AD SENSE

5th Week of Lent, Thursday, Apr 2nd

Genesis 17:3-9 / John 8:51-59 
Jesus speaks about himself: “Before Abraham came to be, I AM.”

The unusual verbal formula “I AM” without a predicate is found often in John (e.g., 6:20; 8:24, 28, 58). It is also found in the synoptics (e.g., Mark 14:62, Matthew 14:27). The formula is the same one that Yahweh used to identify himself in a solemn, revelatory way in the Old Testament (e.g., Exodus 3:6,14; 20:2). Use of the formula places Jesus on a par with Yahweh himself.

Palm Sunday A - Liturgical Prayers

I.  BLESSING OF PALMS AND PROCESSION

Introduction by the Celebrant


A. Jerusalem: Place Of Suffering And Of TriumphWe know from the school of life that not every day is a day of joy and bliss: there are also gloomy days of suffering, of disappointments and failure. But today, on Palm Sunday “of the Lord’s Passion,” we are told in no uncertain terms that this was the freely accepted lot of no less than Jesus himself. First, we see him acclaimed in a small triumph, but then we hear how he is led to his death. One week from now, on Easter Sunday, we will hear it clearly and emphatically stated that his death led to the triumph of his own resurrection; we will also hear of the forgiveness and life he brings us. We unite ourselves with Our Lord in his triumph and in his suffering and death and we pray that he will make our life and death as acceptable and meaningful as his.

Holy Thursday 2020: Stole and Towel

The Big Triduum
Well tonight we start the BIG three, better known as the Triduum. We wash feet, break bread, embrace our crosses and kick open the tomb again to the possibilities of a new life, an eternal life with our God so passionately in love with us. Here is a litany I found and will use on Easter. A blessed Easter for all of you.
“Lord of Easter promise, I live in Faith of the Resurrection, but such is the nature of my Faith, that so much of me remains entombed. Break open the tomb. Please respond “Break open the tomb” to each of these prayers.

5th Week of Lent, Wednesday, Apr 1st

Daniel 3:14-20, 24-25, 28 / John 8:31-42 
Jesus talks about his teaching: “Keep my word and you will know the truth.”

It has been said that some truths can be verified as being truthful only by living them out. Jesus has something like this in mind when he says in today’s reading: “If you live according to my teaching ... then you will know the truth.” In other words, the truth of what Jesus says will be discovered in the process of living it out. For example, by forgiving your enemy, you discover this is the right thing to do. By praying for those who wrong you, you discover this is the right thing to do. By not passing judgment on your neighbor, you discover this is the right thing to do.

Palm Sunday 2020


The iron stove glows red with fire,
Restrains the heat that I desire.
When I approach to warm my hands,
Respect is what the fire demands.
Too close, my skin begins to smart.
Too far, the cold creeps round my heart.

COVID Prayer 8: Treacherous Paths of Life

Dear Lord, our God,

You have shown through our life experiences that there was no rain that had not stopped, there was no flood that had not receded, there was no cyclone that had not eased, there was no night that had not brought a dawn, there was no war that had not ended and there was no pain that had not reduced. You’re the Lord of our dark nights, rainy or snowy days and the stony and thorny paths. But you have always led us beyond the pains, stones, thorns and dark nights. You have always held and supported us when our feet stumbled and trembled on the treacherous paths in life. Lead us onward these days with the hope and trust in you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

5th Week of Lent, Tuesday, Mar 31st

Numbers 21:4-9 / John 8:21-30
Jesus warns the Pharisees: “Where I am going, you cannot come.”

When Jesus said, “Where I am going you cannot come,” the Pharisees wondered if he was planning to take his own life. Rabbis held that people who took their life went to the deepest part of the nether world. This shows how terribly the Pharisees had misread Jesus and how far from the truth they were. What Jesus actually meant was that he was returning to his Father in heaven. Spiritual blindness is a terrible sin. It implies a deliberate closing of one’s eyes to the truth. This seems to have been the situation of the Pharisees. This is why Jesus told the Pharisees, “You will die in your sins.”

Lent 5th Week - March 30-April 4:


Mar 30th, Monday: John 8: 1-11: 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?”

COVID: Prayer 6 – For Our Leaders


Dear Lord,

We are at a tricky, confused, complicated and yet a risky time of our lives. The leaders of our country and our state need to take accurate, well-informed and judicious decisions for the good of its citizens. Give us, O God, leaders whose hearts are large enough to match the breadth of our own souls and give us hearts broad enough to follow leaders of vision and wisdom.

5th Week of Lent, Monday, Mar 30th

Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 / John 8:1-11 
People bring a sinner to Jesus: Jesus forgave the sinner.

These lines by an unknown poet strike a universal chord:
“How I wish that there was some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes and all our headaches ...

