2017 Daily Lenten Reflections
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2017 Daily Lenten Reflections

Easter Sunday, April 16

Colossians 3:1-4
 
Brothers and sisters:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, 
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.
 
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Reflection
 
Are You Looking Up or Down?
 
The tone and mood of the readings of Easter Sunday stand in sharp contrast to those in the Lenten season where hope and anticipation prevailed, but preparation was in the forefront of what we were encouraged to do.  The Lenten season was a time for becoming better people through fasting, reflection, and self-sacrifice.
 
As we move to Easter Sunday, we are now encouraged to consider the risen Christ to guide our actions.  Our focus need to be constantly looking up and not on temporary earth, but on an eternal heaven.  Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we now have eternal life so it is our task to join Christ for all eternity by keeping our eyes focusing on that prize.  Lent has prepared us to reduce our grasp on our earthly possessions to so that we may focus on the eternal possessions of heaven.
 
I hope Lent has provided you with the opportunity to shed death and enjoy eternal life with God.  Happy Easter!
 
-Dr. John Smarrelli, Jr.
President, Christian Brothers University

Saturday, April 15

Romans 6:3-11
 
Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death,
so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
we too might live in newness of life.

For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his,
we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.
We know that our old self was crucified with him,
so that our sinful body might be done away with,
that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.
For a dead person has been absolved from sin.
If, then, we have died with Christ,
we believe that we shall also live with him.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more;
death no longer has power over him.
As to his death, he died to sin once and for all;
as to his life, he lives for God.
Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin
and living for God in Christ Jesus.
 
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Reflection
 
When those of us that have been baptized into Jesus Christ, we can no longer do or say as we please, we have been bought with the blood of Jesus and know God is our Father and we should obey his word as he directs us. We can longer behave or treat people wrong, because we should have a new way of acting. We as new creatures (people) are now to model our lives after Jesus Christ, so others can see the difference God has made in us. When we made the decision to now follow Jesus Christ, we should understand that old things and habits are no longer in our lives, because Jesus controls our hearts, actions and everything that we do now should reflect and represent Jesus.
 
We know are the representatives of Jesus Christ, so we have to be careful on everything we do and say, so we may draw others to Christ like someone once showed us the way. We are the light of the world and in most cases may be the only bright light those around us may see, so let us be good examples of Jesus Christ that we may continue to inspire others to make the decision to also follow Jesus Christ.
-Ashley Briggs
Office Coordinator, Campus Ministry

Good Friday, April 14

Hebrews 4:14-16; 5: 7-9 (NLT)
 
So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven,
Jesus the Son of God,
let us hold firmly to what we believe.
This High Priest of ours
understands our weaknesses,
for he faced all of the same testings we do,
yet he did not sin.
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.
There we will receive his mercy,
and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
 
While Jesus was here on earth,
he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears,
to the one who could rescue him from death.
And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God.
Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.
In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest,
and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.
 
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Reflection
 
Hebrews 4:15-16 is a powerful and encouraging passage when it comes to perseverance and prayer. Perseverance validates a genuine faith. It also shows us that our source of strength is our perfect and sympathetic High Priest, Jesus, who represents us before the Father. We can approach God with the confidence that the perfect man, Jesus, represents us. Jesus can sympathize with us and fully experience what we do. Isn’t it great to know that God will never leave nor forsake us? (Hebrews 13:5)
 
While searching the internet on Bible.org, I came across a very touching story that is similar to our Deliverer and Savior’s sympathy for our condition by Steven J Cole in Lesson 14: The Throne of Grace.
 
I read about a boy who noticed a sign, “Puppies for sale.” He asked, “How much do you want for the pups, mister?” “Twenty-five dollars, son.” The boy’s face dropped. “Well, sir, could I see them anyway?” The man whistled and the mother dog came around the corner, followed by four cute puppies, wagging their tails and yipping happily. Then lagging behind, another puppy came around the corner, dragging one hind leg. “What’s the matter with that one, sir?” the boy asked. “Well, son, that puppy is crippled. The vet took an X-ray and found that it doesn’t have a hip socket. It will never be right.”
The man was surprised when the boy said, “That’s the one I want. Could I pay you a little each week?” The owner replied, “But, son, you don’t seem to understand. That pup will never be able to run or even walk right. He’s going to be a cripple forever. Why would you want a pup like that?” The boy reached down and pulled up his pant leg, revealing a brace. “I don’t walk too good, either.” Looking down at the puppy, the boy continued, “That puppy is going to need a lot of love and understanding. It’s not easy being crippled!” The man said, “You can have the puppy for free. I know you’ll take good care of him.”
 
Jesus understands our deepest feelings and loves us unconditionally. We all need someone who knows exactly what we need and to sympathize with our problems and weaknesses without condemning us. God will provide. Trust Him!
In Hebrews 5, the suffering described took place on the night before Jesus’s crucifixion. In verse 7, Jesus Christ was in the flesh, suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and praying to be relieved of his suffering. He was offering prayers and supplication with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him out of death. Because of Jesus’ reverence/deep respect to God, God heard his prayers. Jesus was made perfect through suffering so that “he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” Jesus Christ met the requirement of the high priest. As the High Priest, Jesus could sympathize with our weaknesses by being tempted in every way.
 
As students, faculty, staff and Christians, when we feel defeated, alone, and are faced with suffering, trials and the pressures of life, we need to remember that Jesus Christ is our compassionate and faithful High Priest, who is always there for us and understands exactly what we are going through. Just like us, Jesus, the Son, also suffered and learned obedience through what he suffered. Jesus also cried out and offered up prayers to God, just as we do. He is not out to condemn us. Jesus is at our side to bring us to the throne of grace. Let us for that reason trust God in every area of life and come boldly to find mercy and grace to help in a time of need.
 
Glory be to God! Thank you for the Spirit of comfort and strength. Thank you Lord for your saving acts on our behalf and unfailing love. PRAISE GOD FOR HIS FAITHFULLNESS!!!
 
May the season of Lent be one that enriches your faith!
-Alton Wade, Jr.
Director of Residence Life

Holy Thursday, April 13

John 13: 1-15 (NLT)
 
Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to leave this world and return to his Father.
He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end.
It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.
Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything
and that he had come from God and would return to God. 
So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 
and poured water into a basin.
Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet,
drying them with the towel he had around him.
When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied,“You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
“No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”
Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”
Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”
Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash,
except for the feet, to be entirely clean.
And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” 
For Jesus knew who would betray him.
That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”12 
 
After washing their feet,
he put on his robe again and sat down and asked,
“Do you understand what I was doing? 
You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 
And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash each other’s feet. 
I have given you an example to follow.
Do as I have done to you.
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Reflection
 
The night before Passover, Jesus and His disciples join together for a feast. Jesus is aware that His time on earth was coming to an end and took this moment to teach His disciples one final lesson.
 
Feet-washing was a typical custom before entering someone’s home or before a meal, usually performed by servants. However, Jesus decided to wash the feet of His disciples to demonstrate His humility. Of course they were all surprised, but only Peter had said something about it. He did not want Jesus to wash his feet because he did not feel comfortable with Jesus performing such a lowly task.
 
Peter insisted on Jesus cleaning any other part of him except for his feet, in which Jesus explains that Peter could be clean everywhere else, but you are not entirely clean unless the feet are washed. After Jesus finishes cleaning the disciples’ feet, He advises them to do as He has done for them.
 
Back in grade school, my Sunday school teacher told me that you can take a shower and be clean from head to toe, but as soon as you walk out of the shower, your feet are dirty again. When Jesus says “A person who has bathed all over,” He means that this person has been saved: they have accepted Jesus as the Son of God and as the Savior. Once you are clean, you don’t have to wash yourself again, as Peter insisted. However, even though we are saved, we still sin because we all fall short of the glory of God on a daily basis. The dirt on our feet are the sins we commit. We must admit our sins and repent in order to wash away the dirt on our feet. We must ask for forgiveness in order to be clean once again.
 
As we approach Easter, let us remember the reason why Jesus was sent to us: to save us from our sins. He was sent to wash all of our feet, no matter who we are, so that we may come to know God our Father.
 
-Lauren Jeu
Natural Science, 2017 Lasallian Fellow

Wednesday, April 12

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.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
the disciples approached Jesus and said,
"Where do you want us to prepare
for you to eat the Passover?"
He said,
"Go into the city to a certain man and tell him,
'The teacher says, My appointed time draws near;
in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.'"
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered,
and prepared the Passover.

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."
 
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Reflection
 
When we think of Jesus and his betrayal most of us think immediately of Judas Iscariot as the villain, the evil one, the one who betrayed Jesus. But let’s take a closer look at the reading:
 
"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?"
 
One after another - all of the disciples – said: “Surely it is not I, Lord?” and as we know as the events continue to unfold during this Holy Week, they all denied him. Denial is a form of betrayal. When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus and take him to the high priest Caiaphas to try Jesus, scripture said “all the disciples left him and fled.” Even Peter, the disciple Jesus chose to lead his church in the future, denied he knew him three times and thus betrayed him! I’m sure most of us Christians would never intentionally deny or betray Jesus, but if by faith we profess we are made in the image and likeness of God and Christ lives in each of us, why do we deny or betray people in our lives – many of the people with whom we profess to have a close relationship? 
 
Have you ever said you would do something for someone and then never did? Have you ever spoken positively about a person in their presence, but then spoke negatively about them to another person when they were not present? Have you ever told someone you would meet them for an event, but then backed out because you really wanted to do something else or to be with someone else? Have you ever approached a highway intersection or the end of an exit ramp and seen a person with a sign asking for food or work, and you quickly looked the other way purposely not seeing them – denying that they are there? I’m sure you can add your own examples.
 
There are big betrayals and little betrayals. This week let us be mindful that there is a little of “Judas” in each of us and not be so quick to condemn. Let us look within and be faithful in our commitments and relationships with people. Act and speak the truth. Ask God for forgiveness when we do fail, and because we are human, we will fail at times. But remember that Jesus is always forgiving if we but sincerely ask for pardon. He loved us so much that he gave his life for us and redeemed us as we will see later on in events of this Holy Week!
-Brother Thomas Sullivan, FSC
Director of Campus Ministry and Adjunct, Biology

Tuesday, April 11

John 13:21-33, 36-38
 
Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
"Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me."
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,
was reclining at Jesus' side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus' chest and said to him,
"Master, who is it?"
Jesus answered,
"It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it."
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas,
son of Simon the Iscariot.
After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.
So Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly."
Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him.
Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him,
"Buy what we need for the feast,"
or to give something to the poor.
So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

When he had left, Jesus said,
"Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself,
and he will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me, and as I told the Jews,
'Where I go you cannot come,' so now I say it to you."

Simon Peter said to him, "Master, where are you going?"
Jesus answered him,
"Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later."
Peter said to him,
"Master, why can I not follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you."
Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me?
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times."
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Reflection
 
John 13:21-38 is about the betrayal of Jesus by two of his disciples. The first disciple to betray Jesus is Judas. Jesus, being all knowing, foretold of his betrayal at the Passover Feast saying, "It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish. Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon"(NIV). The second disciple to betray Jesus in this text is Peter, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!"
 
