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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Scripture readings: Isaiah 65:17-21; Psalm 30; John 4:43-54

According to today’s reading from Isaiah, Lent means new life!

“See, I am creating new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered nor come to mind.” God calls His people “a joy” and “a delight” because God is delighted and happy with them, His new creation.

Jesus is the wellspring of new life, of joy and happiness in the Gospel. When He heals the son of the royal official, both the child and the father are Jesus’ “joy” and His “delight.” This truly is a new heaven and a new earth in their lives.

During these Lenten days God desires to do new things in our lives. Maybe God desires to have a more constant relationship with us through personal prayer. Maybe Jesus desires to heal a wound that continues to poison our relationships. Maybe the Holy Spirit desires to encourage us to come to a decision we have been putting off.

What new creation does God desire to work in your life? What newness do you desire God to work in you? Take a moment now or sometime today to imagine the newness God desires. Ask God to do it. Give God permission. Make room for God to work. You too will be called “a joy” and “a delight.”

Rev. James Gilmour, C.Ss.R.
Metuchen, N.J.

Download our 2014 Lenten reflections booklet here


Scripture readings: 1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41

Today’s Gospel reminds me of the expression “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” The blind man comes to sight, to faith.

The ones who can see—the Pharisees, the neighbors, even the parents—come to darkness.

At first the blind man refers to Jesus as “the man they call Jesus.” Then he calls Him a prophet; next, one from God. And finally he calls Him Lord. He gradually grows to sight while the seeing Pharisees go into darkness.

The journey of the blind man is one we must all undertake. What are our personal blind spots? How often do we not see things as they really are? How often do we assume we know who people are and who God is?

“Lord, I want to see” can be our daily prayer. Instead of being harsh on the Pharisees, we are called to reflect on our own blindness, to close our eyes in humble prayer and look within.

If, in our comings and goings, we use the eyes of our soul, the eyes of faith, we will begin to see Him everywhere.

Rev. John McGowan, C.Ss.R.
Long Branch, N.J.

Download our 2014 Lenten reflections booklet here.

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Scripture readings: Hosea 6:1-6; Psalm 51; Luke 18:9-14

The key to understanding today’s readings is found in the psalm: “It is mercy I desire and not sacrifice.” This is nearly an exact quote of God’s statement in the first reading.

There, in place of the word mercy, God asks for love. In the context of the readings, we understand God’s call for love as a merciful love, the love that God expects us to have toward one another.

In Hosea there are two speakers. The first is Hosea, who encourages us to turn back to God, assured of His mercy. The second speaker is God Himself, who tells us the disposition we should bring with us, namely, a merciful love of others and an appreciation of who God is and what He is like. God wants us to know Him.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus puts all this together in the parable of the two men praying in the Temple. The Pharisee is obviously lacking in merciful love.

The tax collector, a sinner, humbly approaches God with a contrite spirit. The story is simply another spelling out of Jesus’ summary of the greatest commandment: to know and love God and to love my neighbor as God loves me.

Rev. Patrick McGarrity, C.Ss.R.
Ephrata, Pa.

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Scripture readings: Hosea 14:2-10; Psalm 81; Mark 12:28-34

Jesus’ answer to the scribe’s question in today’s Gospel is simple: love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

Sounds simple. And it is. But very often it is the simple things in life that give us the most trouble.

It is simple to tell the truth, but . . . It is simple to show up on time, but . . .

Jesus calls us to love God. Are we to run to some secluded cave to pray all day? Some are called to do that, but not most of us.

God calls most of us to show our love for Him by showing our love for those we run into day in and day out. That’s where “love your neighbor” comes into play.

How well do we show love and respect for parents, spouses, children, co-workers, and even the cranky old guy across the street?

We may say, “They don’t understand me” or “They hurt my feelings.” But are we always right and easy to love?

Lent is a time to examine our conscience. Do it right, and we can hear the same answer the scribe heard: “You are not far from the Kingdom of God!”

Rev. Michael Hopkins, C.Ss.R.
New York

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 Scripture readings: Jeremiah 7:23-28; Psalm 95; Luke 11:14-23

Today’s Gospel reminds me of that famous phrase “Lift yourself up by your bootstraps.” Of course, it’s impossible. So too is it impossible for the kingdom of Beelzebul to be overthrown by Beelzebul.

If the people of Jesus’ era had only stopped to think about it, they would have come to the same conclusion. Jesus gently suggests that if it isn’t by any power of evil that He performs miracles, then, maybe, just maybe, we’d have to conclude that the Kingdom of God has arrived and is now upon us.

How human is that: people suggest an impossibility rather than believe what should be obvious: the Kingdom of God, the kingdom of peace, has arrived and is now available to all.

What a tremendous gift we have received! Jesus came to announce that peace is now available not only to the Jews but to all! We need to be reminded of this over and over. The peace that Jesus announced is available to me today, March 27, 2014!

Rev. John Harrison, C.Ss.R.
Annapolis, Md.

Download our 2014 Lenten reflections booklet here.

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