2018 Daily Lenten Reflections

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2018 Daily Lenten Reflections

March 17, 2018

John 7:40-53
Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said,
"This is truly the Prophet."
Others said, "This is the Christ."
But others said, "The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he?
Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David's family
and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?"
So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.
Some of them even wanted to arrest him,
but no one laid hands on him.

So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees,
who asked them, "Why did you not bring him?"
The guards answered, "Never before has anyone spoken like this man."
So the Pharisees answered them, "Have you also been deceived?
Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?
But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed."
Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them,
"Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him
and finds out what he is doing?"
They answered and said to him,
"You are not from Galilee also, are you?
Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee."

Then each went to his own house.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Oh, the Pharisees! The irony in their own behavior always causes me to sort of laugh interiorly, or at least smile. On nearly every occasion in which they are mentioned throughout any of the Gospels, they always seem to be concerned with means rather than motives or ends; with the exterior actions of others rather than their interior dispositions. Always the ones to “set traps,” they looked constantly for any occasion to condemn Jesus or to smear the good reputation He had developed as healer, teacher, forgiver, and wise-one. They were so convinced of their own righteousness; of their own “way” that they failed to even consider, much less to see not only a different way, but He who is THE Way.

            Two moments from today’s Gospel reading are particularly poignant. One is the reaction of the Pharisees; the other, of “the good Pharisee” known as Nicodemus. The Pharisees, speaking to the guards rather bitingly about Jesus, say, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in Him?” They cannot even perceive of the possibility that they might be wrong about what they have assumed about Jesus. They cannot imagine that someone with either an intellect or wisdom superior to theirs exists at all – much less that that very person comes from Galilee. This ought to strike a nerve in each one of us. How often have we been so “set in our ways” that we cannot even imagine that we could possibly be improper in our judgments? How frequently do we assume in others or in a circumstance the worst only to be humbled by their meekness and mildness towards us? There is also, of course, the response on the part of Nicodemus to his Pharisee brothers. He takes a stand. He literally jumps to the defense of Jesus Christ and counters the Pharisees by asking them, “Does our own law condemn a man before first it even hears him to learn what he is doing?” Here, Nicodemus more or less echoes something Jesus Himself will say later in the Gospels; namely, “Judge not unless you also wish to be judged.”

            In the closing analysis, perhaps what is most intriguing about today’s Gospel reading is what it does not contain. Jesus does not directly speak to anyone throughout the thirteen verses. Or does He? I might argue that He speaks in a very real way, but through Nicodemus. While the Pharisees generally remained so preoccupied by exterior action and behavior, Nicodemus not only reminds his brother-Pharisees of the true spirit of the law, but he also questions it. This was, naturally, the “old Law,” better known as the “Mosaic Law.” But, Nicodemus already knew and could see what his brothers could not… that this “old Law” and “old way” was being perfected, made new, and improved by Jesus’ “new and everlasting covenant.” This “old way” of the Pharisees was not the most immediate or direct route to God’s own heart. Instead, Nicodemus realized and so points us not to a “new way,” but THE Way that is Jesus Christ – God in the flesh.

- Anthony Maranise

Alumni 2011&2017

March 16, 2018

Wisdom 2:1A, 12-22
The wicked said among themselves,
thinking not aright:
"Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the LORD.
To us he is the censure of our thoughts;
merely to see him is a hardship for us,
Because his life is not like that of others,
and different are his ways.
He judges us debased;
he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.
He calls blest the destiny of the just
and boasts that God is his Father.
Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With revilement and torture let us put him to the test
that we may have proof of his gentleness
and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
for according to his own words, God will take care of him."
These were their thoughts, but they erred;
for their wickedness blinded them,
and they knew not the hidden counsels of God;
neither did they count on a recompense of holiness
nor discern the innocent souls' reward.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The passage talks all about righteous people and how they hold themselves above others and how we should condemn them for this. I took the passage as no one is superior to one person from the next that we all have something that makes us unique and that we should not judge others for our differences. God taught us that we are treat other as we each want to be treated, the golden rule. He is telling us the same here just because someone is believing in something different than you do, does not make them your enemy.

I actually think instead we should embrace people around us who are different, because seeing the world from different perspectives is what inspires innovation and growth within us. We need to look at everyone equally and try to understand the perspective they have, because maybe we can learn something new about ourselves from that different outlook on life, instead of condemning them.

In the season of lent we are taught to give something up or do something for 40 days. I think we should challenge ourselves to give up our judgment towards others and allow ourselves to listen to what the person you were going to judge has to say. At the same time we should challenge ourselves to do something for someone that is not a part of our friend group or comfort zone, so that we can spread small acts of kindness to people who may have a different lifestyle than ourselves.

- Lauren Magdefrau

Senior, Business Management

March 15, 2018

John 5:31-47
Jesus said to the Jews:
"If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John's.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.

"I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.
I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me.
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

(Un)Reasonable Expectations

John 5 begins with the story of a man “who had been ill for thirty-eight years,” and Jesus’ offer to heal him so that he could walk.  Jesus does not force himself upon the man but, rather, asks him a very simple and reasonable question: “Do you want to be healed?”  Those familiar with the story know that Jesus gives the man his heart’s desire, “at once,” as we’re told that the man “took up his pallet and walked.”  All’s well that ends well, right?  Not exactly. . . .

The second part of verse nine provides us with the contextual key to seeing John’s main point in this narrative: “Now that day was the Sabbath.”  As we read the narrative in its entirety, it becomes apparent that Jesus’ audience was comprised entirely of people in desperate need of healing, though we read of only one person who actually acknowledged his condition and need.  It’s very difficult – if not impossible – to help people who won’t admit they’re not self-sufficient: those with blind spots; in this particular instance, the blind spot of personal expectations.

