Second Sunday of Lent - Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; Rom 8:31b-34; Mk 9:2-10

02-25-2024Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: Just two weeks ago, when Christians walked around all day with a cross of ashes on our foreheads, we may have received puzzled looks. Who bothers with fasting and almsgiving for 40 whole days? Many of us live with great abundance in this country; the only time we actually need to fast might be for lab work. With this in mind, it’s helpful to remember the why: because Christ sacrificed himself for us, and he calls his followers to participate in his redemptive mission through our own sacrifices. Without sacrifice, we simply cannot be like Christ, nor will we see our own transfiguration in the resurrection to come. So Lent is a blessed season of reorienting our lives to Christian sacrifice: that of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Perhaps this season can also dispel some of the complacency that has a tendency to creep into our lives. The poor and hungry and disenfranchised still exist, and Christ depends on us to be his hands and feet to serve them. But how can we serve them if we do not embrace Christ’s example as a living sacrifice? Ask the Lord for the grace to see and hear what he is asking us to do for him.


First Sunday of Lent - Gn 9:8-15; 1 Pt 3:18-22; Mk 1:12-15

02-18-2024Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: Today is the first day of Lent! It is the beginning of a new liturgical season in the Church, a season of prayer, service and self-sacrifice. It is a time of preparation, culminating in the holiest day of the year: Easter. As we embark on our Lenten journey, we hear a reading from Genesis in which God makes a covenant with Noah where he promises, “the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all mortal beings.” The Lord has said that no matter our disobedience, sin and rebellion, he will never destroy us! Saint Peter explains how the story of Noah, “in which a few persons … were saved through water,” prefigures baptism, and baptism, as we know, marks us as the Lord’s own forever. We are sealed with a sign that can never be relinquished. So, just as the great flood signaled a rebirth for the world, our baptism is a rebirth of our soul in Christ. We are washed clean of our original sin, and the door to salvation is opened for us. It is fitting that at the beginning of our Lenten journey we hear the story of the beginning of our eternal covenant with the Lord. Both the covenant, and Lent, will be fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.


Great Faith

02-11-2024Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: The leper in today’s Gospel was not only severely ill, but he was also barred from practicing his faith. Because he was considered unclean, he could not enter the temple to worship. It is no wonder he did everything in his power to find Jesus and beg him for healing. And heal him Jesus did, both body and soul. According to commentary on this passage from the USCCB, “In curing the leper, Jesus assumes that the priests will reinstate the cured man into the religious community.” It seems to me that this Gospel is about faith, and about love. The leper had great faith that Jesus could heal him, and the great love of Jesus for this man moved Jesus to go against mosaic law by touching and healing him. When we read the Scriptures we are reminded over and over again how much God loves us. Let us allow this knowledge to sink into our hearts and change us. When we begin to reflect God’s love to those around us, we will find that our lives are filled with his peace. Give it a try: Love as Jesus loves.


Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Jb 7:1-4, 6-7; 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23; Mk 1:29-39

02-04-2024Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: Why me? It could be a flat tire, a lost job or a serious illness. When inconvenient, unpleasant or even downright horrible things happen, it is understandable to wonder why God allows it. I know that is what goes through my head in extreme adversity. God can do all things, so why wouldn’t he change “this thing” for me? In the Gospel, we see Jesus curing Simon Peter’s mother-in-law of her illness, but many of us don’t have our prayers answered like that. Instead, we may relate more to Job in today’s first reading when he says life is a “drudgery” and he “shall not see happiness again.” The reality is that God’s ways are not our ways, so we can’t know why some people endure hardship while others receive miracles. But we can change how we respond to those hardships when they arrive. Just as this passage from Job is understood better within the context of the whole book, discrete events in our lives are part of something larger than ourselves. Praying with Scripture, including reading more of Job, can help us understand how God is molding, refining, and yes – always loving us.