Friday, March 29, 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013



Reflection:  Today we see a stark contrast in reactions to the news of Jesus’ rising from the dead.  We read of Mary Magdalene and Mary who were “fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce the news.”  We also read of the chief priests who continue to suppress Jesus and the story of His life by paying the soldiers to lie about what happened to Jesus body.  The common theme between all of these people, though, is their belief that Jesus rose from the dead.  Even now, after crucifying Him, the chief priests are threatened by Jesus.  Does this not speak to the amazing power of our Lord?  How do we react to Jesus’ presence in our lives?  Are you “fearful yet overjoyed,” or are you constantly trying to push Jesus from your life because He is inconveniencing your plans?

Reflection for younger saints:  Jesus has risen from the dead and He appeared to Mary Magdalene and Mary.  They were very happy to see Jesus.  The chief priests paid the soldiers to lie about Jesus’ rising from the dead.

Big Picture:  He is risen!

Discussion Starters:
     Younger saints:
  Who did Jesus appear to?  What did the chief priests do when they heard Jesus rose from the dead?
     Older saints:  Reflect on the different reactions of Mary Magdalene and Mary and the chief priests to the news of Jesus’s rising from the dead.  How do you react to Jesus’ presence in your life?  Does it vary depending on the situation?  Are you more like Mary Magdalene and Mary in times of struggle, but more like the chief priests during “good times?”

Fun Fact:  The First Reading is always taken from the Old Testament, except during the Easter season, when it is taken from the Acts of the Apostles.

Saint of the day: 
     Name:
 Saint Hugh of Grenoble
     What they are remembered for:  St. Hugh of Grenoble served as a bishop in France for over 52 years.  His time as a priest and bishop was filled with much difficulty, as corruption in society and in the Church was very much present during his day.  While he tried to escape the struggle of reforming such corruption, the Pope guided him in his calling to strengthen the Church and his people.
     Feast day:  April 1
    
Daily Notes:
 

Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013


Readings:


Reflection:  Today is the high point of the entire Church year.  Our Lord has risen again.  Our Lenten time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving culminates in a beautiful celebration of life!  Because of Jesus’ rising to new life we can now look toward the glory of heaven after we leave this earth.  While the journey and anticipation of Lent is over, our journey of faith has just begun.  How did your Lenten journey change your relationship with God?  Will you continue to maintain those changes increased prayer in your daily routine so that you might continue to grow closer to God with every passing day?  Jesus exists and He has risen, let us shout it from the roof tops and share His love and His story with everyone we meet!

Big Picture:  He is risen!

Discussion Starters:

Younger saints:  What day is today?  What are we celebrating today?  Is today about celebrating candy or the Easter bunny, or is it about celebrating that Jesus rose from the dead?  Where will we get to go one day because Jesus died and rose again?

Older saints:  Reflect back on your journey of faith and sacrifice this Lent.  Where you more focused on what you “had to give up” than you were on how that sacrifice brought you closer to God?  What did you take from your Lenten experience?  What do you think you should do different next year?  Take a few minutes to think about and offer thanks for Jesus’ rising to new life and what that means for your soul.

Notes:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Beauty of the Eucharist

Every time we receive our Lord in the Eucharist we are reminded that Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice to our Lord and Father, so that we might experience the joy of Heaven.  We can tend to take this sacrifice lightly as we fall into a rhythm and routine in our weekly trips to Mass.  But, what a great and beautiful gift we miss out on in not fully experiencing this mystery. 

Every time I pray the sorrowful mysteries I am humbled by the sacrifices our Lord made for us.  To meditate on those mysteries:  the agony in the garden, the scourging at the pillar, the crowning with thorns, the carrying of the cross, and the crucifixion is quite humbling.  There is no pain, no judgment, no struggle, and no burden that our Lord has not already carried and conquered.  Those punishments that were meant for me, because of my own sin and shortcomings, were bore by the spotless lamb that took my place.  What a humbling thought. 

