Daily Reflections

Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter

May 11, 2021

  The first reading for today’s Mass is taken from chapter 16 of the Acts of the Apostles. The early Christians are at another critical turning point. Up to now, the Gospel had been preached only in Asia. But the Holy Spirit invites Paul and Silas to enter Europe. They are welcomed in Philippi but…

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Anniversary of Basilica Dedication

May 10, 2021

  Today is a special day at Conception Abbey. We celebrate a significant solemnity. It is the anniversary of the dedication of our church, the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. On May 10, 1891, Bishop John Hogan traveled to Conception to dedicate the nearly finished new church. Abbot Frown and the early monks had decided…

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Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 9, 2021

  During these Sundays after Easter, the readings at Mass often describe the early days of Christianity. We hear how those first disciples of Jesus struggled to understand what it meant that he had been raised from the dead. As one reads the first chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, one gets a picture…

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Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 8, 2021

  Today Jesus tells His disciples, “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.” We should have confidence because Jesus also says in Matthew’s gospel “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for…

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Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 7, 2021

  Today’s Gospel message means so much to me that I even had it on my solemn profession souvenir card. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Of course, the one person who I can think of is St. Maximilian Kolbe but also so many others. For…

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Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 6, 2021

  Today in the Gospel, the Lord Jesus says “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” How do we remain in his love? I…

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Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 5, 2021

  In today’s responsorial psalm, we hear “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.” I love to research the Titanic, and there were a couple of priests who died on board. One is Fr. Thomas Byles who is also depicted in James Cameron’s 1997 film “Titanic” on the stern of the ship,…

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Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 4, 2021

  I remember one day, a couple of months ago, after checking in the gifts we received from our donors I was getting ready to put Abbot Benedict’s stationery paper into our copier so he could sign them. The first batch came out of the printer and they were accidentally printed on stationery that said…

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Feast of Sts. Philip and James, Apostles

May 3, 2021

  In the first reading today, St. Paul quotes one of my favorite verses and something that I have been pondering within my own heart, “[After Jesus had been raised from the dead and visited all the disciples] Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me.” What St. Paul is saying…

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Fifth Sunday of Easter

May 2, 2021

  “Jesus said to his disciples ‘whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit because without me you can do nothing.’” This is one of my favorite passages in scripture because it has a missionary calling to it. St. John the Baptist says, “I must decrease, so that he may increase…

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Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter

May 1, 2021

  We all like to have clear directions. When Paul and Barnabas were rejected by their first Jewish audiences they recalled the words of Jesus: “I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.” This became their marching orders, and they…

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Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter

April 30, 2021

  The late Paul Harvey, a popular radio newscaster, would often add a final surprising piece of information to his program. He would then end by saying: “And there you have the rest of the story.” This saying comes to mind in reflecting on our liturgical readings today. In the first reading, St. Paul is…

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Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

April 29, 2021

  Today is the feast of St. Catherine of Sienna, 1347-1880. Hers was one of those voices from the Middle Ages which continues to bring wisdom and virtue to our modern times. She was declared a doctor of the Church in 1970. She became a Dominican tertiary and was a mystic known for her writings…

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Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

April 28, 2021

  Have you ever thought about the importance of passports? They provide your basic personal identification but also the origin of the passport and a record of the countries you’ve visited. The passport speaks for you in a foreign land. Imagine if there were passports in the time in the time of the early Church.…

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Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

April 27, 2021

  As we approach the two liturgical readings for today it feels like two seasons of the year, namely spring and winter. Spring speaks of new life and color with great hopes for the future, while winter sends a very different message of shutting down and the final conclusions for the long haul. The first…

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Monday of the Fourth Week of Easte

April 26, 2021

  Growing up as a kid on an Iowa farm, we always hated hearing those dreaded words: “The cows are out!” It meant the cows and calves found a break in a fence or an open gate, and we had to find them all and then get them back in. Raising livestock can be a…

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Fourth Sunday of Easter

April 25, 2021

  Have you ever wondered what it was like for St. Peter (or any of the apostles) to get up in front of a crowd and address them for the first time? Remember they were not trained as public speakers! They were used to catching fish with nets, not fishing with words! We could imagine…

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Saturday of the Third Week of Easter

April 24, 2021

To whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life. We have come to believe; we are convinced that you are the holy one of God. Some who were with him were puzzled by everything they were hearing from Jesus. “Whoever eats the flesh of the Son of Man and drinks His blood…

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Friday of the Third Week of Easter

April 23, 2021

  Today we hear the dramatic story of the Conversion of St. Paul. Paul was lucky. His conversion came quickly in a dramatic fashion leaving him with few doubts as to what he should do. It would have been hard for him to miss what the Lord Jesus was trying to tell him. “Why are…

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Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

April 22, 2021

  “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; I will raise him up on the last day.” We hear similar words frequently in the Scripture and especially during Lent and at Easter time. A traditional Lenten antiphon: Draw near O Lord and show us your mercy. At the…

