Monday of the Second Week in Lent

Jesus said to his disciples:

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.

Luke 6:36-38

The peace of the Lord be with you.

Today in the Gospel passage, Jesus reminds us of the goodness of God and how we are to be a reflection of that goodness in our lives. Each day God lavishes upon all of us tremendous gifts. We are not meant to keep these gifts entirely to ourselves, but to freely share them with others — as God has shared them with us.

Very often in our world today we hear that there’s not enough to go around; that is not true. It has been said by the Saints, on many occasions, that the excess resources we hold in reserve ultimately belong to the poor and suffering. May God guide us in our use of the resources he provides and help us to have generous hearts.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Monday, March 1, 2021

Second Sunday of Lent

A little joke from Deacon Tom Sheridan:

When the diocesan information technology people checked the parish computers for security problems, they found that the youth minister was using the following password for her computer: 


When the technician asked why she had such a long password, she said,

Hellllloooooooo! You guys in support said that it had to be at least eight characters long, didn’t you?

When I look at the readings each weekend, I always ask myself, what is the common denominator? This weekend is no different. It is kind of hard to find, but I believe it is a combined story of love. More specificly, the power of Love. With a few “characters” along the way.

In the Book of Genesis, we hear the story of Abraham and his son Isaac.   Abraham struggled with his faith in God, and his faith grew very slowly. He has a son, Ishmael born from his servant, Haggar. Abraham at first believes that Ishmael would be the heir to serve God’s Kingdom. But he also has another son, a younger son, Isaac born of Sarah, his wife. God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac and he doesn’t hesitate. God’s messenger stops the sacrifice and promises Abraham will be blessed with many descendants. God asks, God sees, God relents, and God blesses! Isaac becomes the child favored by God!

In our 2nd reading from Romans, we hear that God loves us so much that he allows his own Son to die for us! For the sake of our salvation! Not only did Jesus die for us, but he rose from the dead, and becomes our greatest intercessor! If God is for us, who can be against?

In the Gospel of Mark, we hear that the Transfiguration story clarifies the divine identity of Jesus.

This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.

We have heard that before, haven’t we?

Peter, James, and John witness Jesus conversing with Elijah and Moses. Do you wonder what they were talking about? It doesn’t really matter, but what does matter is that Moses represents the Law, and Elijah represents the Prophets. And Jesus becomes “dazzlingly white” before them which represents his Divinity.  

If you have ever awoken from a deep afternoon nap, you know the feeling of not totally being aware of things. Here, Peter has experienced something that he’s not quite sure about, to the point where he is terrified. To experience the presence of God in such a way, must have been overwhelming! And, as quickly as it all began, it was over with. Jesus instructs his disciples not to say anything until after His resurrection from the dead. And the three disciples just looked at each other, and thought, what does He mean by that?!

Here we are on the 2nd Sunday of Lent! How’s it going? Do you wish that you chose something different to give up this year for Lent? I say, go for it, make the change, choose something different, it’s okay! After all, it isn’t really what we do, but rather why we are doing it!

God sees us all as his children, and many of us are “characters!” Just remember, if God is for us, who can be against?! Our faith needs to mature and change along the course of our lives, and it is only by the grace of God that we can accomplish great sacrifices and grow in spiritual ways! Let us journey together, one day at a time.

Readings for Sunday, February 28, 2021

Saturday of the First Week of Lent

Moses spoke to the people, saying:

This day the LORD, your God,
commands you to observe these statutes and decrees.
Be careful, then,
to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.
Today you are making this agreement with the LORD:
he is to be your God and you are to walk in his ways
and observe his statutes, commandments and decrees,
and to hearken to his voice.
And today the LORD is making this agreement with you:
you are to be a people peculiarly his own, as he promised you;
and provided you keep all his commandments,
he will then raise you high in praise and renown and glory
above all other nations he has made,
and you will be a people sacred to the LORD, your God,
as he promised.

Deuteronomy 26:16-19

The peace of the Lord be with you.

The book of Deuteronomy is a reinstatement of the law given to the chosen people in Exodus. In Deuteronomy, Moses is reiterating the law for the people as they were about to move from a land of scarcity to a place of prosperity wealth and plenty. It’s a place where their appetites could easily get out of control.

I think, as Americans, if we look carefully at ourselves we could also see how we have something in common with these chosen people to whom Moses is speaking. We live in a place of great wealth and prosperity and it’s easy to make those things into the demigods and to lose track of the One who gives us these gifts. Our lives are to be opportunities to glorify God and God’s goodness.

