The Cornerstone

Readings for Friday April 29, 2011

First Reading: Acts 4:1-12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 118
Gospel: John 21:1-14

If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved, then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed. He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved" (Acts 4:9-12)

I remember as a kid, I used to play with legos a lot. I built lots of stuff, cars, houses, tanks, robots ... with a child's imagination the sky was the limit! I do remember that when I was building, any piece that do not fit where I wanted or matched the color scheme that I had wanted was quickly tossed to the side. I only chose the pieces that worked with what I wanted, and anything that challenged that I cast aside.

My mentality as a kid with legos was not far off from the Jewish leaders mindset when Jesus came about. Jesus was not what they expected as the messiah, He did fit in where they wanted, He didn't match up with them or meet their standards, and He challenged what they did and said. The Jews were probably thinking of how could they build with this stone that didn't fit what they wanted to create? And that is exactly the problem right there, they were thinking of what they wanted, not what God wanted. They were set in their own ideas of what they wanted to build, they did not think of what God wanted them to build and how God sent them the foundation of which to build off.

Jesus is the cornerstone, and the foundation of which we should be building our lives. We should not be trying to make Jesus fit into our plans, but instead we should be trying to fit into His and asking God how we can be a part of His kingdom. Saint Peter warns us here that there is salvation through only one name, and that is Jesus Christ. Let us not spend our lives trying to attain salvation on our own, but rather on building our lives on and around Christ, the cornerstone.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you and give you praise for all that you bless us with. Lord, you are our rock and our salvation, may we only build upon you and never reject you. Lord, we pray for all those with hard hearts that are in need of conversion, may they come to you and humble themselves before you our Lord. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


His Name

Readings for Thursday April 28, 2011

First Reading: Acts 3:11-26
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 8
Gospel: Luke 24:35-48

When Peter saw this, he addressed the people, "You children of Israel, why are you amazed at this, and why do you look so intently at us as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus whom you handed over and denied in Pilate's presence, when he had decided to release him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses. And by faith in his name, this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong, and the faith that comes through it has given him this perfect health, in the presence of all of you. (Acts 3:12-16)

Son of Man, Bread of life, Son of David, Emmanuel, Holy one of God, Son of the most High, the new Moses ... He has had many names throughout history. No matter what He is called, there is great power in the name of Jesus Christ. In today's reading from the book of Acts, Peter speaks rightly in not taking credit for the miracle healing of the man outside the temple. Peter tells us that it is by the power of God that this man was healed and by faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Peter is doing what we should all be doing, helping others understand the power that comes through faith and by doing things in the name of Jesus. Many times we are very blind to the miracles that are worked by God in our lives, and we are willing to attribute them to our own greatness of to just simple "good luck." But we must start having a change of heart and a change in our thinking. We must realize that all that we have and all that we are really comes from God, not by us or by luck. We must realize that the power and the miracles come from Christ, and not from anything that we have done. Peter recognized that the people were looking at him after the miracle healing, he wanted nothing to do with the credit however, he wanted to redirect them towards God, and he wanted to give glory where is was due.

There is a great song called "Your Name" by Paul Baloche, and in this song it really speaks to the power of our Lord. Read the chorus, and just think about the how just His name alone has power to work in our lives and in this world.

Your Name is a strong and mighty tower
Your Name is a shelter like no other
Your Name, let the nations sing it louder
'Cause nothing has the power to save
But Your Name

Everything that we do, everything that we say, should be in the name of Jesus Christ. I pray that all that we do out in this world may honor and give glory to our Lord and Savior.

Father above, we thank you and give you praise for this day. Lord, we are nothing without you, help us to always recognize and be in awe of your mighty works in our lives. Lord, everything that we have and everything that we are belongs to you, help us to be good stewards of all that you have given us. Lord, it is through your name that we live, may we be granted the courage and strength to share this message. Lord, we pray for all those seeking meaning in their lives, we pray that they may come to you soon. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Breaking of the Bread

Readings for Wednesday April 9, 2011

First Reading: Acts 3:1-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 105
Gospel: Luke 24:13-35

Today, read and reflect on the gospel. Does anything stand out to you? Does anything seem familiar? Anything remind you of the mass or of the Eucharist?