COVID-19: Understanding it and Protecting Ourselves

Johns Hopkins University has sent this detailed note on avoiding the contagion:

 * The virus is not a living organism, but a protein molecule (DNA) covered by a protective layer of lipid (fat), which, when absorbed by the cells of the ocular, nasal or buccal mucosa, changes their genetic code.  (mutation) and convert them into aggressor and multiplier cells.

Extraordinary moment of prayer in pandemic times


Friday 27 March 2020, 18:00


Listening to the Word of God

The Holy Father:
In the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
All - Amen.

COVID - 2: Prayer: Like the disciples in the boat - Terrified by the Storm

Dear Lord Jesus,

Truly, you are the Son of God. You have revealed your glory to us during the storms in our lives. Gigantic waves of illness and suffering have buffeted us. Howling gusts of confusion and distress due to the virus threaten to disturb our peace. Our vision is distorted by all kinds of terrifying news from across the world. Fear of the unknown and unseen cripples us.

COVID-19: Prayer- 4: You test us in the Crucible of Sorrow

Dear Lord,

You test us often in the crucible of sorrow and confirm us in fidelity. These days, you test our faithfulness through the corona virus. You kindle in us also the fire of your zeal.

Through the number of doctors, nurses, medical and social facilities and ministers, you send our people to witness to your love. When it is dark, you come as our light. When it is cold and desolate, you come as our warmth. When isolated and lonely, you come as our friend.

Giver of life, we ask not to be rescued from the frustration and anguish and the dying we surely must endure, but for the strength and courage we need to endure it with you in patience and joy.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

COVID-19 - Our Prayer in Confinement

Dear God,

Being alone is hard. We were created for community, not confinement.
But we’re grateful that no matter how alone we may feel, You never leave or forsake us. And, we’re grateful for technology that helps us stay in touch with each other.

Today, please remind us that this time of social distancing and isolation will not last forever.

Give us the strength to endure this difficult season, and deepen our connection with You and Your people.

Empower us with an extra dose of Your love, peace, hope and joy, because we need it. Remind us of Your promises, and please heal our land. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

4th Week of Lent, Saturday, Mar 28th

Jeremiah 11:18-20 / John 7:40-52 
The crowds speak out about Jesus: Some believed; others did not.

During his presidency, Andrew Jackson offered a pardon to a man who had been completely rehabilitated after committing a serious crime. But the man refused the pardon and insisted on staying in prison. He said that even if he was rehabilitated, he owed a great debt to society. Nothing Jackson, or anyone else, said could convince him to accept the pardon. The lawyers of the time even engaged in a famous debate to determine whether a pardon that was refused was a pardon. Many people in Jesus’ time were like that man. Nothing Jesus could say or do would convince some people to accept his message.

4th Week of Lent, Friday, Mar 27th

Wisdom 2:1, 12-22 / John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30 
Jesus continues speaking to the Jews: “I did not come on my own.”

In 1945 Igor Gouzenko, a staff member of the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa, decided to defect to the Canadian government. He took with him secret documents exposing a Russian spy ring. Gouzenko was shocked to discover that the Canadians didn’t believe his story. It was too incredible. Finally, Ottawa police took Gouzenko into protective custody, but only after embassy goons broke into his apartment and wrecked it. Nothing is more painful or frustrating than trying to deal with people who find your message too incredible to believe. Jesus, too, knew this kind of pain and frustration. His message was also too incredible to believe.

COVID-19: Prayer for Our Leaders

Dear God,

All authority is Yours, but You have given authority to leaders to protect and guide us. 

Today, we ask that You would give all our leaders wisdom, discernment, strength, and resolve. Keep them healthy, safe, and rested so that they can continue to guide us through this troubling time.

Give our government leaders wisdom about what needs to be done to stop the virus and stabilize our economy.

Give our spiritual leaders Your discernment on how to meet people’s needs as they continue to glorify Your name and encourage the Church.

Give our medical leaders insight into how to stop the virus. Strengthen their resolve and honor their hard work in creating a treatment for COVID-19.

Give our civic leaders inspiration, courage, joy, and strength to meet the needs of their communities.

And help us, as leaders in our communities, to display courage, hope, generosity, and kindness. Would the way we honor others inspire those around us.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

4th Week of Lent, Thursday, Mar 26


Exodus 32:7-14 / John 5:31-47 
Jesus speaks to the Jews: “My works testify on my behalf.”

Seventy-nine-year-old Clara Hale has served as the foster mother to over 500 babies. “Mama Hale” takes care of babies of drug-addicted mothers until the mothers are able to take care of their babies themselves. Babies of drug-addicted mothers enter life with a drug dependency themselves. That’s what makes Mama Hale’s job so hard. “When a baby is crying for a drug,” she says, “all you can do is hold it close and say to it, ‘I

Annunciation-Mar 25


Annunciation, Wednesday, 25-03-20
Isaiah 7:10-14 / Hebrews 10:4-10 / Luke 1:26-38 

St. Augustine was quoted as saying: God does not ask of us the impossible. He may ask us to do the difficult thing, but He will make it possible. 