What upset those in Jesus’ audience most was not that he had healed a man but, rather, when he healed him.  They knew that God, the author of the Law given to Moses, would never violate His own Law – in this instance, the commandment to “remember,” or be mindful of, the Sabbath as a day of rest from one’s labors.  And, because they assumed that their beliefs about God were entirely consistent with the truth about God, they assumed that their expectations of God – how God should behave – were entirely reasonable.

I’ve learned from personal experience that my expectations are not always reasonable.  Indeed, I can’t begin to recount the times my expectations actually prevented me from experiencing something much better than my expectations would allow.  It’s a kind of self-imposed blindness, born of arrogance, that is clearly self-defeating and life-denying. 

In preparation for a new course that Dr. James Wallace and I will be offering next year on the biblical and theological themes in J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, I’ve been re-reading Lewis’s wonderful Chronicles of Narnia.  In the final book of the series, The Last Battle, Aslan – the Lion and Christ-figure – speaks of certain creatures who suffer from a similar malady: “You see . . . they will not let us help them.  They have chosen cunning instead of belief.  Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.” 

I’d like to invite you to join me in a bit of “risk-taking” during this Lenten season: specifically, by surrendering your expectations of God to God, and asking Him to shatter them by deepening your knowledge of the One who is our heart’s deepest, truest desire. 

Speaking of C.S. Lewis, just last week, a letter to the Commercial Appeal referred to a brief exchange between Lewis and Billy Graham, the Christian evangelist who died a couple of weeks ago.  As they were bidding each other a fond farewell, Lewis told Graham: “You know you have many critics, but I have never met one of your critics who knows you personally.”  How many of Jesus’ critics actually know him personally?  How about you?

St. John Baptist de la Salle, pray for us.  Live Jesus in our hearts, forever!  Amen. 

- Scott Geis

Dean, School of Arts

March 14, 2018

Isaiah 49:8-15
Thus says the LORD:
In a time of favor I answer you,
on the day of salvation I help you;
and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people,
To restore the land
and allot the desolate heritages,
Saying to the prisoners: Come out!
To those in darkness: Show yourselves!
Along the ways they shall find pasture,
on every bare height shall their pastures be.
They shall not hunger or thirst,
nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them;
For he who pities them leads them
and guides them beside springs of water.
I will cut a road through all my mountains,
and make my highways level.
See, some shall come from afar,
others from the north and the west,
and some from the land of Syene.
Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth,
break forth into song, you mountains.
For the LORD comforts his people
and shows mercy to his afflicted.

But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me."
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

How many times have we said or thought, “The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me” in our lives? Though I have said or thought this on more occasions than I would like to admit, I seek comfort in this passage from Isaiah.  This passage reassures us as believers that Christ never forgets or forsakes us. Instead, He is a constant source of mercy and comfort.  This passage describes how He cuts paths through mountains, levels roads, and provides food and drink to those who are afflicted. Though at times we may feel abandoned and without God, He is always there with his mercy. 

As of today, we are 19 days to Easter, just over the halfway point on our Lenten Journey.  At times this season of Lent can seem impassable. What we have given up or taken on as part of a Lenten commitment can begin to seem unbearable. As Lasallians, we often begin prayer with, “Let us remember that we are in the Holy Presence of God.”  This phrase is a constant reminder that we are in every moment surrounded by Christ and his mercy. Today, look for where Christ is cutting a path through your mountains, leveling your roads, or providing you with food and drink on your Lenten Journey.

St. John Baptist De LaSalle. 

Pray for Us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever.


- Julia Kueter

History 2014, MAT 2018, Lasallian Scholar, Campus Ministry

March 13, 2018

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.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The story of the healing pool could be anyone of us.  We could be the chronically ill man, desperately trying to seek the healing waters and being trampled. We could also be those walking over the man, seeking our own personal salvations, with no regard for those we are trampling in our way. Or, we could be like Jesus that sees the suffering of the chronically ill man, asking if he needs help and offers a cure to the sick man.  How many of us witness daily those that are poor in spirit, poor in health, or poor in their faith?  And, how many of us watch as they are ignored or trampled?  How many of us are the ones doing the trampling while we seek our own rewards, with no regard for those that suffer around us, that are desperate for a warm hand or a kind word?  Or, are we like the Jews in this reading that harass Jesus because he offers a cure to the man? 

Who do we want to be during Lent and are we willing to be persecuted like Jesus for offering a cure to someone who is suffering?  Every part of this reading can be mirrored in modern time and in our own personal lives and experiences. 

Today, we pray for those that suffer on the edge of the healing pool, so close to salvation, but unable to move into the healing waters without a helping hand.  We pray for those today choose to “trample” others that are blinded by their own self-interest.  And, we pray today for those that shadow Jesus’s actions in helping those who suffer, even though they may be harassed or harmed by doing God’s will.


St. John Baptist De LaSalle. Pray for Us.

Living Jesus in our hearts. Forever.


- Mark Billingsley

Vice President, Advancement

March 12, 2018

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.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I have heard this story many times over the years, and every time the same phrase stands out to me. The phrase is said by Jesus to the royal official whose son was sick, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” At first, it seems like Christ is disappointed in the people around him, especially the royal official. Upon further reflection, it occurred to me that the royal official had not only seen and believed; he heard and believed. Jesus never came back to the official’s home to directly heal his son. Jesus had only said that his son would be healed, and the royal official believed it. He did not see Jesus heal his son, yet he believed he did anyways.

To me the royal official’s faith in Jesus is part of what we should be working on as Christians during Lent. Sometimes it is difficult to know that Jesus is taking care of us, like he did the royal official’s son. The royal official reminds us to listen to what Jesus says, which is in the Bible. Jesus may not be physically present in the form of a human anymore, but that does not mean he has stopped being present in our lives. We need to take time out of our lives to listen to what Jesus is telling us and believe it wholeheartedly.