As we prepare our minds and hearts for this Easter season I think it is important to evaluate where one is at in life compared to these two disciples. Are you a Judas-who has sin in their heart and is in need of repentance? Or are you a Peter-who has the heart for the Lord, but whose flesh has caused oneself to stumble? I have found myself being a Judas and a Peter at different points in life.
 
However, no matter which disciple you are most closely resembling right now in life, this passage is the ultimate redemption love story. It is a reminder that God is love, He knew Judas and Peter were going to betray him, yet Jesus still offered his body for both on the cross. In this lent season we can confidently proclaim the redemptive power of our creator. "Too far gone" is not a statement for Christ. He is ready and willing to accept our failures and shortcomings if we come with repentant hearts.
 
-Rachel Farmer
Chemistry, 2017

Monday, April 10

John 12:1-11
 
Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. 
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. 
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
"Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days' wages
and given to the poor?"
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, "Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me."

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,
not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him.
 
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Reflection
 
Scripture readings are often difficult to relate to due to the time period in which they were written. It is also challenging because of the cultural differences, not to mention the miracles. One being, Lazarus was raised from the dead. Yes, he was and so can we!
 
Jesus gives us a new beginning every Lenten season. Lent allows us time to reflect, to peel away all the things which have held us back from being the individual God has intended us to be. We must embrace our own divinity which rest within us.  Remember each of us is made in the image of God.
John reminds us that everything is not as it seems. The thief, Judas of Iscariot, still tries to fool Mary, but Jesus sees through him. He is teaching us to rise above the negativity and sometimes dishonesty which exist in our society today just as it did then. We must be one with Christ even when are faced with the challenges of a secular society.
 
As we draw near to the Holy Triduum, let us peel away all the obstacles which prevent us from seeing our divinity and the divinity in others. Only then will we be able to enjoy the Easter Season.
-Carolyn Head
Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance 

Palm Sunday, April 9

Read today's readings here
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Reflection
 
Palm Sunday – The older I get the more I have looked at Palm Sunday as the “rounding third and heading for home” of one’s Lenten Journey.  But the distance between third and home (home being Easter) is quite a distance.  Today we see Jesus arriving in Jerusalem riding a donkey and being hailed as if he were a king.  Between this coming Thursday evening and midday Friday, he is arrested, tried and convicted, whipped, mocked, and finally taken to Calvary for his crucifixion.  All of this is recorded by Matthew --- first in the Gospel for the Liturgy of the Palms, and then his record of the passion and death of Jesus.
 
In the midst of the readings is an excerpt from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians that might possibly be remembered a bit more than Matthew’s Gospel passages as it has been set to music and sung either as a hymn or anthem --- this way too old choir boy remembers it well although he is ashamed to say that he cannot recall the composer.  In this text we see Jesus as a God becoming Jesus as a man --- yes, man with a small “m.”  As man he was a servant, not regal as a king or president.  He obeyed his Father who sent him --- even to the point of dying on a cross.  We also need to note that God rewarded him, just as He rewards those of us that accept Jesus as our Savior in a manner that glorifies both Christ and his Father.
 
Very comforting words these days to help us as we round third and head home to complete our Lenten journey.  Yes, we fumble, mumble, stumble, and tumble during this trip, but once we arrive at home plate on Easter Day our journey is done, our tasks are complete, and each of us are one of God’s children.
 
Have a safe journey this week.
 
-Andrew Morgret
Associate Professor of Accounting

Saturday, April 8

Ezekiel 37:21-28
 
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will take the children of Israel from among the nations
to which they have come,
and gather them from all sides to bring them back to their land.
I will make them one nation upon the land,
in the mountains of Israel,
and there shall be one prince for them all.
Never again shall they be two nations,
and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms.

No longer shall they defile themselves with their idols,
their abominations, and all their transgressions.
I will deliver them from all their sins of apostasy,
and cleanse them so that they may be my people
and I may be their God.
My servant David shall be prince over them,
and there shall be one shepherd for them all;
they shall live by my statutes and carefully observe my decrees.
They shall live on the land that I gave to my servant Jacob,
the land where their fathers lived;
they shall live on it forever,
they, and their children, and their children's children,
with my servant David their prince forever.
I will make with them a covenant of peace;
it shall be an everlasting covenant with them,
and I will multiply them, and put my sanctuary among them forever.
My dwelling shall be with them;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Thus the nations shall know that it is I, the LORD,
who make Israel holy,
when my sanctuary shall be set up among them forever.
John 11:45-56
 
Many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him.
But some of them went to the Pharisees
and told them what Jesus had done.
So the chief priests and the Pharisees
convened the Sanhedrin and said,
"What are we going to do?
This man is performing many signs.
If we leave him alone, all will believe in him,
and the Romans will come
and take away both our land and our nation."
But one of them, Caiaphas,
who was high priest that year, said to them,
"You know nothing,
nor do you consider that it is better for you
that one man should die instead of the people,
so that the whole nation may not perish."
He did not say this on his own,
but since he was high priest for that year,
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.

So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews,
but he left for the region near the desert,
to a town called Ephraim,
and there he remained with his disciples.

Now the Passover of the Jews was near,
and many went up from the country to Jerusalem
before Passover to purify themselves.
They looked for Jesus and said to one another
as they were in the temple area, "What do you think?
That he will not come to the feast?"
 
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Reflection
 
One of my greatest passions in life is teaching leadership principles to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.  Over the years, I’ve struggled with finding the perfect definition of leadership.  We know from the examples of the greatest leaders, including THE greatest leader, Jesus, that leadership is not a position or a title, but rather a mind-set.  Or stated more appropriately, a heart-set.   One definition I’ve always liked states, “Leaders find the commonality in all of us and move us toward a unifying vision.” 
 
As I reflect upon these two sets of scriptures that simple definition of leadership comes to mind.  In Ezekiel we read of God gathering the people of Israel from many nations and bringing them home.  He anoints David as King under whose leadership the people of Israel will unite and be blessed for generations.  In the gospel of John we understand that Jesus’ death would be not only for one nation, but would unite Children of God scattered throughout the world. 
 
In both scriptures we witness God supplying for us a unifying vision.  He wants us to all believe in Him, love Him, and worship Him.  It is the commonality we all share, a need to follow something bigger than ourselves. 
 
Prayer:  Dear Lord, in these days of scattered nations and divisions inside our own nation, remind us that Jesus is our leader.  He knows we all share one heart, are one nation.  Only he can move us toward that unifying vision.   Amen
 
-Bevalee Vitali
Associate Professor, Management/Marketing/Economics

Friday, April 7

Jeremiah 20:10-13
 
I hear the whisperings of many:
"Terror on every side!
Denounce! let us denounce him!"
All those who were my friends
are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
"Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail,
and take our vengeance on him."
But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion:
my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.
In their failure they will be put to utter shame,
to lasting, unforgettable confusion.
O LORD of hosts, you who test the just,
who probe mind and heart,
Let me witness the vengeance you take on them,
for to you I have entrusted my cause.
Sing to the LORD,
praise the LORD,
For he has rescued the life of the poor
from the power of the wicked!
Psalm 18:2-7

I love you, O LORD, my strength,
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.
My God, my rock of refuge,
my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim,
and I am safe from my enemies.
The breakers of death surged round about me,
the destroying floods overwhelmed me;
The cords of the nether world enmeshed me,
the snares of death overtook me.
In my distress I called upon the LORD
and cried out to my God;
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears. 
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Reflection
 
The readings for today present a triptych of vengeance, anxiety and persecution, demonstrating that our contemporary denunciatory culture has ancient roots. When I read Jeremiah’s verse, “All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine,” it reminded me of the saddest moments of my own life when I had been the member of a toxic organization or group (as well as watching any given episode of Game of Thrones).  With infighting, suspicion and paranoia swirling about, how can anyone hope for betterment or improvement beyond mere personal advancement? How can we live in the “beloved community” if we’re waiting for God to avenge us on our enemies?
 
The Responsorial Psalms too paint a vivid picture: “The breakers of death surged round about me, the destroying floods overwhelmed me…” In our campus roles, many of us know students and colleagues veritably drowning in work, relationships, addictions or illness: many of us have been there too. In my daily work with Title IX coordination, I read listserv posts that describe heartbreaking scenarios going on at campuses like ours.  Much of this suffering is psychological, with an element of the isolation apparent in the Jeremiah verses mentioned previously. Lonely and hurting, many of us struggle to make it through the day, with nights alone being even harder.
 
Today’s Gospel reading from John shows Jesus threatened with a stoning from Pharisees or Sadducees. They initiate this not because of what he’s done, but for what he’s said: “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.”  Jesus, while pointing out their error, still has to flee, crossing the Jordan River as a refugee, rejected by his own religious leaders. The brutal overreaction seems like something out of ISIS’ behavior, making a belief punishable by death. Coupled with the previous texts, together they show a desire among many who, upon finding a conflict in understanding, seek to persecute those with whom they disagree. Violence is met with calls for vengeance; isolation brings distress for those who suffer.
 
Yet the readings offer hope. Jeremiah offers praise to God: “For he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked;” the Psalm reports that “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice;” John ends with how, when reminded that Jesus’ acts were correctly predicted by John the Baptist, “many there began to believe in him.” So often, the suffering and strife can seem so pointless. Charges and countercharges, filibusters and accusations are launched, with every scenario gamed out cynically. Scripture reminds us to take comfort in the longer view that right will eventually win out. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s reworked the transcendentalist Theodore Parker’s idea, saying, “"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” For me, these scriptural passages affirm the same message: for all the suffering and betrayal in our lives and in human history, we have hope that what is right will come.
-Timothy Doyle
Associate Vice President for Student Life

Thursday, April 6

John 8:51-59
 
Jesus said to the Jews:
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death." 
So the Jews said to him,
"Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say,
'Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.'
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? 
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?" 
Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, 'He is our God.'
You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word. 
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad." 
So the Jews said to him,
"You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?"
Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM."
So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
How many times has someone said something to you that was so outrageous that you responded with the classic phrase, “Who does this person think he/she is?” Well, I’ve said that classic phrase before because I did not want to believe what that person was telling me.
 
The scenario above reminds me of the encounter Jesus had with the Jews in the temple (John 8:51-59):
Jesus made the claim, "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death,” and the Jews basically responded by calling Jesus crazy, and adding, “Who do you make yourself out to be?" or a more modern day translation, “Who does this guy think he is!” In fact, after they asked Jesus additional questions, they were so angered at his seemingly heretical responses, especially when he referred to himself as God, using “…I AM.” This also appears in Exodus 3:14, the story of the burning bush, in which God reveals his name to Moses, “I am, who am.” They then picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus quickly fled out of the Temple. This is one of the greatest revelations that Jesus presents to the Jews, but they quickly rejected it. They did not want to believe it.
 
