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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: April 2014
Saturday

Scripture readings: Ezekiel 37:21-28; Jeremiah 31; John 11:45-56

The thread running through all three readings is one of gathering, unity, and joy. We are reassured that God is not indifferent to the world’s divisions, hatreds, prejudices. God is not absent or unseeing. The work of gathering is His, and we are invited to participate in imitation of His Son.

We are scattered by our religious, cultural, and personal differences. The work of unity is the purpose of the new covenant. Experiences of oneness lead to rejoicing in the Lord: barriers are broken down, and mourning is turned into gladness.

The threat of arrest, the vengeful plotting, and the prophecy of Caiaphas hint at the heavy toll that working for unity can bring.

When we stand in the middle, in open ground, outside the safety of our particular group, with its protective prejudices and unifying hatreds, we become vulnerable, liable to be crushed in the warfare between opposing world views.

The goal of unity—hope to some—is a threat to others who are afraid of losing their special privileges.

Do we, like the Pharisees, feel threatened by the truth of Jesus? Are we secretly afraid that if we truly accept Him we might be humbled rather than exalted?

Rev. Mark Owen, C.Ss.R.
Dominica, West Indies

Download our 2014 Lenten reflections booklet here

Friday

Scripture readings: Jeremiah 20:10-13; Psalm 18; John 10:31-42

“The breakers of death surged round about me, the destroying floods overwhelmed me; the cords of the nether world enmeshed me, the snares of death overtook me. In my distress I called upon the Lord and cried out to my God; from his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears” (Psalm 18:5-7).

I’m not sure who the psalmist was who wrote those words, but we have all been there. We have all had those feelings. And maybe we have all had the joy of knowing our cry has reached the ears of the Father.

Maybe our situation has not changed, but we know God is aware of us. That is the gift of faith.

St. Thomas Aquinas says faith is “the act of the intellect assenting to a divine truth owing to the movement of the will, which is itself moved by the grace of God.”

Just as faith is a gift supernaturally bestowed upon the understanding, so too this divine grace moving the will is an equally supernatural and an absolutely gratuitous gift. Neither gift is due to previous study, and neither of them can be acquired by human effort. But “Ask, and you shall receive” (Matthew 7:7).

Rev. Thomas Siconolfi, C.Ss.R.
Timonium, Md.

Download our 2014 Lenten reflections booklet here

Thursday

Scripture readings: Genesis 17:3-9; Psalm 105; John 8:51-59

Today we are comforted by our faith in Christ’s resurrection, knowing that we too will come to a day of resurrection. But it was difficult for the people of Jesus’ time to understand this idea.

Christ had not yet been crucified and raised from the dead when He spoke the words in today’s Gospel: “Whoever keeps My word will never see death.” The Jews could not understand, so they picked up stones to throw at Him.

Today we can take a moment to reflect on what we do not understand. God sees all things. He knows all things and hears all things. We are humbled when we realize that we are neither almighty nor omniscient.

We are called to act with compassion toward those we do not understand. We are called to listen and to truly hear the experiences of others instead of offering an immediate reply.

This day’s readings are packed with promises from God. These promises are often beyond our understanding.

Angelica Barrera-Cruz
Metuchen, N.J.

Download our 2014 Lenten reflections booklet here

Wednesday

Scripture readings: Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95; Daniel 3; John 8:31-42

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Very often I find myself advising folks in the confessional about the need to be honest. I am convinced that there are three types of honesty: with God, with others, and with oneself.

Whenever we can be honest in these three ways, there is no need to look over our shoulder, live in fear, or cover our tracks. Our lives are like open books.

To live with such honesty, we have to face the truth and be willing to admit it. In a very special way, isn’t that a key part of what Lent is all about?

And it’s not just for Lent either; it’s a lifelong process of growing and maturing as Christians and as human beings in our relationships with one another.

So let us strive always to be honest with God, with others, and with ourselves. The more we know this truth and live it, the more we will be free.

Rev. Robert Wojtek, C.Ss.R.
Baltimore

Download our 2014 Lenten reflections booklet here

Tuesday

Scripture readings: Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 102; John 8:21-30

The Chosen People in today’s reading have wandered the desert and received the Ten Commandments and now in God’s providence are preparing to enter the Promised Land.

You would think they would be grateful. No! They’re complaining! 

God responds by sending them seraph snakes. Moses’ intercession calms the divine wrath. The lifting up of the serpent on a pole reminds us of Christ, who was placed on the pole of the Cross. He accepted the punishment of death to heal us from our sins and bring us to eternal life with Him.

Some of Jesus’ listeners cannot get beyond what they can see, touch, or control. They had no faith in the Messiah who was right before them. The enemies of Jesus will “lift up the Son of Man.” But when they do, God will reveal Himself, and then they will know the oneness of the Father and Jesus. 

Today let us pray for a greater appreciation of our faith and in gratitude that our life has a direction that will ultimately lead us to total union with Christ.

Rev. Kevin Milton, C.Ss.R.
Annapolis, Md.

Download our 2014 Lenten reflections booklet here