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2019 Daily Lenten Reflections


Thursday, March 21

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.

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As Christians and children of God, we are called to love, know, and worship Him. God made us to love him unconditionally and to know him profoundly just like he knows us. He made this land for us to enjoy it and finish his work here on earth. God wants you to trust in him and for you to give up all your worries and doubts in his hands. God wants to be your father, your best friend, and your brother. He wants you to lean your head on his shoulders and depend on him. In Jeremiah 17:5-10 tells us, “God is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream”. God is your shade when the days get tiring and hot. When you cannot bare the days anymore and the only thing you want to do is rest and feel a nice and calm breeze. God is your shade where you can go to find refuge and where you can find peace and love. God’s love runs so deep through your heart just like the roots of the tree run through the stream. Whenever you feel that void in your heart, that is God telling you to go straight to his arms. That is your human nature telling you that you need God in your heart. The number one thing that will make you truly happy is getting to know God and all the sacrifices he has made for you. Jeremiah 17:5-10, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord”. 

— Emmeline Rameriez
English Education Major and Spanish Minor, 2021

Wednesday, March 20

Matthew 20:17-28

As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem,
he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves,
and said to them on the way,
"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem,
and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests
and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death,
and hand him over to the Gentiles
to be mocked and scourged and crucified,
and he will be raised on the third day."

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her, "What do you wish?"
She answered him,
"Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom."
Jesus said in reply,
"You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?"
They said to him, "We can."
He replied,
"My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left,
this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many."

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In today’s selection, we recall the story of a mother who approaches Jesus on behalf of her sons – requesting preferential treatment and assurances beyond her own understanding.  In his teaching, Jesus challenges his followers –“Can you drink of the chalice that I am going to drink?”  While the two sons boldly pledge their fidelity, others became indignant and full of resentment.  Then, as only Jesus can, he humbles and reminds his followers of their purpose. 

Born with cerebral palsy, one of the hardest parts growing up was finding acceptance amongst my peers – and myself.  I struggled to find my place amongst the “normal” kids – or at least those whose challenges were not visible to the world.  I faced feelings of doubt, despair, anger, resentment, and loneliness.  Some of which still linger today.  During that period of my life, I identified with the mother in this story – always making “deals” with God and trying to make unreasonable requests of Him.  If I am healed, I promise to do this; or if you help me find myself, I will remain loyal.  Throughout my life, I have also seen myself as the two sons – feeling as though I deserve the favor of God because of my “good deeds in service to others.”  Yet, God always reminds me that my view is such a small glimpse of the grand design.

As a community, how often do we find ourselves making unreasonable demands of others without a complete understanding of external factors?  How often do we offer ourselves in loyalty to others; however, when times get tough we dessert one another in fear?  How often do the uncertainties of our present and future overwhelm our perceptions of others and ourselves?

During this Lent, may we embody the encouragements Christ, “whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.”  It was this sacrificial service, which inspired De LaSalle to step out in faith and begin his ministry.  May we also be inspired to truly serve our neighbor in sacrificial love throughout these forty days and beyond.

— Wilson Phillips
Student Life

Tuesday, March 19

Matthew 1:16,18-21,24A

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.

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Today in the Catholic Church we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Joseph, and being named Joseph, it holds special significance to me in my life. Being named Joseph, I have always had a special bond with St. Joseph and starting at a young age I would look up to him. As I’ve gotten older, I have been able to appreciate him even more and the immense pressure and privilege he had in being Jesus’ earthly father. I am continuously inspired and in admiration for his initial response to the situation he found himself in. Instead of exposing her to shame or making a public display of Mary, Joseph decides to divorce her quietly.

I am challenged in reading this because so often in my own life, I am faced with situations where I feel justified in my response and that I can put shame and blame on the other. It is so easy for me to point a finger and say “what have you done, you should get in trouble for what you did to me.” So often I can find myself thinking it’s all about me. The exact opposite happens in todays’ Gospel. Then Joseph’s life continues to get even more interesting as he is approached by an angel in his dreams. Then with what seems to be an almost instantaneous response, he believes the angel and does as he is told. WOW. I mean this would be a lot to take in. I pray that I might find the same courage and faith to accept the things in my life that I am called to.

What is the Lord calling us to in our daily lives that we find difficult to understand or believe? How can we respond to others with the same kindness and understanding as St. Joseph?