This failed belief came from the absence of faith. Faith is a gift, freely given by God and received as grace. Those individuals in the temple rejected the manifestation of God through Jesus and thus, were unable to obtain the gift of grace and ultimately faith.
 
Our mission as Christians is to strengthen our relationship with God. I, therefore, urge everyone to spend time opening himself/herself up to the Lord’s word and to be willing to accept his call. We must not cast a stone at the things that do not fit into our own views and plans, but instead, be open and attentive to God’s alternative plans.
 
While our faith in God, which is an unconditional absolute faith, differs from faith in humans, let us also strengthen our faith in people and avoid that classic phrase, “Who does this person think he/she is?” In saying this phrase, I have come to realize that I am picking up a stone to throw. This is not what we were intended to do as Christians. Christ calls us to enter into a relationship with him through faith. We are meant to grow closer to Christ and, by doing so, we help others grow closer to Him. As members of the CBU community, we must help our fellow students and teachers grow in their faith with each other and to not cast stones at one another. Most importantly, we must not cast stones at God’s word and be open to his call. This will allow all of us to better serve God and humankind. 
 
Let us believe in Him.
 
-John Buttross
Biology, 2017 Lasallian Fellow

Wednesday, April 5

Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95
 
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."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
Among the readings for this week of Lent, we are asked to reflect on the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. While we may be heartened to be reminded of God’s protection of His faithful and the courage of those who would face death rather than deny their beliefs, we should recognize that we do this living in a country and at a time, where we will not likely be presented the same challenge. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were members of a minority religion, being oppressed by the powerful. That’s not who we are. History and evangelization have made Christianity a religion of the powerful. This reality should give us pause.
 
Theologian Howard Thurman, in his Meditations of the Heart, asserts that God demands both activity and rest; the rest being the pause. He says, “When we function, we are enjoined to function wholly, bringing into the deeds the wisdom and the insight of the quiet and the pause.” What is a wisdom that can be gleaned from reflecting on the disparity between Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s times and our own? Surely among the witnesses of their courage and the miracle might have been those impressed with their willingness to sacrifice themselves. As a student said to me once, “I gotta respect someone who believes hard.” And certainly Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s early Christian counterparts demonstrated the same willingness. Yet we know from the Acts of the Apostles and early historians that the way Christians treated one another and non-believers also effected many conversions.
 
As members of a religion of the powerful, we can do no less than be sensitive to the experiences and observations of non-believers, the unchurched, those who comedian and filmmaker Woody Allen calls God’s loyal opposition. They have much to say about how they see us operating in the contemporary world that may be humbling, but may offer us the opportunity to reconnect with the love reflected in service of others that early Christians practiced. As Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to face a fiery death, if God would not rescue them, we too, will be able to face the challenges of those who feel they suffer at our hands, in order to live as Jesus did.
 
As we continue to reflect during the season, we may ask ourselves
  • How have I responded to others’ differences in belief?
  • Have I been willing to share my faith in a non-confrontational way?
  • Have I been able to speak of my difference from others non-judgmentally?
  • Has my behavior made it easier for others to share their doubts with me?
 
-Brother Allen Johnson, FSC
Assistant Professor, Literature & Languages

Tuesday, April 4

John 8:21-30
Jesus said to the Pharisees:
"I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come."
So the Jews said,
"He is not going to kill himself, is he,
because he said, 'Where I am going you cannot come'?"
He said to them, "You belong to what is below,
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."
So they said to him, "Who are you?"
Jesus said to them, "What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation.
But the one who sent me is true,
and what I heard from him I tell the world."
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said to them,
"When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me.
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him."
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
This passage really brought one’s relationship with God into perspective. Sometimes we get so caught up in ourselves that we put God “on the back burner.” This happens because we focus on the now and how we can make our lives better with our own power, not with God’s. We lose sight of what really matters, which is a personal, meaningful relationship with God. Through having a relationship with God, we learn to not worry about everything because at the end of the day He will be looking out for us and has our best interest at heart. 
One thing that resonates with me from the passage is that like the Jews as Christians we don’t always understand things when they’re imparted to us. For example, when Jesus explained how he was God’s Son and God to the Jews they didn’t understand him. When He described his point in a different way, they understood and took it to heart. The main takeaway that I got from this little passage is that every now and then life will show you something that may not make any sense at the time but will later on and it’ll be for the better.
-Ken Guy
Business Management, 2018

Monday, April 3

John 8:1-11
 
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, 
and all the people started coming to him, 
and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman 
who had been caught in adultery 
and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him,
"Teacher, this woman was caught 
in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?"
They said this to test him,
so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him,
he straightened up and said to them,
"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."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
The bible account of the woman caught in adultery is the story found in John 8:1-11. The story involves Scribes and Pharisees who attempt to trick Jesus into saying something that they could hold against him. They bring to him a woman caught in adultery and ask him if according Mosaic Law she should be stoned to death.  Jesus said, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Those present left one by one. The problem Jesus had to address was to choose either to allow the woman to go free and disobey the Law of Moses or to approve the stoning of her and publicly lose his reputation as a friend of sinners. Jesus demonstrated his wisdom by choosing his response so that it renders the enactment of the legal punishment and at the same time allowing him to keep his reputation as one who forgives sinners.  
 
How can this apply to the CBU community? Well at least in two ways: One may be obvious, he/she who has not sinned should not criticize others concerning their perceived bad behavior and another may be that he/she should be careful in a response to the perceived transgressions of students or their lack of commitment in achieving their goals. While it may be likely that students will succeed in their college career, this reflection will address the response of faculty and staff to problems or situation that student encounter. Students often come into the care of the university with anxiety and apprehension. Questions that student ask themselves are, “What should I choose as my major or career, should I trust my new roommate,  how do I handle this new freedom of living away from home, should I let someone borrow my car, should I join a fraternity/sorority, with whom should I study, and do I really belong in college?”  To these questions, Jesus would provide a compassionate and meaningful response.   
 
The faculty must demonstrate understanding and compassion in addressing the problems and concerns of student. Students who make wrong decisions in their choices have not failed, but often suffer from having few life experiences that are a part of learning. Jesus makes known his wisdom by forgiving the woman who made a wrong choice and instructed her to sin no more.
 
Can faculty find the wisdom to address the concerns of students? Can faculty provide the strategies to assist students in achieving academic success and meet their life goals? How can faculty provide strategies for success, that student sometimes find mundane, such as getting enough sleep, studying in a non-distractive place, developing time-management policies, and asking for help. Faculty must find the resources and make their best effort to assure student that they can succeed in their pursuit of their life goals.  The achievement of goals depends largely on the attitudes and behaviors of students and for many students that means changing them. When student falter, faculty must be ready and willing to assist student in developing the mindset that they can succeed if they are persistent in their efforts to obtain their goals.  Faculty must be wise in guiding students in the structuring of their lives in ways that minimizes distractions that can hinder their obtaining success in life. This commitment to assist students requires work outside the classroom. Faculty must be willing to risk failure and be passionate about their work – just as one would expect of student. Faculty must find the means to transfer the belief that if one has confidence in oneself they can succeed. Wisdom is a virtue and it is truly a gift from God.
-John Ventura
Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Sunday, April 2

John 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33b-45
 
The sisters of Lazarus sent word to Jesus, saying, 
"Master, the one you love is ill."
When Jesus heard this he said,
"This illness is not to end in death, 
but is for the glory of God, 
that the Son of God may be glorified through it."
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill, 
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples, 
"Let us go back to Judea."

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus 
had already been in the tomb for four days.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him; 
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus, 
"Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you."
Jesus said to her,
"Your brother will rise."
Martha said,
"I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day."
Jesus told her,
"I am the resurrection and the life; 
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, 
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?"
She said to him, "Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world."

He became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, 
"Where have you laid him?"
They said to him, "Sir, come and see."
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, "See how he loved him."
But some of them said, 
"Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man 
have done something so that this man would not have died?"

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, "Take away the stone."
Martha, the dead man's sister, said to him, 
"Lord, by now there will be a stench; 
he has been dead for four days."
Jesus said to her,
"Did I not tell you that if you believe 
you will see the glory of God?"
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said, 
"Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me; 
but because of the crowd here I have said this, 
that they may believe that you sent me."
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice, 
"Lazarus, come out!"
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands, 
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
"Untie him and let him go."

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
Water in the midst of the desert.  Light in the midst of darkness.  Life where there had only been death.  The Scriptural images of these last three Sundays of Lent have captivated our attention.  Two weeks ago, we reflected upon the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well.  He promised her living water, an end to her thirst.  In last Sunday’s gospel, Jesus gave the gift of sight – the gift of light – to one born blind.  But those around him – the Pharisees and townspeople who had physical sight their entire lives – did not recognize that the light of Christ was right in front of them.  Their blindness continued.  And in today’s gospel passage, we hear Jesus proclaim himself to be the resurrection and the life.  Those around him were aggravated that he had not arrived sooner.  They truly believed that he could have cured Lazarus from his illness.  But now, it seemed, it was too late – his friend was dead and there was nothing for any of them to do but weep.  Yet in the midst of the weeping and the mourning, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”  And where there had been only death, life emerged from the tomb.  Jesus demonstrated that he could not only cure the sick, he could raise the dead.
 
Yes, these images of water, light and life are powerful.  These same images have captured the hearts and souls of Christians for these last two thousand years.  How could they not?  Each of us has been thirsty and longed for life-giving water.  Each of us has been trapped in darkness and longed for even the flicker of candlelight or the hopeful signal of a flashlight.  Each of us has experienced the death of a loved one and hoped against hope that we might see them alive again.  Yes, these images still have power, but not as much as they once did, I’m afraid.  Our society, it seems, has done its best to rob us of their strength.  As an image, water is only powerful when there is a real possibility of thirst.  Light is only powerful when there is a real possibility of darkness.  And the image of life is only powerful when life itself has value and meaning.  For all of our technological advances, for all of our institutions of higher learning, for all our supposed sophistication, we live in a society that places more value on wealth and comfort and raw power than on life itself.  We live in a culture of death.
 
Our world places almost no value on human life.  People get shot or stabbed or attacked every day.  Nations settle conflict with war, not negotiation.  Those who want something to change resort to terrorism rather than the persuasiveness of their words.  Those who want something they do not have often take it by violent force.  And children, the most innocent of our society, are often the victims of rage or of neglect or of pregnancy termination when their very birth would be inconvenient.  Images of all of these fill our media – not just the news, but movies and television and music these days.  As a society we have become desensitized to violence because our eyes and ears are continuously assaulted by messages of degradation and by a staggeringly high body count.   Surrounded as we are by violence and death, it is as though we now dwell in the tomb. This culture of death binds our hands and our feet as firmly as did those burial bands around Lazarus.  As Christians, we can wring our hands and shake our heads and wonder what the world has come to.  Or we can listen to this gospel and hear the words first directed to Lazarus as a challenge to us.  You see, Jesus calls to us – “Come out of the tomb!  Untie one another.  Turn away from this culture of death and promote life.”  The message of this gospel should echo in our hearts every day.  It should guide the way we treat one another – with civility, with respect, with compassion.  It should guide us to fill our minds and our imaginations with something other than the violence of what passes as popular these days.  And it should guide us to proclaim in word and in action that Jesus Christ is indeed the resurrection and the life.  Come out of the tomb, for everyone who lives and believes in Jesus Christ will never die.  Live, Jesus, in our hearts.
 