Scott Hahn says it so well in stating that “the foundation of the Catholic’s life must be the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.  We can’t make it on our own.  Christ knew that; that’s why he instituted the sacraments-to give us his own divine life and power” (Hahn & Hahn, 1993, p. 178).  We could not bear all that He had to bear, and He knew that.  We have been blessed by a gift that we am so unworthy of.  All He asks is that we come to Him with grateful hearts and with servant hearts. 
When we come to see the amazing gift that is given to us in the Eucharist, it is no wonder we long to be with our Lord more and more.  Let us properly prepare a worthy temple for our Lord.  Let us welcome in the food and drink that He has provided for us as nourishment for our souls.  He has given us all the nourishment we need for the journey, all we must do is humbly kneel before Him and welcome Him in. 

Before we race out the door after receiving our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, let us remember the beauty and the sacrifice that is contained in the Body and the Blood of Christ.  No commitments we have after Mass can trump the obligation we have to stop, to pay Jesus reverence, and to thank Him for His sacrifice.  Just as we teach our children to say thank you at the dinner table, and to say thank you for gifts they receive, we must teach them to say thank you for the gift of eternal life.  We teach them this by giving them an example to follow.  As our children watch our every move, let them see our gratitude for the amazing blessing that is bestowed on us every time we receive our Lord in the Eucharist. 

Good Friday, Friday, March 29, 2013

Daily Readings:
IS 52:13—53:12; PS 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25; HEB 4:14-16; 5:7-9

Reflection: Our Savior did not come as a King, but as a humble child.  He was not born into a family of greatness, but a family of reverence for God.  As Isaiah reminds us, “there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him.” And yet, He was destined for greatness.  “We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; but the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all.”  Today we remember Him and praise Him for His sacrifice, as He was “oppressed and condemned,” yet He was without blemish.  Because of His sacrifice and His suffering, He is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses.”  As we remember our Lord’s suffering, let us wed our suffering to His and give thanks for the glory of heaven that He has provided for us.

Reflection for younger saints:  Today we remember that Jesus died on the cross for our sins.  Today is called Good Friday because while we are sad that Jesus had to die, we are thankful for His death because it makes it so that we can be with Him in heaven one day.

Big Picture:  We are saved through Jesus’ suffering.

Discussion Starters:
     Younger saints:  What is the special name for today?  Why do we call it Good Friday when it is the day we remember Jesus’ death on the cross? 
     Older saints:  Take some special time today to reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and how we remember that sacrifice and that gift every time we receive His body and His blood in the Eucharist.  Choose one of the 5 sorrowful mysteries to reflect on, or pray a decade, or pray a full Rosary today as a way to give thanks for the sacrifice and suffering of our Lord.
Fun Fact:  Jesus is the Savior of the world.  He is fully human and fully divine.  He is both God and man.

Daily Notes: 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Holy Thursday, March 28, 2013



Reflection:  “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.  I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”  Throughout our lives Christ washes our feet and serves us.  Though He was the greatest among us, He came as an infant to serve us and to die for us, and even in heaven He continues to serve us.  In this example of becoming small and becoming a servant, Jesus shows us who we are to be and how we are to serve.  No one of us is too busy or too great to serve another.  We are all called to this act of service in very unique and different ways, but we are all called to service none the less.  On this Holy Thursday, let us reflect on how God has blessed us so that we may share those gifts and blessings with others by becoming a servant for Christ.

Reflection for younger saints:  Today we read the Gospel reading that talks about Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.  Even though Jesus is God, and is greatest among all men, He still came to serve and to care for others.  Jesus asks us to do this as well by being kind and loving to others and caring for others whenever we can.

Big Picture:  We are called to serve and to love as Christ did.

