Sunday, March 17, 2019.
Morning: Today’s Gospel reading is the Transfiguration. Jesus takes three of his Apostles away from everybody else, and in the privacy of the moment, he reveals something of himself to them. He transfigures before their eyes, his clothing becoming dazzling white, as if his Divinity is shining through his Humanity. Let this event strengthen us. Jesus is God. Lent is many weeks long. But we are journeying forward to enter into the powerful days of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Afternoon: As we imagine ourselves entering into that Transfiguration event of today’s Gospel reading, let us allow the wonder of Jesus’ Transfiguration transform us. St Peter tries to take control of the event by expressing his desire to make tents. Let us rather sit back and do nothing but allow the event to transform us.
Evening. Let us take the event forward. As we journey back down the mountain with the Apostles after the Transfiguration event is over, let us carry with it the inspiration that comes from our meditations of earlier today.
Monday, March 18, 2019
Morning. What can St Mark’s Transfiguration account add to that of St Luke’s? Upon coming down the mountain, Peter, James and John find the other disciples and scribes and a large crowd arguing among themselves. Let us sit with the question: Do we identify ourselves with Peter, James and John who went up the mountain to witness Jesus’ Transfiguration, or do we identify ourselves with the other disciples who remained at the bottom of the mountain arguing among themselves?
Afternoon. Giving ourselves over to prayer involves discipline. Sometimes we would prefer the excitement of the arguing crowd at sea-level over the journey up the mountain to lose ourselves in the prayer of witnessing Jesus’ Transfiguration. Let us make a habit of remaining faithful to our prayer time, in the face of the temptation to skip our prayer time because something else seems more exciting at the moment.
Evening. Let us close our two-day consideration of the Transfiguration by reaffirming our choice to bypass giving ourselves over to the excitement of the arguing crowd at sea-level, and thereby freeing ourselves to accept Jesus’ invitation to accompany Peter, James and John up the mountain, to witness the Transfiguration.
Tuesday, March 19, 2019.
Morning. St Joseph the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, along with the young Jesus, make up the Holy Family. Let us look to the Holy Family as the ideal model for our own family life.
Afternoon. Today’s Gospel reading is the Finding in the Temple (one of the joyful mysteries of the Rosary). Without asking permission not to do so, the young Jesus did not join his extended family as they made a journey. At first, his parents assumed he was with his cousins, but later they realized he was missing. Lose yourself in the anxiety St Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary must have felt.
Evening. The Holy Family was not spared anxiety, and so we should not assume that our family life will be spared anxiety. It is both in the joy and the anxieties of our family life that we fully imitate the very real human experiences of the Holy Family.
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Morning. Having earlier this month considered at length the three prayers: let us put them all together and pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory to the Father.
Afternoon. Tradition tells us that St Dominic received the rosary in the year 1214, during an apparition. Pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and One Glory Be, to assist in carrying out a centuries-long tradition of combining these three prayers.
Evening. Every day, countless people pray more than 50 Hail Mary’s, 5 Our Father’s and 5 Glory Be’s. I ask you to conclude today by praying only one of each prayer.
Thursday, March 21, 2019.
Morning. Monks and Nuns who commit to a life in a monastery pray for many hours every day for the rest of their lives. Some of our parishioners make a Holy Hour every day, praying for an hour each day. Rather than focusing on quantity and length of prayer, pray one Our Father now to enter into and participate with those of our human family who pray at length every day.
Afternoon. Pray one Hail Mary. We are a world wide human family of seven billion people. We can coalesce as a smaller group within the larger human family by praying. One simple brief prayer and we can join into and rely on the select few who are called to a life of prayer.
Evening. Pray one Glory Be. And let it sink in that even one brief prayer can transform and make Holy the next several hours of our life.
Friday, March 22, 2019.
Morning. On this third Friday of Lent, let those of us who fall into the age group renew our commitment to abstain from eating meat on the Fridays of Lent. And let all of us recommit to our own personal Lenten observance.
Afternoon. We live out our Christian life as both an individual and as part of a community. We make an individual, personal lenten observance, regardless of what everybody and anybody else is doing.
Evening. Those of us who fall into the age group make a community-based observance of doing the same thing. Not eating meat on Fridays. A common act that binds us together.
Saturday, March 23, 2019.
Morning. Last Sunday’s Gospel was Peter, James and John witnessing Jesus’ Transfiguration on a mountain. In the first reading at tomorrow’s mass, Moses witnesses something of God the Father — on a mountain. A full three chapters of the Gospel of Matthew records Jesus giving the Sermon on the Mount. The apostles witness Jesus ascend up into heaven, from themountain to “which he had directed them.” Appreciate the consistent imagery. Great things happen on mountains.
