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Good Friday - April 2, 2021

Isaiah 52:13-53:12 John 18:1-19:32 When I was only fifteen, as I was eating a bowl of cheerios for breakfast, my dad asked, “does your mind ever wander during mass?” I chortled so hard that milk came out of my nose. “Yes, occasionally,” I replied. “That’s ok, me too,” he said. He continued, “I think that when our mind is wandering during mass, we might actually be in a meditative state that is drawing us closer to God. After that, my dad covered the tuition for a meditation class that would become one of the foundations of my spiritual life. In today’s Gospel Jesus enters Jerusalem for the last time and anticipates his own death. As we continue through Lent I think of Jesus’ final words.  “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” These words also came to me at the moment before I was to die. It was July. I was 22. I was on a five-day float trip down the Congo River retracing the journey depicted in the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. From the mouth of the river we hiked
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Holy Thursday - April 1, 2021

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 John 13:1-15 In today’s Gospel, Jesus is distributing the bread and wine to his fellow apostles. He is giving His body and blood on this holy day. This made me realize that I have a gift to share with others. Sometimes I can be selfish, and not want to share, or be the total opposite and be too scared. Then I remember that Jesus gave me this gift for a reason. Q: Think of a gift that you have, and how you can share it for the well-being of others.  We see Jesus fully aware of what is about to happen, yet remaining calm and trusting in God. Then he goes forth to set an example for his apostles to follow when they need to carry out His work. All God asks is that we trust in him and act accordingly, which should be a goal for all of us to strive for. We are called to set the example of what a Christian should be. Q: How many times have I not done God’s will when I am scared? How many times have I not set a good example just because something is

Wednesday of Holy Week - March 31, 2021

Isaiah 50:4-9a Matthew 26:14-25 In this passage, Judas trades Jesus’ life for thirty pieces of silver. He makes the decision that leads to the killing of Jesus. How could he have done it? After living with Jesus for three years, knowing the people who loved him so much, and being confronted about the choice at the Last Supper - how could he still go through with such a trade? He must have had to turn off his conscience – that small voice – in order to ignore the consequences of his actions and to forget about his love, trust, and compassion for Jesus. Unfortunately, I can understand what happened to Judas because I have felt myself sliding down a similar path. It is so difficult to listen to that small voice in your heart that reflects Jesus’ teachings; to constantly consider your actions and how they impact others; to recognize what I have been blessed with and what other less fortunate people may need. It is so much easier to skip that volunteer opportunity, to gossip with friends, t

Tuesday of Holy Week - March 30, 2021

 Isaiah 49:1-6 John 13:21-33, 36-38 “The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name… the Lord formed me as his servant from the womb.” The words of the Second Song of the Servant from the Book of Isaiah strike a familiar and emotionally powerful note in the heart of every Catholic, as we have heard them in the liturgy for years. They are the lyrics of the song of the mystery of every life: Isaiah’s, Isaiah’s followers, Israel’s, yours, and mine. Today’s readings link this song of the mystery of our lives to the Gospel of John, to the painful part about the betrayal by Judas and the denials by Peter. We can’t get through Holy Week to Easter Sunday without being reminded. I am an older Catholic, an octogenarian, a Catholic from birth, instilled with the old Baltimore catechism and familiar with the new Catholic Catechism, a boyhood server and later celebrant of the old Latin Mass and then of the new liturgy in English, a student in Rome who was gifted to observe

Monday of Holy Week - March 29, 2021

Isaiah 42:1-7 John 12:1-11 This past semester I read The Round House in my English class. The book told a story of injustice in the Native American community. My teacher allowed us to pick any theme from the book and write an essay discussing the topic. I chose to write about justice. Although at the time I chose this topic because it seemed easy, I now see the irony in my essay choice and today’s reading. In today’s reading, God calls upon his servant to bring forth justice. This call is for both Jesus and ourselves. God not only calls upon us to create justice but tells us that it is our sole mission. My essay went into terrible detail about the true meaning of justice. I buried myself in educated sources discussing and debating the topic. I concluded that justice has no true definition; it is fluid and shapeshifts to fit every different circumstance. I did find some defining words in my research: respect, equality, peace, and even love. God doesn’t define justice in today’s reading

Passion Sunday - March 28, 2021

Isaiah 50:4-7 Philippians 2:6-11 Mark 11:1-10, 14:1—15:47 In today’s second reading, Jesus is described as giving all He has to God, even humbling himself by taking the form of a slave. From Him giving everything He has to God, God gives to Him. God proclaims that Jesus Christ is Lord and that everyone in heaven and on Earth shall confess that. This message affects everyone because we all want to get to heaven and this provides a way to do so. This is Jesus’ way of proclaiming God as Lord, and we, too, can confess God as our Lord. Jesus’ way of proclaiming is the most sacrificial but we can follow his example in our own way as we undertake our own calling and journey. For my journey through life, I bring along religion, spiritual matters, and God. As a high school sophomore, I pray before tests and in the beginning of the school day because I know God will be with me and I will be with Him throughout the day. The same concept applies to sports events and applies before I eat meals, as

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent - March 27, 2021

Ezekiel 37:21-28 John 11:45-57 “Jesus Christ, Superstar” is my Lenten tradition. The 1970’s musical gets me into the Easter spirit the way carols get me into the Christmas spirit. So when I read his name in today’s gospel, I hear the deep bass voice of Caiaphas as he was portrayed in the film. Composer Andrew Lloyd Weber sets this biblical passage as “This Jesus Must Die,” a song/conversation between priests about how to solve the problem of Jesus. It’s a critical moment in the film, contrasting the priests minor key voices and arrhythmic banging on scaffolding with the na├»ve major key harmonies of the followers of Jesus. The surprising difference between the musical and the gospel according to John is that the Evangelist describes Caiaphas justifying why Jesus had to die:  “he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to kill him.” Caiaphas believes his