Lent 5th Sunday A: Liturgical Prayers

Greeting
May the Spirit
who raised Jesus from the dead
be alive in you.
May we live Jesus’ life to the full now,
that we may be raised up on the last day.
May Jesus, the Lord of life, be always with you.

Lent 5th Sunday A - Lazarus is Raised

The five Sundays of Lent gives the picture of death and Resurrection in faith and in life.
1. The first two Sundays depict Jesus' own death and resurrection in daily life (Temptation/Desert/Rejection and Transfiguration / Mountain / Belovedness)
2. Then we have three Sundays with three scenarios of death and resurrection:
a. The Samaritan woman (sociological death to become the first missionary) - her faith in Jesus
b. The Blind man (Physical and spiritual death to growth in faith - he recognizes Jesus, the man, Jesus the prophet and then Jesus the Lord - daring missionary to proclaim the healing and the Lord despite threats of ostracism) - his faith
c. Lazarus - Physical death to actual resurrection - belovedness to Mary and Martha and to Jesus - their faith
d. Passion Sunday: Moving from another "mount" (donkey) to "crucify him". Life is a constant journey of baptism to the desert to the transfiguration to simple realities of our daily life and mission and occasional anniversaries and jubilees. That summarizes the Lenten season, I suppose.

-Tony Kayala, c.s.c.

4th Week of Lent, Tuesday, Mar 24th

Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12 / John 5:1-3, 5-16 
Jesus cures a man: The man never gave up hope.

Two frogs accidentally tumbled into a bucket of cream. They thrashed about for an hour, trying to make it up the side of the metal bucket. Exhausted, one of the frogs gasped, “It’s no use!” With that, he gave up and drowned in the cream. The second frog, however, struggled on. He thrashed and thrashed and thrashed about. Then, suddenly, he found himself sitting safely on a lump of butter. It was this kind of perseverance that the man in today’s gospel showed. For 38 years he sought to be cured. He never gave up.
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How persevering are we?  “The heights by great men reached and kept Were not attained by sudden flight. But they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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Water is a very fascinating element. It is essential for life; coming after the need for air, the next is the need for water as we can actually die of thirst. In its material dimension, it takes on the shape of whatever container it goes into. And it can also exist as a liquid, as a solid and as a gas. Hence, water is indeed a very versatile and flexible element, not just in the material sense, but also in the spiritual sense.

In the Biblical and Church tradition, water symbolizes purity and fertility for out of the waters came forth creation (Gen 1). Yet, there are also deeper meanings to water. Water is also a symbol of blessing and healing.

In the 1st reading, the waters that flow out of the Temple threshold gives life and health and brings about blessings on the lands it which it flows.

And the gospel mentions of a Sheep Pool in Jerusalem in which crowds of sick people gather around in search for healing when the waters are disturbed.

In the Church there is a Rite of blessing of water, after which the water is called "holy water". It is used to remind us of our baptism, of the blessings that God wants to bestow on us, and also for healing. Hence, holy water should be used often and not sporadically. When holy water is used with faith, it becomes a source of cleansing and purification for us, and it can also be a source of healing and blessing for us.
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Lent Tuesday, 4th week - Liturgy

Introduction
Water flows from the Temple and turns the land into a fertile paradise, bringing health and life, says Ezekiel. But this living Temple is Christ, says John. Encountering him means forgiveness, health, and life. These readings on the symbolism of life-giving water and on Christ have been chosen in view of baptism, the Lenten-Easter sacrament: in its waters we encounter Christ.

Penitential Rite:
-Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea, LHM
-Because God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress, CHM
-God is in its midst; I shall not be disturbed; God will help at the break of dawn, LHM

Opening Prayer
Lord our God, you have quenched our thirst for life with the water of baptism. Keep turning the desert of our arid lives into a paradise of joy and peace, that we may bear fruits of holiness, justice and love. Lord, hear our prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Commentary
“Do you want to be healed?” Jesus asked him.  This seems an odd question when you consider that the man had been waiting for thirty-eight years to be healed!  But of course we often have compelling reasons for clinging to our sicknesses.  You will no longer have people to take you around: do you want to be healed?  You will no longer have sympathy from everyone: do you want to be healed?  You will have to work, and you are not used to it: do you want to be healed? 
He wanted to be healed.  Then Jesus said, “Stand up!”  This too seems odd at first sight.  Jesus was asking him to do the very thing he could not do!
Then the miracle happened: the man made to stand up.  He overcame the habits – physical and mental – of more than half a lifetime.  His mind and will said, “Stand!”   That was an amazing achievement.  Then, when he made to stand up, he found that he could!  The miracle was not worked ‘on’ him; it was worked ‘with’ him.  This is not to say that it was just mind over matter.  It was the presence of Jesus, but that presence in this case required the full conscious presence of the paralysed man.  What does it say to us?  The very thing we can't do is sometimes the only thing worth doing.