Afternoon. Appreciate the beauty of the consistency of the Bible. The number of references to manna and bread that culminate in the act of Jesus turning Bread into his Body. (The word Bread occurring more than 4,500 times in the Bible).
Evening. We read the Bible both as individuals as well as part of a community. Every Sunday, the world over, we hear the same readings as a world-wide Catholic family. We all journey together guided by the Word of God.
Sunday, March 24, 2019.
Morning. In today’s first reading, Moses witnessed something of God the Father, in the burning bush. Everlasting. The bush burns but is not consumed. God is eternal, without beginning or end.
Afternoon. The very presence of God in the bush makes the ground around it Holy. The very presence of Jesus in our church makes this St Jude Church Holy.
Evening. In today’s first reading, we hear how God cares. “I have heard their cries and witnessed their affliction and have come to rescue them.” But God acts in his own time. We must be patient. God waited decades (for Moses to grow from a newborn into an adult) before he freed the people of Israel.
Monday, March 25, 2019.
Morning. Today we celebrate the first mystery of the rosary: the Annunciation. In response to the words of the Angel Gabriel, the Blessed Virgin Mary agrees to become the mother of Jesus. March 25 is exactly nine months before Christmas day. As we appreciated something of the beauty of the Bible on this past Saturday, so let us appreciate something of the beauty of the Church’s calendar. Today, exactly nine months before Christmas day, we celebrate the Annunciation.
Afternoon. Our Lady was deeply troubled and the Angel asked her not to be afraid. So we too will experience apprehension and even fear when we accept our calling to do God’s will.
Evening. Our Lady did not fully understand. “How can this be?” So we too will not fully understand what God asks of us, and yet, in imitation of the Blessed Virgin, we too are called to say “yes” to God.
Tuesday, March 26, 2019.
Morning. As we continue our Lenten journey, we are repeatedly called to repentance. Let us turn to the ten commandments to help us repent. God is all Holy and everything begins with and returns to God. The ten commandments do not start with a focus on our actions but rather on the reality that God is God.
Afternoon. We repent for the times that we may have acted as if everything did not begin with and return back to the reality that God is God, especially we Priest and Deacons, who heard the Bishop say at our ordination, “May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment.” Let us all act out of the belief that all things begin with and return back to God.
Evening. We are creatures of imitation. Unless we make an effort, we will simply parrot the curse words we hear all around us, as we walk through the Trumbull mall, as we sit in the theater and watch a movie. We repent for the times we have used the Lord’s name in vain.
Wednesday, March 27, 2019.
Morning. Let us make a conscious effort to use God’s name once a day in a prayerful way. “God the Father, thank you for the beauty of creation. Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for dying on the cross for our salvation.” By using God’s name in a Holy way, we will be less likely to use God’s name as a curse.
Afternoon. The beginning of the Bible shows us that all of the work was done previously, before God created humankind on the sixth day. As tempting as it is to grind on 24-7-365, we are called to rest one day out of the week. And if we fear that everything will fall apart if we back away to rest for a while, let us be reminded that it was God who created everything before humankind came into existence. And God can keep creation going for a minute or an hour or an entire sabbath day, as we step aside to rest, according to the third commandment.
Evening. Honor father and mother. A transition has taken place. The first three commandments speak of God. The last seven commandments, beginning with the fourth, speak of our relationship to one another. Let all young children appreciate that God has entrusted them to their parents—and thereby honor them by not fighting and by doing immediately whatever their parents ask.
Thursday, March 28, 2019.
Morning. Let all of us adult children honor our father and mother by taking care of them as they age. For the first part of our lives, our parents take care of us young children… for the second part of our lives, we take care of our aging parents.
Afternoon. Car keys. When we are teen-agers, our parents determine whether or not we can have the car keys. As adult children, we one day become responsible for taking the car keys away from our aging parents.
Evening. All the other commandments have a static character about them, but Honor father and mother is dynamic. It changes over a lifetime as children grow into adults and parents age.
Friday, March 29, 2019.
Morning. Thou shall not kill. We cannot even get through the fourth chapter of the first book of the Bible without a murder, within the first family. And we could not get through the last century without World War Two claiming sixty million lives. Let us do everything we can to create a world free from killing, and let us also pray fervently for Jesus to return in his Second Coming when he will establish his kingdom in which there will be no more bloodshed.
Afternoon. For our young ones, let the sixth commandment be one of commitment to family members. And for adults let the sixth commandment be one of respecting the commitment that married couples make to one another. For those of us who are married, let our focus be solely on our spouse. And for those of us who are not married, let us not put pressure on another’s marriage.