-Father Robert Marshall
Pastor St. Francis of Assisi Church

Saturday, April 1

Jeremiah 11:18-20
 
18 Because the LORD revealed their plot to me, I knew it,
for at that time he showed me what they were doing.
 
19 I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter;
I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying,
“Let us destroy the tree and its fruit;
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
that his name be remembered no more.”
 
20 But you, LORD Almighty, who judge righteously
 and test the heart and mind,
let me see your vengeance on them,
for to you I have committed my cause.
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
As I reflect on this passage, two things come to mind. I am reminded how important it is to listen and be obedient when God speaks. Secondly, when God’s children are obedient he bestows favor upon us and directs our path – even when the enemy tries to do harm along the way. Jeremiah was an obedient servant, and God protected him when the people of Anathoth plotted to kill him.
 
I referred to Jeremiah 11:3-5 for more context about how since the people of Israel left Egypt, God has been encouraging obedience by sending prophets to instruct people to change their wicked ways and bad habits. And when they obeyed the covenant – they were rewarded.
 
For example, the bible says God decided to “give them a land flowing with milk and honey.” However, those who chose not to listen to God’s word – were cursed – just like the people of Anathoth.
 
Every single day I strive to be a better Christian, but sometimes I fall short. We all do, but am thankful for God’s grace and mercy when am not at my best. This passage is a constant reminder of how we need to be cognizant of God’s word and to obey him. When we choose not to, there will be consequences.
 
-Stephanie Mathis 
Coordinator of International Student Services

 


Friday, March 31

Psalm 34:17-21 (NIV)
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.
Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
In this passage, the Psalmist offers the greatest words of comfort anyone could ever imagine. He explains that when the righteous cry out, when all hope seems to be lost, those who choose to follow the Lord are not alone. He says the Lord not only sees and hears the righteous, but delivers them from all troubles that they face. Whether broken hearted, vulnerable, or struggling, the Lord covers all of His servants’ concerns so that “no one who takes refuge in Him will be condemned.”
 
How many times do we forget who’s in control? The same God that brought the world into being and opened the Red Sea for Moses is the God that we, as believers, love and serve today. As humans, we’ve been conditioned to rely on intellect and reason to direct us through all of life’s challenges; however, relying on our own power is a losing situation. We all run into circumstances, small and large, where we’ve lost control or never had control to begin with, but believers hear this: we are servants of an active God! A God who not only hears our cries, but acts on them. A God who never shy’s away from any challenge. A God that always works in the best interest of His people.
 
During the season of Lent, we are given constant reminders of different reasons why God is worthy of our praise. My prayer is that through this reflection, we will all see God as our greatest source of protection and comfort, and will continue to trust in His power and promise as we go through our lives.
-Erric Fox
Mechanical Engineering, 2018

Thursday, March 30

Exodus 32: 7-14
 
The LORD said to Moses,
"Go down at once to your people
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
for they have become depraved.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
sacrificing to it and crying out,
'This is your God, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt!'"
The LORD said to Moses,
"I see how stiff-necked this people is.
Let me alone, then,
that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.
Then I will make of you a great nation."

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying,
"Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand?
Why should the Egyptians say,
'With evil intent he brought them out,
that he might kill them in the mountains
and exterminate them from the face of the earth'?
Let your blazing wrath die down;
relent in punishing your people. 
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel,
and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised,
I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.'"
So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
The Israelites during the exodus seem to make obvious mistakes that, as readers, makes us wonder why in the world God ever showed mercy to them. In today’s reading from Exodus, chapter 32, God is infuriated by the Israelites behavior. They have created the molten calf and have begun worshipping it. God tells Moses to let him destroy the Israelites for this betrayal and blasphemy. But, alas, Moses implores God to have mercy on His people and to give them another chance.
 
Reading this passage, a person finds themselves appalled by the actions of the Israelites. It becomes a moment where we do not truly put ourselves in the shoes of one of those Israelites from this reading of Exodus. We tend to not firmly grasp that even though we may not create a golden calf and worship it, we can often fashion things in our lives into things that we worship. We often place work, money, or even family and friends before God. And often we do not conscientiously think, “I worship this,” but things can take the place of God and our faith through our actions.
 
Once we acknowledge this fact in our lives, we can find that in Lent, through our fasting, abstinence and sacrifice, we make an effort to reorder our lives for God. Lent is a time of self-reflection, and hopefully through this reflection, we can improve ourselves and find God’s mercy and love in our lives.
-Clare Sauser
Natural Science, 2018

Wednesday, March 29

John 5:17-30
 
Jesus answered the Jews: 
"My Father is at work until now, so I am at work."
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him,
because he not only broke the sabbath
but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.

Jesus answered and said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own,
but only what he sees the Father doing;
for what he does, the Son will do also.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything that he himself does,
and he will show him greater works than these,
so that you may be amazed.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life,
so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.
Nor does the Father judge anyone,
but he has given all judgment to the Son,
so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
Whoever does not honor the Son
does not honor the Father who sent him.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word
and believes in the one who sent me
has eternal life and will not come to condemnation,
but has passed from death to life.
Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here
when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God,
and those who hear will live.
For just as the Father has life in himself,
so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself.
And he gave him power to exercise judgment,
because he is the Son of Man.
Do not be amazed at this,
because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs
will hear his voice and will come out,
those who have done good deeds
to the resurrection of life,
but those who have done wicked deeds
to the resurrection of condemnation.

"I cannot do anything on my own;
I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just,
because I do not seek my own will
but the will of the one who sent me."
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection

"Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word
and believes in the one who sent me
has eternal life and will not come to condemnation,
but has passed from death to life.
"

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! The words of this well known hymn by Fanny Crosby come directly to my mind when I read today’s gospel. If we hear the word of God, and believe, we are saved. It really is that simple. But let us not confuse simplicity with challenge. Today's gospel may be simple, but it is still challenging. It's challenging in that Jesus is telling us that God, not us, is in control.

Is there a greater challenge than to relinquish power over the world? How often do we find ourselves trying to control everything, or micromanage every detail of our lives and the world around us? In this gospel, Jesus is telling us that everything He (Jesus) does is dependent on the Father. And so shouldn't this be our goal too?

Today's challenge to give everything to God is great, but today's Blessed Assurance is simple: give everything to God, believe, and have eternal life.
-Brother Ryan Anderson, FSC
Associate Director of Campus Ministry

Tuesday, March 28

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.

Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
"It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat." 
He answered them, "The man who made me well told me,
'Take up your mat and walk.'"
They asked him,
"Who is the man who told you, 'Take it up and walk'?"
The man who was healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
"Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you."
The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a sabbath.
 
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
In this passage the Gospel talks about Jesus being scolded for helping a man on the Sabbath day who had been ill for 38 years. However, what I would like to touch on is that this man was not the only one that needed helping. There were many others surrounding the pool that were left there unhealed, unhappy and in pain. Why did Jesus not help everyone? Who would help them rise, take up their mat and walk? Does left behind mean that Jesus does not love us? Or even worse that we have done something wrong? Or that we are not as worthy as others? After some thought, it’s this kind of thinking that gets us nowhere. We are all human and can’t help thinking this way. It is in our nature to question things and wonder why some are saved why others are left to suffer.
 
This gospel isn’t just about getting up and walking but it is also about forgiveness of sins. When Jesus walks up to the man he asks him “Do you want to be well?” I know from experience that I have said many times in my life that I wanted to be well, but was not really willing to be well at all. Until we are ready to answer that question, we are stuck on the mat. Imagine being “stuck on the mat” for 38 years and finally here comes Jesus and asks you that question. Of course you would say yes!
 
When the man listens to Jesus, he rises up, takes his mat and begins to walk. He listened to his calling, that it was finally his time. But what about others? Here we go again with that same question. In other gospels Jesus singles someone out while others are left behind. Don’t think about it that way. Jesus is speaking to all of us. We are all that man on the mat, we are all sometimes left behind, or at least it feels that way.  We are all sitting on those mats for a long period of time until we are ready to listen to the Lord and rise up from our mat. Are you willing to accept the invitation to be well again?
 
-Servando Mireles
Finance, 2018

Monday, March 27


John 4:43-54
 
At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee.
For Jesus himself testified
that a prophet has no honor in his native place.
When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him,
since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast;
for they themselves had gone to the feast.

Then he returned to Cana in Galilee,
where he had made the water wine.
Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum.
When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea,
he went to him and asked him to come down
and heal his son, who was near death.
Jesus said to him,
"Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe."
The royal official said to him,
"Sir, come down before my child dies."
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.
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.
Now this was the second sign Jesus did
when he came to Galilee from Judea.
 
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
From the Ignatian tradition, we learn of a way to prayerfully read Holy Scripture. This method is called Gospel Contemplation. After reading a passage, St. Ignatius of Loyola invites us to enter into the text by imagining ourselves as one of the characters in the story. St. Ignatius says that we should see, hear, smell, and touch each facet of the event. As we experience the gospel scene, we are called to be aware of how we respond on a feeling level and to consider what it might mean for us at this time.
 
I imagine myself as the official whose son was gravely ill. I feel the desperation in my gut and know that I will do anything to try and save the life of my son. I hear that there is a Nazarene preacher who has been performing miracles and he has come to Cana (about 16 miles from my home in Capernaum). When I find the man named Jesus I plead with him to come back to Capernaum so that my son may be healed. My feet ache and my hands shake and I only hope this man will listen to me and come back home to save my son. But then, this man of God does the unexpected. He dismisses me, tells me to go home, and, by the way, my son will live. Even stranger, I believe him. I believe the words of Jesus. I know that my son will be healed and this is confirmed by eye witness confirmation midway on my journey home.
 
In 2017, I consider that this reading is telling me to trust what Jesus is telling me. To know that I may ask for help in one way but Jesus may have a totally unexpected and miraculous way of answering my prayer.
 
- Dr. James McGuffee
Dean, School of Sciences 

Sunday, March 26

John 9:1-41
 
As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him,
"Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, 
that he was born blind?"
Jesus answered,
"Neither he nor his parents sinned; 
it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.
We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day.
Night is coming when no one can work.
While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
When he had said this, he spat on the ground
and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes,
and said to him, 
"Go wash in the Pool of Siloam" —which means Sent—.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, 
"Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?"
Some said, "It is, "
but others said, "No, he just looks like him."
He said, "I am."
So they said to him, "How were your eyes opened?"
He replied,
"The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes
and told me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.'
So I went there and washed and was able to see."
And they said to him, "Where is he?"
He said, "I don't know."