— Joseph Preston
Campus Ministry, Director

Monday, March 18

Daniel 9:4B-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."

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When I first read this reading, it immediately struck a chord with me. There have been so many times during my life with Christ that I feel like I have departed from God, disappointed Him, or rebelled from His teachings. There are times still when I get overwhelmed and fall to pieces over college, family, and relationship troubles and I feel like I don’t know what to do. Every time this happens, when I find my way back to His comforting path, I immediately feel my burdens leave me and I begin to feel an indescribable peace, knowing that whatever it is that’s bothering me is tiny and insignificant compared to all of the plans He has for me. I am so lucky and so thankful that we serve a compassionate, forgiving, and almighty God. Every day, when I look at His creations, I am reminded that I serve a God who loves me in all of my ways and all of my forms, whether I feel like I deserve it or not.

Recently, I’ve felt closer to Christ than ever before. In the past year, I’ve felt like God has called me to bring others to Him; other women who feel that they’ve sinned too many times, strayed too far away, or don’t know how to begin a relationship with Christ. If I hadn’t ever felt this way, I wouldn’t be able to help them find comfort in His unwavering love for us. I feel honored when someone comes to me and asks me to testify my experience and relationship with God, to help strengthen their own. Something I’ve learned from my own experiences, and from working through these experiences with others, is that I don’t believe God sends us down paths with dead ends. I know He sends us down paths that may have road work ahead, maybe a tree has fallen in the road or there’s construction nearby, but He always clears it and the path continues. That is the work of our great and awesome God.

This reading reminded me of one of my favorite lyrics from one of my favorite songs from mass: “I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it, when it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus.” Too often in my own life, and maybe this is true for a lot of people, I become so anxious and concerned about my problems that I overwork myself looking for solutions to calm my heart, when the comfort I’m looking for is in Christ and His watch over me. I focus too much on worldly things and other people’s perceptions of me, and I neglect to focus on observing the commandments, law, and trust of my God. When I begin to live my life as a service to Him, everything begins to fall into place.

— Mary Roe
Early Childhood Education Major, 2019

Sunday, March 17

Luke 9:28b-36

...he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray.
And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.
And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah,
who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.
And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah"--not knowing what he said.
As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.
And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!"
And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen."

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The Gospel reveals the tension of the humanity of Jesus and his suffering in his first announcement of the passion. The tension is evident in this situation. Jesus had a close encounter with the two iconic people in the bible, Moses and Elijah. The disciples Peter, John, and James try to participate in that situation praying with Jesus. May we look at this situation as an invitation to participate in the glory of Jesus.

An invitation to have the experience and to go to the mountain and pray with Jesus in a personal experience. In our lives it is the same. We need to move ourselves and make the trip with Jesus and stay with Him. Recognizing this legacy and our history, we are invited to recognize him in his glory and our participation in his Resurrection. But we need to be awake because some time we are tired or with many distractions. Having the expectation and being vigilant to recognize the presence of Jesus in every person, in the poor, in those people stripped of dignity.

Having a memory of his passion and Resurrection is a constant challenge for us. 

— Br. Henry Paredes
Lambert Hall Community


Saturday, March 16

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."

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Reflection:

The oft quoted passage "love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you" has always had a thunderous effect on me. Challenging our own feelings of hatefulness and that of others with the power of love and prayer seems gratifyingly simple, even if difficult to always put in practice. But on reflection, I find Jesus' message fascinatingly complex.

When reading the entire passage, verses 43-48, it seems to me that Jesus's call for universal love intends to make us work hard for the perfection he demands of us. In fact, this passage asks us to practice overcoming our prejudices on the page and in real time as we read. For instance, it surprises me that Jesus compares paltry forms of love to the customs of tax collectors and pagans. Does he then discriminate against these perceived outsiders even as he claims that our love should be inclusive of all? This seems to be the case, but in calling out tax collectors and pagans as "enemies," he identifies for his audience the very people who deserve their unreserved love.  

