Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday of the Fifth Week
In everyday life, it is easy to be overcome by feelings of vulnerability and helplessness. We live in a world where we are constantly criticized for our actions and choices, and in modern times, this is especially apparent in regards to religion and faith. However, today’s readings offer us boundless hope in the form of God’s guidance and presence, both in our lives and the lives of those who mock us. The first reading highlights the community God creates through bringing people together and cleansing us all of our sins, so as God promises, “that they may be my people and I may be their God.” We are made further aware of God’s love for us as the responsorial psalm assures us, “The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.”  Just as a shepherd will guard his vulnerable sheep, so too will the Lord be by our side if any harm comes our way. We then see in the Gospel that Jesus too endured His share of ridicule, as the Jews and Pharisees admonished Him for spreading God’s Word and were determined to kill Him because of His actions. As we enter into Holy Week, let us be reminded of how Jesus opposed the people who criticized Him so that we could be saved, and particularly try to model His holy actions in our lives.
Lord, please give us strength to overcome the criticisms we constantly face, and help guide us to find refuge in Your endless love and acceptance. 

Marci Wood, ‘14

First Reading: Ezekiel 37:21-28
Psalm: Jeremiah 31:10-13
Gospel: John 11:45-56

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday of the Fifth Week
In today’s Gospel, as we are reminded of the fullness and completeness of Christ’s consciousness, we see how religious leaders of the day responded to Jesus out of fear, protecting their traditions. We can see that these leaders were certainly on the course of ignorance, for Jesus is a threat to the way they understood the truth. They do not understand what He is saying.  Their sense of threat prompts aggression which rules their sad and sorry day.

What do we do when we are faced with something that we do not understand?  How do we react when we are confronted with something that seems so foreign to us, something which challenges the way we think about God and the way we think about each other? The Gospel today asks us to look at our relationships to our country, our institutions, our church, and to each other. Do we stay mindful of Christ’s complete entire consciousness as we wend and bend our ways in search to find His Truth?  

May we always learn to speak His name in all our failings. May we learn to praise His holy name as He rescues us.  The Lord listens to our cries. The Lord hears our shaken voices.
May we then, like Jesus, listen for that holy whisper, that lonely gentle cry.  May we then be like Jesus as we listen and so become that holy song. We become one with God as we tune ourselves to the almighty sound, His holy name, His holy word. May we say yes to the invitation as we feel His full embrace in the hospitality of God’s holy love.

Toni Messuri, Director of Academic Support Services

First Reading: Jeremiah 20:10-13
Psalm 18:2-7
Gospel: John 10:31-42

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday of the Fifth Week
Imagine how delighted you might be to suddenly discover that you are the beneficiary of a secret fortune placed in trust for you by a great-great-grandparent?  How would it change your life?  You might choose to pursue a new career, take up a new hobby, or travel. You might help family or friends with their mortgages or student loans.  Or maybe you would choose to be a full time philanthropist.
How much greater the gift of God’s covenant with Abraham, fulfilled through the new covenant we have with Jesus!  And all we have to do to access this great gift is to “Look to the Lord for strength; seek to serve him constantly.” If you are like most, the daily grind of life may seem like an insurmountable barrier to doing this. Between our studies, our jobs, household chores, and the many other demands on our time, it seems difficult to carve our time to pray, let alone to serve him constantly!

But it’s not!  By taking even just a moment to be in the presence of God, the weight of the world can be lifted…or at least made lighter for awhile. He is waiting for us to simply reach out, seek advice, ask for help; He is ready to lavish the treasure of His grace upon us. What an amazing gift!  What a priceless inheritance!
Lord Jesus, Word made flesh, thank You for the gift of salvation and for being there, night and day, to guide us in keeping His Word!  Grant that we may seek Your company more often and give us the strength to follow Your quiet guidance in our daily lives.

Rick Cote, ‘89, Member of the Worshipping Community

First Reading: Genesis 17:3-9
Psalm 105:4-9
Gospel: John 8:51-59

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday of the Fifth Week
Recently, one of my students gave me a Dove chocolate that contains a short quote or saying on the inside of the wrapper.  When I opened mine up, it said: “Hold hands firmly, hearts gently.”  I was immediately moved by this beautiful image and tacked it above my desk.  It made me wonder, how gently am I holding the hearts of those around me, including my own?  Am I holding firmly to the right things, out of love of those in my life, or instead, objects that consume me?  So often, I feel that we clutch and cling onto possessions, ambitions or ideals of who we think we should be rather than being willing to let go of these things that can distract or draw us away from God.