That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus' disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them,
"What are you discussing as you walk along?"
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
"Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?"
And he replied to them, "What sort of things?"
They said to him,
"The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;
and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning
and did not find his Body;
they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see."
And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?"
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him
in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, "Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over."
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
"Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?"
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem
where they found gathered together
the Eleven and those with them who were saying,
"The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!"
Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:13-35)

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, we praise you for giving us the sacraments, especially the Eucharist where we partake in this holy meal. Lord, you are our God, we are your people, help us to serve you with all that we do and with all that we are. Lord, we pray for the change of hearts that we all need to grow and to love you as your are worthy. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Let Go

Readings for Tuesday April 26, 2011

First Reading: Acts 2:36-41
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33
Gospel: John 20:11-18

Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni," which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, "Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" (John 20:16-17)

In today's gospel reading, Mary Magdalene is guilty of something that we all do too often ... living in the past. Many times we live in the past when something ends or is taken away from us. In this instance, Mary was morning the loss of Jesus (and rightly so), but like all others, she did not understand that His suffering and death were necessary and all a part of God's plan. She did not understand that by His dying and rising from the dead, He would then ascend into heaven and be glorified, and once this happens He is then able to give to all those who follow Him the gift of the Holy Spirit. Not having this knowledge, however, Mary was simply holding on to Jesus as she knew Him, and did not think about the present or future.

Many times when we hold on to the past, we are unable to become the new creations that God intends us to be. The past has a way of anchoring us down and not letting us move forward, and many times we are anchored down because we are the ones holding on! Jesus calls us all to let go and to move forward with Him. One of the gifts that He gave us through the church is the sacrament of reconciliation. This sacrament helps us to confess our sins, be forgiven and to move on. I believe that this sacrament is one of the most underestimated and underutilized in the church, and if you have not been in a while, I strongly suggest that you try and make it. It is just amazing how you feel afterwards, it is like a massive weight has been lifted off of you shoulder.

Today, ask yourselves, what is it that I am still holding on to? What is keeping me from moving forward with Jesus? Remember, just let go, and let God.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you and give you praise for all that we have and all that we are. Lord, help your servants this day be faithful and full of strength and courage to go out and do your will. Lord, we praise you for all that you are and all that you give. We thank you for the promise of new life, and may we always follow you on earth until we can be with you in heaven. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


What Now?

Readings for Monday April 25, 2011

First Reading: Acts 2:14, 22-33
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 16
Gospel: Matthew 28:8-15

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce the news to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” (Mt. 28:8-10)

Here we are. Lent is over, our time spent in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving has hopefully brought about real spiritual growth. During the Triduum, we entered more fully into Christ's passion, death on the cross, and His resurrection. Finally, on Easter Sunday we proclaimed the risen Lord! Once again, we have entered into the heart of our faith, the thing that it all rests on: Christ's death and resurrection. So the question that I ask is now what? What will we do this this? Will we simply slip into our everyday lives until we come to the next Lent? Or will we allow the Holy Spirit to transform us, and help us bring this hope that we have to others. Will our resolved to be good, faithful disciples of the one true God?

We each have a choice; allow Christ to live more fully in us, or allow ourselves to become lukewarm and be caught up in the anxieties of the world. One leads to Heaven, the other does not.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, help increase our faith so that we may never stop serving you, but only offer all of ourselves to you. Lord, you are our hope in this world, let our fire burn brightly for all to see. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Wednesday April 20, 2011

Wednesday of Holy Week

First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 69
Gospel: Matthew 26:14-25

One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over. When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” He said in reply, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.” (Matt. 26:14-16, 20-25)

When someone asks the question, which of the disciples betrayed Jesus, the majority of people know that it was Judas Iscariot. And we have lots of facts, such as how much silver he accepted, dipping his hands in the dish with Jesus, even betraying Jesus with a kiss. But despite all of these facts, there is one thing that we do not know ... why did he do it? Why did he betray Jesus, why did he turn him over to the chief priests? Why did he turn away from God, when he was so close? Was it pride or envy? Did he become greedy? While we do not know the exact reason why, we do know for sure that something caused his heart to become hardened, and from there he turned away from Jesus; and in doing so, he turned away from his life.

While we certainly should not strive to model our lives after Judas, there is something important that we can learn from him. We are either with Jesus or we are against Him; and at any time we can find ourselves on either side. I am sure that when Judas started out with Jesus he did not intend to betray him, and in fact he probably was on fire for a little while. But then something seized him and caused him to turn away. We must always be careful with sin and becoming too worldly, because it is these things that cause us to turn away from God. We must always be fighting and striving to serve the Lord with all of our heart. It is only by losing our self in Him that we will find our life.