Discussion Starters:
     Younger saints:
  What special name does today have?  What did Jesus do today for the disciples?  What does Jesus ask us to do?  If you go to Mass this evening, pay close attention to what the priest does after his homily. 
     Older saints:  Take a few minutes to reflect on and envision the image of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples in today’s Gospel reading.  Imagine being one of those disciples who looks up to Jesus as your teacher and master.  How would you have reacted to Jesus’ wanting to get down on His hands and knees before you and wash your feet?  Would you have reacted like Peter?  How has God blessed you with gifts and talents and called you to share those blessings with others?  Have you obeyed God’s call?

Fun Fact:  The word “catechumen” refers to a person who is preparing for baptism.  Will anyone be Baptized at the Easter Vigil in your parish this year?

Saint of the day: 
     Name:
 Saint Hesychius of Jerusalem
     What they are remembered for:  St. Hesychius was a priest and a monk who wrote about many of the issues that were facing the Church during his time.  Much of his writing have been lost, and much of his life story is unknown.  He offers us a profound reminder of the beauty of the Eucharist:  "Keep yourselves free from sin so that every day you may share in the mystic meal; by doing so our bodies become the body of Christ."
     Feast day:  March 28
    
Daily Notes:
 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013



Reflection:  The Gospel reading today provides an interesting picture into the final behavior of Judas, prior to Jesus being taken into custody.  We begin with Judas’ greed taking him over as he payment for turning of Jesus.  Then, as Jesus is at table with the disciples He proclaims His knowledge of the betrayal of one of the twelve.  While Judas has already received payment and is waiting for the opportunity to turn Jesus over, he still denies this fact to Jesus face.  It is as if Judas thinks he can “outsmart” Jesus and convince Jesus that he is not the guilty disciple.  How often in our lives do we try to “outsmart” God, or fail to own up to our sins and failures just as Judas did?  It is easy to look down on Judas because of what he did to Jesus, but far too often we turn from Jesus and fail to admit our sinful nature just as Judas did.

Reflection for younger saints:  Judas was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus.  For 30 pieces of silver Judas was willing to hand Jesus over to the authorities. 

Big Picture:  You cannot outsmart God

Discussion Starters:
     Younger saints:
  What was the name of the disciple who handed Jesus over to the authorities?  How much was he paid for doing this?
     Older saints:  Reflect on how you have tried to “outsmart” God or have failed to admit your sins and failures.  Surely, Judas had justified in his mind how this behavior was okay.  What behavior do you try to justify as acceptable when a part of you knows it isn’t?  Have you taken those sins to confession and admitted your failures to God?  There is still time this Lent to turn away from sin and to seek God’s loving forgiveness.

Fun Fact:  Mass is celebrated worldwide every day of the year except one, Good Friday.

Saint of the day: 
     Name:
 Saint Rupert
     What they are remembered for:  St. Rupert was appointed as bishop of Worms, Germany and later took over the deserted town of Salzburg, Austria.  There he established a church, a monastery, a school, and also brought in many missionaries.
     Feast day:  March 27
    
Daily Notes:
 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013



Reflection:  We hear Peter declare that he will lay his life down for Christ, and yet Jesus knows that Peter will deny Him in His darkest hour.  We face this same inner struggle and sinfulness in our own lives.  “The Lord called me from the birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.”  God has declared us His own, and we have lovingly called Him our Father.  In spite of all of this, we still struggle at times in our lives to stand up for God and to love Him and serve Him as He asks us to.  It is certainly not always easy, just as it was not always easy for Peter and the other disciples.  Many times we might feel as though we have “toiled in vain, and for nothing”, yet the Lord is our strength and He is always by our side.  No matter how many times we deny Him and turn from Him, He will always welcome us back.  Peter denied our Lord three times, and still Peter is the “rock” upon which Jesus’ Church is built.  God always welcomes us back.

Reflection for younger saints:  We follow Jesus in His final days before His Passion and death on the cross.  Today we read of Jesus’ knowledge of the disciples that would deny Him and would turn Him over to be killed. 

