HOLY WEEK: March 28 – April 3

Palm/Passion Sunday, March 28

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

They brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks across its back, and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread reeds which they had cut in the fields. Those preceding Him as well as those who followed cried out: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the reign our father David to come! Hosanna in the highest!” He entered Jerusalem and went into the temple precincts. He inspected everything there, but since it was already late in the afternoon, he went out to Bethany accompanied by the Twelve. — Mark 11:6-11

How fickle we are! One minute He is our king, the next we turn our back on him when we fail to see them in the poor or those we look down on because they are different.  As Holy Week begins, we need to look at our inconsistencies.

Lord, we love you in Your glory, but Your humanity is less attractive. Help us to see you in all your guises, and we will be building the Kingdom

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Monday, March 29

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Here is My Servant Whom I uphold, My Chosen One with Whom I am well pleased, upon whom I have put My spirit. He shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting, not making His voice heard in the street. A bruised reed He shall not break, and a smoldering wick He shall not quench until He establishes justice on the earth. The coastlands will wait for His teaching. — Isaiah 42:1-4

In Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ, when Jesus falls under the weight of the cross, He looks at His mother and says: “See how I make all things new?” The paradox of Jesus’ sufferings is that he transforms the world as He is making His way to His death. Like the seed that must be planted and die to become new life, so he redeems us with his suffering and death.

Lord, we forget what Your passion and death mean. Help us to become more aware this Holy Week of how You established Your Kingdom on earth.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Tuesday, March 30

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

The light is among you only a little longer. Walk while you still have it, or darkness will come over you. the man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. While you have the light, keep faith in the light. Thus you will become sons of light. — John 12:35-36

Recently I went to the cathedral for the MLK Mass. I needed to go downstairs to the restroom, so I took the elevator. It came out into dark hallway. After the elevator door closed, I had no light at all. I groped my way around until I found a door that led to another hallway, where there was light. What a relief it was to be in the light again!

Lord, You are the light. But, when we take our eyes off of You, we are in darkness. Help us to seek the light once again when we find ourselves in the dark.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Wednesday, March 31

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

While Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman carrying a jar of costly perfume came up to Him at table and began to pour it on his head. When the disciples saw this, they grew indignant protesting: “What is the point of such extravagance? This could have been sold for a good price and the money given to the poor.” Jesus became aware of this and said to them: “Why do you criticize the woman? It is a good deed she has done for me. By pouring this perfume on my body, she has contributed toward my burial preparation. I assure you, wherever the good news is proclaimed throughout the world, what she did will be spoken of as her memorial.” — Matthew 26;6-13

Do we recognize that sometimes we have to pull away from helping others to refresh ourselves though prayer? Burnout will result if we ignore self-care. The perfume symbolizes the prayer that we must rely on if we wish to be effective disciples.

Lord, we so want to serve you through good works. But help us to recognize that prayer is the oil that makes the machine run smoothly. We know our energy come from You as we carry out the mission.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Holy Thursday, April 1

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

During the meal, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to His disciples. “Take this and eat it. This is my body.” Then he took a cup and gave it to them. “All of you must drink from it, for this is My blood, the blood of the Covenant, to be poured out in behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” — Matthew 26:26-28

I teach my Confirmation students a simple way to remember this passage. The Last Supper was the First Mass. This day is a “Passover” meal for Catholics and other Christians. It is an invitation to eat His body and drink His blood. It is a renewal of the Covenant. Once one thinks deeply about its meaning, it is hard to take Holy Communion for granted. But all are invited.

“O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament divine! All praise and all thanksgiving are every moment Thine.”