General Intercessions
- For people who are blind to the defects of their hearts and to the needs of their neighbor, we pray:
- For people who are paralyzed by their fears and their lack of courage, we pray:
- For the physically handicapped, those who are blind, lame and paralyzed, that they may move the hearts of people and keep up their trust in God, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God, your Son Jesus comes among us in these signs of bread and wine. May he be for us the source of living water from which we can drink until we are satisfied, that we may turn this earth into a hospitable place, which gives us a foretaste of your eternal paradise. We ask you this through Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God, we have encountered your Son in this Eucharistic celebration. May he say to us too: "Pick up your sleeping mat and walk," and may we indeed walk at the word of your Son and go to you his way of goodness, justice and peace. We ask you this through Christ our Lord.

Homily Prayer:
God of healing, we come to you in pieces at times -- unable to hear your word, walk in your ways, hope for what is beyond the human eye. We desire healing but know that by ourselves we are unable to risk freedom's leap into your waiting arms. Have mercy, then, and lift us. Carry us, O God, more deeply into the waters of our baptism. Drown us in grace, that we may have life through the breath of your Spirit. Keep us willing in hope... care-free in faith... waiting on love. Amen.

The Turning: Grace meets me on the road and leads me to Jesus -- the miracle of my healing. To experience my weakness, yet to realize acceptance, leads to healing...for God is not discouraged with me even when I am discouraged with myself.

4th Week of Lent, Monday, Mar 23rd

Isaiah 65:17-21 / John 4:43-54
Jesus saves a man’s son: The man trusted Jesus.

Years ago, there was a movie called Quo Vadis. Starring Deborah Kerr, it dealt with the persecution of Christians in ancient Rome. One day after a dangerous filming session, a reporter asked Deborah, “Weren’t you afraid when the lions rushed you in the arena?” Deborah replied, “Not at all! I’d read the script and I knew I’d be rescued.” This is the kind of childlike trust that the royal official had in Jesus’ promise: “Your son will live.”
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What kind of trust do we put in the promises of Jesus—promises like “Ask and you will receive” and “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day”? Luke 11:9, John 6:54 “If I keep a green bough in my heart, the Singing bird will come.” Chinese proverb
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It is often easier to talk about concepts and ideas rather than to talk about reality and experiences. This may sound strange but for those of us who are in the teaching and presentation business, we find it easier to talk about lofty and high-flown concepts and ideas. To talk about reality and the human experience would require some thinking and reflection in order to find the right expressions. In the gospel, Jesus seemed to be talking about the lofty ideas of faith and belief rather than to give the people the signs that they need. But the court official begged Him with these words: Come down, before my child dies. But that phrase "come down" was not to tell Jesus to stop talking up there in the air.
Rather it was an open invitation for Jesus to come and reinforce the faith that the court official had in Jesus. The court official too had to "come down" to the essentials of his faith and believe in Jesus, and to obey Jesus to go home and believe that his son will live.

Even the 1st reading of the promise of the new heavens and new earth are expressed in the human longing for joy and gladness.

The season of Lent is to help us to renew our faith in God. A renewed faith in the power of Jesus can bring about in a renewed faith in the wonderful and amazing things that God will do for us. A renewed faith combined with the powerful love of Jesus can indeed bring about forgiveness and healing, which is so much needed in our world.
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Monday of 4th Week of Lent 

FAITH IN THE FUTURE 

Introduction 
For people who believe, the golden age lies in the future, not in the past, says the third section of the book of Isaiah. Before the exile, the Jews and their prophets looked to the beginnings, to the past, as the golden era from which humankind had declined. Now the prophet turns to the future. For the believer there is a new world to be built as a sign of the new heaven. Life lies in the future. The building up of this new world began seriously in Christ. His word renews people. Faith in him brings life and healing, something to live for and joy – now and even more so in the future: a new world, a new relationship with God, a new People of God. 

Penitential Rite:
-For his anger lasts but a moment; a lifetime, his good will, LHM
-At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing, CHM
-You changed my mourning into dancing; O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks, LHM

