Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday of the Fourth Week
In this world, we are constantly going in many different directions. In the readings, God states how important it is to look to the positive in each situation. Yes, there are bumps and rough spots in each and everyone’s lives; but God’s hope for us is to be full of joy and be grateful for all God has created. God wants everyone to have a full life.

In the Responsorial Psalm, the psalmist is giving thanks to God for being faithful through difficult times and changing his “mourning into dancing.” God continues to help and encourage us to do our best. There is no need for extended amounts of anger or hate. “At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing.”  Even after arguments with others, love will fill us the next day.

In the Gospel, Jesus met the father of a dying child who had deep faith that Jesus would heal his child. Jesus gave them hope and told them that the child would live. The next day his fever was gone. Jesus shows us that believing in and loving God can accomplish the unthinkable.

Dear God, please help us look to the best in every situation.
Please guide us to make decisions in love. 
Please help us be the best person we can be. 

 Hillary Miller, ‘15

First Reading: Isaiah 65:17-21
Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-12a, 13b
Gospel: John 4:43-54

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fourth Sunday of Lent

"The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want." The words of today's Psalm wash over me almost reassuringly. It is easy to think in terms of what I want verses what I actually need in daily life. If I can "learn what is pleasing to the Lord" as described in the second reading, I remember that I am a vehicle of God's will. I want balance, health, joy, time with family and friends. As people, we can get caught up in a false discernment that strokes the ego rather than true discernment. What are the motivations behind your actions? What about the motivations behind your words? 

With the birth of my first child this past year, I have struggled and rejoiced in the growing pains of becoming a mother. One of the biggest changes in my daily life is the shift from doing what I want, whenever I want. This may seem like an obvious transition, but living and caring for a child is not quite real until blessed with a tiny baby that is your responsibility. Care for self and spouse can quickly go out the window. There are habits, particularly of thought, that I often encounter that serve as personal examples of discernment gone awry. I need more sleep, just one more hour, in order to be able to function at work today. The vicious sweet tooth in me needs something post dinner for the meal to feel complete.  In order to come back to a path that is pleasing to the Lord, I am continually learning to come back to what makes me whole. I need prayer, support, rest, and nutritious food. Instead of another hour of sleep, sometimes sitting in silence while seemingly the whole world still sleeps is more beneficial than restlessly laying in bed and thinking about how badly I need more sleep. Pausing after dinner, the sweet craving subtly passes.  So too do the things, actions, and desires we crave in our false discernment while those that are pleasing to the Lord never cease. The Lenten season is an opportunity to strip away that which we do not need in order to create space for connection with the Divine. 

God of Truth, give us wisdom to discern between what we want and what we need. Support us to foster practices that make us whole. 

 Kate Floyd, ‘06, Assistant Director of MOVE (Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts)


First Reading: Joshua 5:9a, 10-12
Psalm 34:2-7
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Gospel: Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday of the Third Week
In today's Gospel, we are challenged to examine the nature of our relationship with God. Jesus presents the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee, having an abundance of wealth, gives openly and reminds God, and all those around him, of his deeds. The tax collector merely asks God for mercy, without making a show of it. In this situation, the humility of the tax collector brings him closer to God. The Pharisee does not need to make the show of all he does—for God already knows. 

Someone once told me "you are who you most are when no one is around to watch." Of course, this is also when God is able to see, and God knows us best. With this in mind, this Lent we should strive to act more like the tax collector. We should remain humble, ask for forgiveness, and this will strengthen our faith. Lent is a time to act in our faith, but we should not boast of what we are doing. God knows of our acts. Lent is also a time to strengthen our relationship with God. In this parable, the tax collector knows that he is a sinner and is pleading for God's mercy. Let us emulate his actions and work with God on our shortcomings this Lent. 

Lord, give me the strength to do the right things for the right reasons. May my actions this Lent reflect Your love. Amen. 

 Emily Clegg, ‘16

First Reading: Hosea 6:1-6
Psalm 51:3-4, 18-21ab
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday of the Third Week
The first reading of today reminds us how important it is to remember where we come from and who we are to turn to for guidance in our lives. It is easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day and forget our purpose and the plan that our Lord has set in place for us. All too often, we may find ourselves turning to God with guilt of our sins. We may find ourselves asking for forgiveness for straying from the path He has in place for us. The important message in this reading is that God’s compassion is never ending and His love truly does endure forever. He reminds us how beneficial our lives can be with Him by our side when He says, “Straight are the paths of the Lord, in them the just walk, but sinners stumble in them.”

God wishes us to remember creation and how He formed us to be His own. We were made in love and compassion with hopes for a great future. It is challenging to stay on the path because there are so many temptations that bombard our lives each and every day. We must always remember that God understands the world we live in and He understands how prevalent sin exposes itself to us throughout life. We are often hardest on ourselves about the sins we commit. It is encouraging to know that when we repent, God will welcome us back completely and compassionately. It is noteworthy to remember that reconciliation is a beautiful process that can get us back in line with God.

God, please let us always remember how easy it is to turn back to You. During times of doubt and fear of the decisions we’ve made, let us always remember the love You’ve poured out for us and the love You will continue to show us all of our days.

 Melissa Morrison, ‘13, Member of the Worshipping Community


First Reading: Hosea 14:2-10
Psalm 81:6c-11b, 14, 17
Gospel: Mark 12:28-34

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thursday of the Third Week
How great is our doubt, how prodigal. To ask for miracles before closing our eyes to them. When great good comes, we do not rejoice, but think, “this is right, so it should be,” as though every blessing is due to us even when we do not deserve it. We are no different from those of whom Jeremiah spoke when he said, “Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.” We have abandoned God in our daily lives, and seek where He is not, for we no longer search for Him.
We are like the Pharisees and Scribes who questioned Jesus and accused Him of working for the devil. We are a kingdom divided against itself, though we are often blind to it. When we are faced with evil, we shudder, we crack, and like the feeble stones that have replaced our hearts, we crumble. It is in our brokenness that we turn away from God and His love.