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Good Friday, April 2

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Jesus was led away, and carrying the cross by Himself, went out to what is called the Place of the Skull (in Hebrew Golgotha). There they crucified Him, one on either side, Jesus in the middle. Pilate had an inscription placed on the cross which read “Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews.” — John19:16-19

The scene speaks for itself. So often, when we hear of a tragedy in ours or someone’s life, we say: “I have no words.” Nothing I can say can make sense of this passage. Lord, today we mourn. At the Good Friday service, we kiss the cross. And we ask You to console us in our grief

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Holy Saturday, April 3

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Dear brothers and sisters, on this most sacred night, in which Our lord Jesus Christ passed over from death to life, the church calls upon her sons and daughters, scattered throughout the world, to come together to watch and pray. If we keep the memorial of the Lord’s paschal solemnity in this way, listening to the word and celebrating His mysteries, then we shall have the sure hope of sharing his triumph over death and living with Him in God.” — Solemn Beginning of the Easter Vigil

The best sermon I ever heard at an Easter Vigil was the also the simplest: “Christ is risen Alleluia!” Then the Mass continued. The vigil itself underlines that fact and teaches us. Thus, no need for a long sermon.

This is the night when once You led our forebears, Israel’s children, from slavery in Egypt and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea. This is the night that, with a pillar of fire, banished the darkness of sin. This is the night, that even now, throughout the world, sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices and from the gloom of sin, leading them to grace and joining them to His holy ones. This is the night when Christ broke the prison-bars of death and rose victorious from the underworld. — Easter Proclamation – Exsultet

Christ is risen! Alleluia!

March 21 – 27

Sunday, March 21

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

It was a grave with a stone laid across it. “Take away the stone,” Jesus directed. Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him: “Lord, it has been four days now. Surely there will be a stench!” Jesus replied: “Did I not assure you that, if you believed, you would see the glory of God displayed?” Then they took away the stone, and Jesus looked upward and said: “Father, I thank you for having heard Me. I know that You always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd, that they may believe that You sent me.” Having said this, He called loudly: “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, bound head and foot with linen strips, his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus told them: “Untie him and let him go free.” — John 11:38-43

Death is not the final word. Lent prepares us for Easter, the celebration of the resurrection. So, each day, as we die to ourselves, we get closer to our own resurrection in this life and after our death.

Jesus, I know you are the resurrection and the life. You fill us with hope even as walk through this valley of tears.  

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Monday, March 22

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

The scribes and Pharisees led a woman forward who had been caught in adultery. They made her stand there in front of everyone. They said to him: “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. In the Law, Moses ordered such women to be stoned. What do you have to say about the case?” (They were posing this question to trap Him so that they could have something to accuse Him of.) Jesus bent down and started tracing on the ground with His finger. When they persisted in their questioning, he straightened up and said to them: “Let the man among you who has no sin be the first to cast a stone at her.” A second time He bent down and wrote on the ground. Then the audience drifted away one by one, beginning with the elders. This left Him alone with the woman, who continued to stand there before Him. Jesus finally straightened up and said to her: “Woman, where did they all disappear to? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she answered. Jesus said: “Nor do I condemn you. But, from now on, avoid this sin.” — John 8:3-11

Whenever we are attempted to judge, we should read this story. No one wants to cast the first stone; unfortunately we are all too willing to join others once someone starts. That’s how gossip works. We join in once someone starts. Sadly we condemn and judge others. Hopefully, the same won’t happen to us when we are not present.

Lord, give us the wisdom to say no to sin. Teach us not to sin by gossiping or judging others. Instead of casting stones, help us to pray for healing for those who are struggling like ourselves.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Tuesday, March 23

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

With their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses ….in punishment, the Lord sent among the people seraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died. Then the people came to Moses and said: “We have sinned in complaining against the Lord and you. Pray the Lord to take the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people, and the Lord said to Moses: “Make a saraph and mount it on pole, and if anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will recover.” Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered. — Numbers 21:4-9

When we look at a crucifix, what do we see? An ancient form of capital punishment no doubt. But the One on the cross did not deserve that punishment. If we look more closely, we see the One Who can heal us from our sin, worries, and selfishness. It’s not magic, but a crucifix can help us to refocus on Jesus’ message and promise of redemption.