Opening Prayer 
Lord our God, almighty Father, you want us not to turn to the past to regret it and to mourn over it but to hope in the future, in the new earth and the new heaven. Give us a firm faith in your Son Jesus Christ, that notwithstanding the shortcomings of our time we may have faith in the future, which you want us to build up with your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Commentary 
With a very earthbound vision of end-time blessedness, Isaiah today sees a long life as a sign of divine favor. In Jesus’ time it was life itself that was cherished. In today’s Gospel it is the restoration to health of the royal official’s son. It becomes one of the “signs” in John’s “book of signs.” Before Jesus gives the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke’s Gospel, the question is posed to him, “Who is my neighbor?” The parable gives the answer. The Samaritan passes near the man who had been badly beaten and abused and immediately offers assistance. The question is answered. My neighbor is anyone in need. In today’s Gospel, Jesus proves himself to be a neighbor to a royal official. The story has a familiar ring; it may well be another version of Matthew’s centurion’s son (Matt 8:5-13) or Luke’s servant (Luke 7:1-10). As a royal official, the man is either not a Jew or a Jewish appointee of Roman authority. He is clearly not a believer but becomes one at the story’s conclusion. If we are selective in our charity, we may be on the track of loving others because they love us. But being willing to extend ourselves to anyone who needs us brings the Christian ideal to life. At one point, Francis of Assisi was incensed when three robber-beggars were hungry and were turned away by the friars because of their poor reputation. He gave the order for them to be found and fed. Years ago a priest pastor in New York’s lower Manhattan was well known for giving something to everyone who knocked on the door. A friend once chided him, saying that he had been taken advantage of more times than he probably realized. His reply was simple: “God is never going to ask me about that. But he will bring up the one person who was in need and was turned away.” 

Points to Ponder 
My response to the person in need The joy of doing good The agent of love: an instrument of peace 

Intercessions  
– Lord, speak only your word and we shall be healed, we pray:
– Lord, touch us with your grace and we shall become new and courageous people, we pray:
– Lord, give us yourself again, and you shall make us capable of giving ourselves to others, we pray: 

Prayer over the Gifts 
Lord our God, these are our gifts: no more than a little bread and wine, ordinary bread, a simple drink of joy, but they become among us the signs of a great future. Give us faith, Lord, a faith strong enough to believe with absolute certainty that everything becomes possible, that we can build up a new heaven and a new earth in and through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Prayer after Communion 
Lord, God of our future, we believe in your Son Jesus Christ, who has been with us in this Eucharistic celebration. On account of him we are convinced that even death leads to life, that there are no barriers to what you can do with us, unreliable as we are at times, that all our dreams can come true beyond all our expectations in Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Blessing 

Every year the Church gives us this Lent as an opportunity to become the kind of followers of Christ we were meant to be: courageous, close to God, thinking again of others rather than of ourselves and our own petty interests. Continue to let the Lord renew you, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Lent 4th Week: Mar 23-28


March 23 Monday (St. Turibius of Mogrovejo, Bishop): 
Catholic online video: https://youtu.be/qsbldkd-xSo Jn 4:43-54: 43 After the two days he departed to Galilee. 44 For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast, for they too had gone to the feast. 46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was a royal official whose son was ill.

Lent 4th Sunday A - Liturgical Prayers

Greeting
We were darkness once
but now we are light in the Lord.
Wake up from your sleep,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.
May the light of Christ be always with you.

Prayer for Migrants

Blessed are You, Lord Jesus Christ.
You crossed every border between Divinity
and humanity to make your home with us.
Help us to welcome you in newcomers, migrants
and refugees.

3rd Week of Lent, Saturday, Mar 21

Hosea 5:15 -6:6 / Luke 18:9-14
 God speaks through Hosea; “I want love, not sacrifice.”

A news reporter was on assignment in Clay, Kentucky, in the 1960s. A black woman, named Gordon, was going to try to enroll her two children in an all-white school. On Sunday the reporter stopped in at the local white church, where worship was in full swing. The congregation was praying mightily and singing lustily. After the service one of the pillars of the white church talked to the reporter. He told the newsman that he would rather have his taxes tripled to pay for separate schools than have the races mixed in the same school.

3rd Week of Lent, Friday, Mar 20

Hosea 14:2-10 / Mark 12:28-34 
God speaks through Hosea: Return to the Lord!
Father Malachi’s Miracle by Bruce Marshall has a moving scene of a priest trying to help a dying sailor make a good confession. The trouble is the sailor says he’s honestly not sorry for his many affairs in many ports. They are his only pleasant memories of an otherwise difficult life. Finally, in desperation, the priest says to the old sailor, “Are you sorry, at least, that you’re not sorry?” Sometimes it’s also hard for us to realize how badly we’ve failed God in our lives. As a result, we don’t feel repentant or any need to “return to the Lord.” If and when this happens to us, we should at least tell God we’re sorry that we aren’t sorry for our failure.

SOLEMNITY OF ST. JOSEPH - March 19


Introduction
Today’s gospel calls Joseph “a just man.” It is a title that the scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments give to people who try to live according to God’s plans. Indeed, he played an important role in God’s plan of salvation; God entrusted our Savior, Jesus, to his care. He experienced that his important role brought him many difficulties, but he stood the test and served God well, as a man of faith, generous, and indeed “just.”     

St. Joseph - Reflections


St. Joseph: The Holy Cross Tradition


Author: Fr. Claude Grou, C.S.C.