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Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter

April 21, 2021

  Reading today’s Gospel passage reminds us of other words of Jesus and of prophets of old. In short, Jesus is saying that He is the one who satisfies all their longings. “That everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”…

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Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter

April 20, 2021

  Stephen’s bold witness continues today. He had worked signs and wonders of his own which attracted the crowds, but they could not bring themselves to believe or to understand his words. He had explained the unfolding of God’s plan, identifying Jesus as the Righteous One, the awaited Messiah. When Stephen concluded his strong sermon…

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Monday of the Third Week of Easter

April 19, 2021

  Today we encounter Stephen and his bold presentation. Totally taken up with the way of the Lord and filled with grace, Stephen could not contain himself. He preached and worked wonders in the name of Jesus. His hearers only heard what seemed to be the condemnation of their old way. He spoke against their…

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Third Sunday of Easter

April 18, 2021

50 Days of Joy? Some years ago, I saw an article with a question as its title – “50 days of Joy?” It talked about Easter and our experience of it. The writer stated the view that ”A whole season of joy seemed excessive.” The author confessed that he was more comfortable, and more at…

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Saturday of the Second Week of Easter

April 17, 2021

  A great deal can be said about work and labor in life. Work is indeed essential to living a good life and giving of our best selves to the World. There is one caveat to working. It’s not everything. We work to live. We don’t live to work. How often you see people who…

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Friday of the Second Week of Easter

April 16, 2021

  This story from Acts is always an inspiration to me. Gamaliel declares that if the Apostles’ endeavor is from God, it will succeed. If it was simply a human endeavor, it would fail. This is a great reminder that whatever we do God is the one who has the final say. God decides what…

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Thursday of the Second Week of Easter

April 15, 2021

The saga continues in Acts. The chief priests and Temple authorities continue to pressure the Apostles. They hoped to intimidate them into silence. St. Peter wouldn’t be denied. He declared that they must “obey God” rather than any human authority. This angered those in the Temple. The Apostles persevered in telling the truth nonetheless. In…

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Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter

April 14, 2021

  If you ever needed a “get out of jail free card,” look no further than today’s first reading. The Apostles were apprehended and thrown into the public jail at the order of the high priest and Temple authorities. Prison life is hard today. I can only imagine how bad prisons were in the time…

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Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter

April 13, 2021

  We hear the same reading today from the Acts of the Apostles that we heard on Sunday, except with an additional detail. Joseph, called Barnabas, sold a piece of his property and gave the proceeds to the Apostles. This act of generosity can be encouraging for us as well. Churches often ask a great…

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Monday of the Second Week of Easter

April 12, 2021

  We continue to hear the story of the Apostles in Acts. They were stuck in a hard situation that they didn’t deserve. When I was growing up, I loved to watch the Red Green Show, a comedy show produced out of Canada. One segment showed a few characters playing hockey on a street. (You…

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Second Sunday of Easter

April 11, 2021

Forward: I don’t know about you, but I am often caught off guard by the Easter Season. I walk through Lent with resolutions, and then when Easter comes, I fall right back into my old habits. Easter is indeed a time of celebration. It also is a time to keep at what you have been…

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Saturday in the Octave of Easter

April 10, 2021

  Peter and John replied to the leaders, elders, and scribes: “It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” The boldness of Peter and James comes out most powerfully in their encounter. For them, their faith in Jesus Christ was not something confined to one day a week,…

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Friday in the Octave of Easter

April 9, 2021

  As we have seen, the Resurrected Jesus doesn’t stop teaching the disciples. The lesson from their failed fishing expedition and their sudden turn of good fortune helped them to solidify in their minds this reality: Without God, you can do nothing. We’ve all experienced how on our own, we toil and spend our time…

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Thursday in the Octave of Easter

April 8, 2021

  In the work of seminary formation (in which I am engaged), we are trying to help prepare these men for the priesthood by transforming their minds and hearts. The work involves the cooperation with God’s grace and the hard work and efforts of many religious and lay men and women who contribute to the…

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Wednesday in the Octave of Easter

April 7, 2021

  The reading from Acts of the Apostles is perhaps one of my favorite readings in the New Testament. It’s common that we will find ourselves in a position where what is being asked of us, we simply do not have or cannot provide. Peter and John are being approached by the crippled man who…

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Tuesday in the Octave of Easter

April 6, 2021

  Peter and the beloved disciple had visited the empty tomb and saw the burial cloths there. They left in amazement, but Mary Magdalene alone remained there in a sort of vigil. Her weeping communicates the state of her distress, but it also expresses to us the degree of her love. Mary Magdalene alone waited—patiently…

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Monday in the Octave of Easter

April 5, 2021

  A young man came to me seeking direction in his life. I asked, “Have you prayed about it?” The man responded with what I detected was a hint of frustration, “Yes—I prayed about it, but God didn’t say anything!” Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb to look for the body…

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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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