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Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent - March 23, 2023

Exodus 32:7-14 John 5:31-47 The year 2020 was a tumultuous year for our family. Over the course of my journey, I felt tremendous shame for my past words and actions. For months, I punished myself and felt unworthy of forgiveness- people’s or God’s. Through prayer and meditation, I discovered that my unwillingness to forgive myself was selfish. In a way, I was playing God. If God, the Creator of Heaven and earth, could deliver me from personal ruin and forgive me, then what was blocking me from forgiving myself? The answers were self-will and a lack of faith. Although I still struggle with grace at times, God’s love allows me to embrace progress instead of perfection. In Exodus 32:7-14, God demonstrates His own progress. The Israelites violate a commandment and anger God. God reacts instead of responding. He is passionate about “Moses’ people” and demands punishment. He wants the Israelites to pay for their sins. Moses, undeterred by God’s anger, reasons with God. Moses appeals to God’s
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Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent - March 22, 2023

Isaiah 49:8-15 John 5:17-30 The season of Lent can be difficult at times, don’t you think? We read scripture each week about a story where we know the ending, the pain and suffering to come of our Savior and the need to understand it in our own lives for our own salvation. Important stuff! However, I find today’s readings from Isaiah and John to be especially helpful in my own life. Each day for us brings new challenges. How can we expect to make this journey on our own? Isaiah reminds us of the words and promise of our Lord, “In a time of favor I answer you, on the day of salvation I help you.” Isaiah continues, “To those in darkness: Show yourselves!” I like the image of being the people of the light, doing all that we can with the blessings our Lord has provided. Each day is not just about what I can do, it is what I can do with and for God. Even Jesus says, “I cannot do anything on my own.” My desire this Lent is to continue to seek understanding, to embrace humility, and ask for G

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent - March 21, 2023

Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12 John 5:1-16 Today’s Gospel is a story not only of healing but also a glimpse into Jesus establishing His authority. He was in Jerusalem for a Jewish feast when he performed a healing on the Sabbath and then instructed the healed paralytic to take up his mat and walk. Scripture reveals that Jesus’ actions were controversial for many of the Jews in the crowd. With confidence in his authority, Jesus demonstrated a new way of defining what is truly important according to God’s Law. I was struck by a couple of aspects in this reading. Firstly, in the Gospel of John it was Jesus who instigated the contact with the paralytic man. When Jesus saw him lying there he knew he had been ill for a long time. His question to the man was, “Do you want to be well?” Since the man didn’t know of Jesus, he didn’t answer that question. The man just told Him that he wanted help getting into the pool when the water stirred and then he would have a chance to be healed. He didn’t grasp what J

Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of Mary - March 20, 2023

2 Samuel 7:4-5a,12-14a,16 Romans 4:13,16-18,22 Matthew 1:16,18-21,24a Fr. Richard Saale presided at the funeral of my 88 year-old paternal grandfather, Gasperi. That was 45 years ago yet I remember well how Fr. Saale described him in his homily. It went something like this: “Men like Gasperi are the real heroes in this world. He was a respectful son and brother, a faithful husband and dutiful father. He kept the faith.” I was an adult but had never really thought about my grandfather as a person until I heard these words. I always felt closer to my grandma; she was more dynamic and fun. I was also named after her. Allow me to reminisce more on this Feast of St. Joseph since I share part of his name too.   From my earliest memories, St. Joseph was my favorite saint. I adopted him, or he, me, as my patron. I’ve thought about this a lot through the decades: what was it about Joseph, or the stories of him, that first drew me close? And what is it about St. Joseph that keeps me close? Scrip

Fourth Sunday of Lent - March 19, 2023

1 Samuel 16:1b,6-7,10-13a Ephesians 5:8-14 John 9:1-41 In today’s second reading we hear the words “you were once darkness, but now you are light in the lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” In our hurried life day to day, minute to minute, many times it is easy to forget to live as children of light. We easily succumb to the rapid dealings of our earthly mode, the seemingly endless tasks we burden ourselves with. We forget about the “Light” God has given us at every step and every encounter we maneuver throughout each day. Today we should “try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” We should try to give a smile to a stranger as we walk to our next destination. We can pleasantly return a greeting from all whom we interact with. If we slow our pace down, we can see the bright Light that God has bestowed upon us even if we feel our situation is challenging and sorrowful. We can

Saturday of the Third Week of Lent - March 18, 2023

Hosea 6:1-6 Luke 18: 9-14 “Come, let us return to the LORD…” When I was fi rst asked to participate in the writing of this Lenten reflection book, my first inclination was to say “No”. What could I say that people would want to hear? Then I was given the scriptures, and of course they called to me. Because, isn’t that what this faith is about? God calling to us. I did not hear his calling for so long and then I heard, and I listened to, his words. I returned to the Lord; exactly what this scripture is telling us. You do not have to have offerings, or beg forgiveness, nor do you have to sacrifice. All you have to do is have a desire to know the Lord. I take away from these readings that God truly wants us to come as we are; to see ourselves as we are and not in comparison to others. God wants us to return to him so that he can heal us and be there for us. He wants us to recognize that perfection is NOT something that he is asking for; he is asking for us to allow him to be in our lives.

Friday of the Third Week of Lent - March 17, 2023

Hosea 14:2-10 Mark 12:28-34 In today’s Gospel, the scribes ask Jesus which are the most important of the commandments. Jesus’ response is what I believe our faith is all about. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and strength. From my childhood my faith has been an integral part of my life. I was baptized twice – first in my father’s Greek Orthodox faith and then my single mom’s Catholic faith by Msgr. Tighe at Visitation. I developed my faith through attending Visitation, St. Francis Xavier and high at De La Salle. We always attended Mass and my mom and grandparents were devoted to God and the church. When I was young and in a fit of anger, ran away from home, it was to St. Francis Xavier church that I ran and slept through the night on one of the pews. I have always loved and put my trust in God who has led me to the places I needed to go. One of these places has been the St. Vincent de Paul Society. With an extremely busy work life, it is my firs