In today’s Gospel, however, Jesus calls us to loosen our grasp on these things and live in the freedom that God offers.  But what does this mean? What does it mean to “know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8: 31)?  When we clench our fist, we don’t have the ability to hold something new.  When we cling to things with closed fists rather than holding them gently in our hands, we limit our openness and close ourselves off to God.  We often put boundaries around what we allow God to do in our lives, yet God’s love for us, on the other hand, is a free and unconditional gift.  When we experience God’s love, it leads us to freedom.  Fr. Gerald Fagin, SJ, describes freedom as being “so passionately committed to God and embracing God’s plan” that we are able to detach ourselves and be free from everything else that distracts us from this.  We have “the freedom to let go of whatever stands in the way of responding to God’s love.”  What an amazing way to live if only we allow ourselves to do it!

Our response to God’s love should be out of freedom rather than out of fear, a desperate attempt to earn reward, or to escape punishment.  The experience of God’s gift of unbounded love sets us free to love in return.  W.E.B. DuBois once said, “The most important thing to remember is this: To be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become.”  What are we clutching at right now that is keeping us from God?  How can we freely live the truth of God’s love for us?
Loving God, teach me how to live my life freely in response to Your love.  Help me to unclutch my fists around things that distract me from serving and loving You and those around me.  May I continue to learn how to live the truth of Your love and extend it to others.  Amen.

Anna Lester, ‘98, Assistant Director of Edmundite Campus Ministry
First Reading: Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95
Psalm: Daniel 3:52-56
Gospel: John 8:31-42

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday of the Fifth Week
The Israelites have forgotten that God has delivered them from slavery in Egypt and provided food and water for them in the desert.  They are in mourning for Aaron, the brother of Moses, who recently died, and they are tired — tired of travelling and tired of eating the same food every day.  They are feeling trapped in a seemingly endless journey.  They have lost faith in Moses and lost faith in God.

Jesus tells the Pharisees that they “will die in [their] sin.”  What is their sin?  They lack faith and they refuse to believe that Jesus is speaking the message of the Father who sent Him.  Jesus says that He always does His Father’s will — what is pleasing to Him.   Perhaps the Pharisees think themselves too important to listen to Jesus; whatever the reason, they are trapped — imprisoned — by their obstinate refusal to accept Jesus, and they are doomed to die in their sin.

Am I trapped by a lack of faith, too?  Am I obstinate like the Pharisees and refuse to listen to Jesus’ message and follow His example of letting God be in charge of my life — doing what is pleasing to Him?  Do I place too much emphasis on controlling how my own knowledge, gifts, and talents should be used?  Does my own self-importance keep me from trusting God to direct their use?  Is this the root of my sin? 

As today’s psalm reminds us, “The Lord looked down from His holy height…to hear the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die.”  Jesus will lead us to freedom from sin and to eternal life — if we let Him.
Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will.  All that I am and all that I possess, You have given me.  I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will.  Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more. –St. Ignatius of Loyola

Brother Frank Hagerty, S.S.E. ‘73, Spiritual Director and Retreat Director, Putney, VT

First Reading: Numbers 21:4-9
Psalm 102:2-3, 16-21
Gospel: John 8:21-30

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday of the Fifth Week
The Annunciation of the Lord

The Gabriel Gazette.   Imagine the newspaper at your feet, with a clear front page story: “You have found favor with God!  Now go out, turn your life upside down, and Rejoice!”  If only God’s call for us was really that clear.  In truth, if we take time to pray, listen carefully and pay attention to the world around us, it is.  We tend to complicate things, mistaking others’ suggestions for God’s call, ignoring ideas that seem too demanding, disregarding God’s invitation to transformation, to become our fullest selves.  We busy ourselves looking for signs, when signs are all around us that, with God, nothing is impossible.  “The virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means "God is with us!"  Nothing is impossible, because God is with us.  And while our paths are not always easy, God assures us that He is with us through it all. 

It strikes me that these moments when God calls to us, when we are shaken out of our comfortable selves and invited to be uncomfortable, to do things we wouldn’t ordinarily do, these are often the times when we have difficulty feeling God’s presence in our midst.  We get stuck in our own fears and anxieties.  But it is these times — our truly Emmanuel times – that God is ever present, ready to steady us with love and perseverance.  God is with us.

