Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday Week One

Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

“For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation” (Lk 11:30).

Jonah, the reluctant prophet, preached repentance in the city of Nineveh at God’s command. He had tried to run away from this and ended up in the belly of the whale, only to be miraculously saved. In the Gospel, Jesus uses this story to make a point to the people he was talking to. Just as Jonah was a sign calling people to repentance, Jesus is too. Jesus preached repentance to the people of his day. Some listened, others didn’t.

Jesus is still a sign of contradiction for us today. This day in Lent offers us a choice about whether we will listen to Jesus or not. What is he saying to me today? I can choose to be like Mary, who kept in her heart and pondered the meaning of everything God was doing in her life.

Prayer

Mary, I want to be like you and listen attentively to the words of the Lord. Open my ears to hear.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday of Lent Week One

Today is the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, but here is a reflection based on the readings for the weekday of Lent.

Monday of the First Week of Lent

“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of those who are members of my familiy, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us quite clearly that our salvation depends on how we treat other people. Whatever we do to others, we do to Jesus. The other day I was able to bring the Blessed Sacrament to someone. As I drove with the Body of Christ in the pyx hanging in a pouch around my neck, I keenly felt the presence of Jesus. How could I get angry at the rude driver who cut me off with Jesus right there?

In reality, he’s always there, even if not in his sacramental presence. He lives in us through grace. Mary lived with Jesus all the time in their home at Nazareth. She certainly carried his holy presence to others, whether it was the blind beggar clanging coins in his cup, or the crippled woman trying to draw water from the town well.

Prayer

Mary, help me to always remember Jesus is right beside me.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday after Ash Wednesday

Lent with Mary

“The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast” (Mt 9:15)

Our Lenten orientation continues with an emphasis on fasting. Jesus likens himself to a bridegroom. Guests don’t fast during a wedding celebration. But they will when the feasting is over and life’s challenges begin.

At the wedding of Cana, Jesus performed his first miracle at Mary’s request. She didn’t actually ask him to do it, though. She simply presented the need: “They have no wine.” Then Jesus took action. Mary is a powerful intercessor and she will bring our needs to Jesus too, if we ask her.

Prayer

Mary, I entrust all my needs to you. Bring them to Jesus for me. Amen.

Lent with Mary Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

“I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity.... Choose life so that you and your descendants may live” (Deut 30: 15, 19)

“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Lk 9:23–25)


These first days of Lent are like an “orientation” to give us a direction for the entire season. God gives us a choice, and invites us to choose life. Paradoxically, to choose life does mean to choose the cross. Jesus turned our human standards upside down. The cross brings life.
Mary chose life when she gave of herself to bring Jesus into the world. It led her to Calvary. But it also led her to the fullness of life and happiness. Now from heaven she intercedes for us so that we might always choose life.


Prayer

Mary, help me today to always choose the good, just as you did. Help me to choose life for myself and others.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lent with Mary

I'm hoping to post some Lenten reflections that deal with Mary. Here's the one for tomorrow. Happy Lent everyone!

Ash Wednesday

“We urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, ‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’ See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! (2 Cor 6:1–2).

At every moment of our lives, God invites us to accept his offer of grace. No matter how we might have messed up our lives in the past, God offers us a future full of hope. Mary accepted God’s invitation to become the Mother of his Son. She didn’t know what the future would hold, but she did know that God would be there with her. That was enough.

Prayer
Mary, help me to accept the grace of conversion that God is offering me this Lent. Help me to say “yes” to his invitation, so that this day might become for me a “day of salvation.”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Our Lady of Lourdes

At Lourdes, Mary appeared to Bernadette and told her, "I am the Immaculate Conception." When Bernadette reported this to the parish priest, he was astounded because Bernadette was sorely lacking in education and could never have otherwise known about the Immaculate Conception. It had just been declared a dogma not too long before the apparitions.
Lourdes is famous for the miraculous cures of the sick that have occurred there. But even more important is the conversion of hearts that Mary brings about. She always wants to lead us to her son, Jesus.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Feast of the Presentation

This is an ancient feast that goes back to the fourth century. It used to be called the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (referring to the legal purity required of Jewish women after childbirth). But today the focus is a little more on Jesus the Lord.

In the Gospel, Simeon proclaims that Jesus is a "light of revelation to the Gentiles." So the theme of light is a major part of the liturgy. It begins with the blessing and lighting of candles, and a procession through the Church. Christ is the light of the world.

Through the years the feast began to be celebrated as a special feast for consecrated persons. It's a day when we renew our vows and rededicate ourselves to the Lord's service. Pray for all religious, that we might be like the wise virgins in the Gospel, always ready with our lamps lit to welcome the Lord.

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