Evening. God in his infinite wisdom gives each of us what he wants us to have. Our life is a journey that begins from a point of our being dissatisfied with what we consider to be the little that God has given us and, hopefully, ends with our complete satisfaction with what God gives to us.
Saturday, March 30, 2019.
Morning. Thou shall not steal. Sure, you may get arrested for stealing. But let us rather avoid stealing for the simple reason that we are fully satisfied with what God has given to us.
Afternoon. Rather than take what another has, let us be happy for what they have. Let me not see myself and what I have as separate and divided from everybody else and what they have. Rather let us all see ourselves as part of a world-wide human family. I benefit by what she has. He benefits by what I have. There is not need for us to steal from one another.
Evening. We have journeyed halfway through the penitential aspect of Lent. Let us step back and take a breath and Rejoice. This evening and all day tomorrow is Laetare Sunday, laetare meaning to rejoice. Sit back. Take a breath. Rejoice.
Sunday, March 31, 2019.
Morning. Let us identify ourselves with the younger or Prodigal son in today’s Gospel reading. Yes, Lent is a time of repentance, but we are offered today to step back and take a breath and Rejoice. Yes, God will forgive us of our sins. Yes, we will be welcomed back as guests at a feast that celebrates our return.
Afternoon. It is going to take some effort on our part to fully rejoice in such a welcome. Along with the Prodigal son, I am tempted to say, “I no longer deserve… treat me as you would one of the workers…” But, no, the Father has the final word. And he says we should be dressed in the finest robe with a ring on our finger.
Evening. As we hear in today’s Gospel reading. “Then the celebration began.” So let us rejoice.
Monday April 1, 2019.
Morning. Monday morning and the start of a new month and the beginning of the fourth week of Lent bring us back down to earth, from the enjoyment of yesterday’s call to rejoice. Let us spend some time considering the sadness that is our separation from God.
Afternoon. Yesterday’s Gospel reading does not conclude with the joy of the Prodigal son’s return. Rather it focuses on the sadness that is the separation that the older son has from his father. Were there ever times that we felt separated from God the Father?
Evening. The elder son’s separation from God was self-inflicted. “He was angry and refused to go into the feast.” It is going to be a long journey for him to get to the point that he is happy that his brother is forgiven. Do we ever find ourselves angry because God did not punish our brother or sister? Do we ever find ourselves separating ourselves from God because God forgave our bother or sister?
Tuesday, April 2, 2019.
Morning. It is a long journey for the elder son to get to a point where he will rejoice in the fact that the father welcomes his brother back with open arms. But it is a journey he does not need to make alone. The father goes out and pleads with the elder son, and so will God make every effort to reach out to us and overcome any separation that we have put between ourselves and God.
Afternoon. The father chooses to share all with the elder son. “You are here with me always… all I have is yours.” So let us hear these words from God the Father offering to overcome anything that separates ourselves from him.
Evening. The final request is not addressed to the Prodigal Son but rather to the elder son. “Let us celebrate and rejoice that your brother has returned from his life of sin.” So is the call for us to thank God not only for forgiving us of our sins, but also for forgiving our brothers and sisters of their sins.
Wednesday, April 3, 2019.
Morning. Let us resume our consideration of sin, with the eighth commandment. The strongest bond of any human relationship is that of honesty. Conversely, any human relationship based on deceit is bound to fall apart. Let us avoid lying, so that our relationships may be solidly founded on truth.
Afternoon. The temptation is always there to lie: to avoid admitting blame, to avoid disappointing another. Whenever we feel like we are losing control, the temptation is always there to attempt to manipulate another through deception and thereby gain the upper hand. It is not easy to admit that at times I am guilty.
Evening. It is not easy to admit that I want to please everybody and this desire might tempt me to lie, in order to have others think better of me. It is not always easy to resist the temptation to manipulate and deceive another. But in the end basing our human interaction on truth rather than lies and deception will lead to solid human relationships that endure the test of time.
Thursday, April 4, 2019.
Morning. Covet. To desire greedily. Any other concept is only given one commandment. But Covet gets two commandments, a full 20% of the commandments. And it gets the final word. For long after we are free from being in actual danger of stealing, or long after we are in actual danger of risking our own marriage or putting pressure on the marriage of another, the thought to do so may still occur to us.
Afternoon. We are complex beings with many layers. The first half of our journey is to free ourselves from committing the act of stealing. The second half of our journey is allowing ourselves to be transformed by God’s grace so that we no longer covet — or desire greedily — that which belongs to another.
Evening. Lent is a penitential time. Let us look to the ten commandments as a guide for examining our conscience so that when we do go to the sacrament of reconciliation we can properly confess our sins.