How lonely and scared Mary must have felt, and yet she said yes.  Knowing her path would not be easy, she was open and willing because she was convinced of God’s loving presence.  How many headlines do I have to read before I get the point?  God is beckoning us every day to love one another, speak out for justice, live the life we are called to live.   He is calling us to be part of His Kingdom here on earth.   When will we say yes?
Good and gracious God, we ask for Your patience as we discern Your will, Your hope as we stretch ourselves to live Your Word, and Your abiding love, reminding us that You are always with us.

Heidi St. Peter, ‘96, Director of M.O.V.E.

First Reading: Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10
Psalm 40:7-11
Second Reading: Hebrews 10:4-10
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fifth Sunday of Lent
The last Sunday of March 1991, happened to be Easter Sunday.  At about 6:00 a.m. – at sunrise – my mother died following a three-year struggle with cancer.  I feel a deep connection between that day and today’s Lenten message.

My parents raised a family of eleven children; there are nine girls, my brother and me.  Being the mother of a large family was a great achievement, but it also exerted a huge physical and human toll.  A comment was made when she died that, “All that was left in the end was love.”

This Lent our worship community has recovered something of God's grace and mercy embedded deep in the reality and mystery of Jesus’ “weakness,” which is to say, our humanity.  Jesus proclaimed: “Whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.”  Hebrews states: “Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered.”  As much as I may have not wanted my mother to suffer as she did, her “weakness” became a mirror of the covenantal love that was the law of her heart even in her dying.

The Gospel tells us Jesus was troubled by the knowledge of what was to happen to Him.  Yet the voice that glorified Him also came for our sake.  Let us pray to God so that our prayer may be more like Jesus’ own.
Gracious God, be with us in our prayer, now and always.   Help us to be obedient to the lessons our own weakness teaches us about Your love for us.  We make our prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Amen.

Fr. Marcel Rainville, S.S.E. ‘67, Director of Formation for the Society of St. Edmund

First Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34
Psalm 51:3-4, 12-15
Second Reading: Hebrews 5:7-9
Gospel: John 12:20-33

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday of the Fourth Week
In life there is so much love and light, but there is also deception and dark corners. I have been led astray. I have been let down. I have plunged into the dark water in which hope does not reside.  Yet, every time the Lord has just jumped in after me to pull me to the surface, He has been there the entire time, helping me swim. In the psalm today it says, “O Lord, my God, in You I take refuge.” This is a mighty saying and one I think would be good to have constantly in front of me.  Sometimes, others plot plans against us. It is seen all the time on the playground when kids poke fun, in the office when someone plays a little too cutthroat, in college when someone is used for reasons other than their beautiful friendship. The person in the first reading was saved and shown the way by the Lord.  As will we, if we remember to take refuge in Him. There will always be deception and hurt in life, but it is our choice where we take refuge. The Lord will always be there with His mighty shield or a warm shelter.
Lord, today help me to remember that You are here to be my refuge and to guide me. Amen.

Lauren Fish, ‘12

First Reading: Jeremiah 11:18-20
Psalm 7:2-3, 9b-12
Gospel: John 7:40-53

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday of the Fourth Week

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.”

Does this mean that I have to be down on my luck?
Do I have to be sad?
Do I have to be downtrodden?
Do I have to be any of these things in order for the Lord to be close to me?

The Lord is attentive to us at all times.  When we have joy, we celebrate in the Lord and give thanks.  When we have love, we revel in our relationships, one of which is with the Lord. This reading assures us, however, that the Lord is there to rescue us when we are in distress.  The Lord is there when our spirits have been broken.  We may be more attentive to the Lord’s presence when we are brokenhearted.  We are praying and searching for the attention and support of the Lord at these needy times.  Let us try to remember and remind ourselves that the Lord is close to us at all times.  We are supported and celebrated by the Lord because we are of one body.  “He watches over all his bones; not one of them shall be broken.”
Dear Lord, I am thankful for Your constant vigilance of me as a human being.  I am sometimes selfish and want all of Your attention.  I forget that You are there in the good times and in the bad times.  Thank You for Your love and attention.

Barbara Gaida, M’01, Member of the Worshipping Community
First Reading: Wisdom 2:1a, 12-22
Psalm 34:17-21, 23
Gospel: John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website