May we not forget how to worship Him, thank Him, and share His generosity with those around us. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Saturday, February 27, 2021

Friday of the First Week of Lent

But if the wicked,
turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just,
he shall preserve his life;

since he has turned away from all the sins that he committed, 
he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Ezekiel 18:27-28

The peace of the Lord be with you.

Both readings for today deal with issues of justice and righteousness. Both justice and righteousness must go beyond the surface of our lives and into the very depths of our heart. When these things are anchored in our heart they become manifested in the way we live and how we conduct ourselves.

The reading from Ezekiel today reminds us that doing things properly and living according to God’s law gives life. Those things that are contrary to God’s law create destruction and death. These are not things that God besets on us. No, God tries in every way possible to soften our hearts with his love and  turn us toward ways that are life-giving. We do, however, have a free will that permits us to choose, but that free will must be informed by a good conscience. As always this is not something that we can do on our own; we need God’s grace and assistance to aid us in our journey throughout our life.

Today, may our hearts be open to this love, to this direction that provides life, not only for ourselves, but for the world at large. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Friday, February 26, 2021

Thursday of the First Week of Lent

Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
    the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
    till they have watered the earth,
    making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
    and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
    that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void,
    but shall do my will,
    achieving the end for which I sent it.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

Do you ever stop and wonder about the power of the word of God? I have to admit that most of the time it’s not something that’s foremost in my mind. When I sit with a passage like this one, and so many others that make reference to the word of God, I stand in awe.

The word of God is so powerful that at his command everything we see was made. That extends to all the microscopic things we cannot see with the naked eye and all the expanses of space we cannot see because they are beyond our reach. All this was spoken into being. What’s even more amazing is that this is being which is being itself not only spoke creation into existence but through great humility in a word put on our human likeness and came to dwell among us. What great gifts the God of all creation has given to us.

Today may our  hearts be filled with gratitude. In the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Thursday, February 25, 2021

First Sunday of Lent

Our first reading from Genesis always reminds me of the old joke of why fishing off the side of the Ark was not allowed by Noah. His family stated: “Why Not!”  (You know the answer!) that’s right, because he only had 2 worms!

Let’s look at our gospel first. It’s short, but it really does set the foundation as we begin our Lenten journey together.  

The Spirit DROVE Him out into the desert! The word ‘drove’ suggests that he was being forced to go. This same Spirit who was made present at His baptism. It is sort-of like what we have been experiencing for the last 12 months, it feels like we have been in a full-year of Lent. And now, the Church is forcing us to go to the desert once again. Lent offers us a ‘desert’ experience. God and the Church is telling all of us, that the next 40 days are needed.

Israel was ‘forced’ to spend 40 years in the desert, and they gave into temptations many times along their journey. Jesus spends 40 days in the desert and remains strong and defiant against all temptations. Those temptations were real!! You may be thinking “well, there’s a big difference between 40 years and 40 days!” Okay, so if 40 days are so much easier, then I’ll have no problem keeping to my Lenten sacrifices. I can see it now; I can’t wait to do my grocery shopping for the first time this Lent… “Do I skip the candy, cookie, and ice cream aisles, or do I simply speed up my grocery cart as I pass through?” “Why does steak always seem tempting on a “Friday” during Lent? Etc., etc., etc.

The Gospel continues, John the Baptist has done what he is supposed to do…The Baptist, the Prophet, and the Herald! 

Jesus begins his ministry by proclaiming that the world needs to repent and announces that The Kingdom of God is at hand. When we received ‘Ashes’ on Ash Wednesday, the prayer that I stated was:

Repent, and Believe in the Gospel!

Basically, it translates into acknowledging who we are (sinners), and acknowledging who God is (the One who loves us and offers us a way out of our sinfulness).

In Genesis we hear of the Covenant between God and Noah (and his descendants) that the sign of the ‘Rainbow’ would always remind them that God was with them and that they would have no need to fear him.  

The Gospel (The Good News of Jesus) gives us the Final Covenant, marked by the Cross and the Eucharist… acts of love and forgiveness!  

As 1 Peter states: 

Jesus, the perfectly just one, died for the sake of unjust humanity. But he has won the victory over death.  

God saved Noah and his family in the days of the flood. By the grace of God, we are saved through the waters of Baptism. 

We pray to God to change us as God sees fit this Lent, drawing us ever closer to unity with God’s will.

We’re in this desert together, continue to pray and support one another.  Think about attending the Stations of the Cross on Fridays at 6pm. Possibly attend the Divine Mercy Holy Hour on either February 28th or March 28th.  Or just come by our church and sit before the Blessed Sacrament in our Tabernacle. Saint Rose is open 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week. Or think and pray for those confined to their homes or places of residence, where they have been for the last 12 months.

