We are only one week awayfrom the most sacred period ofthe Liturgical Year – HOLYWEEK. Perhaps it is time to reflect upon how we have deepened our relationship withJesus during these previous four weeks of Lent. How has this Lenten season drawn us closer toGod’s heart? God is always inviting us to make the choice over and over again to growin our desire to live in His Love, reflect that Love to others,and most importantly to allow His Love to transform ourhearts and actions.READ MORE
This Sunday's readings are focused on the call "to see as God sees". This is not an easy task since we are frequently influenced by the values and attitudes of our culture and the world. The first reading from the Book of Samuel relates how the Israelites demand to "have a King, just like all the other nations." Up to this point, the people had looked to God as their King and the prophets as the Lord's messengers. Gradually, however, the people became dissatisfied with the prophet Samuel and wanted to be governed, not through the prophets but by an earthly king. When Samuel told God this, He replied, "They have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them." God's greatest gift of love to humanity is free-will. God does not take back this gift of free-will even when our decisions will hurt others and ourselves. The people of Israel were blind to the ramifications of their request and to what God had done for them. Yet God constantly seeks to enlighten and lead His peopleback to Himself.READ MORE
This Sunday's gospel from John 4:4-42 is the longest recorded conversation Jesus had with anyone… And what a conversation it is! One author has titled it "An Encounter with Three Movements," comparing it to a symphony.
In the FIRST MOVEMENT Jesus gradually discloses Himself to an unsuspecting woman, drawing her to discover His significance for her life. She approaches the well where Jesus appears to be resting and waiting for someone, He suddenly says, "Give me a drink." She is caught off guard because a Jewish man would never speak to a woman in public…and never to a Samaritan woman. As the conversation unfolds, the woman becomes increasingly intrigued yet remains guarded.READ MORE
In this week's Gospel, Jesus reveals His glory to three of His disciples. This incident is in stark contrast with the chapter before when Jesus predicts that His Passion—that He will suffer and die on a cross. Peter is indignant that such a thing should occur. In order to strengthen the disciples before this suffering Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up the mountain and before their eyes He is transfigured, meaning that His appearance was "as radiant as light and shining like the sun." Jesus was suddenly seen with Moses and Elijah, two giants in the history of Judaism who gave great hope to their people. Peter wants to stay in that moment and place rather than face the prediction of the cross with its suffering and death. The disciples fell prostrate in fear yet Jesus touches them and says "Rise, and do not be afraid." They look up, and "they saw no one else but Jesus."READ MORE
There was always a good reason why we were taught something in elementary school, reviewing it over and over and over again. Some of us may have "got it" the first time, but there were many others who benefited greatly from repetition. Our Holy Mother Church also has a way of reinforcing the important messages of our faith. It is called THE LITURGICAL YEAR. If we find that every year we make the same 'resolutions' in the exact same way as the year before and with the exact same results, maybe that is a sign that we may need a little more "schooling" in what it means to be a follower of Christ in this world. For a time we may have thought of Lent as a time to "give up" something. However, another way to approach Lent might be to "pick up" something that will foster a greater consideration for others. We could 'pick up', intentionally performing hidden acts of kindness. Yet in order to love our neighbor we must first foster a deeper love for God. Consider "picking up" more time and space in the week to be with God.
As we approach the beginning of another Lent the Church calls us to take time to ask ourselves the following:
Have I become a deeper believer, follower, and disciple of Jesus, the Christ, since last Lent?
Additionally, will I be willing to embrace growth and change to deepen my relationship with God?