Big Picture:  He called us from birth, He always loves us

Discussion Starters:
     Younger saints:
  What is the name of the disciple who will betray Jesus?  What is the name of the disciple who will deny Jesus three times before the cock crows?  What does Jesus tell His disciples about where He is going?  (“Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.”  Jesus is going to heaven, but we cannot follow Him until our time has come.)
     Older saints:  Reflect on the statement “the Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.” What does that mean to you?  What does that mean regarding the love and value of all human life, even before birth?

Fun Fact:  When we receive Holy Communion we are receiving the true body and blood of Jesus, not just a symbol.

Saint of the day: 
     Name:
 Saint Margaret of Clitherow
     What they are remembered for:  St. Margaret Clitherow was a faithful wife and mother.  She was raised Protestant, but converted to the Catholic Church a few years into her marriage.  She helped to harbor fugitive priests, which resulted in her capture.  After her refusal to deny her Catholic faith, she was pressed to death by authorities.  Upon hearing of her impending death, she is quoted as saying: 
"The sheriffs have said that I am going to die this coming Friday; and I feel the weakness of my flesh which is troubled at this news, but my spirit rejoices greatly. For the love of God, pray for me and ask all good people to do likewise."
     Feast day:  March 26
    
Daily Notes:
 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, Monday, March 25, 2013

Daily Readings:
IS 42:1-7; PS 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14; JN 12:1-11

Reflection:  Today we receive a lesson that moves beyond our need to evangelize, and provides us with a lesson in how to evangelize.  As the Prophet Isaiah tells us, “Here is my servant who I uphold…he shall bring forth justice to the nations, Not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street.”  Are we not all called to be faithful servants who bring God’s teachings to the ends of the earth?  We are all called to be Christ’s “light for the nations, To open the eyes of the blind.”  Unless we show others the truth and open their eyes to the sin of this world, they will not come to know and see God.  Through our love, our charity, and our kindness in our teachings and in our actions they will see Christ’s light shine through us.

Reflection for younger saints:  God asks us all to be servants and to teach others about God.  This is called evangelization.  We don’t do this by yelling and shouting and being unkind.  Instead, we teach and live with love just as Jesus did.

Big Picture:  We are all God’s servants

Discussion Starters:
     Younger saints:  What does it mean to be a servant?  How do we serve God?  (By loving God and by loving and caring for our neighbor.)  How do we help others to know God?  (By teaching them about Jesus and God’s commandments, by teaching them about the Catholic Church, and by living our lives like Jesus.)
     Older saints:  Reflect on your experience in evangelization.  Do you shout, or do you listen and love?  How are you acting as a light to the nations?

Fun Fact:  The “mingling of the body and blood” when the priest places a piece of the host in the Precious Blood, reminds us that by Jesus’ rising from the dead His body and blood become one again.

Saint of the day: 
     Name:  Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
     What they are remembered for:  Today we celebrate the day the angel Gabriel visited the Virgin Mary to announce she would be the mother of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  As we look toward Easter, we celebrate Mary’s “yes” and what that means for our salvation.  Take time today to reflect on what God has asked of you in your life, and how you can follow Mary’s example in telling God “yes”.
     Feast day:  March 25
    
Daily Notes: 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Palm Sunday, March 24, 2013

Reflection:  "He humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Our society has come to view obedience and humility as signs of weakness, yet we see the greatest man in history save our souls through His act of humility and obedience. It is through Jesus' obedience adn willingness to "take the form of a slave" that "God greatly exalted him." As we reflect on Jesus' Passion and the cross He had to bear, let us also reflect on how God is calling us to humble ourselves and to bear our own crosses out of obedience to God's will. We must move beyond being like those in Jerusalem who hailed Jesus' arrival only when they thought He was the Messiah who would make their lives perfect. We must like His disciples who welcomed a Savior who also asked them to carry their own crosses. "The Lord God is my help...I shall not be put to shame." No matter what this world may offer us and what crosses we may be asked to bear, if we do it for the glory of God we will always rise in glory like Christ did.

