Articles for Lent

Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

February 23, 2021

  I remember one day trying my best to show humility in the place where I work on campus, I had a little pocketbook of the “Personal Notes of St. Bernadette Soubirous” that Fr. Joel Derks gave to me before he passed away. I read to myself the section where St. Bernadette said, “I raised…

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Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Apostle

February 22, 2021

  I remember thinking as a child, “why on earth are we celebrating a chair, especially a chair that is probably broken since it is over 2000 years old!” But as St. Paul says, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.” When…

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First Sunday of Lent

February 21, 2021

  In today’s readings, especially the first reading, we can first get the sense of Easter. Noah was in the ark for 150 days. When the day finally came for him, his family, and all the animals to come out of the ark, the Lord made a covenant with Noah, saying “I will establish my…

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Saturday after Ash Wednesday

February 20, 2021

  Plenty of people are funny but can’t tell a joke. Each week I get a taste of that hosting our seminary’s community night, News & Views. I start out with a joke, and let’s just say that often my humor differs from our seminarians. They think I’m funny, true, but they don’t always laugh…

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Friday after Ash Wednesday

February 19, 2021

  Our culture is very health-conscious. The very idea of fasting seems foreign in contemporary America. True fasting is hard. Several years ago, I went on a bread-and-water fast just on Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent. That did not seem too bad – after all, I love bread! However, there was something about that being…

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Thursday after Ash Wednesday

February 18, 2021

  Okay, let’s be real: Who would choose death and doom over life and prosperity? Unfortunately, the reality is not as simple as that. Many people do choose to gain the world and lose their soul in the process. Therefore, Moses is quite right to say that the choice is counter-intuitive. The Law of the…

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Ash Wednesday

February 17, 2021

    This year our custom for imposing ashes will change in the U.S. However, the practice of sprinkling ashes on the crown of the head as opposed to marking a cross on the forehead is more common throughout the world. Honestly, I prefer the new custom. It felt odd to hear Jesus’ words about…

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Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

November 28, 2020

It is the custom at Conception Abbey to celebrate a Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturdays during Ordinary Time. The antiphons on this day are taken from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I. In Ordinary Time, Set 2. The readings are of the weekday. The Eucharist today commences with the antiphon:…

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Friday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

November 27, 2020

  Preface: Throughout this coming week, we will ponder the daily Mass readings from the perspective of the liturgical texts given to us in the Roman Missal and the Lectionary—the entrance and communion antiphons, the responsorial refrains, and the gospel acclamations. These texts provide a unique perspective on the scripture passages of each day and…

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Thanksgiving Day

November 26, 2020

  Specific readings used at Conception Abbey on this day. Preface: Throughout this coming week, we will ponder the daily Mass readings from the perspective of the liturgical texts given to us in the Roman Missal and the Lectionary—the entrance and communion antiphons, the responsorial refrains, and the gospel acclamations. These texts provide a unique…

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Wednesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

November 25, 2020

  Preface: Throughout this coming week, we will ponder the daily Mass readings from the perspective of the liturgical texts given to us in the Roman Missal and the Lectionary—the entrance and communion antiphons, the responsorial refrains and the gospel acclamations. These texts provide a unique perspective on the scripture passages of each day and…

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Memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs

November 24, 2020

Preface: Throughout this coming week, we will ponder the daily Mass readings from the perspective of the liturgical texts given to us in the Roman Missal and the Lectionary—the entrance and communion antiphons, the responsorial refrains, and the gospel acclamations. These texts provide a unique perspective on the scripture passages of each day and often…

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Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

November 23, 2020

  Preface: Throughout this coming week, we will ponder the daily Mass readings from the perspective of the liturgical texts given to us in the Roman Missal and the Lectionary—the entrance and communion antiphons, the responsorial refrains, and the gospel acclamations. These texts provide a unique perspective on the scripture passages of each day and…

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The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

November 22, 2020

  Preface: Throughout this coming week, we will ponder the daily Mass readings from the perspective of the liturgical texts given to us in the Roman Missal and the Lectionary—the entrance and communion antiphons, the responsorial refrains, and the Gospel acclamations. These texts provide a unique perspective on the scripture passages of each day and…

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Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

November 21, 2020

  Today we celebrate the Presentation of the Virgin Mary. It was the custom for Jewish youth to be presented in the Temple in Jerusalem. Mary was presented before God. Mary isn’t just the Mother of God. She is Our Lady of Victory. She is resplendent in her prefiguration of the glory God gives to…

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Friday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

November 20, 2020

  Jesus finally arrives at the Temple in Jerusalem. Here, He drives out those who were selling things. Jesus accuses these merchants of turning the Temple into a “den of thieves,” when it was meant to be a “house of prayer.” (Leave it to Jesus not to be subtle.) Jesus then starts to teach in…

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Thursday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

November 19, 2020

  During this time of division and uncertainty, it’s important to reflect on the importance of peace in our lives and how we stand for truth. There are many problems we see in the world. There are many battles and debates raging around us. Where is our place? What is our duty? How are we…

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Wednesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

November 18, 2020

  Holy, holy, holy. These words echo through the first reading and through the responsorial psalm. The four living creatures that stand before the throne, which resemble a lion, a calf, a man, and an eagle, all recite these words continuously before God. In today’s Gospel, we hear Luke’s take on the story of the…

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Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious

November 17, 2020

  “I will set the victor beside me on my throne.” (Rev. 3:21). Jesus promises a victory to those who follow Him. This isn’t false hope. Jesus will not leave us disappointed. We also have to understand that this isn’t a victory of the World. If we only focus on achieving, we will lose sight…

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Monday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

