Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday of the Second Week
Today's readings give us the opportunity to reflect on where we put our faith. It's so easy, especially these days, to believe that we can solve our anxieties with "things" and that the greatest goal in life is material wealth, which offers us the opportunity to buy even more "things." Our highly consumerist society would like us to believe that there is not a need out there that cannot be met with a purchase, not a discomfort that can't be alleviated with a medication, not a trouble that can't be avoided by entertainment at our fingertips on a glowing screen, large or small.

But, when we put our faith in peace through purchases and external distractions, we're missing the opportunity to find our faith within. We are so busy trying to buy it that we have lost sight that it is ours for free if we remember how and where to look. It's not in the words, but in the silences. It's not in our busyness, but in our stillness. It's not in a feast for ourselves who are full, but in creating a feast for those who are hungry.

We, like the rich man in the story of Lazarus, have been given all the information we need, but yet we remain unconvinced. It's easier to live on the surface than take the time to look deep within us and within others to find the Divine. We feel refreshed when we take the time to serve others, to meditate, to pray, to be part of a spiritual community. These readings remind us of the rewards of doing so, and the emptiness that comes when we don't.

Dear gracious and loving God, remind us gently today and every day of the goodness that we all have waiting for us when we return our faith to life's most rewarding pursuits: to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with You.

Caroline Crawford, Public Relations and Marketing

First Reading: Jeremiah 17:5-10
Psalm 1:1-4, 6
Gospel: Luke 16:19-31

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday of the Second Week
“Remember that I stood before you, to speak in their behalf, to turn away your wrath from them.” Jeremiah 18:18-20

The readings today focus on the idea of good overcoming evil. The examples of both Jeremiah, in the first reading, and Jesus, in the Gospel, present the idea that they will be condemned and eventually executed by their enemies. Yet, they are willing to give their lives for these exact people, requesting that God forgive them for what they will finally do. The ultimate sacrifice that Jesus and Jeremiah perform is the truest act of selflessness and kindness, not only dying for the Lord, but dying in order to save the Lord’s people from sin. We ask today that God save us in His kindness and that we may somehow, during this season of Lent, find it in our hearts to be kind to one another. May we be open to forgiveness to those who have hurt us, even when it may be challenging, as Jesus and Jeremiah once were to those who had wronged them.
Lord, enable us to be like Jesus and Jeremiah.  Allow us to show kindness in the face of our enemies and to be selfless followers of Your word.  Amen.

Alex Byrne, ‘14
First Reading: Jeremiah 18:18-20
Psalm 31:5-6, 14-16
Gospel: Matthew 20:17-28

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday of the Second Week
In today’s first reading, Isaiah speaks forcefully — we can hear him shouting at us.  “Hear the word of the Lord!  Listen to the instruction of our God!  Wash yourselves clean!”  He softens somewhat and admonishes us to “Cease doing evil; learn to do good.  Then, we are gently invited to “Come now, let us set things right.  His message is though we have strayed, redemption is within our reach.  “Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow… if you are willing, and obey.”  Continuing the theme, the responsorial psalm reminds us that our failings are not invisible to the All-Knowing, who offers salvation when we correct our ways.  Matthew then cautions that obedience to the Lord must, however, be genuine, without pretension.  We are to avoid living in a showy manner mouthing the words we have learned but failing to live by them.  We are urged to live humbly and follow Christ — our one teacher, our sole father, our only master.  Jesus reminds us that our humanness is in the image of the divine and there is no need to embellish on what is born in perfection. And, although we live lives of imperfection, our imperfection lacks permanence — if we humble ourselves and seek God’s forgiveness and direction.
Lord, teach us to seek stillness and to listen.
Help us to discern Your message as we hear it.
If we have good to teach, help us to teach.
If there is good to learn, help us to learn.
If there is good to be done, help us to do good.
If there is a burden to be borne, help us to bear it.
All in humble service to You and to one another.

Churchill Hindes, ‘69, Member of the Worshipping Community

First Reading: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20
Psalm 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21, 23
Gospel: Matthew 23:1-12

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday of the Second Week
Humans’ sin and judgment. God's forgiveness and compassion. The theme of the Bible might be summarized as humans’ sinfulness (rebellion, treachery, evil, disobedience) and God's love (compassion, forgiveness, mercy, faithfulness). "Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins," writes the psalmist. The Book of Daniel acknowledges the constant problem of humans separating themselves from God, "We rebelled against You and paid no heed to Your command, O Lord."  Jesus comes to show us the nature of God and the right relationship with Him that God offers. That loving relationship with God and our neighbor starts with recognizing the beliefs, behavior, and judgments that separate us from God and our neighbor. Jesus tells us "Stop judging...stop condemning...forgive...give...For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you." (Luke 6:37-38)

Like my image of God, my understanding of sin was formed as a child. Sin is anything that separates me from God. As an adult, I think of sin as anything that separates me from my neighbor, my brothers and sisters, as well because God our Creator made and loves each of us. Jesus spent His ministry years among us demonstrating who is our neighbor and how we are to treat them. Our human values and judgments are often opposite of those of our heavenly Father. Jesus embraced people who were social outcasts; healed people who were sick or had mental illness or a physical disability; talked with women and children and people considered to have no value; interacted with people who were Gentile, Samaritans, Romans, Pharisees, believers and non-believers - all loved, none judged.