Reflection for younger saints:  Jesus chose to obey God's will for Him, even though that meant He must die on the cross. In our lives God will ask us to do hard things, but if we obey Him God will always provide us with the help we need.

Big Picture:  We are called to obedience and humility.

Discussion Starters:

Younger saints:  What does it mean to be obedient? (To follow the rules of our parents, our teachers, the Church, and all those in positions of authority.) What does it mean to be humble? (To give praise to God when others praise our talents and our gifts. To remember that all we have been given is a gift from God.) How do we know God's will for us? (Through quiet prayer we can ask God to guide our lives and to show us what He wants us to do with the talents and gifts He has given us.) Who is our greatest example of obedience and being humble? (Jesus. He followed God's will even to death on the cross.)

Older saints:  Reflect on your own obedience to God and to those in authority. How have you failed in obedience? How have you excelled? As we enter Holy Week and reflect on Jesus' cross, what cross have you been given in your life? Have you embraced the cross God is asking you to bear?

Scripture Verse for the Week:  "He humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."  Philippians 2: 8

You are now entering the mission field:  Invite a family member or friend to a Mass during Holy Week.

Friday, March 22, 2013

What are the four aspects of the Church?


 I will give you a hint, we proclaim them every time we attend Mass.  The Church is:  one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.  Let’s take a moment to unpack those ideas.  The Church is one because God is one and “the Lord your God is Lord alone.”  Next, the Church is holy.  The purpose of the Church is to bear its holiness to all the world.  While the media frequently reminds us of the less than holy actions throughout the ages of some associated with the Church, this does not dull the holiness of the Church.  The Church is made up of fallen, sinful human beings. Their weakness and sinfulness does not speak to or speak for the holiness of the Church, though.  We must always be reminded that the grace of the Sacraments, which form the foundation of the Church, does not come from the ministers, but from God.  “The grace of God, which is all holy, comes often through weak and sinful channels.”  Next we see that the Church is catholic.  While some Protestant denominations remove this from their version of the creed, this does not refer to the Catholic Church, but to the catholic church, which means universal.  God gathers the world to himself through his Church, meaning the Church is universal and not contained in only one culture or one nation.  Finally, the Church is apostolic, meaning that it is rooted in the Apostles that Jesus educated and formed and sent out into the world.  This highlights our missionary call and our need to be “sent” out into the world just as the Apostles were.  In the early Church people could trace their faith back to the Apostle that taught them.  We are no longer able to do this, but we see the hierarchy of the Catholic Church still maintains the authority of the first Apostles.  First and foremost we see this maintained in the Papacy, which has been handed down over the Centuries from Peter. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013



Reflection:  Today’s reading from the book of the Prophet Ezekiel really speaks to the truth and the beauty of the Catholic Church.  The Lord God speaks of how He will “gather them from all sides,” and we see this so beautifully in the Catholic Church as believers span the globe and Mass is celebrated in nations throughout the world every day.  He declares He will “make them one nation,” just as the Church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church under the guidance of the Pope.  “There shall be one prince for them all” and “there shall be one shepherd for them all,” just as the Church follows the original teachings of Jesus and follows the guidance of the Papacy.  “They shall live by my statutes and carefully observe my decrees,” just as the Church strictly adheres to the teachings and the life of Jesus, without being swayed by changing social and moral standards that would lead us to stray from the teachings of Jesus in favor of our own sinful desires.  Finally, “I will deliver them from all their sins…and cleanse them,” just as we are cleansed and forgiven of our sins through the Sacrament of Baptism and Reconciliation.  It is beautiful to see the Church maintain such a rich history and such strong ties to its past.  It is only through these sacred traditions that we can continue to know “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

Reflection for younger saints:  We are reminded today that since before Jesus’ birth God promised to love and protect all people who followed His commands and served Him as their one and only God.  The Catholic Church continues to guide us in how to follow Jesus and to be God’s people.