Lord, we ask for the healing which You have won by Your death on a cross. Do not let us take for granted or see it only as a piece of art, but a powerful symbol inviting us to conversion.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Wednesday, March 24

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

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. Give me back the joy of your salvation and a willing spirit sustain in me. — Psalm 51: 12-14

In Gone With The Wind, Scarlett O’Hara was upset about the loss of her first husband, and tells her friend Rhett she is afraid of going to hell. He laughs at her and says; “How do you even know there is a Hell?” Scarlett answers, “I know there is. I was raised in it!” Repentance doesn’t mean a guilt trip; it means recognizing our sin and resolving to do better. Guilt paralyzes; repentance frees us to do better.

Lord, we come again repentant, and we claim our freedom from sin. Help us to recognize Your mercy so that we may grow.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Thursday, March 25

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. Upon arriving, the angel said to her: “Rejoice, O highly favored daughter! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.” She was deeply troubled by his words and wondered what his greeting meant. The angel went on to say to her: “Do not fear, Mary. You have found favor with God. You shall conceive and bear a son and give him the name of Jesus. Great will be his dignity, and He will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of David, his father. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and His reign will be without end.” Mary said to the angel: “How can this be since I do not know man?” The angel answered her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Hence, the holy offspring to be born will be called Son of God. Know that Elizabeth your kinswoman has conceived a son in her old age. She who was thought to be sterile is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible with God.” Mary said: “I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say.” With that, the angel left her. — Luke 1:26-38

There are probably more depictions of this scene than any other subject in art. Countless stars have recorded the “Ave Maria.” The fascination with Mary extends beyond Christians. But Mary is not just an iconic person to admire, but one to imitate. We too must say yes when we recognize God’s will in our life.

“Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Friday, March 26

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Yes, I hear the whisperings of many: “Terror on every side! Denounce! Let us denounce him!” All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. “Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail and take our vengeance on him.”  But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion. My persecutors will stumble. They will not triumph. In their failure they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion. — Jeremiah 20: 10-11

Despite persecution, Jeremiah certainly put his trust in the Lord. How do we react when we feel misunderstood, or worse, slandered? Besides trusting in the Lord, we can go one step further – love our enemies as Jesus told us. It’s one of the hardest things to do. But the Quakers have saying that may be helpful: “I hold you in the Light.” By doing so, we let go and let God touch their hearts in a way that we are unable to.

Lord, we put our trust in you When we find others hard to love, touch their hearts. We hold them in the Light.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Saturday, March 27

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

He asked me: “Son of man, can these bones come to life?” I answered: “Lord God, You alone know that.” Then He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord…See! I will bring spirit into you that you may come to life. I will put sinews upon you, make flesh grow over you, cover you with skin, and put spirit in you so that you may come to life and know that I am the Lord.”… I prophesied as He told me, and the spirit came into them. They came alive and stood upright, a vast army. — Ezekiel 37: 3-10

This powerful image from Ezekiel has been immortalized in the song “Dry Bones.”  It reminds us that God can give life even when it seems hopeless. Recently, Pope Francis visited the restored Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qarqosh, Iraq. It was a church destroyed by terrorists and now has been restored and is serving the people of Iraq again. Yes, dry bones can be brought back to life.

Jesus, You are the Lord of Life. We know that You restore life, whether it be a sinner whose heart turns to You or raising a man from the dead. Give us new life as we continue this Lenten journey.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

March 14 – 20

Sunday, March 14

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

As He walked along, He saw a man who had been blind from birth…. With that, Jesus spat on the ground, made mud with his saliva, and smeared the man’s eyes with mud. Then He told him: ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.’ So the man went off and washed and came back able to see. — John 9:6-7

John Newton wrote “Amazing Grace” after he gave up the slave trade. He regretted having participated in such an inhumane practice and spent his later years as an ardent abolitionist. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see!”

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Monday, March 15

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth. The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create. For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be  a delight. — Isaiah 65:17-18

Lent is a time of longing, somewhat like Advent. We long to be whole again, and we try harder. We long for the day of resurrection, knowing that our lives also must include Good Friday. The Catholic practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays is a practical way to remember that. But a greater awareness in Lent will lead to the rejoicing and happiness promised in Isaiah.