Neuroscientists suggest that our ability to make immediate judgments about people is a built-in mechanism for survival. No thinking is involved with our physiological responses of adrenalin and fight-or-flight action when we judge an unknown person or situation. My choice to judge and condemn or to forgive and give is rational and results in behavior that is sinful or loving. If I categorize people according to my judgments, I have separated myself from them. God challenges us not to measure others with condemnation, but to see them through God’s mercy and love.
Holy Spirit, please open my eyes to see as Jesus sees, to hear as Jesus hears, and to love as Jesus loves. In His mercy, I pray.

Jan Hancock, M‘12, P‘99, P‘09, Member of the Worshipping Community

First Reading: Daniel 9:4b-10
Psalm 79:8-9, 11, 13
Gospel: Luke 6:36-38

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Second Sunday of Lent
The main point I received from these readings is the great reminder that we should always trust in the Lord.  With life comes doubt and that doubt can be frustrating and scary but particularly makes us feel lost.  Life comes with many choices and it’s hard to look ahead to the future when we feel so much uncertainty.  It is especially during those times that we need to keep God close and pray to our Lord with confidence that even though we may be in the dark, the light is sure to come.  Praying to God is the sure way that we are going to know what decision and path is right for us.  This passage reminds me that He will always be there to guide us along our journey if we simply turn to Him and ask for guidance.  The readings also remind us how easy it is to get caught up in the world around us.  We want to live by the world’s standards, but we must keep our sights and motivations toward God.  The easiest plan to follow is the one created by ourselves.  We must remember, however, that the outcome usually has more problems than thosewe started with.  Turning to God and trusting His plan, though seemingly difficult at first, leads us to feeling secure in our lives. Just as the second reading states, we must stand firm in the Lord.
Loving Lord, may we always turn to You in times of doubt.  May we always be grateful for the gifts You have given us, especially the gift of life.  Help us to open our eyes to Your ways and to always stand firm with You by our side.

Melissa Morrison, ‘13
First Reading: Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18
Psalm 27:1, 7-9, 13-14
Second Reading: Philippians 3:17-4:1
Gospel: Luke 9:28b-36

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday of the First Week
Today’s Gospel reading provides us with a difficult task, one that I’ve heard proclaimed many times before but still struggle with on a daily basis. We are instructed by Jesus to love our enemies the same way we love our friends and family. This sets us apart from those who do not strive to do God’s work on earth and love only those who love them in return. This command has particular resonance for me during the Lenten season. Every week leading up to Easter Sunday, I hear of the trials and tribulations Jesus endured from those who did not believe His message. It would be easy to see these wrongs as a reason allow hate to pervade our thoughts and actions, both against those who wronged Jesus and those who wrong us in our daily lives. However, we must remember why Jesus endured this suffering and died on the cross – so all of us, including those who persecuted Him, would be saved. Jesus models unconditional love when He commands us to love our enemies and to pray for them. When hatred and anger seem to encompass my life, I remember the sacrifice Jesus made for me, and for all of us. We strive to follow the commandments sent down to us from God with the promise of eternal life. Although this is easier said than done, with Jesus as my model, I happily strive to live every day like Jesus would. To live like this would be perfect; however, we are not perfect beings and will make mistakes. When I acknowledge this, I remember that God will be there when I fall to help lead and guide me.  Especially during Lent, let us remember to live emulating Jesus. With the message of today’s Gospel to love our enemies, we joyfully strive to follow the model of love Jesus provides for us to follow.
Gracious Lord, help us to live by the example of Your loving Son and love those who have wronged us. With Your guidance, help us to live this Lenten season as Jesus did, with love for both our neighbors and enemies.

Marci Wood, ‘14

First Reading: Deuteronomy 26:16-19
Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8
Gospel: Matthew 5:43-38

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday of the First Week
Feast of Saint Peter
Like many, we have always loved Psalm 23; but we are especially fond of Peter precisely for all his imperfections. It is a deep comfort for us sinners to see vividly the kind of Messiah we have in Christ.

Matthew’s Gospel portrays Peter’s profession of faith in Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus, in turn, dramatically declares Peter to be the “rock” on which He will found His Church, also promising that the gates of hell will not prevail against His people. Immediately following the events in today’s reading, we find Peter being Peter: presumptuous, impulsive, missing the point (though well-intentioned) and, as we subsequently see, he will in fear deny Jesus but quickly and bitterly repent. This suggests his “qualification” for being given his role was his simple faith. God knows we are imperfect and need to repent and grow as individuals and as a Church. The only requirement on our part is that in the midst of suffering, heartache and failure, we have faith and continue to love and serve one another.
In his letter, we now find St. Peter fully grown in the faith. He calls on his fellow elders to be shepherds of their flocks, leading them gladly and through example, not by imposition. He has learned very well the meaning of the words of the Good Shepherd Himself: “His sheep know His voice and they follow Him as He calls them one by one” (John 10).
Lord, please help us in these troubled times to hear Your voice and follow as You call our name in boundless love.

Eleanor and Peter Tumulty, Professor of Philosophy

First Reading: 1 Peter 5:1-4
Psalm 23:1-6
Gospel: Matthew 16:13-19

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday of the First Week
Have you ever felt overwhelmed with the hard parts in your life and did not know where to turn? Sometimes we forget that God is someone that will always be there to help us. “Help me, who am alone and have no help but You,” and “Lord, on the day I called for help, You answered me.” God is a part of our lives each and every day. “Because of Your kindness and Your truth; for You have made great above all things Your name and Your promise.” When we need comfort and assistance, God will always be there.

The Gospel message, “knock and the door will be opened to you,” is very relevant to the everyday trials and tribulations of being a college student. The work can be grueling and tedious, but there are so many sources that are available if assistance is needed; you just have to knock.  Worry about being overwhelmed, but never stop long enough to ask for help? We ourselves just have to take a step back from the hectic part of our lives and look to commit ourselves to God. We just need to call upon Him and God will be there to help and strengthen us.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.” This applies to all aspects of life.  Whether through faith or even interactions with peers, saying and doing a simple act of kindness is always more meaningful than a peer who did not. We should try to go out of our way each and every day to make sure we are treating one another with kindness. We should strive to brighten the days of as many people as we can because our days become brighter when people do the same for us.
God, we pray that no matter what our day consists of, we will always be committed to You and know that You will be there for us each and every step of the way. 

Hillary Miller, ‘15

First Reading: Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25
Psalm 138:1-3, 7c-8
Gospel: Matthew 7:7-12

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday of the First Week
Think of someone you dearly love.  Now, imagine something’s gone wrong between you.  Your visits have been short and conversations strained and curt.  For the life of you, you can’t figure out what’s happened, what you have done to deserve this treatment.  So you wait for this person to open up and talk with you, but a wall of silence starts to build between you and you find you’re drifting apart. 

Today’s readings act for us as Jonah did for the Ninevites, a voice breaking through the clutter of daily activities and responsibilities, reminding us to consider if we are moving toward or away from God.  Saving a relationship requires repentance.  Repentance is not saying you’re sorry, though contrition may be involved.  Repentance is recognizing that your current way of thinking and acting toward another is taking you away from what you truly love.  It is having the courage and strength to turn back around and ask, “What can I do to heal what’s gone wrong?” 
God, help me find the courage to put my blinding pride aside so that I may return to Your love.

Jeffrey Adams, Professor of Psychology

First Reading: Jonah 3:1-10
Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19
Gospel: Luke 11:29-32

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday of the First Week
“Glorify the Lord with me, Together let us extol His name.”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus reveals to us a way to communicate with God.  He gives us the gift of the “Our Father” so that we can glorify God and be mindful of His power in our lives.  It is one of the first prayers we learn as children, yet how often do we as adults repeat these sacred phrases without really appreciating their meaning? How often do we go through the motions of praying these beautiful words while our minds are engaged somewhere else?

“Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name,” says Jesus.  In a few words, we give God praise and acknowledge His significance in our lives.  “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”  In these phrases, we remind ourselves it is our responsibility to live out God’s plan and follow His example everyday of our lives.  We put our trust in God’s loving care as we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” We humbly ask His mercy on our human failings and remember our Christian duty is to treat others with the love and compassion God shows to us as we pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We acknowledge it is only with God’s help that we can navigate the challenges of our lives as we entreat, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”  There is such tremendous power in these simple lines.  Let us be grateful for the gift Jesus gave us today. Let us take time in this Lenten season to focus on the importance of this prayer and rededicate ourselves to its meaning.
O God, loving Father, help me to be ever mindful that praying these words to You brings me strength, comfort, peace and clarity. Help me to preserve time in my day, everyday, to talk with You.

Amy Rock-Wardwell, ‘96, Member of the Worshipping Community
First Reading: Isaiah 55:10-11
Psalm 34:4-7, 16-19
Gospel: Matthew 6:7-15

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website