Saint Peter gives us great advice in his first letter: "Be Sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings." (1 Pt. 5:8-9) Judas did not heed this warning, but we should.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with. Thank you for all of your gifts, help us to always be good stewards of all the things that you give us. Lord, even though you do not need us, you want us to share in your great love. Help us to always be faithful and loyal to you until our time on earth is through. Lord, we pray for all those who have turned away from you, may they come back to your love and mercy. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Tuesday April 19, 2011

Tuesday of Holy Week

First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 71
Gospel: John 13:21-33, 36-38

Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, Yet my reward is with the Lord, my recompense is with my God. For now the Lord has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, That Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; And I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord, and my God is now my strength! It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. (Is 49:4-6)

The prophet Isaiah today talks about some of the themes of work, reward, and purpose. He says, "though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing." Don't we all feel like this at times, especially in our faith lives? Why do I go to mass on Sundays? Why am I spending time in prayer? Why serve others, or try to help the poor? I think that we all hit lows at times where we for whatever reason we are just not on fire. But what we must remember, is that not matter how we may "feel", the reason why we do all of these things for the Lord is because of love and the great reward awaiting us. We live a life of faith because there is no better way of living. A life surrendered to Him, is a life that is found. And what is our reward for "toiling", an eternal life in heaven with our Father. No more pain, no more suffering, no more crying, no more sin; only joy and happiness. Now isn't that worth the "toiling."

Serving the Lord is not toiling, it is our purpose. What may seem burdensome does not have to be, instead it can be looked at as a time of growth. The Lord has formed each of as a "servant in the womb." We were each meant for a specific purpose in this life, and it should be our goal to find out what this purpose is. We find this out by asking God, by asking the Creator of the heavens and the earth who formed us, and knows exactly what we are meant to do. It is only by finding our purpose that we can be happy, and to be the "light to the nations" that we are called to be.

God wants to use each and every one of us, for our sake and for His glory. Are you willing to say yes?

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you and praise you for the great gifts that you bring into our life. Lord, help us to discover our purpose and to do your will in this life. Lord, help us to love others as you call us to, and to persevere to the end so that one day we might receive the reward of eternal life. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Out of Confinement

Readings for Monday April 18, 2011

Monday of Holy Week

First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-7
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 27
Gospel: John 12:1-11

I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, To open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness. (Is. 42:6-7)

Today begins Holy Week, one of the greatest weeks of our year. For it is this week that we grow in our faith by going deeper into Christ's passion and we celebrate His victory over sin and death. What an amazing and blessed week this is. I can still remember beginning Holy Week three years ago as I was preparing to enter into the Church. I remember the excitement and anticipation that built up this week. I can still remember preparing to receive the Sacraments and to receive Jesus for the first time. To finally take part in the passover meal that Jesus instituted over 2000 years ago. This is truly a time that is special to all of us, because we have people who are coming into (or back) to the Church, and these new brothers and sisters should be welcomed home with open arms. This season is also a chance for us to rekindle our own faith and gratitude for the great gift of life that Jesus gave to us by His life, death, and resurrection.

Today's first reading by Isaiah reminds us exactly why Jesus gave His life for us; "to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness."(Is 42:7) God came in the flesh to die for us because His children were hurting. They were blinded by their own sin, and could not see clearly to turn away from their worldly life and turn to Him. They were lost and did not know the way. He came so that we would not need to be tied down by our sins, but rather can have the freedom that comes from a life with God. As once we lived in darkness, now we have to light of Christ to show us the way, and to lead us to the Father.

As any good parent, God did not want to see His children ache any more. He was prepared to do anything to save us from hell, even if that meant dying on a cross. This week, use this time to reflect on Christ's great sacrifice and on God's love for us. Take a few moments to thank Him, and then think how can we share God's love with others.

May God bless you this Holy Week.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have given, and all that you have done for us. Lord, help us to sacrifice in our own lives, as you have sacrificed for us. Lord, we thank you and praise you for the great gift of this life, may we never waste it on any worldly pursuits. Lord, help us to let you Spirit work in us, and that we may shine the light of Christ in this world. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen


Courage Under Fire

Readings for Wednesday April 12, 2011

First Reading: Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95
Responsorial Psalm: Daniel 3:52
Gospel: John 8:31-42

King Nebuchadnezzar said: "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you will not serve my god, or worship the golden statue that I set up? Be ready now to fall down and worship the statue I had made, whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet, flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe, and all the other musical instruments; otherwise, you shall be instantly cast into the white-hot furnace; and who is the God who can deliver you out of my hands?" Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, "There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! But even if he will not, know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue that you set up." King Nebuchadnezzar's face became livid with utter rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual and had some of the strongest men in his army bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and cast them into the white-hot furnace.

