Daily Reflections

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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Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent

March 2, 2021

  Both of the bible readings for today’s Mass are powerful. Let me start with the first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah. Isaiah prefigures what Jesus will say in the Gospel. The message is this: we should be known for the integrity of our lives. “Cease doing evil; learn to do good.” What does that…

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Monday of the Second Week of Lent

March 1, 2021

  We are now in the second week of Lent. Hopefully, our resolve to identify with Jesus remains strong. In today’s Gospel, St. Luke presents Jesus teaching as he stood on a level stretch of ground. This is similar to Matthew’s presentation of the Sermon on the Mount. It begins with the Beatitudes and then…

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Second Sunday of Lent

February 28, 2021

    Every year, on the Second Sunday of Lent, we hear the Gospel about the Transfiguration of Jesus. The transfiguration prepares different people for the future passion and death of Holy Week. This is true, first of all, for Jesus himself. Secondly, it is true for the apostles present at the event. And, finally,…

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Saturday of the First Week of Lent

February 27, 2021

  “So be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This is probably the hardest thing to do. I am reminded of what St. Maximilian Kolbe says, “Entrust all matters to [the Immaculata] and she shall deign to take care of them. In her loving, immaculate hands, victory is certain.” Even though it is Lent,…

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Friday of the First Week of Lent

February 26, 2021

  Today in our readings we hear the great mercy that the Lord has those who turn away from the sins that they commit and come back among the flock. But we also hear the warning of those who turn away from God and decide to do their own will and fall away. As the…

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Thursday of the First Week of Lent

February 25, 2021

  In the Gospel today, Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” I remember when I…

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Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

February 24, 2021

  I am reminded of a homily that our Fr. Aquinas gave after reading the gospel account of John the Baptist’s martyrdom. He said “Mark is the only gospel writer who says ‘Herod enjoyed listening to him [John].’ It just proves that God even loves Herod so much that he tries to penetrate the hardest…

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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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Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

February 16, 2021

  Mark’s Gospel differs from the other three in that there are two miracles of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes. Both stories are charged with biblical numerology – numbers that cue us into seeing a deeper significance. For example, twelve baskets leftover equal the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and the seven baskets leftover…

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Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

February 15, 2021

  How does one distinguish between coincidence and a sign from God? Often it is only looking back on events, and, at other times, it is our willingness to see the divine action at work in our life. In our first reading, Cain is jealous of his brother Abel. Rather than understanding that sometimes when…

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Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 14, 2021

  The Journalism School at the University of Missouri is world-renowned. Consequently, you could not scratch your nose in class without elbowing a journalism undergrad. One principle of journalism they mentioned was this: If it bleeds, it leads. In other words, bad news sells papers (or gets internet clicks). Bad news captivates us. Yet conspicuously…

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Saturday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

February 13, 2021

  “Taking the seven loaves (Jesus) gave thanks, …. They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also.” To bless God is to enter into the mystery of his creation. It is to take up and allow oneself to be formed in reverence for all God has…

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