Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday of Holy Week
Today’s readings encourage a bold and confident faith in God in all life circumstances.  Isaiah’s remarkable declaration of “God having raised up a servant who will be an instrument of God’s glory” comes amidst the destruction of the temple, and God’s people being taken to Babylon in chains. Our Scriptures are filled with unlikely servants (Rahab, David, Mary, etc.), but the servant Isaiah announces that God will not only “restore Israel,” but will serve as “a light to the nations…with salvation reaching the ends of the earth.” This is a bold and prophetic faith, indeed, in a time of ruin and defeat.

Psalm 71, sometimes called the “prayer of the aged believer” was likely authored by King David near the end of a long and remarkable life experience and relationship with God. Psalm 71 asserts that God deserves our confidence in all circumstances and “we should sing of God’s salvation.”

The double betrayal revealed at the Last Supper that John’s Gospel describes, is an all too familiar story. Jesus tells Peter that Judas will betray him, causing Peter to assert he would lay down his life, if he could only go where Jesus is going. Jesus quickly predicts Peter’s betrayal and denial of his Lord.

Grace assures us of God’s presence and love.  We don’t need to earn God’s love. A bold and confident faith in God in all life circumstances, however, can be a challenge. May God be with us as we work to have a greater trust in God.

Gracious and loving God, help us to examine what we are called to do in order that we may be in a more reciprocal and trusting relationship with You.  Amen.

Michael Samara, Academic Support Staff and Campus Minister

First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6
Psalm 71:1-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15, 17
Gospel: John 13:21-33, 36-38

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website


Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday of Holy Week
How many can truly claim they have faith? Not the appearance of faith that is seen certain times of the year when going to Mass is fashionable. Not the showy faith of those who claim time and again to be doing God’s will and serving God’s people when they in reality are only taking advantage of the less fortunate as Judas does for a quick buck. Not the faith that needs words. How many can claim that they have the type of faith that rests in the quiet heart, the heart that bleeds for wounds it does not receive? The faith that asks us to leave the comforts of our homes without the promise of return. The faith that asks us to be just, even when injustice is piled against us. The faith that would motivate us to spend a year’s worth of pay just to wash the feet of a dying man.

Faith is a calling. A calling out of our homes. A calling away from all comforts. A calling to be cold. Alone. Scared. Hungry. Hated. Loved. Faith is not simple. It is not enough to say that you believe in this and not that, but to put your trust in the things which you believe in. It does not require perfection. One need not be perfect to have faith, but by faith are we made perfect.

Lord, let the light of Your love shine through us, that evil may find no resting place in our souls, and that we may find no hiding place from true faith in You. Amen.

Shawn Ward, ’15

First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-7
Psalm 27:1-3, 13-14
Gospel: John 12:1-11

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Passion Sunday
The entry into the Holy City is triumphant, the crowds who have heard about Jesus are shouting “Hosanna in the highest” and waving palms and laying clothing down before His path. Yet as we witnessed throughout Jesus’ public ministry, His detractors and jealous enemies will sway these same people and turn them against Him. What begins with triumphant excitement changes to suffering and death. The passion of Jesus will be ultimately transformed into the Resurrection of the Christ.
The idea of the triumphant entry of Jesus is in stark contrast to Jesus hanging on the cross. When we truly consider Jesus, there was nothing triumphant in His human nature. Jesus was the Messiah, but He was a suffering Messiah as foreshadowed in the prophet Isaiah: “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.” The style of Jesus was self emptying, a giving of oneself in totality. Paul’s letter to the Philippians describes Jesus in this radical self emptying: “taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, He humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Jesus revealed the mercy and compassion of God in a new way. And the approach Jesus took was simple. In humility Jesus entered Jerusalem, riding a donkey. The triumphant arrival of a powerful king would be with horse and chariot with legions of military personnel. Jesus on the other hand limps into the Holy City slowly riding a donkey. The meaning of the word triumphant is transformed just as death is transformed by Jesus’ Resurrection.
Almighty God, as we begin Holy Week, empower us to enter into these sacred events that transform death to new life. Transform our own suffering and hardships so that we may celebrate Easter with joyful and grateful hearts. Amen.
Fr. Brian Cummings, S.S.E. ’86, Director of Edmundite Campus Ministry
Procession Gospel: Mark 11:1-10 or John 12:12-16
First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11
Gospel: Mark 14:1—15:47 or 15:1-39
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday of the Fifth Week
Today’s Scripture readings and the responsorial psalm tell us of God’s strong desire to unify and support His chosen people. In the first reading from the Old Testament, we learn of God’s plan to unite the Israelite people and return them to their land under the leadership of David. In the responsorial psalm, we learn that “the Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.” Thus, we are assured that He will provide what is necessary for this unification to be accomplished.

The Gospel for today demonstrates just how much God is willing to do for His people. He sends His only son, Jesus, to “gather into one the dispersed children of God.” Because of His effectiveness, Jesus is seen as a threat to the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they plot ways to kill Him.

God’s message today is very clear. He wants us to be united to one another and to Him. He has supported and will continue to support us in our efforts to accomplish this goal by responding to our petitions and by sending His Son to be with us.