Nebuchadnezzar rose in haste and asked his nobles, "Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?" "Assuredly, O king," they answered. "But," he replied, "I see four men unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God."

Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in him; they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God." (Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95)

Today let us reflect on the courage of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three men were unwilling to worship anyone other than God, and they certainly were not worried about the consequences. They remained faithful to God, no matter what. That is the thing that we should always remember, that faithfulness is a two way streak; we should be faithful to God as He is to us. If there is a problem with faithfulness in this relationship, we know immediately who the problem is with (hint: it isn't God).

I pray that we may all be given their courage when tested in our lives.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you and give you praise for the many blessings in our lives. Lord, give us the courage and the strength to stand up against any opposition that we may face, and may we always defend and protect the faith and all life in this world. We pray for those who have fallen away, may they find their way back home through you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Get In the Wheelbarrow

Readings for Tuesday April 12, 2011

First Reading: Number 21:4-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 102
Gospel: John 8:21-30

"I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins." (John 23-24)

After completing a highly dangerous tightrope walk over Niagara Falls in appalling wind and rain, 'The Great Zumbrati' was met by an enthusiastic supporter, who urged him to make a return trip, this time pushing a wheelbarrow, which the spectator had thoughtfully brought along. The Great Zumbrati was reluctant, given the terrible conditions, but the supporter pressed him, "You can do it - I know you can," he urged. You really believe I can do it?" asked Zumbrati. "Yes, definitely - you can do it," the supporter gushed. "Okay," said Zumbrati, "Get in the wheelbarrow."

"Get in the wheelbarrow." How many of us believe in someone or something so much that we would be willing to risk our lives? Isn't this what Christ is asking of us each and every day? Is He not saying to us each moment to trust Him and to "get in the wheelbarrow?" We all have many difficult choices to make every day, and many of them are not always the most clear and simple choices to make; but one choice should never be an issue for us and that is believing in Christ and what He wants to do in each of our lives. I pray that each of us is given the trust and belief to "get in the wheelbarrow" with Christ leading the way.

Ask yourself this day, what is preventing you from "getting in the wheelbarrow?"

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you for the many blessings in our lives and for all that you continue to do. Lord, never let us become blind to all that you do in our lives, and let us always give you the glory and honor. Lord, let us trust and believe in you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Help us to follow you no matter what the world puts in our way. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


In Someone Else's Shoes

Readings for Monday April 11, 2011

First Reading: Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 23
Gospel: John 8:1-11

"Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She replied, "No one, sir." Then Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more." (John 8:7-11)

There is an old saying that goes, "Do not judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes." It would appear that the scribes and pharisees in today's gospel had never heard that one. They were quick to judge the woman caught in adultery and to deal with her swiftly. The scribes and pharisees were not able to see much beyond their cause and effect rule book that dictated their actions. Jesus however took a different approach, He began writing in the dirt, He didn't quickly decide or throw Himself into their anger and rage. Instead after Jesus decided to address them, He stood up and said, "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." While the scripture doesn't say, I imagine the silence in that area was deafening.

Instead of judgement, even though Jesus is our king and our final judge, He decided to show the people another way. He showed them the path that we should all be taking, and that is the path of mercy and forgiveness. Now, I know this may seem like a "wishy washy," "warm fuzzy" type of thing, but it is true and it is what we are all called to. The truth is, is that it is always easier for us to find fault in someone and to want to enact a penalty which we have a right to on a person, but that is the easier path. The much harder path to follow is the one of letting go of our own judgement and showing someone who has done us wrong the same mercy and forgiveness that Christ has shown us in our own lives.

Perhaps if we spent more time thinking about what it was like to be in someone else's shoes instead of judging them, we may be more likely to show the same type of mercy and forgiveness that Christ calls us to.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord we thank you and give you praise for all that you give and all that you do for us. Lord, help us to be humble servants for you, servants who do not look at others with judgement, but with mercy and forgiveness. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Loosen Your Stiff Necks

Readings for Thursday April 7, 2011

First Reading: Exodus 32:7-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 106
Gospel: John 5:31-47

You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life. (John 5:39-40)

In today's reading from Exodus; while Moses was on the mountain with God, the early Jews had a golden calf made to worship. They were called (and rightly so) a "stiff necked people." These people were searching for life and fulfillment from things of this world. They were searching for meaning and understanding from things and objects that they could make and conjure up in their minds. The Jews from the today's gospel were not willing to believe Jesus because He was not what they expected, nor was He something that they could understand. They too were a stiff necked people. The Jews were so blinded from God that they were unable to hear or see Him, even when He was right in front of them! They were not willing to rely on Him for life, they were too stubborn and wanted to rely on themselves.