Yet, the subtlety of Jesus's lesson has only just begun. His final injunction to "be perfect" guides us back to earlier in the passage to locate the equivalent of that perfection: "[to] be children of your heavenly Father." To be or strive to be perfect ("as your heavenly Father is perfect") identifies you as a child of God. But it's at this point, in returning to this section, that Jesus's words and structure become transformative and inclusive. While he promises "that you may be children of your heavenly Father" if you pray for those who are "bad," the sentence continues with a quick but significant turn, saying "for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and unjust." Jesus clearly intends to recognize that all people, whether marked as "good" or "bad," are children of God, bringing his Christian audience in a kind of equivalency with their "enemies." With great intricacy, Jesus teaches us to be better readers, not just of his message but of our own often biased narratives.

— Dr. Leslie McAbee
Director, AutoZone Center for Community Engagement


Friday, March 15

Psalm 130:1-2,3-4,5-7A,7BC-8

R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the LORD
more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
Let Israel wait for the LORD.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
For with the LORD is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

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Reflection:

Psalm 130 is called a Song of Ascents, one of fifteen psalms with this superscription. Scholars debate the heading’s meaning. Augustine and Origin thought Psalms 120-134 portrayed the soul’s journey. However, I join the more practical in thinking that travelers on a pilgrimage said them at regular intervals. This interpretation invites my imagination.

Consequently for this reflection, I am a pilgrim woman walking the forested trails to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. The time is after the exile. Rome rules; Tiberius reigns. A man named Jesus is coming to Passover this year; we hope to hear him; crowds call him a prophet.

My fellow travelers number 20. Four donkeys carry our bedding, utensils, and food. The journey up to Jerusalem takes four days; the entire trip lasts fourteen. We’re a noisy, excited bunch.

The walk is long and the climb, gradual. We go from sea level to Jerusalem’s limestone hills. It’s both a sacred and social journey. Children run ahead and behind, meeting other travelers.

We spot Israel’s beautiful birds, among them the common kingfisher and yellowhammer, glorious in their plumage. The nuanced greens of Israel’s elms and cedars delight us. We rejoice in the beauty of the Lord’s creation.

We camp under heaven’s stars. We watch Orion and the Pleiades through the night (Job 38:31) and awake with the dew of Israel on our faces (Hosea 14:5).

At first light we listened as my husband, a priest, chanted today’s first psalm. Repetitions stand out to me. It mentions iniquities twice (vv 3, 8) and entwines waiting and watching (vv 5-6).

While plodding uphill, I avoid sharp rocks and eye contact. I watch my sandaled feet make dust clouds. I think about my iniquities. What have I done or left undone? Whom have I hurt, defrauded, slandered? Incidents come to mind. How have I knowingly, purposefully sinned against the Lord? I need forgiveness.

The psalm recognizes that much of life is waiting. We wait for the Lord to answer prayers and close one season and open another. During the lonely darkness of the fourth watch, those guarding Jerusalem eagerly await the dawn.

As I wearily trudge, I realize that how we wait often determines how long we wait. The word hope (vv 5, 7) provides a clue for productive waiting. Hope seeks the Lord and believes his word. Hope watches expectantly, waits confidently, and knows the Lord will act.

The psalm ends by including my companions. The Lord abounds in mercy toward us and saves us from our sins (vv 7-8). I wonder how the Lord will save us. Maybe the prophet Jesus has the answer. After all, his name means the Lord is salvation.

I raise my eyes. The sun is high. I see a bluethroat warbling atop a pine. I thank the Lord again for his beautiful creation.

Prayer for Today

Lord, this psalm resounds with active hope. You will redeem your covenant people, Israel, from all their iniquities (v 8). Yes, you are a prophet (Matthew 21:11)—and so much more. Thank you that this psalm points to what the angel told Joseph about you: “You are to name him Jesus for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

— Dr. Robin Gallaher Branch
Adjunct, Religon and Philospoy Department 


Thursday, March 14

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 many of my friends, it is difficult to ask for help.  I have really had to work and pray to be able to humbly ask for help when I need it.  Even for me, sometimes it is difficult to accept help that is offered. Often, I still spend lots of time looking for ways to repay the favor, or crafting the perfect gift, partially out of fear that I might seem like a burden on the people kind enough to serve me.  But seeking this help from the Lord is exactly the gift we are reminded of today.