Lord, we long to be whole. We offer our Lenten observances as a way to draw closer to You and to prepare for the great feast of Easter.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Tuesday, March 16

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

There was one man who had been sick for thirty-eight years. Jesus, who knew he had been sick a long time, said, when he saw him lying there: ‘Do you want to be healed?’ The sick man said: ‘Sir, I do not have anyone to plunge me into the pool once the water has been stirred up. By the time I get there, someone else has gone ahead of me.’ Jesus said to him: ‘Stand up! Pick up your mat and walk!’ The man was immediately cured. He picked up his mat and walked. — John 5:1-6

When we are down, do we turn to Jesus or do we wallow in despair? We have a choice. It’s not that we will always be healed, but we almost always feel better when we humbly ask for help. At the famous shrine in Lourdes, France, most of the healings are those of the spirit insofar as peace and acceptance take the place of despair.

Lord, lift us up when we are most in need. Tell us to pick up our mat and walk in Your light.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Wednesday, March 17

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Today we celebrate the great St. Patrick. The amazing part of his story is that he wanted to escape from slavery in Ireland, but, when he returned home, he heard the call to go back to the Emerald Isle and evangelize the people there. The rest is history, and we celebrate this Saint every year. We wear green and eat corned beef and cabbage. But, most of all, we are all Irish for one day, celebrating our identity as children of God.

St. Patrick, intercede for us today. Help us to recognize the Holy Trinity in shamrocks and each time we make the Sign of the Cross.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Thursday, March 18

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

The Lord said to Moses: ‘Go down at once to your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, for they have become depraved. They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them, making for themselves a molten calf and worshipping it, sacrificing to it and crying out: This is your god, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt! I see how stiff-necked this people is. Let me alone, then that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them. Then I will make of you a great nation. — Exodus 32:7-10

We can look at the Hebrews and call them “depraved,” as the Scripture says, but we probably need to look at ourselves. Granted we don’t worship golden calves, but how often do we put money, career, or politics before God? This story is really about priorities. The story has a rather violent ending, but we have a better understanding that God will always receive us back as long as we admit our failures and re-order our priorities.

Lord, help us to avoid worshipping the wrong things. Give us a pure heart to worship You with, and help us to recognize when we have gone astray.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Friday, March 19

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her husband, an upright man, unwilling to expose her to the Law, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream and said to him: ‘Joseph, son of David, have no fear about taking Mary as your wife. It is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived this child. She is to have 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 directed him and received her into his home as his wife. He had no relations with her at any time before she bore a son, Whom he named Jesus. — Matthew 1:18-24

Today we celebrate St. Joseph, patron of the universal Church. It is also the Year of St. Joseph. He stands out in Scripture because of his care for Jesus and Mary. He also is a sterling example of trust in God.

St. Joseph, we ask for your intercession for all families as you cared for Jesus and Mary. Teach us to anticipate others’ needs and look to the Holy Family as an example of happy family and community life.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Saturday, March 20

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

On the last day of the festival, Jesus stood up and cried out: ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me. Let him drink who believes in Me.’ Scripture has it: ‘From within him rivers of living water shall flow.’ Here He was referring to the Spirit, whom those that came to believe in Him were to receive. There was, of course, no Spirit as yet since Jesus had not yet been glorified. — John 7:37-39

To experience thirst is one of the most unpleasant sensations. Once we are able to get water after being deprived, it tastes so good. If we go through a very dry period spiritually in which we face doubt and fear, prayer can revive us again.

Lord, we thirst for Your presence. We long to hear Your word in both Scripture and in our hearts. May we never take for granted the gift of Your Spirit Who leads us always to the Living Waters.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

March 7 – 13

Sunday, March 7

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

When the Lord came down to the top of Mount Sinai, He summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up to Him…then God delivered all the Commandments. — Exodus 19:20 and 20:1

There are often fights in some places about displaying the Ten Commandments publicly. Very few people know that the Ten Commandments are only an introduction to a longer set of laws. Jesus made it clear that what mattered was love of God and neighbor: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! Therefore you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the second: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 29-31) So the Commandments are important, whether there are more or less than ten. No reason to fight about whether they should be displayed or not. Jesus clearly teaches we must live those Commandments in a spirit of love, or, as St. Augustine said: “Love God and do what you will.”