Big Picture:  “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

Discussion Starters:
     Younger saints:
  Is Mass celebrated in the same way in every nation in the world?  Do all Catholic Churches throughout the world listen to the guidance of the same Pope? 
     Older saints:  Is Mass celebrated in the same way in every nation in the world?  Do all Catholic Churches throughout the world listen to the guidance of the same Pope?  Is there any other church or religious belief that could answer those questions in the same way the Catholic Church can?  What does that mean to you as a Catholic?

Fun Fact:  The title of “Lamb of God” was first given to Jesus by St. John the Baptist.

Saint of the day: 
     Name:
 Saint Toribio Alfonso de Mogrovejo
     What they are remembered for:  He studied law and was later appointed as Archbishop of Lima, Peru.  He devoted all his time and energy to fighting for the rights of the Native people and to reforming the diocese.  He founded hospitals, schools, churches, and the first seminary, and defended the right of Indians who were being suppressed by the Spanish occupation of their land.
     Feast day:  March 23
     Patron Saint of:  Native rights, Latin American Bishops, and Peru
    
Daily Notes:
 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013



Reflection:  In today’s Gospel Jesus is accused of blasphemy because He called Himself the son of God.  Jesus responds by saying:  “If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works.”  This is an interesting argument – essentially it’s something along the lines of ‘forget the preaching, see the results’.  In today’s society, I think this type of argument is one that would be well received. 

So what does this mean for our lives?  Certainly there is no replacement for actually speaking about Christ, His Holy Catholic Church, and the need for conversion with other people, because without this they won’t know the path they need to follow.  But, often times, our ‘works’ (i.e. the way we live our lives) is what people will really notice.  We need to live in a way that is so devoted to Christ that it will captivate others, and result in them desiring the same for their lives.

Reflection for younger saints:  We need to be able to speak to others about Jesus and the Catholic Church, but we also need to live by setting an example for others to see.  This example is what can result in others desiring to live their lives in a holy way.

Big Picture:  Live to captivate others for Christ

Discussion Starters:
     Younger saints:
  Do you appreciate it when others are nice to you?  Does this make you want to be nice to others?  Think about how you can be nice to someone else every day.
     Older saints:  Have you ever known someone that lived their life in such a holy way that it encouraged you in your faith?  What about their life encouraged you?  What do you need to work on in your life to be able to set a similar example for others?

Fun Fact:  During the Consecration we believe that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ through Transubstantiation.

Saint of the day: 
     Name:
 Saint Nicholas Owen
     What they are remembered for:  St. Nicholas Owen saved the lives of numerous priests during a 20 year period of persecution in England.  His skills in building allowed him to build hiding places that kept priests hidden from raids.  He was eventually caught and brutally tortured for not confessing the names of other Catholics
     Feast day:  March 22
    
Daily Notes:
 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013



Reflection:  Today we are reminded of two things.  First, the covenants made by God and second, our role in keeping the covenant.  God offers love and defense to Abraham and his descendants forever, in turn, they must keep God’s covenant forever.  Through Jesus’ death and resurrection we are offered eternal life.  While Christ gave His life freely for our sins, we must continue to know and love His word and live out His example in order to experience the joy of heaven with Him.  How do we keep His word if we do not know His word?  How can others keep His word if we do not share His word with them?

Reflection for younger saints:  Through Jesus, God promises us everlasting life in heaven.  God asks us to know Him and to keep His commandments so we can go to heaven after we die.

Big Picture:  The Lord remembers His covenant forever.