The people who truly love us desire to help us; they’re there when we fall, and they would never give us a half-hearted gift.  Our God loves us perfectly. Think about that: perfect love.  I don’t know about you, but in my life there are plenty of days where I am barely keeping up to the commitments and expectations placed on me.  In God’s perfect love, I receive exactly the gifts I need to feel just a little more kind, a little more rested, a little more complete. Every time that I recognize I can not be as holy as I want on my own, that I can not do it all, and I have the courage to humbly ask for help, God delivers abundantly.

Today I challenge you to boldly ask for spiritual gifts from God, trusting that he will deliver exactly what you need.

— Carlee Darnell 
Religion and Philosophy Major, 2019


Wednesday, March 13

Psalm 51:3-4,12-13,18-19

R.  A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me. 
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

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Reflection:

Someone once told me that a broken bone could be compared to a broken heart-both required need for care and may have been caused by someone, something, or potentially ourselves. In this particular passage, I found myself reflecting on David’s story and how in his case, it seems that the pain of David’s broken heart was brought upon himself. His sin (adultery) caused him to respond out of fear, and then he furthermore committed any even graver sin (murder) to hide and cover up his previous sin.

When I look at David’s life, it’s easy for me to think that David and I are on different playing fields. My heart even went to the length of thinking “how could anyone even get to that place?” But then God whispered to me “Connie, you have been in that place”. My response to God was “God surely not, I have not done that”. Yet I found myself hearing God persisting me to reconsider as he met me with a “Are you sure?” After I let God do his thing (humble my hard heart), I sat there thinking, wow... I have been in that place. I may not have committed the same sin that David did, but I have definitely experienced the shame of sin and the desire to desperately cover it up out of fear of rejection or worse, discomfort from the consequences of my faulty decisions. 

Yet, what I find to be beautiful about David is that in his deep guilt and understanding of his great sin, he reaches out to God with his need. “Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense,” he pleads. For David, it seems that he knew that something was wrong with his heart. Like a broken bone, his heart was fractured, injured, and he desperately needed someone to “warp it in a cast” so that it could heal and be renewed. “A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me.” The only doctor David knew that could remedy his pain, was God.

During this Lenten season, I hope to lean into this passage and remember that God is the great physician not just for me, but for everyone. He created the perfect remedy for the infection of all mankind’s hearts (sin) and that was his son, Jesus. Praise God that he is concerned with our hearts and that he realized we were all destined for “heart failure”. Praise God that he defeated this disease and he made it possible for us all to live-to receive a new heart, if we desired. And lastly, praise God that this gift doesn’t cost anything, it is freely given, and when accepted and applied to our lives, it sets us free.

Which places of your heart do you need to let God restore? What do you need to share with God, yourself, or others to experience freedom?

— Connie Beck 
Coordinator of Student Activities 


Tuesday, March 12

Psalm 34:4-5,6-7,16-17,18-19

R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears. 
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.

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Reflection:
Reading this verse made me curious about the dictionary definition of the word “just.” Given the way
these verses are structured, behaving in a “just” manner is obviously an important character trait. After
all, this scripture tells us that God not only hears the cry of the just, but He also rescues the just from
their distress.
 
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “just” means “acting or being in
conformity with what is morally upright or good: righteous guided by truth, reason, justice, and
fairness, or done or made according to principle.” In other words, to borrow from Spike Lee, “Do the
right thing.” Accordingly, there appear to be several key messages in these verses. Message one is that
we should strive to be just people – to always try to do the right thing. Message two is that for those
people who manage to be just, God will be there for us. The scripture goes so far as to say that the just
will be saved from all their distress - that His eyes are on the just and His ears are attuned to hear them.
But it doesn’t stop with the Almighty seeing and hearing just people. The verse further describes how
the Lord will “confront the evildoers, and “destroy remembrance of them from the earth.” Whoa. Those
are serious consequences for being unjust. But that isn’t all. The scripture promises that God is “close to
the brokenhearted” and that he will save those who are crushed in spirit. That is a powerful promise and
one we should take to heart. If we try to be just in all things, God will be there for us, listening and
seeing what we go through and, in the end, saving us. What a powerful promise this is and what
consolation that promise can bring in times of fear and uncertainty. This promise can serve to help us
strive to be just in all our ways, in all our days.

— Deborah P. Blanchard 
Vice President, Communications and Marketing


Monday, March 11

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 makes the difference between the “goats and sheep”, between the righteous and accursed, and between Heaven and Hell alarmingly clear: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” He even gives some examples of who qualifies as “the least,” such as the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned. He doesn’t say to serve those we like, those who are popular, or those who will give us in return. What a difficult message to live out.