Lord, help us to grow in love of You and our neighbor.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Monday, March 8

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Naaman the Leper: The prophet sent Naaman the message: ‘Go and wash seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean.’ But Naaman went away angry saying: ‘I thought that he would surely come out and stand there to invoke the Lord his God, and would move his hand to the spot, and thus cure the leprosy.’ But his servants came up and reasoned with him: ‘My father, if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary, would you not have done it? All the more now, since he said to you: ‘Wash and be clean’ should you do as he said. So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. — 2 Kings 5:10-14

When we pray, especially in prayer of petition, it is not magic. Sometimes the simplest solution to our problems or legitimate desires are right in front of us. Miracles are wonderful when they happen, but God answers prayer also by showing us a better way or by simplifying our desires. That is why, even in petitionary prayer, listening is so very important.

Lord, help us to listen better to You and not only ask.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Tuesday, March 9

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Then Peter came up and asked him: “Lord, when my brother wrongs me, how often must I forgive him. Seven times?” Jesus replied; “No, not seven times. I say seventy time seven times.” — (Matthew 18:21-22)

It is so much easier to hold a grudge, or so we think. Forgiveness requires humility, and what if the other person doesn’t recognize he/she may have been at fault also? There is a certain freedom in forgiveness that removes the discomfort of the grudge. It doesn’t mean we have to fix every situation or enable toxic people; it only means that we can claim our freedom in the incident, whatever happened.

Lord, free us from the captivity of grudges.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Wednesday, March 10

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Cleanse me of sin with hyssop that I may be purified;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness.
The bones you have crushed shall rejoice. Turn away Your face from my sin,
And blot out all my guilt.
A clean heart create for me, oh God,
And steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from Your presence, and Your Holy Spirit take not from me. Give me back the joy of Your salvation
And a willing spirit sustain in me.

Guilt trips are not helpful, but repentance is. This Psalm invites us to experience the joy of repentance and renewal. It could be as simple as admitting we need God’s help.

Lord, You challenge me, but also refresh and renew my spirit. Open my heart to Your grace and mercy, which is always available, even when I fail.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Thursday, March 11

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Jesus casting out a devil which was mute, and, when the devil was cast out, the dumb man spoke. The crowds amazed at this… If it is by the finger of God that I cast out devils, then the reign of God is upon you. — Luke 11:14, 20

Some have a hard time in believing in devils as real, but no one can deny that evil is. And there are some evils that only God can address. Sadly, these days, some justify evil in Jesus’ Name, forgetting that He would not be associated with it, even when it came in the guise of holiness, even when it caused His death. He died to conquer evil, so that we can know the power of recognizing and overcoming it.

Lord, we do not have to succumb to evil. Help us to recognize it for what it is so that we can always choose the way you open for us in Your passion and death.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Friday, March 12

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Or take the lilies. They do not spin. They do not weave. But I tell you, Solomon in all his splendor was not arrayed like anyone of them. If God clothes in such splendor the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the fire tomorrow, how much more will He provide for you, O weak in faith! It is not for you to be in search of what you are to eat or drink. Stop worrying. The unbelievers of this world are always running after these things. Your Father knows that you need such things. Seek out instead His Kingship over you, and the rest will follow in turn. — Luke 12:27-31

Sidney Poitier got the Academy Award (Oscar) in 1964 for portraying one of the most beloved characters in film — Homer Smith. Homer was a gentle Black man who needed money and agreed to help a group of exiled German nuns to build a chapel. A good movie to watch for Lent. Homer teaches the nuns English in the movie, and they teach him about relying on Providence, hence the name of the film: LILIES OF THE FIELD.