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
"He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see."
So some of the Pharisees said,
"This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath."
But others said,
"How can a sinful man do such signs?"
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again, 
"What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?"
He said, "He is a prophet."

Now the Jews did not believe 
that he had been blind and gained his sight 
until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight.
They asked them,
"Is this your son, who you say was born blind?
How does he now see?"
His parents answered and said, 
"We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.
We do not know how he sees now,
nor do we know who opened his eyes.
Ask him, he is of age;
he can speak for himself."
His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, 
for the Jews had already agreed 
that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ,
he would be expelled from the synagogue.
For this reason his parents said,
"He is of age; question him."

So a second time they called the man who had been blind 
and said to him, "Give God the praise!
We know that this man is a sinner."
He replied,
"If he is a sinner, I do not know.
One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see."
So they said to him,
"What did he do to you?
How did he open your eyes?"
He answered them,
"I told you already and you did not listen.
Why do you want to hear it again?
Do you want to become his disciples, too?"
They ridiculed him and said, 
"You are that man's disciple;
we are disciples of Moses!
We know that God spoke to Moses, 
but we do not know where this one is from."
The man answered and said to them,
"This is what is so amazing, 
that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes.
We know that God does not listen to sinners, 
but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him.
It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind.
If this man were not from God,
he would not be able to do anything."
They answered and said to him,
"You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?"
Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
He answered and said, 
"Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?"
Jesus said to him,
"You have seen him,
the one speaking with you is he."
He said,
"I do believe, Lord," and he worshiped him.
Then Jesus said,
"I came into this world for judgment, 
so that those who do not see might see, 
and those who do see might become blind."

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this 
and said to him, "Surely we are not also blind, are we?"
Jesus said to them,
"If you were blind, you would have no sin; 
but now you are saying, 'We see,' so your sin remains.
 
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
This story from John is a familiar one, but its 41 verses contain so much worth pondering. Let’s focus in on one rather curious detail: to effect the cure of the blind man, Jesus spits on the ground, makes clay with his saliva, and rubs it on the man’s eyes, telling him to wash it off in a nearby pool.
 
One thing we know for sure: Jesus could very easily have cured this man of his blindness through either his words or his touch. Why the spit, clay, and pool? Well think about it. What might the message be here? Perhaps it is that the man being cured actually has to do something specific to “finish” the miracle of restored sight. Why?
 
If we take his blindness as a metaphor, this story becomes even richer. If we pray to be enlightened, to really see, what is OUR role in helping that to happen? What is Jesus asking us to do to effect this miracle? It’s really the difference between being passive and active. If we truly want to see, that is, to have a clearer sense of who we are and what we are being called to, what role do we need to play? That of a bystander or a participant? The blind man in today’s gospel had to do something to regain his sight. What am I being called to do to get a clearer idea of who I am and what I need to do to make this Lent a true experience of conversion, to see Jesus more clearly?
- Brother Larry Schatz, FSC
Provincial (Brother Visitor), Midwest District

Saturday, March 25

Luke 1:26-38
 
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
"Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end."
But Mary said to the angel,
"How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."
Then the angel departed from her.
 
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
In Luke 1:26-38, we hear the story of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary and announcing that she will carry the child of God.  More importantly, we hear Mary’s reaction to finding out such news.  First, she is troubled.  We should not forget that although she is without sin, she is human.  It is natural for humans to worry.   But then Mary does three things.  She asks for clarification, she takes a leap of faith, and she takes action through acceptance.  She asks, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” Gabriel explains further.  She then steps into the unknown, having the faith, and not only accepting the news, but declaring, “I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.”  Mary trusts the Lord in this monumental occasion.  She believes not only what Gabriel is saying, that she will be the mother of Jesus, but trusts that God’s will is always the right course.  She does not argue with God or try to negotiate.  She believes the word of God.  And she proclaims it all with the difficult step of faith and acceptance. 
 
How can we be more like Mary, to be so worthy of God’s admiration?  Mary is often referred to as meek and humble.  Gabriel says she is “full of grace.”  Let us remember meek and humble do not have to mean weak.  Mary is obviously full of grace.  She takes this huge moment with calmness that I surely could not share.  But Mary is certainly not weak.  Mary is faced with a huge, unknown, life altering event, and she handles it with strength, with courage, and with faith.  Those are the things we can use to be more like Mary.  We can have the courage, backed by God, to face our problems.  We can have the strength to face the unknown, especially the things that scare and trouble us.  Then, we can trust that God will take care of us and surround us with love.
 
During this Lenten season, and beyond, let us strive to be more like Mary.  While we will always worry, let us embrace our faith and let our faith give us the courage and strength to face our daily problems.  Let us use that faith to know that no amount of our worrying will solve these problems.  Instead, pray that God will continue to lead us to the right path and that we have the strength and courage to accept God’s will.  Let us say, “May it be done to me according to your word.”
-Julie Gilmore
Technical Services Librarian

Friday, March 2

Hosea 14:2-10
 
Thus says the LORD:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;
you have collapsed through your guilt.
Take with you words,
and return to the LORD;
Say to him, "Forgive all iniquity,
and receive what is good, that we may render
as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us,
nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, 'Our god,'
to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds compassion."

I will heal their defection, says the LORD,
I will love them freely;
for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:
he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree
and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade
and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,
and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?
I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
"I am like a verdant cypress tree"– 
Because of me you bear fruit!

Let him who is wise understand these things;
let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD,
in them the just walk,
but sinners stumble in them.
 
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
Every day for the last five years, I have taken the same path to work – a right out of the driveway; down the street; a right onto the path by the baseball diamond; straight past the entrance to the Nate; then, I have to make a decision.  Left takes me on a path to the Central lot.  Straight ahead leads me across the Brothers Bridge. Right takes me past Stritch and the LLC.  My destination is, as always, the Student Life Office in Rozier.  Ultimately, all three of my choices will lead me to my destination; yet, circumstances may make one path more appealing on a given day than another.
 
In today’s reading, God is calling the Israelites to return home – noting the path they chose was riddled with roadblocks and dead ends.  As with each of us, God offers us the freedom to make our own choices – to travel our own path.  He never promises the journey will be easy or the most direct; but, with Christ, we always have an immediate “detour” available.  God’s “detour” bestows unconditional: love, forgiveness, protection, compassion, reconciliation, and rebirth.  When we truly seek to engage with Christ, all obstructions in our path are removed and we are able to travel on our journey, humbled in our relationships with others. 
 
As one of my favorite translations of scripture – The Message by Eugene Peterson - reminds us in Jeremiah 29:13 
  
When you come looking for me, you'll find me. "Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed.  I'll turn things around for you. I'll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you”—"I’ll bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it”
 
During our Lenten journey, may we not stumble as we seek the will of Christ for our lives – returning to the “straight paths” offered to us by God’s many “detours”. 
 
-Wilson Phillips
Student Life

Wednesday, March 22

Deuteronomy 4:1,5-9
 
Moses spoke to the people and said:
"Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees
which I am teaching you to observe,
that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land
which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.
Therefore, I teach you the statutes and decrees
as the LORD, my God, has commanded me,
that you may observe them in the land you are entering to occupy.
Observe them carefully,
for thus will you give evidence
of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations,
who will hear of all these statutes and say,
'This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.'
For what great nation is there
that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us
whenever we call upon him?
Or what great nation has statutes and decrees
that are as just as this whole law
which I am setting before you today?

"However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children's children."
 
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
Now, Israel hear the statues and decrees which I am teaching you to observe.  Observe them carefully, for thus you will give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations, who will hear of all these statutes and say, “This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people. (Deuteronomy 4:1, 6)
 
Lent is a perfect time to examine ourselves on how we are keeping the Commandments.  God has given us these rules and regulation to follow, to become wise and understanding.  We may look on the Commandment as relatively unimportant except for the ones that carry the title of “mortal”.  But how are we doing on the relatively “minor” rules and regulations?  If we are not careful we might find ourselves in a mental habit of “deleting” less serious sins to our “trash can”.  You might not see any harm in this, but take time to reflect.  If we constantly try to excuse and disregard minor (venial) sins, will we have enough left in our tank to fight off the same attitude when a more serious situation presents itself?
 
So, let’s revisit the Commandments during this penitential season of Lent.  We need forgiveness of our venial sins just as much as for mortal sins.  This is a perfect time to go to Confession (the sacrament of reconciliation), and a good time to look at confession as a candidate for a Lenten resolution that may extend to the whole year.
 
-Brother Ignatius Brown, FSC

Tuesday, March 21

Daniel 3:25, 34-43
 
Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud:

"For your name's sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever,
or make void your covenant.
Do not take away your mercy from us,
for the sake of Abraham, your beloved,
Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one,
To whom you promised to multiply their offspring
like the stars of heaven,
or the sand on the shore of the sea.
For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation,
brought low everywhere in the world this day
because of our sins.
We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader,
no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense,
no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you.
But with contrite heart and humble spirit
let us be received;
As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks,
or thousands of fat lambs,
So let our sacrifice be in your presence today
as we follow you unreservedly;
for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame.
And now we follow you with our whole heart,
we fear you and we pray to you.
Do not let us be put to shame,
but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.
Deliver us by your wonders,
and bring glory to your name, O Lord."
 
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
Have you ever felt devastated by the weight of your sin?  Brothers and sisters, I know I have.  When I learn about the sheer glory of our God who is not only all- knowing, but also all-powerful AND all-good, I sometimes find myself feeling like Azariah in today’s first reading.  The remedy to this feeling is more simple than we make it:  Grace.
 
When we receive grace, the Holy Spirit lives in us.  With grace, we have the power to live free, joyful, and sin-free lives in the presence of God.  We can more easily see His work in the simple moments every day.  We have the strength and courage to live as we are called: offering our own struggles and hardships, as Christ did, to loving service.  Grace wipes away the shame of our sins and allows us to give everything we have to God. 
 
Throughout this lenten season I am reminded that my broken and sinful condition is not an excuse to hide from God, but rather a call to grow closer.  Although my heart may feel like it lies in pieces, I shouldn’t be giving Him one piece at a time.  He wants more than anything to love us, to know us, and to be close to us. 
 
How do we abandon ourselves for something so beyond the realm of our understanding?
All that we need is to ask for help, giving our own selves over as a whole-hearted sacrifice.  We can do this through simple prayers, sincere conversations with God, and genuine repentance for our mistakes.  Azariah’s plea from the depths of a fiery furnace, “may the contrite soul, the humbled spirit, be acceptable to you,” is just as true today as when it was written around 2,225 years ago.  Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday, last week, or last century.
 