When our Lenten Journey is over, when we come out of the desert, let us together proclaim with our entire being:

The Kingdom of God is at Hand!

Readings for Sunday, February 21, 2021

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Jesus said to his disciples:

The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected
by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.

Then he said to all,

If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?

Luke 9:22-25

The peace of the Lord be with you.

The ways of God are not intuitive to us. As we see in our Gospel reading today, it’s very often the exact opposite of how we may think about things. How often do we associate gaining life by giving life away or sacrificing?

Today, Jesus assures us that it is exactly these types of actions that assure and give us life. He also assures us that this way will not be easy — that there will be challenges that each of us will face. Given how life works, we will face challenges one way or the other, but wouldn’t it be nice to feel that our challenges are actually leading us to life and freedom?

May God give us the grace today to face those challenges and to recognize that he is walking with us every moment and every step of the way.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Thursday, February 18, 2021

Ash Wednesday

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.

Most loving and gracious God, as we enter into the season of Lent today we ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to be with us.

Help us to examine our consciences, to look at our actions and inactions, and to look at those parts of our lives that serve only as a distraction from the goodness that you long to give us.

Through our acts of charity, prayer, almsgiving, and fasting — may we better realize the things that are true, lasting, and give us fullness of life.

We ask this for the glory of your name and the healing of the world until you come again.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
Jesus enjoined them,

Watch out,
guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
and the leaven of Herod.

They concluded among themselves that
it was because they had no bread.
When he became aware of this he said to them,

Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?

They answered him,


When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?

They answered him,


He said to them,

Do you still not understand?

Mark 8:14-21

The peace of the Lord be with you.

As children, we have a tendency to see the world in very concrete ways. As we mature we are encouraged and introduced to things that make us think more abstractly. Our scripture passage today demonstrates to us how Jesus is trying to draw his disciples more deeply into the mysteries of God. In this particular instance, he’s trying to encourage them to be very thoughtful about who they imitate and follow. They like young children because they are in their infancy as his disciples they think about things very concretely.

As we grow in faith, Jesus and the entire Trinity will encourage us to think more deeply and to challenge the ways we have acted and thought about things in the past. At these moments, it will be helpful to have a more mature Spiritual director and/or educational materials that can help guide us as questions surface and address concerns that may seem overwhelming.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

The man had relations with his wife Eve,
and she conceived and bore Cain, saying,

I have produced a man with the help of the LORD.

Next she bore his brother Abel.
Abel became a keeper of flocks, and Cain a tiller of the soil.
In the course of time Cain brought an offering to the LORD
from the fruit of the soil,
while Abel, for his part,
brought one of the best firstlings of his flock.
The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering,
but on Cain and his offering he did not.
Cain greatly resented this and was crestfallen.
So the LORD said to Cain:

Why are you so resentful and crestfallen.
If you do well, you can hold up your head;
but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door:
his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.

Cain said to his brother Abel,

Let us go out in the field.

When they were in the field,
Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Then the LORD asked Cain,

Where is your brother Abel?

He answered,

I do not know. 
Am I my brother’s keeper?

The LORD then said:

What have you done!
Listen: your brother’s blood cries out to me from the soil!
Therefore you shall be banned from the soil
that opened its mouth to receive
your brother’s blood from your hand.
If you till the soil, it shall no longer give you its produce.
You shall become a restless wanderer on the earth.

Cain said to the LORD:

My punishment is too great to bear.
Since you have now banished me from the soil,
and I must avoid your presence
and become a restless wanderer on the earth,
anyone may kill me at sight.

Not so!

the LORD said to him.

If anyone kills Cain, Cain shall be avenged sevenfold.

So the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest anyone should kill him at sight.

Adam again had relations with his wife,
and she gave birth to a son whom she called Seth.

God has granted me more offspring in place of Abel,

she said,

because Cain slew him.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

There is so much to learn from this passage from Genesis today. The thing that stands out for me is the destructive power that jealousy and resentment can have in our lives. I’ve had this happen to me on a couple of occasions in my adult life and it has been very negative. It left me feeling like there had been a mark put on my soul. At those times, I was very grateful for the sacrament of reconciliation so that I could go to the priest, talk about what was troubling me, and be relieved of this burden and ugliness.

As we see in the scripture passage, to harbor such an experience will lead to the destruction of ourselves and others. We do not need to carry the weight of this burden.

May God grant us the grace to see those times when we are overpowered by this and other destructive forces. May we actively seek his assistance for healing and reconciliation.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Monday, February 15, 2021