A stained glass image of St Joseph from a window in the Oratory done by artist Marius Plamondon
I have often been asked why Saint Joseph had such a great importance for Saint Brother André. We can certainly speak of the importance of St. Joseph for Canada, or of the place of St. Joseph in the devotional life of French Canadian families but we can equally say that Br. André found in Holy Cross a fertile ground to develop a spirituality that gave a prominent place to St. Joseph. I want to share with you a few elements of the devotion to St. Joseph as it evolved in Holy Cross, starting from the very early days when Fr. Basile Moreau accepted responsibility for the Brothers of Saint Joseph.

3rd Week of Lent, Wednesday, Mar 18

Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9 / Matthew 5:17-19

Moses instructs the people: “Don’t forget what your eyes have seen.”
Lewis Carroll’s famous book The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland has a lot of soft or low-key humor in it. An example is when the King tells the Queen about a terrifying moment he just had. “‘The horror of that moment,’ the King said, T shall never, never forget!’ ‘You will, though,’ the Queen said, ‘if you don’t make a memorandum of it.’” Moses makes the same point to the people as they are about to enter the Promised Land. Talking about the many things God has done for them, he says:

Pope Francis - Quotes

A beautiful message from Holy Father Pope Francis: he says, “Rivers do not drink their own water; trees do not eat their own fruit; the sun does not shine on itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves. Living for others is a rule of nature. We are all born to help each other. No matter how difficult it is…Life is good when you are happy; but much better when others are happy because of you.” Let us all remember then that every changing colour of a leaf is beautiful and every changing situation of life is meaningful, both need very clear vision. So do not grumble or complain, let us instead remember that Pain is a sign that we are alive, Problems are a sign that we are strong and Prayer is a sign we are not alone!! If we can acknowledge these truths and condition our hearts and minds, our lives will be more meaningful, different and worthwhile!! 

St. Patrick - March 17

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Most people think of this day as a time for wearing green and that’s about it (unless you’re Irish!). St. Patrick gets relatively little attention on his day, so I thought I might offer a few thoughts in his honor, including a prayer that is attributed to him.

Lent 4th Sunday A - The Blind Man




(Laetare Sunday)

This Sunday is traditionally known as ‘Laetare Sunday’ from the opening word of the introit: Laetare lerusalem … (Be joyful 0 Jerusalem …) (Is 66:10-11), which has been retained as the entrance antiphon in the current Missal.  
 Watson had missed the most obvious:


Sherlock Holmes, the great detective who had solved many mysteries, and Dr. Watson, his companion, went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of wine, they lay down for the night and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. "Watson, look up and tell me what you see." Watson replied, "I see millions and millions of stars". Sherlock Holmes then said, "Well Watson, what does that tell you"? Watson pondered for a minute and then replied, "Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Chronologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all-powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Why, what does it tell you"? Sherlock Holmes responded, "Watson you idiot, someone has stolen our tent". Watson had missed the most obvious. He was clever enough to notice the complexities of the stars but he missed what was plain and simple.  Today’s Gospel reading is about a whole lot of people who miss the point. In Jesus’ healing of a blind man, the Pharisees missed the most evident point that it was a real miracle by divine intervention. (Rev. Gehardy).

Lent 3rd Week: March 16-21

March 16 Monday: Lk 4: 24-30: [23 And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, `Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here also in your own country.'”] 24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country. 25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 ……30…USCCB video reflections: https://youtu.be/E2BXljVVFls?list=PLpTzvCOJa7DAoMqHc4moKtTJSI6gsth32

3rd Week of Lent, Tuesday, March 17


Daniel 3:25, 34-43 / Matthew 18:21-35

We can’t offer animal sacrifices: But we can offer a humble spirit.

A large truck got wedged in an underpass in a tiny western town. It couldn’t go forward or backward. Traffic was lined up for miles. Officials were at a loss at what to do. Finally, a little boy who’d been watching all the while said to one of the officials, “Want to know how to get the truck loose?” The official said in an irritated voice, “Yeah! I suppose you’ve got it all figured out.” “Well, I think so,” said the boy. “Just let a little air out of the truck’s tires.” The officials did, and it worked. Later, after the traffic began to move, the humbled official joked about the incident, saying, “The truck wasn’t the only one that got a little air taken out of its tires.”
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How do we respond when someone lets a little air out of our tires and humbles us? Jesus said, “Learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit.” Matthew 11:29
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Most of us have this experience of lending money to people. And most of the time, we end up so frustrated and feel like banging our heads against the wall. Because we lent the money so easily, but it came back to us with so much difficulty and so slowly, if ever at all. And of course, the higher the amount of money lent, the greater the frustration and the heart-ache. 
So, when it comes to talking about forgiveness, Jesus did not talk in abstract terms. He used this experience of loans and payment. Immediately we will know what it means to forgive. It is almost synonymous to writing off a debt. But to be able to write off a debt, it means that we have come to the realization and enlightenment that there is something beyond money.

Only then can we let go and move on. Similarly, to forgive someone who had done us great harm and hurt us grievously, it means that we have come to the realization and enlightenment that there is something beyond the anger, the pain and the hate.