So as we continue imperfectly on our own faith journeys, we find hope that, despite our many flaws, God’s love for us remains unchanging and is renewed daily.  I’m far from where I hope to be, but by working to align my heart to God’s will in every moment, someday the rest of me will join. 
 
Lord, you can have it all. 
-Carlee Darnell
Religion and Philosophy, 2019
 

Monday, March 20

 
Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24
 
Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
"Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins."
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
 
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
 
Reflection
 
Each Ash Wednesday we are reminded of our humble beginnings. Though Jesus is Lord, He too began in the humblest of circumstances and continued to lead a quiet life until the start of His ministry. Even then, He lived life as an itinerate teacher and died a pauper with no money for His own tomb.
 
Since March 20th celebrates the Solemnity of St. Joseph, it seems appropriate to consider another humble man; this one handpicked by God to protect and provide for the child Jesus. From what little we know of Joseph, he was a carpenter and a man of faith who was a devout Jew, honoring Jewish traditions. In fact, Matthew says that he was a “righteous man”.
 
Much is said of the Virgin Mary’s unassuming acceptance of the incarnation of Jesus within her womb but Joseph, too, was asked to do what many other men would not consider. He was asked to marry and take a pregnant young woman into His home. What an awesome responsibility he agreed to when he chose to believe the words of an angel who appeared one night in a dream. The Lord knew what he was doing when He chose Joseph for this task, since this simple carpenter personified the very best of what husbands and fathers can be. Joseph not only provided for His family in material ways but was tasked with mentoring the Son of God. Surely, Jesus would have witnessed a wise teacher who demonstrated kindness, honesty and humility.
 
It seems a shame that we know so little about the life of St. Joseph. What did others in his community think about him? What was the nature of the relationship that he had with the Virgin Mary? Who were his mentors? What was his prayer life like?
 
There would be so many things we could learn from this gentle man.
 
-Mary Ogilvie
Professor, Biology

 


Sunday, March 19

Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
 
Brothers and sisters:
Since we have been justified by faith, 
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 
through whom we have gained access by faith 
to this grace in which we stand, 
and we boast in hope of the glory of God.

And hope does not disappoint, 
because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts 
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless, 
died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, 
though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”
 
-The Dalai Lama
 
"Dear brothers and sisters, let us be enveloped by the mercy of God; let us trust in his patience, which always gives us more time. Let us find the courage to return to his house, to dwell in his loving wounds, allowing ourselves be loved by him and to encounter his mercy in the sacraments. We will feel his wonderful tenderness, we will feel his embrace, and we too will become more capable of mercy, patience, forgiveness and love.”

-Pope Francis
 
"In this season of Lent this passage reminds us that Jesus died for our sins and is present in our everyday life.  With this sacrifice and in trying to keep our relationship with him strong.  We should remember in this time of Lent to take a moment and visit the confessional.  Because to many of us Catholics, confession is a means to an end that allows us to clean up our soul in order to receive communion.  But Pope Francis tells us “it is much more than going to the dry cleaners,” it’s “an encounter with Jesus who waits for us as we are.” Confession calls us to repentance and conversion.  It calls us to do a complete about-face in the way we live: to turn our hearts back to God and come out of the cave into the light and warmth of his love." (Flynn, 2013)
 
If you are looking for a great book on Confession during this season of lent, check out 7 Secrets of Confession by Vinny Flynn.
-Ray Karasek
Director of Business Services

Saturday, March 18

Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
 
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
"This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."
So to them Jesus addressed this parable.
"A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
'Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.'
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
'How many of my father's hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
"Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers."'
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.'
But his father ordered his servants,
'Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.'
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
'Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.'
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
'Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.'
He said to him,
'My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.'"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
Again, Jesus shares with us a parable—the prodigal son.  In a nutshell, we are presented with a father who has two sons.  The younger son demanded his inheritance early, left town, and squandered it all away.  The older son remained at home with his father where he labors in the field.  When the younger son hit rock bottom, he journeyed home to his father to seek aide.  To the dismay of the older son, the father welcomes his younger son with open arms and without grievances.
 
During this Lenten season I find it easiest to identify with the prodigal son.  This is a time that I critically look at my relationship with God and take on a spiritual practice to bring me home to the father.  Though it may be easier to identify with the prodigal son—a sinner seeking forgiveness upon his return—how do I (we) identify or dare I say measure up to the father?
 
The father in this parable is merciful and in a radical way!  First, the love he pours out for his son by throwing a lavish celebration is irrational. He is not angry.  He has no ill words.  He only has mercy and the desire to celebrate his son’s return. Second, he disregards public opinion. He orders a celebration despite what others think of his younger son.  Third, he doesn’t need to hear a reason or an excuse on why his son has been so irresponsible.  Instead he gives his mercy and love freely to his younger son who has safely returned home. 
  
During the remainder of this journey towards Easter, may we strive to become the character of the father and a people of mercy.
 
-Julia Kueter
Lasallian Scholar, Campus Ministry

Friday, March 17

Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46
 
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: 
"Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them,
thinking, 'They will respect my son.'
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
'This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.'
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?"
They answered him,
"He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times."
Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you,
the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit."
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables,
they knew that he was speaking about them.
And although they were attempting to arrest him,
they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
In this parable the landowner planted a vineyard, rented it to some tenants, and then went away for a long time. At harvest time, the landowner sent a servant to collect his portion of the harvest and the servant was driven away empty-handed. Again, the landowner sent another servant to collect and this servant was beaten, ‘treated shamefully’ and sent away empty handed. A third time the landowner sent a servant. Scripture says he was ‘wounded’ and sent away empty handed. At the last, the landowner decided to send his own son, which he loved thinking that surely they would treat his son with respect and return what was due!  But the tenants conspired among themselves and decided to kill the heir so that they might inherit the vineyard. So they slew the landowner’s son.
 
Jesus leaves the Jewish leaders with a question – What then will the landowner do?
 
We may already know the meaning of this parable. God sent teachers and prophets to the Children of Israel. Some were beaten, some were treated shamefully, and some were killed. Eventually, even the Son of God was killed by the very ones he came to save. So what did God (the landowner) do? He gave the vineyard to others. We all understand that the message of grace was given to the Gentiles after its ultimate rejection by the leaders of Israel.  But we should make this more personal than just a story about the rejection of Jesus by closed minded leaders of long ago.
 
When you think about the tenants beating the servant of the landowner, do you see yourself raising your fist? When the servant was treated shamefully, do you hear the slur coming from your mouth? When the servant was wounded, do you see the whip in your hand? When the Son came and Pilate asked the question “So then, do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” do you hear yourself shouting “No! Not this Man, we want Barabbas!”?
 
It is only when we see our fist raised in defiance, only when we hear our own voice among the scoffers that we truly begin to realize the depths of our sin and desperate condition. It is only when we realize that WE are the tenant farmers in the parable and WE have treated God’s servants shamefully in the person of those we interact with daily – family, students, strangers – that we see ourselves as we truly are – sinners in need of a Savior!
-Teri Douglas
Coordinator of Admissions Operations

Thursday, March 16

Jeremiah 17:5-10
 
Thus says the LORD:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a barren bush in the desert
that enjoys no change of season,
But stands in a lava waste,
a salt and empty earth.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose hope is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It fears not the heat when it comes,
its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress,
but still bears fruit.
More tortuous than all else is the human heart,
beyond remedy; who can understand it?
I, the LORD, alone probe the mind
and test the heart,
To reward everyone according to his ways,
according to the merit of his deeds.
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
In this new age we are often fed various forms of information through various modes of communication.  I know that many of us can agree that we often “fact check” our information to find out how true it really is.  The prophet Jeremiah who God spoke to often reminds us to put our trust in him over humans.  From the beginning, Jeremiah was set apart to be a prophet (Jeremiah 1:4-9.)  Just like Jeremiah, we too were set apart, and given an assignment by God.  It is Important that we work intentional towards fulfilling our purpose and putting our trust in God just as Jeremiah teaches in Jeremiah 17:5 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who reply on human strength and turn their hears away from the Lord’” (aren’t you glad you don’t have to fact check that?)
 
In comparison to our omnipotent Heavenly Father, human strength is feeble.  “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence” (Jeremiah 17: 7). These are the words from God himself.  Trust in the Lord, make the Lord your hope and confidence today and watch God work in you just as he did in Jeremiah.
 
As students, and even as believers we sometimes forget what God’s word says and we get stressed out about our next steps in life forgetting that God had our lives planned before we were even born.  During this Lenten season, rest assured in God’s word.  Follow God, and continue to do as he advises even if you are treated like Jeremiah.  Trust God today.
 
-Taylor Flake
History, 2017 Lasallian Fellow 

Wednesday, March 15

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
CBU's Unexplored Curriculum
 
All the classes that we take are designed, through teaching and learning moments to give us what we really need to know about the topic at hand, and attempt to give us the same feel for the subject that our teachers possess. This is a self-contained and packaged process through which teachers make us graduation ready.

But are we really aware of all the other learning moments to which we are exposed to each day, but which may be going unnoticed by many of us? As we walk from building to building or from classroom to residence hall with eyes cast down and ears glued to cell phones, we may be totally blind and deaf to what our campus is trying to communicate to us.

Have we really taken a serious look at the extensive art displays in the library? Or do we know the story of the statuary - religious, Lasallian, or historic - that graces our campus? Or are we aware of the significance of two unlocked chapels in our midst? Or have we noticed the beauty of our courtyards? Or have we ever listened to the mocking birds in the bushes near our vaulted walkways? Or do we stop and chat with a passerby who, like ourselves, may appreciate a warming smile.  This campus culture is meant to round out our CBU education and to make each of us a more refined, alert, understanding and caring student.

Lent tells us to wake up, to live life to the fullest, but at a deeper level.  Lets begin today to observe the beauty that surrounds us and to enjoy our campus walking in inquisitive reflection.
 
-Brother Terence McLaughlin, FSC

Monday, March 13

Daniel 9:4-10
 
"Lord, great and awesome God,
you who keep your merciful covenant toward those who love you
and observe your commandments!
We have sinned, been wicked and done evil;
we have rebelled and departed from your commandments and your laws.
We have not obeyed your servants the prophets,
who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes,
our fathers, and all the people of the land.
Justice, O Lord, is on your side;
we are shamefaced even to this day:
we, the men of Judah, the residents of Jerusalem,
and all Israel, near and far,
in all the countries to which you have scattered them
because of their treachery toward you.
O LORD, we are shamefaced, like our kings, our princes, and our fathers,
for having sinned against you.
But yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness!
Yet we rebelled against you
and paid no heed to your command, O LORD, our God,
to live by the law you gave us through your servants the prophets."
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
 
Reflection
 
We might think we live a good life – we haven’t rebelled against God as Daniel and the people of Israel did. But we must recognize our own ways of turning against God.  Rebellion against the Lord can take many forms – a lack of daily prayer and thanksgiving, turning our face away from the pan-handler on the corner, petty thoughts about others, neglect of our daily duties and many others.
 