We are not bound to desolation. We are reminded this day that there is hope; that love is alive in the world, and good can overcome. Our hearts that have long been in darkness need only to open their shuttered windows to witness the coming dawn. Lent is a time for reflection and preparation, a time for transfiguration and contemplation. Lent is a time of beautiful repentance, a time to turn our faces to God, and our backs to sin, a time to turn our lives around, a time to love and be loved, a time to believe, a time to have faith.

Dear Lord, too long have we abandoned and accused You, in our ignorance we have forsaken You, but with softened and humble hearts, we now beseech You, grant us forgiveness and share with us Your mercy. Amen.

 Shawn Ward, ‘15

First Reading: Jeremiah 7:23-28
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
Gospel: Luke 11:14-23

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday of the Third Week

After reading and re-reading the readings for today, what stood out the most for me were the two words from the Gospel of Matthew: abolish and fulfill. How often do we even hear the word “abolish” today?  What does it mean?  According to the dictionary, abolish means to do away with, or put an end to. On the other hand, fulfill means to carry out or bring to realization. Jesus is making every attempt to “bring to realization” and “carry out” His mission on earth. How do we in this year of Lent “bring to realization” and “carry out” what it means to be Christian?  Are we showing by our daily lives, and those we interact with, that we are indeed bringing to realization and carrying out our mission on earth?  As I stated earlier, how often do we even hear the word “abolish”?  We need to lead by example and to obey and teach the commandments so as to be called “greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”  Something to think about...
Abba, help us in our daily lives to “bring to realization” and “carry out” the mission that You have given us. Help us to be examples to those around us. Help us not to be so hasty to judge one another and give us the grace needed to see You in everyone. Amen.

Steve Shover, ‘75, Member of the Worshipping Community

First Reading: Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9
Psalm 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20
Gospel: Matthew 5:17-19

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuesday of the Third Week
The Annunciation of the Lord

“Nothing will be impossible for God.”  Lent can feel so long, so dark. Yet here we are, about halfway through Lent with a reminder of God’s vast love for us.  God sends us signs and hope and HIMSELF! In the midst of the ordinary, God speaks to us.  What is God asking of us on this journey?

In Isaiah, before the passage proclaimed today, the Lord tells Isaiah to say to Ahaz, “Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid.” In 1939, the British government came up with a slogan to encourage its citizens in the shadow of World War II: “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Despite its being commercially co-opted today, it is the message of God and His angels to all his servants throughout history: Keep calm and carry on. Don’t be afraid; do My will. There is nothing for which we need to ask God; we only need to say, “Yes.” He gives us everything we need, including Himself.  David, in the Psalm, speaks the response we should ask the Lord to put into our heart, “To do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!”  And in today’s Scripture for the Annunciation of the Lord, Mary asks Gabriel, “How can this be?”  How could someone so ordinary become the mother of God?  Through the Holy Spirit.  Through absolute trust.  God knows exactly how to carry out His plan—even when it may seem impossible to us.  We are asked to trust, to be open and willing.  As we approach the joy of the Resurrection, as we prepare our hearts to fully celebrate the Light & Love of Easter, let us take time to pay attention, to say “Yes” to all that God has called us to be. 


Jesus, help us to see You in the midst of our everyday.  Open our eyes to see Your light and give us the courage and patience to say “Yes” to Your great plan for our lives.  Amen. 

Meeghan and TJ Bird Matarazzo, ‘97 and ‘98, Members of the Worshipping Community

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

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday of the Third Week
Many of us recall Art Linkletter’s 1970’s era television show.  It featured a segment known as “Kids Say the Darndest Things” when Art would interview young children about matters of daily life—some of his kid’s quips are legendary.  In today’s first reading, we have the rare instance of a child’s voice quoted in Scripture.  A little girl was captured in Israel by a Syrian military leader and was made to serve as his wife’s maid.  General Naaman became afflicted with leprosy and no one in his country could cure him.  The little captive maid’s legendary plea was for him to travel and be cured by “the prophet in Samaria.”  And doing so, there Elisha caused the leprosy to leave him; and Naaman awakened to faith in the God of Israel.  Our Psalm’s refrain repeats the searching theme, “Athirst is my soul for the living God…” 

Coming from another perspective, Luke’s Gospel recalls Jesus early in His ministry when He compared Himself to the prophets who were more appreciated by foreigners than at home—of Elisha’s curing the little maid’s Syrian master and how Elijah was sent out of his native Israel to serve in the land of Sidon.  These comparisons by the pompous sounding young man caused quite a stir among His neighbors in the Nazarene synagogue—such that they were ready to throw Him out of His own home town.  How might Jesus have felt about being rejected—even threatened—by people he had known since childhood?  Was He taken off guard? Frightened? Disappointed? Or, perhaps vindicated and empowered to continue His journey?   How often are our own words and ideas criticized and challenged by our peers?  How often are we suddenly “on the outs” with those whom we once belonged?  Do we then pout; or do we rethink our words seeking to compromise and reconcile; or do we take a deep breath, stick to our guns and move on?

Dear Lord, help us to think twice when our thoughts and words are challenged by those close to us. Help us to listen to and learn from others; and to discern whether to embrace their views or to sharpen our thinking and gracefully hold our ground.  Amen.

 Churchill Hindes, ‘69, Member of the Worshipping Community

First Reading: 2 Kings 5:1-15ab
Psalm 42:2-3; 43:3-4
Gospel: Luke 4:24-30

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website