Lord, help us to be united as a people of faith and remind us that we can turn to You for the strength, support and courage we require to accomplish Your desire. Amen

Jerry Flanagan, ’71 and P’94, P’98, P’01, P’11, Senior Philanthropic Advisor

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 27, 2015

Friday of the Fifth Week
We experience times in our lives when we want God to intervene and make everything “right.” The prophet Jeremiah was persecuted for telling the people to turn back to God and in today’s first reading, we hear him lament about his troubles. Jeremiah wanted the Lord to vindicate him and punish his enemies. Wouldn’t it be great if God ensured that the good guy always wins in the end? When that doesn’t happen, people often want to blame God instead of realizing that in our darkest moments, God can bring us into His glorious light and provide us the strength and refuge to face the difficult times. He can carry us when we feel we can no longer stand.

In times of struggle, it is hard to remember that there is a God who loves us; people sometimes lose faith. In today’s Gospel reading, the Jews did not believe Jesus was the Son of God. At first, Jesus responds with an intellectual/theological explanation, but then He asks them to simply judge Him based on His actions. Either Jesus is carrying out God’s work or He is not. If He is, then obviously God is in Him and one should believe Jesus’ words. Believing, while in theory seems straightforward;  in reality, it isn’t. We must constantly remind ourselves of all that Jesus did, especially His ultimate sacrifice for us on Good Friday, to help strengthen our faith in God and His beloved Son.

Lord – You care about me, love me and offer me the gift of Your peace. Great treasures are easy to find if we know how to look for them. Help me to always focus on You.

Lucia Thomas, 16

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 26, 2015

Thursday of the Fifth Week
In Genesis 17, God is making a covenant with Abraham, not a pact or agreement or partnership, but a promise that God will maintain for thousands of generations. They/we will be God’s people and He will be our God. What does God’s promise mean, and what is our part?

We are to rely on the Lord and constantly seek His face. God’s people need to “recall His wondrous deeds, His signs and words of judgment,” and God will remember forever His covenant. God’s covenant with us throughout all generations is not about circumcision or ownership of land, but about His promise of faithfulness to His people. His people forget, worship false gods, and ignore God’s love and commandments, then and now.

Jesus comes to remind us, to bring us back to God, to teach us how to keep God’s word. He tells us who He is and what we need to remember. “Before Abraham came to be, I AM.” (John 8). He warns us that we do not know God, but Jesus does know Him and keeps His word. God is keeping His promise to be our God, but we are not doing our part of being His people, of following His commandments and loving God and our neighbor. Jesus lives among us to show us how to be God’s people, to do our part.

May I see Your promise fulfilled in Jesus, my Lord and my God.

Jan Hancock, M ’12, P ’99, P 09, 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 25, 2015

Wednesday of the Fifth Week
The Annunciation of the Lord
As we continue our journey through the fifth week of Lent, we celebrate today the solemnity of the Annunciation, when Mary speaks for us all in doing the will of God and bringing Jesus into the world. With Holy Week only a few days away, Mary offers us a magnificent model to enable God’s creative power to grow and transform our own lives.

In today’s first reading, we are reminded of God’s Old Testament promise to save His people through the improbable virgin birth of a son Emmanuel, “God who is with us.” The psalm response and second reading from Hebrews reiterate that God seeks not “sacrifices and offerings, holocausts and sin offerings,” but rather “ears open to obedience” to do God’s will. In the Gospel acclamation, Mary is the model of obedience so that the “Word of God became flesh and made His dwelling among us; and we saw His glory.”

In the heart of the city of Nazareth lies the Basilica of the Annunciation, built near what is considered Mary’s original dwelling, where the angel Gabriel appeared, as recalled in today’s Gospel passage. Despite her natural confusion and bewilderment with this appearance and incomprehensible message, Mary above all trusted in God and responded faithfully with her “yes” leading to the Incarnation and salvation of all humankind through the loving obedience and sacrifice of Jesus.

We regularly pray the “Our Father” and seek the grace for God’s will to be done “on earth as it is in heaven.” Mary provides a wonderful example to live this prayer to the fullest, and may we respond as faithfully and compassionately in our own opportunities to bring Jesus into the world in perhaps large and especially small, everyday ways.

Offered by Pope Benedict XVI during his pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Annunciation: “Mary, Mother of the ‘Yes,’ you listened to Jesus, and know the tone of his voice and the beating of his heart. Morning Star, speak to us of Him, and tell us about your journey of following Him on the path of faith.”  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

George Ashline, Professor of Mathematics

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


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesday of the Fifth Week
The underlying theme of today’s Scripture readings seems to be relentless, ever-enduring trust in the Lord. The trying circumstances and challenges of our lives can interfere with our connection to God and His word, bringing about questions and doubt. In the first reading, the Israelites demonstrated how “their patience [was] worn out by the[ir] journey” through the desert. Exhausted and angry, they express their frustration with God’s plan and His timing. How could the Lord subject them to what they believed to be such unnecessary suffering?

As is the case in many of our lives, at times the Lord’s reasoning is different from human understanding. Yes, there is a God present whose plan is far greater and more complex than can be fully understood; however, the distractions of my daily life influence me to become dismissive of this. There are times when I fail to see that God is really for me and that I must come to Him as I am at this moment, with the faith I have, regardless of how great or little its depth and how it has changed over time.

One of my favorite parables from the Bible is found in Matthew 17:20. It describes how “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” In difficult moments and my struggles to understand, I try to remind myself that God’s plan is at work and that He will help me persevere. The most challenging times in my life have brought about the most growth, bringing me closer to who God intended me to be.

 Placing trust in Him, with faith perhaps the size of a mustard seed, in these moments has been the source of some of the greatest blessings.

Lord, please guide my thoughts, so that I am able to know Your presence in all people and circumstances. Please let me gain the humility and strength to come to You as I am and, through Your grace and mercy, allow me to surrender my will to Yours.

Rachel Carey, ’18

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