First, we should search our hearts and confess where we have failed.  Our goal should be to always keep our face turned towards God. Next, we can proclaim out trust in God’s mercy and love as well.  God is always ready to forgive and has not turned his back on us.  As Daniel said “Great and awesome God, you who keeps covenant and merciful love with those who love him…”
 
-Katie Sauser
Associate Professor, Biology

Saturday, March 11

Matthew 5:43-48
 
Jesus said to his disciples:
"You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies,
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers and sisters only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
Oh, Jesus. Here he goes again, making things difficult by intensifying the commandments. Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. Be perfect. Really? Our first instinct might be to protest that this is an impossible standard, that he is asking too much. This lets us off the hook pretty easily.

Our second response might be to deny self-righteously that we have any enemies. I see this a lot when teaching the Buddhist metta (loving-kindness) meditation to students. It goes like this: first picture yourself and recite
 
May you be filled with lovingkindness.
May you be free from all harm.
May you be healthy.
May you be happy and at peace.
 
Then extend these good wishes to your loved ones, to people who are unknown or indifferent to you, and finally to your enemies. But none of my students ever has enemies. It’s a slightly old-fashioned idea, isn’t it, reminiscent of challenging someone to a duel. Not having enemies also lets us off the hook from listening to Jesus.

Our third response, and where I too often find myself, is to judge other people’s hatred of their enemies. Look at all those so-called Christians who hate immigrants and Muslims, queer folk, feminists and tree-huggers. Why don’t they read Jesus’ words? Why do they insist on hating people who are different from them? Don’t they know they are supposed to love their enemies? Applying these standards to hypocritical others also lets us off the hook fairly easily.

But what if those words are meant for me, and my enemies are the people I oppose politically. What if, in fact, I’m supposed to love those Islamophobes and homophobes and misogynists and racists. Those people who want to take away health care and voting rights. People who care little for the fate of our planet and even less for the poor. Dear God, what if I have to love them?

Here’s where I need some help, and so I turn to two of my spiritual teachers: Martin Luther King, Jr., and Sojourner Truth. In Strength To Love, King interprets these verses from Matthew. How, he asks, is it possible to love our enemies? We first show love through forgiveness, which is the only path to reconciliation. Second, we love by not reducing the enemy to the evil he has done: “We recognize that his hate grows out of fear, pride, ignorance, prejudice, and misunderstanding, but in spite of this, we know God’s image is ineffably etched in his being.” Looking for the good in even the worst among us means we believe that “they are not beyond the reach of God’s redemptive love.” Third, we love by resisting the temptation to humiliate the enemy when given the opportunity. Mercy can “release those vast reservoirs of goodwill which have been blocked by impenetrable walls of hate.”

King is clear that this way of loving is not passive, defeatist, affectionate, or sentimental. You are not expected to like someone who is actively doing you harm. Nor are you expected to cease your efforts to resist your enemy. Righteous labors cannot be abandoned, and noncooperation with evil is a moral obligation. But love of enemy is also a moral obligation, for the following well-known reasons given by King: First, because “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Second, because hate not only damages its victims, but it also distorts the person who hates. No effective social movement can afford the self-inflicted damage of hatred. Third, because only love has the power to transform an enemy into a friend. This sounds trite, but King wisely favors getting rid of enmity over the dangerous instinct to rid the world of enemies. The final reason why we are asked to love our enemies is the one suggested by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount: to be in relationship with God. The only way to God is through love of our neighbor-enemies. This love is the heart of the philosophy of non-violent social change, and it is the only way to create what King calls “the beloved community.”

This commandment may still seem too hard to live out. But we have a good example in the 19th century preacher, abolitionist, and suffragist Sojourner Truth. She describes a profound religious experience in which she found Jesus and perceived the presence of God in the world around her. At that moment, creative, redemptive love flowed through her:
“An’ I begun to feel such a love in my soul as I never felt before, -- love to all creatures. An’ then, all of a sudden, it stopped, an’ I said, ‘Dar’s de white folks, that have abused you an’ beat you an’ abused your people, -- think o’ them!’ But then there came another rush of love through my soul, an’ I cried out loud, -- ‘Lord, Lord, I can love even de white folks!’
Her love was neither passive nor sentimental. It drove her to continue to fight for human rights and to “shake every place” she travelled to speak. If Sojourner Truth, a woman whose labor was taken from her, whose reproductive power was exploited, whose children were sold away from her, could love white people with the power of God’s love, then surely there’s hope for me.
 
Sources:
 
Olive Gilbert, Sojourner Truth: Narrative and Book of Life (1850 and 1875; reprint, Chicago: Johnson, 1970).
 
Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love (1963; Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010).
 
Sojourner Truth, “When Woman Gets Her Rights Man Will be Right” (1867), in Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought, ed. Beverly Guy-Sheftall (New York: The New Press, 1995).
 
Emily Holmes
Associate Professor, Religion and Philosophy
 

Friday, March 10

Ezekiel 18: 21-28
 
Thus says the Lord GOD:
If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed,
if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just,
he shall surely live, he shall not die.
None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him;
he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced.
Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked?
says the Lord GOD.
Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way
that he may live?

And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil,
the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does,
can he do this and still live?
None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered,
because he has broken faith and committed sin;
because of this, he shall die.
You say, "The LORD's way is not fair!"
Hear now, house of Israel:
Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?
When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies,
it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.
But if the wicked, turning from the wickedness he has committed,
does what is right and just,
he shall preserve his life;
since he has turned away from all the sins that he committed,
he shall surely live, he shall not die.
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
A I reflect on this reading, I am reminded of a time in my life when I was blessed with an opportunity to be a part of a core group of 50 individuals to launch a new church in Memphis.  As we canvased the neighborhood informing individuals of the ministry and extending invitations for them to attend the first service, it was disheartening to hear so many stories of Christians and non-Christians who thought their past transgressions were so bad that God would never forgive them. As a result, they sentenced themselves with a life of hopelessness and despair.
 
It was a joy and blessing to share with them the unconditional love and grace of God and how he sent his son Jesus into the world to save the world, not to condemn the world. The word says: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
 
As we continue this journey toward Easter, lets us remember that God is a loving God and that there is nothing we can do in this life that does not warrant his forgiveness. If we truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that in Him we were made righteous, we must confess our sins as a means of cleansing, and have faith that it has been done.  It is through this faith that we are free from the shackles of guilt and condemnation.   
 
-Karen Conway Barnett
Dean of Students, Director of Disability Services

Thursday March 9

Matthew 7:7-12
           
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things
to those who ask him.

"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the law and the prophets."
 
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Reflection

“For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds” (Matthew 7: 8).
 
One of the main themes of this passage is that the Lord always answers prayers, a fundamental idea of Christianity. Although easily understood, many believers and nonbelievers struggle to see how God answers prayers—when the hopes and wishes they pray about never come true, or a horrific tragedy happens in the world, their country, their city, or their family. Especially during the season of Lent, it’s important to remember and remain firm in the belief that God does truly always answer prayers. The response may not always appear evident, and it often doesn’t happen directly or as we would like the prayer to be answered. When these moments occur and we feel God did not listen to our pleas or respond to our requests, we often feel alone, as our faith can begin to slip; we no longer feel important; we no longer feel we can fully rely on God when it doesn’t seem He is listening. This passage reminds us that He is always there for us whether we know we need Him or not, and He will consistently answer our prayers. The results may appear skewed or nonexistent in our world but He has a plan for us, and He knows what the answers to our prayers need to be.
 
As much as God would like to continually fulfill all of our prayer requests, He has a bigger plan for us that we cannot see. He may not always provide the answer we want to hear or the result we want to see, but he will provide a glimpse at His vision of the path He has set for us. This can be a tough idea to grasp, as it can make the Lord seem harsh and uncaring, but it’s quite the opposite. He cares for us so much that He already has a plan for each of our lives; how lucky we are to have a God who loves us so much that He provides many blessings in our lives and still listens to us and answers our prayers! Later in the passage, we see how sinners and people we may view as rude, or as the passage says “wicked,” still respond to the requests of others. Even if we, the sinners, and the “wicked” can still fulfill wishes, imagine how much more responsive, caring, and thoughtful God is towards listening to us and answering our prayers. This passage also relates to trust, mainly our trust in God. We need to continually remind ourselves to place full trust in Him, for He knows our needs and desires better than we know them ourselves.  He knows what we require in our lives and He provides us with these necessities in order to fulfill our lives as Christians; He has given us everything we need to get to Heaven. The passage also mentions seeking and finding, meaning that when we seek God, we can always find Him. As we frequently say here at CBU, “Let us remember that we are in the Holy Presence of God”; seek Him and He is always there whether we recognize His presence or not.
 
The last section of the passage states the Golden Rule. Everyone knows what the Golden Rule is and what it means in everyday life but I find it interesting that it follows immediately after the passage on answering prayers. Superficially, we can relate the Golden Rule to the passage by recollecting upon the last couple of times someone has asked for assistance with something. Depending on who the person is and the current situation, it can be easy to say no and continue about your day. Next time someone asks for a favor, no matter how small and no matter the person, I urge you to consider how you would feel if the roles were reversed and then respond accordingly; “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7: 12).
Hannah Schultz
Mathematics, 2018

Wednesday, March 8

Luke 11:29-32
 
While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
"This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here."
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
 
Reflection
 
Jesus is telling us, in this passage, that men and women are seeking signs that will give them peace. Unfortunately, the signs they seek are not from God. This implies that many of us want so badly to feel like we are doing right that we pray for a sign to reaffirm our thoughts. We pray for the wrong “peace”.
 
Only true peace and true “signs” can come from the Father. While there are few among us, we must rise up together, men and women, and spread the word to this generation. This is prevalent more than ever. The world we live in is evil, as Jesus told us in this passage, now more than ever we must cling to Jesus and his holy name that he will give us the strength and the courage to stand together so that he may grace us with is ever lasting mercy.
 
The peace and signs we seek are right there in front of us, all we have to do is trust in the Lord and be honest with him about what it is we seek. Be still, be a generation of courage and know that He is Lord.
Chad Lassiter
"The Commissioner", Recreation and Student Engagement Coordinator

Tuesday, March 7

Matthew 6:7-15
 
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans,
for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them,
for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
 
This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
 
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others their sins,
your Father will not forgive your sins.”
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reflection
 
The sentences that really stick out to me in this passage are the last two sentences. Forgiving ALL the people that have wronged us is an incredibly high call.
 
Why is it that if we can’t forgive, then our Father will not forgive us? If you consider only the last sentence, this passage can make it seem like God’s forgiveness for us is dependent on me and you to find it in ourselves to forgive others. This sounds exhausting, and impossible. But if you look at this passage as is relates to the redemptive story throughout the Bible, it gives this command a new window to see it through as it relates to the whole story.
 
A couple of sentences before, Jesus says, “And forgive our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors.” I have found in my own life, it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to forgive others when I have not surrendered all of my sins, my shame, and my burdens to Jesus Christ. That my power to forgive comes only from the Holy Spirit working in my life because I have been able to rest in the complete forgiveness that Jesus has and continues to offer me.
 
One of my favorite passages in the bible is Titus 3:3-8. It talks about how Jesus saved us, not according to anything you and I have done, but according to Jesus’ love for mankind, and according to his mercy for you and me. To be free from bitterness, your souls must rest in this: “Jesus Christ has lavished forgiveness on ME”. It is only then that we can freely forgive and freely love. If you are struggling with holding on to things others have done against you, or things you have done that you are ashamed of, I would encourage you to step into Jesus’ forgiveness today.
 
-Dallas Shepard
Mechanical Engineering, 2017

Monday, March 6

Matthew 25:31-46
 
Jesus said to his disciples:
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him. 
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
'Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.'
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you? 
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Then he will say to those on his left,
'Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'
Then they will answer and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?'
He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.'
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life."

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Reflection
 
Jesus tells us exactly how to be on His right.  Individuals and organizations on the CBU campus respond to this mandate in many ways.  We support the Food Bank, have clothing, food, and book drives, make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Wednesdays, etc.   Joining with friends and colleagues makes them easier to perform. 
 
Many of these tasks are directed to the other – those not part of our daily encounters.   How might they relate, in a broader sense, to family, friends, colleagues, and classmates at CBU?  There is need all around us.  There is thirst for inclusion, affirmation, and acceptance.  We are naked when we expose our feelings, history, or stances on issues not knowing if they will be received with respect or ridicule.  We are ill when we feel burdened to the point that we don’t think we have the energy to fulfill our duties or other’s needs.   We hunger for assurance and accompaniment.   Feeling isolated can be a prison.  Feeling totally lost to the point that succeeding in a course seems impossible can be a prison.   Perhaps behavior caused a rift in relationships.  Perhaps the inability to do an assignment was due to neglect earlier in the semester.  We are still captive when the dilemma is of our making. Not everyone in prison is innocent. 
 
Fortunately there is generosity, joy, respect, and support on campus.  We all want to be on Jesus’ right.  Lord, have mercy for the times that we behave like those on the left.  How do we meet unknown needs?  As I write this St. Teresa of Kolkata comes to mind with her saying, “We shall never know how much good a smile can do.”  Smiling isn’t always easy for me, but perhaps it is a start.  May this Lent be a time when we receive the graces of awareness and response to those close to us. 
 
-Cathy Grilli
Professor, Mathematics
 

First Sunday of Lent, March 5

Mathew 4:1-11 (NLV)
 
4 Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to a desert.
There He was tempted by the devil.
2 Jesus went without food for forty days and forty nights.
After that He was hungry.
3 The devil came tempting Him and said,
 “If You are the Son of God,
tell these stones to be made into bread.”
4 But Jesus said,
“It is written,
‘Man is not to live on bread only.
Man is to live by every word that God speaks.’” 
5 Then the devil took Jesus up to Jerusalem, the holy city.
 He had Jesus stand on the highest part of the house of God.
 6 The devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down.
 It is written,
‘He has told His angels to look after You.
 In their hands they will hold You up.
 Then Your foot will not hit against a stone.’”
 7 Jesus said to the devil,
 “It is written also,
‘You must not tempt the Lord your God.’” 
8 Again the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain.
He had Jesus look at all the nations of the world to see how great they were.
9 He said to Jesus, “I will give You all these nations
if You will get down at my feet and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to the devil,
“Get away, Satan.
It is written,
‘You must worship the Lord your God.
 You must obey Him only.’”
11 Then the devil went away from Jesus.
Angels came and cared for Him.

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Reflection
 
This scripture points out the many temptations that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had to overcome in the face of adversity.  As a member of his flock I often reflect on this passage as a tool to help me recognize that I am not above temptation, and that I can reject impure intentions.  Life as we know it is filled with challenges, and obstacles that oftentimes can become unbearable.  Even in the midst of adversity, our savior denied food, exhibiting self-praise, and an unforeseen kingdom all to prove that he is greater than the forces that sought to distract him from his goal. As children of God we are tempted in the same way that Jesus was.  Jesus fasted for 40 days and was tempted with turning stones to bread.  This was physical test! Next, the devil attempted to tempt Jesus by suggesting he throw himself down off of a temple, and command angels to catch him before falling to the ground.  This was a spiritual test! Finally, the devil took Jesus to the top of a mountain to view the nations that would be given to him if he bowed to his adversary. This was a mental test!  You see, we too experience these same types of test in our lives.  Jesus endured so that he could show us how we should prepare for confrontation with unseen forces, and our peers. I challenge you to evaluate areas in your life that tempt you.  Remember that you have the power of our lord and savior to conquer any obstacle set before you.  What did this mean for Christ’s mission? It was a foretaste of the victory at the cross. Here Jesus defeated the tempter who tried to ruin His mission. But here Christ demonstrated that He would not be deterred from His mission…and neither will you!
-Terez Wilson
Director of Alumni & Volunteer Development
 

Saturday, March 4

Isaiah 58:9-14
 
Thus says the LORD:
If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday;
Then the LORD will guide you always
and give you plenty even on the parched land.
He will renew your strength,
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring whose water never fails.
The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake,
and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;
"Repairer of the breach," they shall call you,
"Restorer of ruined homesteads."

If you hold back your foot on the sabbath
from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
If you call the sabbath a delight,
and the LORD's holy day honorable;
If you honor it by not following your ways,
seeking your own interests, or speaking with malice—
Then you shall delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

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Reflection
 
With this reading comes great comfort but also great challenge. At first glance, verse 9 seems to tell us, don’t worry. God will take care of everything. And He does. Yet, as the passage continues, we are invited to trust in God and honor Him in all that we do. This is where the challenge can come in.

Of course, when we are asked if we trust in God to guide us, we would say yes. However, when we are wanting something to happen according to our timeline, we become frustrated with God, thinking he is not answering our prayers. Especially in our day and age of instantaneous gratification, we want things to happen now! Nevertheless, God knows what we need and when we need it.  We are assured that if we do what God has called us to do, He will guide us and lead us to joy.
 
-Colleen Boyette
LANCE Director
 

Friday, March 3

Isaiah 58:1-9
 
Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Tell my people their wickedness,
and the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
pleased to gain access to God.
"Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?"

Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

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Reflection
 
Lent is, if nothing else, an invitation to mindfulness – mindfulness regarding who God is, who we are, and the “infinite qualitative distinction” between the two (to borrow a phrase from Søren Kierkegaard).  In her recent book on prayer, author Anne Lamott asks, “What’s the difference between God and me?” and then answers her own question: “God never thinks He’s me. . . .”  One of the disciplines most often associated with Lent is fasting.  In today’s reading, the prophet Isaiah emphasizes the fact that God’s people have completely missed the point of fasting by focusing on themselves.  God then poses a rhetorical question: “Is such the fast that I choose?”  I mean, verse three makes it clear that the people are actually proud of their humility!  So, what is the point or purpose of fasting?  Isaiah is glad we asked.
 
It’s somewhat ironic that, in missing the point, the point is made – namely, that God is God and we are not.  When we fast, the mask is off; the illusion of self-sufficiency is exposed for what it is.  Allow me to give you some interesting information about our physical selves, our bodies.  A fully grown human body is made up of about 58 lbs. of oxygen, 2 oz. of salt, 50 qts. of water, 3 lbs. of calcium, 24 oz. of carbon, and dashes of chlorine, phosphorus, fat, iron, sulfur, and glycerin.  All told, there’s an awful lot of wind and water, and a few dusty particles inexplicably and mysteriously held together by the God who loved you and me into existence for one simple but profound reason: that God might love us and that we might embody God’s ways in a hungry, parched world.
 
During this Lenten season, I’d like to invite you to try something with me.  When you pray, resist the temptation to ask for things and, instead, thank God for the gifts we all too often take for granted.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll soon realize how prone we are to focus on ourselves, rather than the One who, in the person of Jesus, claimed to be the very Life that is our heart’s desire, and for which we all hunger and thirst.  St. John Baptist de la Salle, pray for us.  Live Jesus in our hearts, forever!  Amen.
-Dr. Scott Geis
Dean, Rosa Deal School of Arts

 


Thursday, March 2

Deuteronomy 30: 15-20
 
See, I set before you today
life and prosperity, death and destruction.
16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God,
to walk in obedience to him,
and to keep his commands, decrees and laws;
then you will live and increase,
and the Lord your God
 will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient,
 and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 
18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. 
You will not live long
 in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you
that I have set before you life and death,
blessings and curses.
Now choose life,
so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God,
 listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.
 For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore
to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

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Reflection
 
“Decisions, decisions!” That’s what I usually say when I don’t know what choice to make.  As young adults and college students, we have a greater responsibility than before to make decisions on our own on a daily basis.  We’re also expected to take full responsibility for the consequences of these decisions we make.  My dad loves to remind me that, “One decision can change your life for the good or the bad – so make good decisions.” As I reflect on Deuteronomy 30:15- 20, I can identify with a group of people central throughout the entire Old Testament who were presented with an extremely important decision. The Israelites, God’s covenant people, were commanded to decide between life and good versus death and evil, which in this case, had to do with worshipping God and not. If they were to choose life, verse 19 reveals that their seed would experience life as well.  This suggests that we should consider the impact of our decision on others.  

In modern times, we are still constantly commanded by our situations and people around us to make decisions – it’s a part of life. While some decisions seem more or less important, they all either add to or take away from our livelihood. For those who have decided to give up something you love in order to practice restraint, become spiritually disciplined, and create better habits – rest in the knowledge that you made a good decision. Be confident that can accomplish your goal. In this time of growth and consecration, consider decisions of yours that will be good for others. Does visiting the sick or being kind to a stranger come to mind?   My hope for myself and others is that we would appreciate the power of decision and that we would be more selfless, consider others, and in turn, make good decisions!
-RaKesha Gray
Religion and Philosophy, 2017 Lasallian Fellow

 


Ash Wednesday, March 1


Matthew 6:1-6,16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

"When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

"When you fast,
do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you."
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Reflection
 
Today, March 1st, is Ash Wednesday—the beginning of Lent. The CBU Community is ready to begin the Lenten journey as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus our brother.  During these next forty days, we will walk with him as we historically witness his life, his death, and his resurrection on Easter morning.
 
During this Lenten season, we also walk with Jesus in a new way, following him though the good times—teaching and preaching—and through the difficult times—moving toward his death on the cross.
Through Jesus’ life journey, death, and resurrection we witness the power of prayer and the strength that comes from God our Father.

Lift up your spirit especially, during this Lenten season, through the power of prayer.  Move toward forgiving those who may have offended you or caused you pain.  With gratitude, share generously your gifts and talents with others. 
 
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Matthew 6:19-21
-Brother Dominic Ehrmantraut, FSC
Director of Mission & Identity, Special Assistant to the President