- Megan Morrison

Freshman, Psychology Major

March 10, 2018

Luke 18:9-14
Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity —
greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week,
and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This passage speaks to the arrogance of man. In today’s society, there are so many avenues to help those less fortunate, such as a clothing drive, feeding the homeless, and building houses. Through these efforts, one is expected to allow the deeds to be its own reward. However, there are those, such as the Pharisee, who exploits these deeds to catapult themselves to feel superior to others. Many of these individuals forget that we, as humans, start from humble beginnings, regardless of advantages many may have at birth or through formal education. All facets of life, in my opinion, should focused on the betterment of existence, rather than hindrance through prideful actions and comments.

            Humanity commits sin on a daily basis. Whether it is stealing candy from a gas station or murder, sin is happening throughout the world. The tax collector in the passage as come to terms with the sin in his life and asks the Lord, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner”, which shows that acknowledge of one’s shortcomings may not absolve them from the sin, but can put them on the path towards changing their current situation. Humbleness display a sense of knowing that even those with the biggest bank accounts can lose it in a heartbeat. With the technological advances, and the obsession to have followers and likes, one can lose hope that humanity will continue down the road towards exalting themselves above all others. However, in the darkness, a beacon of light shall create a path that will show the world that remaining humble can producing great results.


- Ian A. Boyd

Recreation & Intramural Coordinator

March 8, 2018

Jeremiah 7:23-28
Thus says the LORD:
This is what I commanded my people:
Listen to my voice;
then I will be your God and you shall be my people.
Walk in all the ways that I command you,
so that you may prosper.

But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed.
They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts
and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.
From the day that your fathers left the land of Egypt even to this day,
I have sent you untiringly all my servants the prophets.
Yet they have not obeyed me nor paid heed;
they have stiffened their necks and done worse than their fathers.
When you speak all these words to them,
they will not listen to you either;
when you call to them, they will not answer you.
Say to them:
This is the nation that does not listen
to the voice of the LORD, its God,
or take correction.
Faithfulness has disappeared;
the word itself is banished from their speech.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

As I write this, my mother is in the process of dying. She is at peace, not in pain, and wanders in and out of sleep. Hospice cares for her. It is a privilege, an honor, to be with her in this time. There is a holiness about giving her a drink of juice, wiping her chin, and putting lotion on her limbs.

This Lenten meditation assignment came in the midst of this unexpected journey with my mother. All three assigned readings speak of warnings and judgement. Jeremiah 7:23-28 is an ominous reminder from God to obey and “be my people” The verses recount the people’s decision not to obey. The Lord calls them stiff-necked.

In the Luke 11:14-23 passage, Jesus receives a public insult. Some shout that he casts out demons by the prince of demons. But Jesus, thinking brilliantly on his feet, explains how illogical this is, namely that a house divided against itself cannot stand. What stupidity to think that Satan would drive out a demon, one of his own kind!

The third reading, Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9, has hope-filled verses. Often read at a marriage, the first part of the psalm is full of noisy, joyful, public, community worship. The covenant people are invited to come into the Lord’s presence with thanksgiving and singing. They are warned against hardening their hearts. Worship involves respect, bowing down to God, and kneeling. 

Most of the time when scripture gives a command, a reason follows. Bowing and kneeling acknowledge that God made us. We are his people, the flock he shepherds.

One of my loveliest memories of my mother is her prayers. For a time in the communal dining room of her skilled-care nursing center, she was asked to give the blessing before meals. She would pause, bow her head, and address with reverence a holy God. Her prayers became beloved. The long dining table was pin-dropping quiet as residents and staff leaned forward to listen.

My mother knew her place. She, as one created, addressed the Creator humbly. She heeded the warning of punishment contained in the psalm’s closing verses. Perhaps that is why her face right now is unbelievably beautiful, her skin clear, and her eyes bright blue with hope. For months she has said she looks forward to “the next adventure”. It is about to begin.

- Robin Gallaher Branch

Adjunct Faculty, Department of Religion and Philosophy

March 7, 2018

Deuternonomy 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."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

These scriptures is talking about how as the children of God have everything we need in life, as long as we continue to follow the instructions given to us from God. We do not have to error or stray from the things we have been taught, but it is vital that we hold and keep the truth near to us.

These scriptures is also saying that this nation has God  so close to us, all we have to do is call upon Him and he is there for us. These scriptures are also talking about how if the people are leading by example, then there will be a path for their kids to follow. It is also vital that we pass that truth on to our kids and grandchildren, so that they will continue to obey the commandments and statues that God has laid out for us to follow.

- Ashley Evans

Administrative Assistant, Office of Mission and Identity/Campus Ministry

March 6, 2018

Matthew 18: 21-35
Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
"Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?"
Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.'
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
'Pay back what you owe.'
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
But he refused.
Instead, he had him put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?'
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Like the unmerciful servant in this parable, I too remember saying to God “Be patient with me, and I will pay you back” when I first learned about the debt that I had to God because of my sin. In my experience, I assumed I could earn my way back to God by trying to do good things. However, overtime, God helped me see that I couldn’t be my own savior. In fact, he emphasized to me that the very reason he made it his mission to come to this earth was because he was the only solution available to pay the debt of sin caused by humanity in full. To do this, I learned that he had to die the death that we deserved, and as he rose from the dead three days later, his sacrifice on the cross confirmed that the transaction to our debt had been made final: freedom could now be found, because sin had lost its power, a miracle only a perfect savior could do.

This Lenten season I am learning that lent is a time to reflect on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. When I look at this parable and align the story of Jesus to how it impacted my own, I sit in gratitude, grateful that God rescued me from a heart that desired to be its own savior, to a heart that trusted in the gift that God designed for me: eternal life & the opportunity to know and experience a relationship with him.

Forgiveness, therefore is a gift. A gift that doesn’t have reservations or limits or requires payment. It changes our hearts and challenges us to give grace and mercy to those who do not deserve it, the same way that we ourselves never did. Ultimately, in this life we can rest in the fact that we will never be able to do this perfectly, but this parable can encourage us to forgive with compassion, extend grace, and give mercy, the same way that God did and continues to do when he looks at us every day.

How does your story align with Jesus’s story? How does Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection challenge you to forgive from the heart?

- Connie Beck

Coordinator, Student Activities

March 5, 2018

Luke 4: 24-30
Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth:
“Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel
in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built,
to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Luke 4:24-30 is one of my favorite passages from the Book of Luke. Jesus makes the people in Nazareth furious – he accuses them of rejected a prophet (Luke 4:24), he compares all the people to the hard-hearted ones in the days of Elijah (Luke 4:25-26), and he also compares them to the hard-hearted people from the days of Elisha (Luke 4:27). In both references to the hard-hearted, it is implied that although one may claim to be a believer, God withdraws his favor from hard-hearted people.

He is run out of town, and yet not a single person present stops to ask if what he is saying is true – where they hard-hearted? Lent is a time for all Catholics to reflect on their relationships, not only with the Holy Father, but with their neighbors as well.

In the current political climate, it is hard to ignore the power of this passage. Not only do we need to accept Jesus, we must listen to what he is saying. Stating that we are Catholic is not enough if we are still hard-hearted. Jesus even reminds the crowd gathered that there were widows present during the famine, yet Elijah was not sent to one. Being hard-hearted is not acceptable. We cannot ignore the suffering of our brothers and sisters, and we cannot turn a blind eye to those in need. It is easy to ignore others when something is difficult, yet this Lenten season I call upon everyone to reflect on their own attitudes and whether or not they are hard-hearted in the face of those who most need our help. Everyone is hurt when you are hard-hearted, but everyone is blessed when you are soft-hearted and open.

- Cailtin Revers

Senior, Industrial Organizational Pyschology

March 4, 2018

1 Corinthians 1:22-25
Brothers and sisters:
Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified,
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

It is well known that in the Old Testament wisdom was proclaimed with symbols. Everybody is impressed with the Lord when he demands submission or when he works wonders. Everybody is surprised with the content of the law when it bring common sense to life. Wisdom and signals don’t make a scandal. However, Jesus scandalizes braking the rules.

The wisdom of Jesus is different. He works with God to help humans to be sons and daughters, to bear our own cross with trust. We suffer knowing that he also suffered for us. It is not to believe in an intellectual God, who lives in temples, asks for worship and imposes justice, but in the Father Liberator, in the Son who gives life, in the Spirit that moves humans.

The doctrine of Jesus is not a human wisdom.  It is not intellectual. Only if we enter in to the dynamic of him, we can help the Father to save the songs and daughters. Only with this point of view can we understand. If not, it is madness and scandal.

- Br. Henry Paredes, FSC

Lambert Hall Community Member

March 2, 2018

Genesis 37:3-4,12-13A,17B-28A
Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons,
for he was the child of his old age;
and he had made him a long tunic.
When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons,
they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.

One day, when his brothers had gone
to pasture their father's flocks at Shechem,
Israel said to Joseph,
"Your brothers, you know, are tending our flocks at Shechem.
Get ready; I will send you to them."

So Joseph went after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan.
They noticed him from a distance,
and before he came up to them, they plotted to kill him.
They said to one another: "Here comes that master dreamer!
Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here;
we could say that a wild beast devoured him.
We shall then see what comes of his dreams."

When Reuben heard this,
he tried to save him from their hands, saying,
"We must not take his life.
Instead of shedding blood," he continued,
"just throw him into that cistern there in the desert;
but do not kill him outright."
His purpose was to rescue him from their hands
and return him to his father.
So when Joseph came up to them,
they stripped him of the long tunic he had on;
then they took him and threw him into the cistern,
which was empty and dry.

They then sat down to their meal.
Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead,
their camels laden with gum, balm and resin
to be taken down to Egypt.
Judah said to his brothers:
"What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood?
Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites,
instead of doing away with him ourselves.
After all, he is our brother, our own flesh."
His brothers agreed.
They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

What strikes me the most in this passage is how quickly Joseph’s life was turned upside down. I’m sure his day had started like any other, yet, by sun-down he had been abandoned by his own family and shipped off to a new life in a foreign land. Many of us know what it feels like to be betrayed in some way or another. For Joseph, it was his brothers, his own blood, that turned on him. As painful as it may be, because of the broken world we live in, people will hurt us. While they may not go as far as selling us into slavery, people will turn their backs on us, betray our trust, or abandon us in some way.

How others treat us can often leave us wondering what we’ve done to deserve it. When people are cruel or unkind, I often think, “What does their treatment of me say about me?”. However, it is how we respond to this hurt that says the most about us. Will we let it ruin our trust and leave us cold? Or will we break free of our human nature and strive to forgive? Although it’s not in this reading, Joseph never held this against his brothers. He forgave them, even though they had changed the entire course of his life.

Even though in the end, Joseph’s pain was used for God’s glory, I can’t help but wonder why he had to endure so much hardship. At the beginning of this passage, we see the image of a father who loves his child so much. In fact, it’s stated that Joseph was the most loved. So why did he go through the most heartache? Sometimes God allows us to go through trials, but this doesn’t mean that He doesn’t love us, or that he has somehow forgotten about us. Joseph was righteous, and in the end, his life was used for so much more than he could have imagined. Brothers and sisters, when the world seems to be against us, may we remember that we are loved deeply by our Father.

- Chase K. Encalade

Junior, English For Corporate Communications

March 1, 2018

Luke 16:19-31
Jesus said to the Pharisees:
"There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man's table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.'
Abraham replied, 'My child,
remember that you received what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing
who might wish to go from our side to yours
or from your side to ours.'
He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him
to my father's house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.'
But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.'
He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
Then Abraham said,
'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.'"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

From the Catholic Missal:

            Celebrant: Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.

            All Respond:    Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof,but only say the wordand my soul shall be healed


From the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer (Holy Eucharist – Rite I, The opening sentences of the Prayer of Humble Access)

We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies.  We are not worthy so much as to gather the crumbs under thy table. …

The parable of the Rich Man and Poor Lazarus goes on to find Lazarus in Heaven, the Rich Man in the Other Place, and a dialog between Abraham and the Rich Man to at least keep his brothers from joining him. But the first two sentences setting the scene in the parable have come to have some meaning to both Catholics and Episcopalians. For Catholics the feeling is that we may not be worthy enough to receive Christ’s Body and Blood, but even so, through Jesus we are allowed to. Episcopalians have thought somewhat the same as --- not worthy so much as to gather the crumbs.  Yet we are allowed to come forward to receive.

For me personally, Lent has always been a time to reflect on my faith and to be thankful that I do have faith, and that I have the opportunity to share a meal through the Eucharist.  From Ash Wednesday through Palm Sunday and Holy Week and then Easter, my hope is that we all reflect on the precious gifts our Savior has brought to us.

- Andrew Morgret

Associate Professor, School of Business

February 28, 2018

Jeremiah 18:18-20
The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said,
"Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah.
It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests,
nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets.
And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue;
let us carefully note his every word."

Heed me, O LORD,
and listen to what my adversaries say.
Must good be repaid with evil
that they should dig a pit to take my life?
Remember that I stood before you
to speak in their behalf,
to turn away your wrath from them.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Lent is a time where we take an intentional “spiritual inventory” and look a little deeper at our journey thus far. A time to contemplate difficult questions that we otherwise sweep under the rug because they are too painful or in some cases, too real. One of the ways that I use to take this “spiritual inventory” is scripture. Scripture allows us to read and experience God’s living word through the different books in the Bible.

In Jeremiah 18:18-20, this is one of many examples where Jeremiah is lamenting to God about a hard time he is having sharing God’s word. Known as the “Weeping Prophet” Jeremiah is often persecuted by the Jewish people for delivering a message that is too difficult for them to hear. A message that contains truth. Passages like this one throughout the Book of Jeremiah allow me to pause and think about those difficult questions I do sweep under the rug in my life.

What difficult truth or message am I afraid to say to someone? Sometimes the scarier question is not what am I afraid to say but what am I afraid to hear. What difficult truth am I afraid to listen to or believe?  This can be so scary at times. It is hard to realize this truth needs to be shared even though it will hurt. Hurt a relationship, hurt a loved one, and hurt ourselves, and perhaps the most difficult, our pride. These two echoing questions, though difficult, allow me to ultimately be present to how I interact with others and most importantly how I interact with God.

- Joseph Preston

Campus Minister

February 27, 2018

Matthew 23:1-12
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
"The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people's shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi.'
As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi.'
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called 'Master';
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In Matthew 23:1-12 Jesus condemns the behavior of the political and social leaders in Jerusalem. These leaders, Pharisees and Law makers, demonstrated hypocrisy in that they demonstrated a false appearance of virtue or goodness, while concealing their real character. Their daily walk was inconsistent with what they preached.  Their worth was measured by how people saw them, as oppose to God’s measurement of the human heart and how one love sand serves others.

I see this same pattern today, especially in our political system. Like the religious and political leaders Jesus spoke about in Matthew 23:1-12, leaders today are power driven and appear to be more concern with winning and being on top than meeting the needs of the people they serve. Their worth appears to be  measured by defeating the “other party.”

It is easy for us as Christians to fall into the whirlwind of selfishness and attention seeking. I have my own personal story to share of when singing in the Gospel choir during my college days, using my God given talent of singing to try to impress a handsome young man, as opposed to using my voice glorify God and edify others. The end result was an embarrassing and a humbling experience.

As we embark on our own journey of personal reflections during this Lent season, let us reflect on the selfless, genuine, and authentic love of Jesus Christ. He was flogged, mocked, tortured, and executed for God and for us, not for himself. It wasn’t some selfish ego-maniacal stunt to gain fame and fortune. He loved God and us with his life and his death, and that is exactly what he asks of us. (Rick Morley, It’s Not About Me: A reflection of Matthew 23:1-12, Oct. 19, 2011.

- Karen M. Conway-Barnett

Dean of Students

February 26, 2018

Psalm 79: 8,9,11,13
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R. Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name's sake.
R. Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Let the prisoners' sighing come before you;
with your great power free those doomed to death.
Then we, your people and the sheep of your pasture,
will give thanks to you forever;
through all generations we will declare your praise.
R. Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

As a senior in high school, I posted the following in a Facebook status that still hits home:

            “Pure evil is easy to see, easy to avoid. I believe that the devil finds it much easier to work in our lives through mediocracy. Whatever you do, do it with all of your ability- all of your conviction. Believe yourself. Be confident in your reason why.”

You see, it’s really easy to know when we’ve sinned big time.  We usually know and recognize our own vices: gossip; lying; skipping mass; cheating; pornography; sex; the illegal use of drugs or alcohol…. the list could go on for days.  Our red flags go up naturally when the mistakes are obvious, but sin is more sticky than thatIt is so much harder for me to hold myself accountable when I’m asked to set my desires aside for the good of others.  I often catch myself happily sitting back as I watch hours of Netflix at a time, or whining about someone else’s “rude” actions.  These slippery “smaller” sins, like the larger ones, still act as obstacles between me and God.  My time could be so much better spent serving others and going deeper into my faith.

Fortunately, there is good news about our sticky, messy, sin-filled lives.  When reading this psalm, I am reminded of the constant love and never ending grace that God pours over us.  Every moment of our lives, he is reaching out, calling us to come home and walk closer and closer to him.  To invite God to take control of our lives, all we have to do is ask.

- Carlee Darnell

Junior, Religion and Philosophy Major

February 25, 2018

Psalm 116: 10,15,16-17,18-19
I believed, even when I said,
"I am greatly afflicted."
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.

O LORD, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.

My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the LORD,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Back in the early nineties here at CBU I taught calculus to a young man from Panama.  One day seeing me help one of his classmates he asked me if I would help him also.  I said that I surely would and how could I help him.  He told me that he had leukemia and that he would have to undergo chemo treatments.  So far the school year I helped him both in class and out.

He kept up with his school work in spite of having some very bad days. In fact he worked very hard and kept excellent grades.  He worked as though he had a full future ahead of him.  God had different plans, however, and he died, back in Panama, the following July. I have kept his homework book in calculus all these year to remind me the courage and positive outlook the young man had.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all used our God given talents in such a way as to develop ourselves for a lifetime of helping others in spite of any problems we may encounter?

Precious in the eyes of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones. Psalm 116:15


- Br. Joel Baumeyer, FSC

Director, Math Center

February 24, 2018

Deuteronomy 26:16-19
Moses spoke to the people, saying:
"This day the LORD, your God,
commands you to observe these statutes and decrees.
Be careful, then,
to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.
Today you are making this agreement with the LORD:
he is to be your God and you are to walk in his ways
and observe his statutes, commandments and decrees,
and to hearken to his voice.
And today the LORD is making this agreement with you:
you are to be a people peculiarly his own, as he promised you;
and provided you keep all his commandments,
he will then raise you high in praise and renown and glory
above all other nations he has made,
and you will be a people sacred to the LORD, your God,
as he promised."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In some ways, Deuteronomy 26:16-19 is hard to read, especially without the previous verses.  For me, reading this reminded me that God does ask specifically of us, that our faith in him is not enough to ensure "praise and renown and glory".  Am I doing what God has asked of me?  Is anyone doing all that God has asked?  What is God asking of us, or more specifically, telling us?  What should I be doing to ensure that I will be among the sacred people?  And can I do these things with all my heart and soul, without resentment?  God tells us, not asks us, to follow his commandments and instructions.  Am I following his commandments happily, without question, and gladly?

In the previous verses, God has instructed the Israelites to give back the first fruits of the ground, since God has blessed the Israelites. These blessings should be given to the Levite, the fatherless, the widow, and the resident alien.  Who in our society should we be sharing our blessings with?  And are we sharing the best of what we have, the first of our blessings?  It is easy to take the things we do not want to Goodwill, but are we sharing the best of what we have with those who are in need?  Are we helping the poor in our communities, refugees, those without the family most of us have been blessed with?  Are we sharing ourselves, our time, and the things we hold most dear?  Are we just giving our leftovers, whether it be money, food, clothing, or ourselves?  Again, God tells us to give first fruit of the ground, the things we wanted and waited for, not the leftovers from the season. 

Deuteronomy 26:16-19 is reminding us that God has told us what he wants from us.  He has given us commandments, statues, and decrees and we are to follow them.  And more importantly, we should want to follow them, to embrace these instructions with our hearts and souls.  During this Lenten season, I want to examine not only God's instructions, but how I am facing these instructions.  I want to follow these instructions not with duty, obligation, and guilt, but with excitement, love, and passion.  With my heart and soul. 


- Julie Gilmore

Technical Services Librarian

February 23, 2018

Matthew 5:20-26
Jesus said to his disciples:
"I tell you,
unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

"You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa,
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This reading reminded me of how much power that our words and actions have. They can either be life-giving or damning. The reading prompts me to always keep in mind of what I say to others and how it can affect them. The passageʼs meaning is truly powerful. In essence, it gives us a high standard to hold ourselves to. It provides us with a way to live life that not only fulfills us but also God. In this case, a fulfilling life comes from using your words to create positive change in the world and to forgive and forget.
The readingʼs central message is something that I feel is very important to come to terms with and relevant in the college environment. For the most part, everyone wants to make a positive change in the world which is done partly by the words you use but also through actions. College gives us the chance to learn what positive change we want to make in the world and the resources necessary to do that, be it critical thinking skills, self-discovery, networking (which ties back into the words you use), or what have you. No matter what your path in life is, keeping steadfast in these two life lessons that college teaches you well after you graduate will take you great places and help you lead a content life.

- Ken Guy

Senior, Business Management

February 22, 2018

Psalm 23:1-3A, 4, 5, 6
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This reading, perhaps the most popular of the Psalms, has been a source of comfort to countless numbers of Christians, myself included. What more assuring words are there when one imagines a God of such intimacy that he protects me under the worst of circumstances? And yet, sometimes this wonderful Psalm, is hard to reconcile with tragedy in our world, especially when we are hit hard by events that affect us personally. There are those with the faith of Job who stare into the face of adversity with unwavering faith. But what about the rest of us? We may struggle with the idea that God will take care of our physical needs, especially when the realities of life show us something different. I find some solace in the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13: 12-13: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face”. When I think about His universal perspective in contrast to my own, I am able to see that sadness in my life is not for me to understand, at least not yet.


But still, some might say that the 23rd Psalm paints the picture of a Creator who will see to our creature comforts and make the road ahead free of potholes. Frankly, that has not been my experience. Could it be instead, that God is much more likely to provide consolation in ways that are less tangible? For instance, despite prayers, and those of loved ones, a woman continues to suffer from a chronic illness. Could it be that, although the Lord does not to heal the woman’s ailments, He plants a seed that manifests itself in opportunities for greater faith, greater resolve, greater patience, greater peace? My prayers these days have taken on another dimension. Although I still pray for physical healings and positive outcomes in tough situations, I also pray that the Holy Spirit intercedes in ways that I may never see. After all, His spiritual gifts are so much more powerful than our tangible needs and desires.