Discussion Starters:
     Younger saints:
  Who did God make the old covenant with?  (Abraham and all his descendants).  Who came to establish the new covenant?  (Jesus).  What do we have to do to keep the new covenant?  (Know and love God’s word and follow His commandments).
     Older saints:  Reflect on what it means that God promised “to be your God” to Abraham and his descendants forever.  What does it mean to you that Jesus said:  “whoever keeps my word will never see death”?  Are you keeping up your end of the bargain?

Fun Fact:  We assert our common, shared beliefs by reciting the Nicene Creed

Saint of the day: 
     Name:
 Saint Enda
     What they are remembered for:  St. Enda was an Irishman known for his military victories.  His sister, St. Fanchea, convinced him to leave the military life and marry.  After finding his fiancĂ© dead he decided to become a monk.
     Feast day:  March 21
    
Daily Notes:
 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013



Reflection:  It is easy to read the Gospels leading up to the Passion of Christ and to become so frustrated and even angry with the Jews Jesus is speaking to.  It seems no matter what Jesus says or does they question Him and who He is.  It is clear to see that they are “enslaved to sin” but do not see it.  The word truly “has no room among” them.  In contrast, we see the profound faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  They had never been in the presence of the son of God, yet their faith moved them to trust in His saving power.  Because of their example of faith, even Nebuchadnezzar sings praise for “their God.”

Reflection for younger saints:  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego loved and trusted God and risked their lives rather than worship another God.  Because of their faith, God saved them from the burning furnace.

Big Picture:  Love and serve God, rather than questioning Him

Discussion Starters:
     Younger saints:
  What were the names of the three men who chose to serve God rather than worship other gods?  What was the name of the King that told Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego they must worship another God?  What was done to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego because they would not worship the god of Nebuchadnezzar?  Did God save them?
     Older saints:  Are you living your life like the Jews, constantly questioning and testing God, or like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego whose strong faith led them to risk their lives rather than serve another God?  Does your behavior and trust in God draw others to see God’s love and grace?

Fun Fact:  The Holy Spirit speaks to us through the Homily, so we will get something out of the Homily regardless of the speaker.

  
Daily Notes:
 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Tuesday, March 19, 2013



Reflection:  We see a great example of faith, trust, charity, and love in Saint Joseph.  We see him try to protect Mary from shame in spite of his initial belief of her infidelity.  Then, after the appearance of an angel, we see Joseph accept Mary into his home out of great faith, trust, and love.  Joseph maintains his promise of marriage to Mary, trusting in her relationship with God.  He shows great charity in opening his home to her and accepting God’s will for Mary and her virginity as his own act of love and charity as a husband.  Joseph lovingly accepts a unique role as human father to our Lord.

Reflection for younger saints:  Joseph trusted God and Mary so much that he welcomed Mary and her child into his home.  By doing this he showed great faith, and became the human father of Jesus.

Big Picture:  Out of faith and love, welcome the Lord into your home

Discussion Starters:
     Younger saints:
  Who is Jesus’ mother?  Who is Joseph?  How did Joseph know to trust Mary and that the child she was carrying was the son of God?  (An angel appeared to him).  What did Joseph do after the angel appeared?  (Out of faith and love he took Mary into his home.)
     Older saints:  What type of punishment may Mary had received if Joseph had not taken her into his home?  Think of how the story of Jesus’ life would have changed if Joseph had not acted out of trust and love and welcomed Mary into his home?  Do we love and trust the Lord enough to welcome Him into our homes and hearts?

Fun Fact:  The Gospel is a climax for the Liturgy of the Word, and is always proclaimed by either a Priest or Deacon.