November 16, 2020

  The Book of Revelation is our point of entry into the scriptures this week. This mystical volume speaks volumes of God’s ways to us. How do we interpret it? How can we approach it? The first thing to say about Revelation, and the Bible in general, is that it is not to be taken…

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Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

November 15, 2020

  These readings for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time call us to a healthy sense of vigilance. This is the second-to-last Sunday before the Advent Season. The liturgical year of the Catholic Church will begin again, and we will count down the days to the celebration of our Lord Jesus Christ coming in the…

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Saturday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

November 14, 2020

  In the Gospel today, Jesus offers a strange story, the story of the unjust judge. The judge is unwilling to hear this women’s case, and she becomes dangerously persistent in her demand for change. Unwilling to put himself in danger, the judge rules in her favor. Jesus goes on to say that God is…

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Memorial of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, virgin

November 13, 2020

  “Anyone who is so “progressive” as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.” The New Testament is not meant to keep us complacent, rather, it is there to shake us into faith; rattle us into making a…

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Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr

November 12, 2020

  We like things to be clear, understandable, and obvious. Unnecessary confusion or hiddenness is not appreciated, we live in a scientific society. The naked truth—in the news, in our classrooms, in our churches, in our politics, in our society—is important and desired. However, when it comes to Christ, that’s not always the case. Not…

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Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop

November 11, 2020

  In the Old Testament, there can be a reality whereby you are made “unclean” — that is unable, because of some physical or moral ailment, amongst other reasons, that prevents you from being able to enter into society or to encounter God. This so because God’s holiness is dangerous to us if we are…

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Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church

November 10, 2020

  It is not easy to hear our Gospel today, “you have only done what you were commanded.” Our Catholic lives are not about minimums, not about getting rewards for doing what is minimally required. Our life must be more than that. So, what how do we take today’s gospel? We are facing a reality…

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Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

November 9, 2020

  Zeal for your house will consume me. We celebrate a unique feast today, the feast of a building. This building, St. John Lateran, the Pope’s cathedral, can become for us a sign of powerful witness, and it is this witness we celebrate. The witness is not a witness of grandeur—the Church is most surely…

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Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

November 8, 2020

  Our Gospel today can offer a very practical plan for navigating important relationships. The relationship between the virgins and bridegroom can teach us both what to do and not to do. Let’s take each part of the story and find out what we can learn. First, the virgins prepared for the coming of the…

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Saturday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

November 7, 2020

  What does holiness look like? My professor once asked this question to his class and he wrote all the responses from his students on a dry erase board. Seeing everything written with a blue marker on the board highlighted the fact that we all had expectations or preconceptions of what a holy person might…

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Friday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

November 6, 2020

  Writing to the Philippians, St. Paul’s letter has been termed “the letter of joy” because he is able to encourage them to rejoice in the faith, based on true understanding of Christ’s unique role in the salvation of all who profess Jesus as Lord. St. Paul reminds us of something particularly important for an…

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Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

November 5, 2020

  The parable of the Lost Sheep is appealing to us because we either see ourselves as the lost one, or we see it as a loved one who has strayed from his or her faith. In either case, it is a consolation to think of the great interest and concern with which the shepherd…

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Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo, bishop

November 4, 2020

  St. Paul writes, “I rejoice and share my joy with all of you. In the same way, you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.” I have always believed that it is a healthy sign in a family or in a community when individuals can rejoice with one another and celebrate one…

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Tuesday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

November 3, 2020

  Friends of mine who are preparing for their wedding discovered that almost half of their invited guests did not reply or send back their RSVP card. Unfortunately, this percentage corresponds with many national averages, which can make planning for guests difficult and add to the already heightened levels of anxiety as the big day…

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The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)

November 2, 2020

  This day of commemoration of all the faithful departed, with its prayers and readings taken from the Masses for the Dead, evokes many of the same thoughts and feelings that we experience at a funeral. There is a sadness, a sense of loss, and a reminder of the reality of death and our own…

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Solemnity of All Saints

November 1, 2020

  All Saints’ Day reminds us that our ultimate goal is union with God in heaven. Thankfully we have countless saints who have already walked the path, been tested, and proven worthy to enter the Kingdom of heaven. The sheer diversity among the saints attests to the many and varied graces that God bestows on…

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Saturday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

October 31, 2020

  We have watched for several days as people, “were observing Jesus carefully.” The Pharisees have already noticed He appears to be an irreligious Sabbath-breaker. And now they will see how He conducts Himself at a meal – surely, He will show that He does not carry out the proper purification rituals to handle food.…

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Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

October 30, 2020

  St. Paul writes to the Philippians from prison. Compared to Galatians and 2 Corinthians, for instance, readers are struck by the affection and warmth that Paul exhibits in this letter. “It is right that I should think this way about all of you because I hold you in my heart,” he gushes, “you are…

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Thursday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

October 29, 2020

  It might surprise us that the Pharisees warn Christ of Herod’s plot to kill Him. I say that because, as I stated in an earlier reflection this week, we tend to think of Pharisees as the Lord’s archenemies. However, the reason Jesus engages with them is that they are actually closest to His own…

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Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude

October 28, 2020

  I have always thought it was a great dignity to be named one of the Apostles. Maybe I was spared the embarrassment of that fateful day related in the gospel in which Jesus called His disciples to Himself, and from them, He chose just twelve. Think about it: What must it have felt like…

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Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

October 27, 2020

  Recently I had the senior seminarians read a text on obedience and discuss it in small groups. The author was a Benedictine and wrote about the Benedictine nuance of so-called mutual obedience. Most of the men struggled with this concept. They thought of obedience as top-down but not horizontal. How could one obey a…

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