Let us pray for this realization and enlightenment. Because it is a special grace from God. It is His healing love that is being poured into our hearts.
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LITURGY


FORGIVE US AS WE FORGIVE 

Introduction 
We don’t like too much – or not at all – to acknowledge it, but we have been forgiven a lot. Open, scandalous, upsetting sins... maybe not. Probably not. But scandalous in the sense of totally unexpected on the part of people who profess to be the sign of the Church, of Christ, of God... perhaps yes: antipathies, non-sharing, animosities, enmities nurtured for years, living side-by-side without genuine love and sharing, maybe yes... and to many or at least some the opposite of witnessing to what we profess to be, yes... Where is our forgiving others as God has forgiven us, as we pray in the Lord’s Prayer? 

Penitential Rite: 
-Do not take away your mercy from us, for the sake of Abraham, your beloved, Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one, LHM
-For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation, brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins, CHM
-So let our sacrifice be in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly; for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame, LHM

Opening Prayer 
Lord our God, we consider ourselves your chosen flock, the people who profess to be your sign of reconciliation. God, how poor we are! How often we fail you by forgiving by an act of condescension, as if we did a great favor to those who sought to be reconciled with us. Lord, help us to forgive the way and to the extent that you forgive us: unconditionally and totally, in the goodness of our hearts. Give us this greatness of heart through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Commentary 
The plea made by Azariah in the Book of Daniel, written in the second century before Christ, is full of pathos. The Jewish people have once again been subjected to ruthless invaders. Sacrifice is gone, leaving room only for an internal sacrifice of spirit. Sinfulness is recognized and forgiveness sought. Only one element is missing, one found repeatedly in New Testament requests for forgiveness. This added dimension is underscored in today’s Gospel parable. Forgiveness cannot be asked from God if we do not forgive others. And how often? “Seventy times seven,” which says forgiveness everywhere and always. Any minister of the gospel has met cases repeatedly. A very good person is approaching the end of life but needs to be reconciled with someone before the end. It may be a close family member or a childhood friend. But the sentiment is wholly in keeping with the Gospel teaching. It is expressed each time we recite the Lord’s Prayer as we ask for forgiveness in the measure to which we extend it. One hardly wants to think of the indictment involved in reciting this prayer while harboring hostility toward others. The fact is that we are all capable of hurting in word or deed. We can also find ourselves on the receiving end through the actions of others. When we are guilty, let us be quick to heal the breach. In so doing we are assured of God’s forgiveness in whatever circumstances. If Christ in his final sufferings can offer his prayer from the cross, “Father forgive them,” it is hard to imagine what excuse we might offer. The king in the parable forgives an indebted servant, canceling the debt entirely. But the same servant mistreats a fellow debtor, with no sense of compassion. Shylock still wants his “pound of flesh.” Yet as Portia says in the same Shakespearean drama: “The quality of mercy is not strained.” May those sentiments be our own. 

Points to Ponder 
To be forgiven and forgiving
Settling discord before prayer
Bearing grudges 

Intercessions 
– That we may be patient with one another, as God has been patient with us, we pray:
– That we may forgive one another, as God has forgiven us, we pray:
– That we may keep loving one another, as God keeps loving us even when we have repeatedly hurt his love, we pray: 

Prayer over the Gifts 
Merciful Father, we welcome your Son in these signs of bread and wine as the Lord of forgiveness who laid down his life for us. May we, whom you call your chosen ones, beloved and called to be holy, be found ready to forgive willingly, notwithstanding antipathies and hurt feelings, that we may be to one another the sign of your forgiveness which goes beyond our human feelings, as followers of Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Prayer after Communion 
Lord, it is beautiful but hard to be the body of your Son, the sign of the forgiveness and life that he brings to the world. But give us the courage, notwithstanding and beyond our all too human feelings, sympathies and antipathies, to bring to all around us your message of love, tolerance, peace and joy, which you have given us here again through the body and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Blessing 
We are people who have received forgiveness from the Lord, and, hopefully at times also from people. We should know also how to forgive, so that our praying in the Our Father may be truthful. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

3rd Week of Lent, Monday, Mar 16th

2 Kings 5:1-15 / Luke 4:24-30

Elisha tells Naaman to wash: Naaman expected something harder.

James Michener’s book The Source has a section that treats a time period that parallels the Old Testament era. One episode of that section deals with people in a place called Makor. They have just adopted a new god called Melak, who demands human sacrifice.

10 Good Opening Prayers for Funerals

Opening Prayers for Funerals

Losing a loved one can bring about an array of emotions and feelings. Making it through the grieving process starts with the memorial and burial as you carry onward to the next stages of coping. To ease the pain, here is a look at some good opening prayers for funerals to get you started.

Lent Sunday 3 A: Liturgical Prayers

Greeting (See Second Reading)
The love of God has been poured out into our hearts
by the Holy Spirit
who has been given to us.
May that love of God be always with you.