How often are we like the Jews from the readings today? We too are a stiff necked people, seeking life and fulfillment in other things instead of the Lord. Jesus makes it very clear that in order to have everlasting life, then we must be good and faithful disciples carrying our crosses daily, and serving Him with all that we are. We cannot be a stiff necked people, otherwise we too will be blind and deaf to the Lord. We must detach ourselves from the things of this world, in order to rely totally on the Lord. This season of Lent that we are in is an excellent time to begin this detachment and for letting go of the worldly things to which we think we need. Is your lent the time of prayer and fasting that it should be? If not, what can you do to change it now?

Brothers and sisters, I pray that we can all loosen our stiff necks so that we may bow our heads before the one true God who gives us life.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you for all you have given us and all the blessings we have received. Lord, help soften our hearts so that we may be humble and trusting servants of you. Lord, as you are always faithful to us, so may we be faithful to you in all that we do. We pray for all those who are blind and deaf to you, may their ears and eyes be opened ready to listen and see you in their lives. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Readings for Tuesday April 5, 2011

First Reading: Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 46
Gospel: John 5:1-16

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked. (Jn 5:1-9)

When we look at retired professional athletes, especially people from contact sports like boxers or hockey players. We see men and women who have went through gruelling and harsh careers. What they are usually left with is a tired broken body with many scars and other reminders of the pounding they took during their careers. We too are much like these retired athletes, spiritually and emotionally bruised and broken after a lifetime of the world beating up on us. It is no wonder why so many people in the world lose hope, and instead turn towards a life of despair and bitterness.

In today's gospel we see someone who had lost hope. The man who had been ill for so long sat by the porticoes for thirty-eight years. All he wanted was to be well, but had no one to help him, no one to give him hope. Then along comes Jesus, who simply asks, "Do you want to be well?" And this is the question that Christ brings to each one of us. So many of us like the ill man have lost hope, and just accept our circumstances for what they are; but Christ comes asking us if we want the change we all so desperately seek.

No matter how many times life has knocked you down or beaten you up, we must remember that nothing can take away the fact that we are all children of God, and each and every one of us is loved more than we can possibly know. Christ is here now offering the hope we need, how will you respond?

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for the many gifts you give to us. Lord, all hope comes from you, may all of our hope and trust be in you and in nothing else. You are the way, the truth, and the life; help our lives reflect your light into this dark world. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Trust In Him

Readings for Monday April 4, 2011

First Reading: Isaiah 65:17-21
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 30
Gospel: John 4:43-54

Jesus said to him, "You may go; your son will live." The man believed what Jesus said to him and left. While the man was on his way back, his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live. He asked them when he began to recover. He asked them when he began to recover. They told him, "The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon." The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live," and he and his whole household came to believe. (John 4:50-53)

In today's gospel, we have a great story of a man who seeks out Christ in order to ask for mercy on his son, Jesus answers the mans prayer and tells him that his son will live. After hearing this, the man believes the words of Jesus. After the man's household sees for their own eyes, they also begin to believe. This gospel story teaches us that we too must not only believe in the works of Christ but also trust in His words.

Every day Christ gives us signs in our life, showing us that He is there and that He is with us. Most of the time we are too occupied with our own things, that we fail to see Jesus working. If we can continue to focus on Christ through prayer and to call upon the Holy Spirit, then I believe that we will be able to better see the works that He is doing in our lives. We must always remember to give God the glory for these great works and for the miracles that He performs in our world. This gospel story also teaches us about trusting in God's word for us. Just as the royal official believed Jesus when He said that his son would live, we too must believe the things that Christ gives to us through prayer and to the things that He lays on our hearts. This is perhaps one of the most difficult things for us, especially when it goes against what we want or what the world tells us. But we must remember the words from the "Our Father"; "thy kingdom come, thy will be done." Trusting in God's word for us actually shows that we believe Him, and not just saying it.

Today, think and ask yourself this question: Is there something that God is calling me to trust in Him more today?

With God, we have every reason to live for Him, and no reason not to trust in Him.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, help us to trust in you with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Lord, open our eyes and our hearts to your works in our lives, and help us to always give thanks and glory to you. Lord, we pray for all those whose hearts are hardened, may they come to let go of the things that are holding them back from your love. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


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