Lord, make us like Homer Smith, doing for others, and like the nuns in the film LILIES, trusting in Divine Providence. We worry too much, and You are always there for us.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Saturday, March 13

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Two men went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, with head unbowed, prayed in this fashion: “I give you thanks, O God, that I am not like the rest of men – grasping, crooked, adulterous – or even like the this tax collector. I fast twice  a week. I pay tithes on all I possess.” The other man, however, kept his distance, not even daring to raise his eyes to Heaven. All he did was beat his breast and say: “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Believe me, this man went home from the temple justified, but the other did not. For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled while he who humbles himself shall be exalted.

It is not wrong to be different. Jesus makes it clear it is only wrong to discriminate. Not everyone has to be like us, look like us, talk like us, or even believe like us.

Why, O Lord, do we discriminate against those who are different from us? We all need Your love, mercy, and understanding. You teach us all to say the same prayer: “Lord be merciful to me, a sinner.” If we can’t say that prayer, then we don’t need a redeemer.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!


February 28 – March 6

Sunday, February 28

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Six days later, Jesus took Peter, James, and John off by themselves with Him and led them up a high mountain. He was transfigured before their eyes, and his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than the work of any bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them along with Moses. The two were in conversation with Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus: ‘Rabbi, how good it is to be here! Let us erect three booths on this site, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ He hardly knew what to say, for they were all overcome with awe. A cloud came, overshadowing them, and out of the cloud a voice: ‘This is My Son, My Beloved. Listen to Him.’ Suddenly, looking around they no longer saw anyone with  them — only Jesus. —— Mark 12: 1-15

The monk Thomas Merton once said that most people are walking around shining like the sun, and they don’t even know it. Lord, we are called to see You in each person we encounter. Help us to look beyond the outward appearance and see You.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Monday, March 1

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and  you will not be condemned. Forgive, and  you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put in your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back. —— Luke 6: 37-38

Lord, we can never know completely what someone is struggling with. Help us to be patient as God is patient with us. Your grace is always available and overflowing.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Tuesday, March 2

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Wash yourselves. Make yourselves clean. Remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes. Cease to do evil. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Rescue the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Plead for the widow. —— Isaiah 1:16-17

Lord, the recent water shortage certainly taught us not to take water for granted. Help us to make our daily bath or shower a renewal of our best selves. We are called to reach out to others with works of justice. Help us to avoid evil and never tire of doing good.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Wednesday, March 3

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Today we celebrate one of the great Saints of racial justice. St. Katherine Drexel was an heiress who dedicated her life to serve Native Americans and African Americans, who suffered discrimination. She started a Religious Order, Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, to ensure her work continued after her death.

Lord, help us to recognize that discrimination and racism have no place in our Christian walk. Too often we look askance at people who are different from us. Help us to recognize the beauty of diversity, like the colors of the rainbow.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Thursday, March 4

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

Today the Church celebrates an extraordinary Saint — Casimir, a prince of Poland and Lithuania. He surprised everyone by deciding he had a vocation to celibacy. He continued as a ruler of both Poland and Lithuania, but refused the kingly crown of Hungary. His priority was prayer which he continued until his death at a young age of 24.

Lord, help us to put first things first. Help us to recognize our call and follow it faithfully as did St. Casimir. We know that ultimately worldly honors do not matter as much as doing your will as we understand it.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Friday, March 5

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

World Day of Prayer: Ask, and it will be given you. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or, if the child asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If then, you who are evil know how to give good gifts to children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him! —— Matthew 7:7-11

Lord, help us to realize  that we can ask, but sometimes your answer is no because not everything we ask for is good for us. Help us to be humble enough to ask, but also to accept Your answer. On this World Day of Prayer, may we love prayer and recognize that even those who differ from us in their faith tradition pray to the same God.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!

Saturday, March 6

Pause to remember we live in the Holy Presence of God.

While he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him: ‘Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before You. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves: ‘Quickly bring out a robe – the best one – and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found. —— Luke 15: 20-24

Father, we sometimes lose our way, but You are always full of mercy, waiting for us to return. Help us to have confidence in Your love so that we may celebrate our redemption.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!