Introduction by the Celebrant (Two Options)

Lent 2nd Week, Saturday, Mar 14th

Micah 7:14-15, 18-20 / Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 
Jesus teaches about forgiveness: “A man had two sons ...”

This parable contains two remarkable things. The first is the son’s demand for his inheritance. To demand one’s inheritance before the death of one’s parents was cruel. It was to rob them of their “social security.” The second is the father’s welcome of his son. He embraces him, withholding no affection. He puts shoes on his son’s feet. Freemen wore shoes; slaves went barefooted. Shoes removed from the son the sign that he was somebody’s slave and restored to him the sign that he was somebody’s son. Finally, the father puts a ring on his son’s finger. It was undoubtedly the family’s signet ring. To possess it was to possess the power to act in the family’s name. In brief, the father forgives his son totally.
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How forgiving are we of those who have sinned against us? “Mercy imitates God and disappoints Satan.” John Chyrsostom
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Based on anecdotal evidence, we can say that there is a black sheep in every family. Usually that is referred to one of the children. That particular child is always out of step with the rest and seems to be marching to a different tune. That 'black sheep' is the bane and the burden of parents.

Some parents will resort to renouncement of the relationship with that child, others will resort to punishment which may actually be just a way of venting out their frustrations on the child.

In today's gospel parable, we hear of yet another way of dealing with the 'black sheep'. The father gave in to his younger son's request, but yet further on in the parable, we hear of the father waiting and looking out for him to return. What made the son came to his senses was that he recalled how kindly his father treated his servants. That was enough for him to get moving.

No matter how far a person has gone over to the dark and destructive side, the memories of love and kindness and goodness can never be erased from him. It is these memories that will make a person come to his senses and bring him back to the light. So when we come across the odd one, the black sheep, the sinner, let us be the reflection of God's love to that person.

The 1st reading describes God taking fault away, pardoning crime, not cherishing anger for ever but delighting in showing mercy. Let us be that image of God for others to help them come to their senses and return to God.
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LITURGY

Introduction

When we forgive those who have hurt us, often some scars remain and take a long time to heal. Even if we have not personally suffered from a crime, we cry for blood and vengeance in the name of society, and we don’t treat a released prisoner or sinner who has made up for his failure as if he had done no wrong. But God does. He remains faithful to the love once given. He comes forward both to welcome the returning sinner and to invite the brother or sister who has a hard time to welcome his lost brother or sister to share in the joy of forgiveness and his return.


Penitential:
-You, Lord, do not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, LHM
-You, Lord, will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins as you showed your faithfulness to Jacob, CHM
-You, Lord, are like the father who welcomed his prodigal son saying, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again, LHM

Opening Prayer
We bless you, God, because you like to forgive and you reveal yourself in forgiving. You run to meet the sinner. You throw his sins to the bottom of the sea. You crown him with love and tenderness. We bless you, Lord, for this table, at which your only Son gave his body and blood to bring together your scattered children at a feast in which all things are renewed. Unwearying God, Father of mercy, we thank you and proclaim your faithfulness.

Homily Prayer:
God of mercy, your word snatches the mask from our false pretenses. Your light pierces every corner of our darkness. We recognize and acknowledge that we are sinners.

Your word speaks to us again and again of your tenderness, and your light is our rebirth. Be blest, you for whom our sin is not our last word to you. May your forgiveness be your last word for everlasting.

Commentary
Jesus could not have given us a more powerful image of the mercy of God than the scene of the father running out to embrace in forgiveness his once wayward son. Such is God's tender mercy that He would be quick to cancel debts and forgive past mistakes. We experience this same outpouring of God's mercy, this same warm embrace whenever we make an honest confession of our sins in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. May we never think that our sins lie outside God's power or desire to forgive.

General Intercession
–   For priests, that in their pastoral of the sacrament of reconciliation they may learn from the Father to be joyful, patient and uplifting, we pray:
–   For those who have not yet learned to forgive, that they may discover the joy and the peace that the feast of forgiveness brings, we pray:
–   For those who feel guilty, that they may find the courage to seek forgiveness, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
God, our Father, through your Son Jesus Christ in this Eucharist you come forward to welcome us to the joy of forgiveness and peace. May your Son give us the strength
to be merciful as you are, that we may build up and welcome rather than condemn and reject, for we too are in need of your pardon through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
Father in heaven, your love creates us anew when we have failed. May our hearts reach out to sinners and to all those in need without any condescension. Keep us carrying out our task of reconciling and uniting all races and tongues and social classes and to build bridges of peace that we may go together toward the joys of your home of welcome. We ask this through him in whose sacrifice of reconciliation we share, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
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Faithful Father, you are our God of grace, mercy and forgiveness. When mercy and pardon sound paternalistic to modern ears, make us realize, Lord, that you challenge us to face ourselves and to become new people, responsible for the destiny of ourselves and for the happiness of others. Make us responsive to your love through Christ Jesus our Lord.