            I’ve heard that a good way to tell my priorities is by looking at how I spend my money. Usually, looking at my bank account is a sobering reminder of how weak I am at giving to others. The same goes for when I think of how I use my time and talents. It’s easy to become caught up in my own desires: grades, status, money, even my mental and spiritual needs. But in order to satisfy my highest desire, to get to Heaven, Jesus says I must help others satisfy their desires.

            However, Jesus doesn’t say “Ignore your own needs.” We need to be taken care of, too. As C.S. Lewis says, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less.” Jesus’s message agrees: if you want to serve God, think of others more.

— Chris Fagin 
Electrical Engineering, Comptuer Science, and Mathematics Major, 2020


Sunday, March 10

Luke 4:1-13

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan 
and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, 
to be tempted by the devil.
He ate nothing during those days, 
and when they were over he was hungry.
The devil said to him,
"If you are the Son of God, 
command this stone to become bread."
Jesus answered him, 
"It is written, One does not live on bread alone."
Then he took him up and showed him
all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant.
The devil said to him,
"I shall give to you all this power and glory; 
for it has been handed over to me, 
and I may give it to whomever I wish.
All this will be yours, if you worship me."
Jesus said to him in reply,
"It is written:
You shall worship the Lord, your God,
and him alone shall you serve."

Then he led him to Jerusalem, 
made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him,
"If you are the Son of God,
throw yourself down from here, for it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,
and:
With their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone."

Jesus said to him in reply,
"It also says,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test."
When the devil had finished every temptation, 
he departed from him for a time.

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Reflection:

Of the three traditional practices of Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, I would like to focus my reflection on fasting in today’s reading which Jesus practiced before the three temptations by the devil.

During elementary and secondary school when I was growing up, it was a common practice to “give up” something for Lent. Usually it was candy, sweets, TV for an hour, or some other material thing or practice. That was our concept of “fasting”. Then during my college years, along came Vatican II and the concept of “doing something extra” rather than “giving up” became the preferred practice. Although I still practice the act of doing something more during Lent, I wonder if we haven’t lost something significant by not fasting from something we enjoy and take for granted like food.

Scripture says Jesus fasted from food (“ate nothing”) for forty days before he was tempted by the devil. He must have been physically very weak, but spiritually very strong! I wonder what Jesus reflected on during those days? Scripture says he was filled with the Holy Spirit and led by the Holy Spirit. I’m sure his prayers must have included deep reflection on the strong bond of love and his relationship to his Father and maybe even a thought of what was yet to come.

Personally, when I fast and feel the pangs of hunger, I think of myself first. My stomach growls! My head aches at times! I feel weak! I want to eat! I ask myself the question: Why am I doing this? Temptations arise to break the fast. I can think of all kinds of reasons to quit.       

Only then do I think of Jesus and his fasting before the devil tempted him.  I think of the images of people in the world who are starving – especially children. Unfortunately, from news media we see so much hunger and suffering that after a while we become numb to it and move on to the next news item without taking much time to reflect on what we have seen. I need to stop and reflect more on my relationship with Jesus and ask myself how seriously am I living the life Jesus called me to live and how am I drawing closer to him through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. How do I practice these actions daily? How has fasting made me more aware of my need for Jesus in my life?

Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

— Brother Thomas J. Sullivan, FSC 
Associate Director, Campus Ministry and Adjunct, Biology Department


Saturday, March 9

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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Reflection:

I feel pulled in many directions. I have two email accounts that I check on my computer at work, and on my phone when I’m away from my desk. I follow 633 Twitter accounts, subscribe to around 60 Youtube channels, and have 770 Facebook friends. My phone tells me I spend around 3 hours a day on it, with an average of over 50 notifications throughout the day. Today’s reading is a great reminder that during lent I need to be intentional about listening for when Jesus is calling me and be sure to answer like Levi.

What does it mean to be called by God? Jesus is not seeking me out and inviting me to dinner. He certainly is not dropping videos in my subscription feed or sending me text messages. This reading, right at the start of Lent, reminds me to seek out opportunities for additional prayer, quiet and reflection. I must think about my daily interactions through technology and IRL and interpret what messages God is sending me through the people with whom I interact. I know God calls me to be a vessel of their love, and I know I must be patient, kind and forgiving. Today I am reminded to spend more time seeking those opportunities to hear God’s call of the times I can strive to do more and do better.

— Scott Baietti 
Associate Director, Residence Life 


Friday, March 8

Matthew 9:14-15

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
"Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?"
Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast."

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Reflection:

Recently, fasting has become a popular tool for weight loss.  Intermittent fasting, where you fast for 16 hours a day and can eat anything you want during the other 8 hours, is one of the more popular fasting-for-weight-loss techniques being promoted these days.  I have even seen apps that help you track when you can eat and when you should fast.  I’m not sure I buy into this method as a healthy way to lose weight.  However,  I do like the idea of fasting as a means of drawing closer to Christ, his message, and his teachings.

Fasting, of course, requires self-discipline. Not eating for 16 hours or longer is a challenging exercise in will power.  The fast prescribed in the Bible, however, doesn’t focus so much on the physical aspect of this endeavor, but on the intellectual and emotional commitment it takes.  During a Christ-centered fast, we are asked to reflect upon the great sacrifice of our Savior and recommit ourselves to Him.  It serves as a reset button, allowing us to refocus on His commandments and love for us.  It is used to gain perspective, to realign ourselves with His teachings, and to reengage in a Christ-centered life.

In this passage the disciples ask Jesus why they are not fasting.  Jesus replies it is not the time to fast; it is the time to celebrate.  He is among them now.  He suggests the disciples live in the moment and take it all in.  There will be time to fast, to reflect, to gain perspective and hit the reset button once he is gone.  For now… enjoy his presence and savor the experience.

One of the things I love most about the teachings of Jesus is their common sense, practical nature. Here, Jesus suggests to his the disciplines not to fast on Thanksgiving.  Just imagine that for yourself during our modern day Thanksgiving.  Not only would it be almost impossible to resist the temptations of the food, but you would miss out on the celebration of gratitude for the abundance and gifts of life.  Wait until the day after Thanksgiving to begin a fast.  Wait until you feel disconnected from Christ, feel misaligned or disengaged.  That will be the time to hit that fasting reset button.

 Prayer:  Jesus, help us remember there is a time for everything.  Help us to slow down and enjoy our blessings, show gratitude for your gifts, and stay in the moment during times of Thanksgiving.  When our time comes to fast, help us remember the sacrifices you made for us, our commitment to follow your teachings, and the unconditional love you show us on a daily basis.

— Bevalee Vitali
Director, Institute for Leadership Development and Professor of Management 


Thursday, March 7

Psalm 1:1-2,3,4 and 6

R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

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Reflection:

Personally, I think the most dangerous types of temptation are the ones that ask very little of me. It’s a lot easier to see wrongness in an extreme act than a subtle act. The responsorial psalm today points out the blessedness of men (and women) who meditate on His law, day and night. Not only am I supposed to discern His law, I am supposed to be joyful about what I discover. Sometimes there are things the Lord asks of me that I don’t really want to do, or that doesn’t seem like a super big rule to break. In the back of my mind, I know that little bit of doubt is Satan talking. Seriously, why else would I not want to follow God’s way? I already know He’s perfect, so why would His rules be any less so?

This psalm encourages me to follow God’s way and gives examples of the things that happen when I do. This psalm compares those who follow God’s law to a tree on good nourishing ground. To me, this means that if I follow God’s way I will be nourished. Sometimes it’s hard for to see that nourishment in daily life through all the hardships that pop up every now and then, but then I just remind myself that the nourishment God’s way promises is not always earthly. It’s heavenly, which is frustrating now, but will be awesome in the long run.

— Megan Morrison 
Psychology Major, 2021


Ash Wednesday, March 6

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:

Our Lenten Journey of 2019 is about to begin!

Lent begins this year on March 6 (Ash Wednesday). Our Faith Journey begins on Ash Wednesday and takes us through Jesus' public life in FAITH, SERVICE, and COMMUNITY in 40 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 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 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 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" and "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 40 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 you prepare yourselves for the Risen Lord on Easter morning.

Peace and Joy on Easter Sunday!

— Brother Dominic Ehrmantraut, FSC
Director of Mission & Identity, Christian Brothers University