- Dr. Mary Ogilvie

Professor of Biology

February 21, 2018

Jonah 3:1-10
The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
"Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you."
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD's bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day's walk announcing,
"Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,"
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.

When the news reached the king of Nineveh,
he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe,
covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh,
by decree of the king and his nobles:
"Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep,
shall taste anything;
they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water.
Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God;
every man shall turn from his evil way
and from the violence he has in hand.
Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath,
so that we shall not perish."
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In today's reading from the Old Testament, one finds several Lenten themes: obedience, repentance, and forgiveness. Jonah, upon listening to the will of God, sets out on a journey to be the hands and feet to the Ninevites - urging a change in lifestyle and a recommitment to a Godly lifestyle. Due to the obedience and repentance of the people, God forgave the people and removed the affliction. In thinking about our Lenten journey, where have we been challenged to be obedient, to repent, and to forgive?

As children, parents and guardians teach the value of obedience. For it is through obedience that we learn "right" and "wrong"; the value of respecting all persons; and a means to impact the world. As we mature into adulthood, the notion of obedience can be a daily struggle - as we are challenged to serve God; our loved ones and friends; bosses and co-workers. In the midst of serving all these entities, we must be truly obedient to God and ourselves.

When I served as Director of Youth Ministry at my church, I always reminded our youth that one of our calls as Christians is to strive for "perfect imperfection." While no one is perfect, we must challenge ourselves to be accountable to all those we encounter; to seek forgiveness when we have wronged others; and to obediently follow the will of God for our lives.

May we all seek a "perfectly imperfect" Lent - full of opportunities for obedience, repentance, and forgiveness.

- Wilson Phillips

Office of Student Life

February 20, 2018

Isaiah 55:10-11
Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In reading this passage, I am reminded of a question I would ask my fifth grade students when starting the year teaching Religion. The text we used started off our study of the Catholic faith by prodding us to think about how we have a yearning to know God, even if we cannot articulate it as such. Once this desire is realized, we can then in turn start to wonder why God created us. The simple answer we would discuss in class would be that we were created to know, love and serve God. In this passage, we are reminded that God has a purpose for everything He has created, and until that purpose is fulfilled, we cannot return to Him.


Upon a second reading, I started to reflect on how the word in this passage could be interpreted as Jesus. Jesus went out and preached the word of God, and in the end, died for our sins. During this time of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer, I encourage you to reflect on what God has called you to do with your life. How does He want you to use what you do for the betterment of the world? This may seem like an overwhelming question, but really, it can be quite simple. Just as the rain and snow don’t have to think about watering the earth, God’s calling for you is something that comes naturally to you.

-Colleen Boyette

Director, LANCE Program

February 19, 2018

Psalm 19:8,9,10,15
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart.
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
find favor before you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
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The book of Psalms always knows how to heal my heart – no matter the situation I am in. I find myself coming upon many different verses in the book of Psalms almost every day. This Lenten season, I went back and forth between what to do and found myself feeling short of what to give up and/or do to better myself in my faith. Having been thinking about all the endless possibilities that I could account myself for, I chose to step out of my comfort zone and try something challenging and different. I chose to reflect on this passage for two main reasons.

                Verse 15 immediately caught my attention after hearing a homily about giving up an attitude for lent. Father Bill in mass spoke about choosing to ‘fast’ from having a certain attitude, and that really stuck with me. As I begin the Lenten season, striving to be more understanding by giving up the attitude of being judgmental, I found this verse to be a helpful reminder to me when I struggle with finding the right things to say in situations that I don’t feel most comfortable.

                Secondly, something I have always struggled with is praying the rosary consistently; therefore, this Lenten season, I have decided to become committed to it. You are only as strong as your weakest link, right? I know I cannot be a perfect human, but I feel that it is so important to always do your best at what God puts in front of you. So, because my faith has been such a rock in my life, when I pause and reflect on what truly pushes me to become the best-version-of-myself, that is my best friend Himself, Jesus Christ. His perfect image that He created for us to share and follow fascinates me in the way He created all of the earth for us. Knowing that I have a loving Savior, who is always with me and never leaving me alone, fills me with an unexplainable joy that is truly indescribable.

-Anna Graziosi

Sophomore, Special Education Major

February 18, 2018

Psalm 25: 4-5,6-7,8-9
R. Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.

Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.

Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your love are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.
R. Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.

Good and upright is the LORD,
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
and he teaches the humble his way.
R. Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.
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Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.

These four lines have always been a favorite of mine. Why? Because it’s hard for me to think of a more concise or beautiful prayer, especially for Lent. Let’s look at this passage more closely:

Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths
Notice that both “ways” and “paths” are plural. That to me is significant. We all know that life presents each of us with lots of options---every day! Most are pretty insignificant----what shall I wear, what do I have for lunch, etc. But other options can be very significant, especially if they involve encounters with other people.  How well do I listen to others, especially if I might be in a hurry or preoccupied? Do I avoid someone because I just can’t be bothered? Just as there are several sidewalks and paths to take around campus, there are also plenty of paths to navigate through each day. We are called to be present to others when we are in their presence, because we are also in the Holy Presence of God.

Reflect a bit on how fully you are present to others. . .

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.

“Truth” is a tricky word these days; there seem to be so many different versions of it, especially when it comes to political issues. But God’s truth is in a very different category. God’s truth is the one that leads us down the right paths, that lights our way, that keeps us on the right track. And if we are attentive, God saves us from getting off track. As Jesus tells us in words that echo this passage: “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.” If Jesus is walking with us, we’re in good shape. Not that we don’t get blinded or distracted at times, but Jesus not only shows us the way, he is The Way.

Try praying this passage slowly a few times over the next few days.

