One of these least brothers of mine

February 19, 2018 6:00 am

“And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (MT 25: 40) 

We can’t truly say that we love Our Lord if we can’t show this love to our brothers and sisters. “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” We are for Him all brothers and sisters, and when we feel so vulnerable, damaged or broken, we can identify ourselves with “these least brothers” of Him. Every gesture, look or word full of gentleness goes also to Him. 

“Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (Gospel Acclamation)

Tempted by Satan

February 18, 2018 6:00 am

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.” (MK 1: 12-13) 

It happened right after Our Lord’s Baptism: “The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.” We also can experience more difficulties when we decide to start this Lent more focused on our relationships, growing in gentleness and respect and being a giver of self. Temptations are normal; God’s grace supports us, and we can build our strength and strategy “on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” In God we trust. 

“One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Gospel Acclamation) 

Leaving everything behind

February 17, 2018 6:00 am

“Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.” (LK 5: 27-28) 

Our Lord said to tax collector named Levi, “Follow me. And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.” These words inspired many of us to change our lives. Some recognized being called t0 marriage, some to consecrated life, some of us became coaches for Love and Life Programs. “Leaving everything behind” may have many names but the same root—we heard when He said to us: “Follow me.” 

“I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord, but rather in his conversion, that he may live.” (Gospel Acclamation) 

The fasting that I wish

February 16, 2018 6:00 am

“This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.” (IS 58: 6-7) 

Our Lord’s idea for fasting is to bring us back to unity with him, to keep our relationship strong and to open our eyes for people in need. It is much more important than sacrifices we can make. The only reason for sacrifices is to help us to be gentler and more respectful, and more a giver of self. 

“Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and the Lord will be with you.” (Gospel Acclamation) 

Loving the Lord, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him

February 15, 2018 10:20 pm

“Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you to live on the land that the LORD swore he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (DT 30: 19-20) 

These are three simple words and actions: “loving, heeding His voice and holding fast to Him.” This is all we need. When we love somebody, we naturally want to heed them, and it takes us closer to him or her. When we take our Bible with love to listen to Him, we can finish our prayer holding the Bible fast to our hearts. 

“Repent, says the Lord; the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Gospel Acclamation) 

Return to me with your whole heart

February 14, 2018 6:00 am

“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 return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.” (JL 2: 12-13)  

We are losing our integrity, our “whole hearts,” being too busy, having too much concern for our daily activities, forgetting about daily meditation and minutes of silence focused on Our Lord. Ash Wednesday and Lent are perfect times to “return to the LORD with our whole hearts.” This is the best way to learn again how “gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.” 

“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” (Gospel Acclamation) 

All good giving and every perfect gift is from above

February 13, 2018 6:00 am

“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters: all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.” (JAS 1: 16-17)

Our thanksgiving is the best answer we can offer to God, Who is supporting us and strengthening us with “perfect gifts from above.” His grace comes first with “all good giving” to prepare us to be with Him and fulfill our mission in this world. 

“Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord; and my Father will love him and we will come to him.” (Gospel Acclamation) 

the testing of your faith produces perseverance

February 12, 2018 6:00 am

“Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (JAS 1: 2-4)

“When we encounter various trials,” we have an outstanding opportunity to grow in faith, and our faith can produce perseverance. St. Paul asks us to “let perseverance be perfect, so that we may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” When we look from this angle to “various trials,” we can see them more as an opportunity than a threat. 

“I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father except through me.” (Gospel Acclamation) 

The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter

February 11, 2018 6:00 am

“Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. He said to him, ‘See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest  and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.’ The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.” (MK 1: 44-45)

There are moments when Our Lord asked people to be witnesses, to go and share with others what happened to them, but also there are moments when Jesus, like in today’s Gospel, “warning him sternly . . . said to him, ’see that you tell no one anything.’” But this man “went away and began to publicize the whole matter.” As a consequence “it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.” Sometimes Our Lord speaks only to us. 

“A great prophet has arisen in our midst, God has visited his people.” (Gospel Acclamation) 

They have been with me now for three days 

February 10, 2018 6:00 am

“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance.” (MK 8: 2-3)

I can imagine a three day retreat with Jesus. They were listening to Him, and only this was important. But Our Lord takes care of everything: “they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way.” Our Lord protects our souls and our bodies. He knows perfectly that we are body and soul. St. John Paul II reminded us: “As an incarnate spirit, that is a soul which expresses itself in a body and a body informed by an immortal spirit, man is called to love in his unified totality. Love includes the human body, and the body is made a sharer in spiritual love.” (FC, 11) 

“One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Gospel Acclamation) 

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