading from the Book of Daniel). One of my friends really wanted to take the name Shadrach,…

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Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

March 23, 2021

  One of my professors talked about pastoral counseling and ministering to others, and he reminded us that many people will come to us in times of difficulty, and more often than not, the challenges brought to us are not eliminated in any way by a conversation or any of our words of wisdom. However,…

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Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent / Transitus of St. Benedict

March 22, 2021

  Transitus of St. Benedict Transferred The monastic community at Conception Abbey will celebrate today the “Transitus (Death) of St. Benedict” as a Solemnity and will take different readings at Mass (this Solemnity is normally celebrated on March 21, but transferred from the Lenten Sunday to Monday this year). This reflection that follows will be…

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Fifth Sunday of Lent

March 21, 2021

    Some of the strongest friendships I have today are those I formed with my classmates in college seminary, and I think this is primarily because we had more in common than our interests in playing sports or other games and hobbies—we shared a strong faith in Christ and a desire to serve the…

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Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent

March 20, 2021

  Isn’t it true that with the rise of skepticism and doubt in our society, the ‘fact check’ has become the gold standard to determine the truth of what we hear and see? In our first reading, the Prophet Jeremiah could have avoided many false attacks if he could have easily done a fact check…

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

March 19, 2021

  In the year 1906, in St. Joseph, Missouri, a railroad bridge was constructed to cross the Missouri River. This bridge is unique. This bridge is able to provide unlimited height to river traffic in both directions because a large section of it can pivot parallel with the river. This is accomplished by balancing the…

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Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent

March 18, 2021

  At some point we’ve all heard the expression, “and that made a believer out of me.” It could be about buckling your seatbelts after seeing a terrible accident. It could be about the change in someone’s health as they took up regular exercise and a balanced diet. Or it could be about how a…

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Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

March 17, 2021

  If you were given the assignment to find a gentle loving description of God in the Bible, where would you look? You would probably choose the New Testament, right? Yes, unfortunately, most people imagine God from the Old Testament as the towering mountaintop judge of the 10 Commandments, reducing people to awe and fear.…

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Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

March 16, 2021

  Thirty-eight years is a very long time. In fact, when you think of the paralytic waiting to be healed at the portico of the pools of Bethesda, some questions come to mind. You might wonder if he might have been a professional beggar. You might ask, were there people taking advantage of his handicap…

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Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

March 15, 2021

  Did you notice the upbeat tone in the readings assigned for today’s liturgy? In your imagination, you might hear a great trumpet fanfare sounding out over the Israelite people in exile as the great Prophet Isaiah ascends the watchtower to make a stunning announcement. He proclaims the Good News by reassuring his people that…

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Fourth Sunday of Lent

March 14, 2021

    Why is it that light makes such a difference in your life? That might sound like a simple question. First, think about the marvelous power of your eyes. Have you ever stopped to marvel at how your eyes gather light waves and allow your optic nerve to transfer images to your brain? Then,…

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Saturday of the Third Week of Lent

March 13, 2021

  Humility [Jesus said,] “I tell you, this [tax collector] went down to his house justified rather than the [Pharisee]; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14, RSV) A reading from On Humility by St. Basil the Great: “Be on your guard, therefore, and…

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Friday of the Third Week of Lent

March 12, 2021

  Charity One of the scribes…asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’…

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Thursday of the Third Week of Lent

March 11, 2021

  Repentance O that today you would listen to his voice! “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the desert…” (Psalm 95:7c-8, Abbey Psalms & Canticles) A reading from a letter To Peter on the Faith by St. Fulgentius of Ruspe: “…no one should continue longer time in…

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Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent

March 10, 2021

  Fulfillment [Jesus said,] “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17, RSV) A reading from the Tractates on Matthew by St. Chromatius of Aquileia: “He fulfilled the law and the prophets in this way: He brought…

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Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent

March 9, 2021

  Forgiveness Then Peter came up and said to [Jesus], “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22, RSV) A reading from a Commentary on Matthew by…

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Monday of the Third Week of Lent

March 8, 2021

  Baptism And Elisha sent a messenger to [Naaman], saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” (2 Kings 5:10, RSV) A reading from On the Second Book of Kings by St. Ephrem the Syrian: “It was necessary that Naaman, in order to…

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Third Sunday of Lent

March 7, 2021

    Looking at my Daily Missal for this Third Sunday of Lent, I noticed a blurb at the top in red letters: “On this Sunday is celebrated the first scrutiny in preparation for the Baptism of the catechumens who are to be admitted to the Sacraments of Christian Initiation at the Easter Vigil, using…

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Saturday of the Second Week of Lent

March 6, 2021

  Today’s Gospel is the very familiar parable of the prodigal son. The word “prodigal” means something like “extraordinarily generous.” That description fits the father in the story more than the younger son. The son had squandered his inheritance in bad ways. Nevertheless, the father welcomed him back home. He forgave him. Not only that,…

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Friday of the Second Week of Lent

March 5, 2021

  The first reading for today’s Mass is the story of Joseph and his brothers. We all know it – maybe not from the Bible but from the well-known Broadway show, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, with the memorable music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The brothers think they have gotten rid of their dreamer…

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Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

March 4, 2021

  The parables are intended to make us think and reflect. In the one we hear in today’s gospel, the rich man lived in isolated luxury. Sure, he did not hurt anyone. He didn’t run Lazarus off his property. He didn’t mind Lazarus hanging around his table for the leftovers. So what was the rich…

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Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

March 3, 2021

  The Gospel reading today is about leadership. The mother of two of Jesus’ followers wants Jesus to give her sons positions of leadership. She wants them to be powerful. But that is not how Jesus wants leadership to be exercised. For Jesus, leadership means service. Some years ago, a leading university did a study…

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