-Br. Larry Schatz, FSC

Christian Brothers University Trustee Member

February 17, 2018

Luke 5:27-32
Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, "Follow me."
And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.
Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house,
and a large crowd of tax collectors
and others were at table with them.
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying,
"Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"
Jesus said to them in reply,
"Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners."
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A few years ago my husband and I received a letter from the IRS stating that we had incorrectly reported our income and we owed a few thousand dollars in back taxes. Immediately. There were feelings of fear (What? They are coming to take all we own!) and loathing (How dare they? They just want to take, take, take!). We got it all worked out, we paid what they said was owed, and no men in black came to our door. That is now.

Imagine, though, what it was like in Jesus’ day. There were few people more depraved than tax collectors. The Roman Empire sold the rights to collect taxes. The winning bidder paid a set amount to Rome and kept all the rest of the money he collected. Tax collectors got rich by stifling trade and taking advantage of a largely poor population. They were the local mafia. To the Jews they were collaborators with Rome helping subject their own people to bondage.

Enter Jesus. Jesus called to Levi (Matthew), “Follow me”. The Bible says that Matthew “leaving everything” rose and followed Jesus. The mercy of God reached out to Matthew in his depraved condition and bid him to follow. The Bible says that Levi made a great feast at his house. There were tax collectors there. There were ‘others’ (read ‘sinners’) there. Jesus and his disciples were there. I am not sure if the Pharisees were there but they saw that Jesus was eating and drinking with this group of undesirables and asked the question “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”.

Jesus answered “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous by sinners to repentance.” This same account recorded in Matthew 9 adds this- “ But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

-Teri Douglas

Coordinator of Admissions Operations

February 16, 2018

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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  My relationship with fasting, is somewhat irregular. On the one hand, I fast as every Catholic is asked to do on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, as well as abstain from meat. The Catechism states that we, as Catholics, fast by eating one regular meal, along with two small meals. I find this interesting because, I happen to work at an Orthodox Jewish synagogue, where I have witnessed their tradition of fasting, especially on Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is a day of strict fasting to atone for one’s sins. In Jewish tradition, you are supposed to fast from all food and drink, once one has reached the proper age. When reading Isaiah, as Catholics, there is a disconnect between what fasting would truly have been for the Israelites and for the Orthodox Jews now. It is extremely difficult and takes much out of you.

                Catholics today, do not fast as the Jewish do, but they are still called to enter this solemn time with a mind of self-reflection and desire for holiness. Isaiah speaks of how we are not only called to fast but also, “…releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry…” and it still goes on (Isaiah 58). We are called to not only fast and abstain, but also to seek out God in the people around us. Lent is a time to push ourselves to find Jesus and to further our relationship with Him. We are called to change, and to become more holy. We live in a solemn time for Lent, so that we may live in the time of joy, Easter.

-Clare Sauser

Senior, Natural Sceince Major

February 15, 2018

Luke 9:22-25
Jesus said to his disciples:
"The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected
by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised."

Then he said to all,
"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?"
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As I read Luke 9:22-25, I’m struck at how unattractive following Christ appears on face value.  In a world where all secular messaging tells us the path towards happiness is wealth and privilege, who is going to be willing to deny themselves and take up their cross?  I don’t even want to deny myself dessert, much less take up a cross!  Shouldn’t we hire Jesus an advertising agency to “spin” this passage into something more of us can buy?

But with deeper reflection, the irony of Jesus’ message is revealed.  The path to truly finding life is not in riches or fame as Madison Avenue would have us believe, but in denying ourselves and living for Jesus Christ.  I believe that is what we are asked to do in Luke 9:22-25: stop living life our way, or society’s way, and begin imitating Jesus’ life and obeying his commands.


The Christian faith is not easy.  It demands us to take up a cross, to deny ourselves, and to love others.  As we reflect during this Lenten season, let’s remember this radical appeal to follow Christ.  For only when we live for Jesus do we discover the true gift of life.   And only by answering Jesus’ radical call, do we experience true happiness and joy that stems from his love and grace.

-Bevalee Vitali

Associate Professor of Business


Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2018

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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     This calendar year, Lent actually begins earlier on February, 14, which is the same day as Valentine’s Day.   Please note that this year, Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day, February 14th,  and Easter falls on April Fool’s Day, April 1st.   This is most unique as the Church and this year’s season come together.
Our Faith Journey begins on Ash Wednesday and takes us through Jesus’ public life in Faith, Community, and Services in forty days. We see Jesus gathering the multitudes of people who have come to see, hear, and Believe in the Son of God.
     We see Jesus with the apostles, who are his companions, and we see the human dimension of the Apostles as they fall and in time get up once again to follow the Man Jesus.
Jesus taught The Hour of Prayer and said “This is how you are to Pray”:
      “Our Father who art in heaven…”
Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain.  There they had such a spiritual mountaintop experience, and the apostles, in harmony, said in prayer:
      “Lord Give me the endurance and confidence to go the distance with you.”
In the second week of Lent, there are Two Prayers you may wish to reflect upon:
      “Lord, Bless our Families and Heal our Relationships”
      “Lord Jesus, Cleanse our hearts of malice as the Lord Jesus always made his home a dwelling place for all who needed it, especially the most vulnerable”
Throughout the journey of forty days and nights, Jesus knew his time with the apostles, and those who followed HIM, would come to an end.  Those gathered at the table were grateful to be called friends in sharing what would be the Last Supper.
As the Passion comes to an end, the Easter Vigil becomes Hope as we pray:
      “Risen Lord, prepare me for a LIFE that is governed by Hope.”
     May we enter this time deeply, especially during Holy Week, so that we may by FAITH learn more and more of the man Jesus, who died for us in order to ensure his FATHER will live forever in our Hearts and Souls.
     May your Lenten Journey be one of learning about yourselves as your prepare yourselves for the Risen Lord on Easter morning.
Peace and Joy on Easter Sunday!
-Br. Dominic Ehrmantraut, FSC

Director of Mission & Identity, Christian Brothers University