Saint of the day: 
     Name:
 Saint Joseph
     What they are remembered for:  St. Joseph is not seen as much as Mary in scripture, but he is described as being a “just man” and a “righteous man.”  St. Joseph was known for his love and knowledge of scripture, and was clearly a man trusted and loved by God. 
     Feast day:  March 19
     
Daily Notes:
 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013



Reflection:  As a parent, the opening paragraph of Daniel spoke to me regarding my goal and duty as a mother.  We should all aspire to raise children as faithful as Susanna.  We see her described as a “God-fearing woman…whose pious parents had trained her according to the law of Moses.”  She recognized it was better to suffer the wrath of man than to suffer the wrath of God as a result of sinfulness.  She trusted in God and His saving power.  Are we aspiring to be seen as pious parents whose focus is to train our children in the teachings of the Church?  Or are we aspiring to raise children who are educated and successful according to social standards?  Would others describe our children as “God-fearing” or question their knowledge of God?  In Susanna’s day, faithfulness was seen as something deserving of great honor.  Do we still have that save view today?

Reflection for younger saints:  Susanna’s parents taught her to know and love God.  Because she loved God she chose to risk her own life rather than to sin.  Susanna trusted and loved God.

Big Picture:  Avoid sin at all costs

Discussion Starters:
     Younger saints:
  What was the name of the woman in our story today?  How did people describe her?  What does it mean to be God-fearing?
     Older saints:  Re-read the story of Susanna and reflect on how you would have handled a similar situation.  Would you have risked your life and reputation rather than sin against God?  Would you have trusted your life to the saving power of God?  Every day we have to choose to follow God rather than falling prey to sin.  Are you choosing a trust and faith in God and the glory of heave, or are you choosing fleeting moments of “happiness” through sin?

Fun Fact:  The second reading is always taking from the New Testament.

Saint of the day: 
     Name:
 Saint Salvator of Horta
     What they are remembered for:  St. Salvator of Horta entered the Franciscans at the age of 21 and quickly became well known for his life of charity and simplicity, but mainly his healing abilities.  So many people flocked to see him that he was transferred to Horta.  The people still sought him out, though.  He is known for his reverence for the sacraments in telling all who came to him to first examine their conscience, go to confession, and receive the Holy Eucharist worthily.
     Feast day:  March 18
    
Daily Notes:
 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Why did the Pope choose the name Francis

For all of those wondering why the Pope chose the name Francis, and after which Francis he was naming himself, here is a wonderful 3 minute clip of the the explaination from the Pope himself!  Pope Francis gives us a glimpse into what we can expect from his papacy.  We can certainly expect a Papacy focused on service to the poor, a search for peace througout the world, and a focus on honoring and respecting life and all of creation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2XiT76tgCo

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Readings:
IS 43:16-21; PS 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6; PHIL 3:8-14; JN 8:1-11

Reflection:  Today St. Paul gives us a much needed reminder of our ultimate goal and pursuit in this life:  “the prize of God’s upward calling” and a place in heaven with Jesus.  It is only in “the righteousness from God” and living our lives around the example of Christ that we can hope to achieve this goal.  As St. Paul reminds us, we must “accept the loss of all things…that we may gain Christ.”  Have you taken time this Lent to reflect on what goal you are living your life focused on?  Have you accepted the loss of “things” in order that you may gain Christ?  Are you striving toward “sharing of his suffering” so you may share in the resurrection?

Reflection for younger saints:  Today we are reminded that our goal here on earth is to live our life like Christ so that one day we will be with Him in heaven.

Big Picture:  Our ultimate goal and prize is heaven

Discussion Starters:
Younger saints:  Who should we try to live like every day?  How do we do that?  (By knowing Jesus through reading scripture, following the teachings of the Church, and obeying God’s commandments).  What is our goal in living this way?
Older saints:  Take ten minutes to make a list of 5 goals for your life.  Reflect on whether you have made room for God or consulted God in establishing those goals.  How will those goals help you to live like Christ and get you to heaven?  How are you making changes in your life to try to achieve those goals?

Scripture Verse for the Week:  “I continue my pursuit toward the goal,
the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.”  Phil 3:14

You are now entering the mission field:  Offer forgiveness to someone who hurt you this week (Spiritual Works of Mercy:  To forgive offenses willingly).

Notes: