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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: February 2015
Saturday

Scripture readings for today: Deuteronomy 26:16-19; Psalm 119; Matthew 5:43-48

Most people cringe when they hear Matthew 5:48: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” How is this possible? Isn’t perfection reserved for God alone?

The word perfect in the Bible can also mean “mature” or “complete.” When the book of Hebrews says that “Jesus was made perfect through suffering,” it is saying that, in His humanity, Jesus’ love grew through the hardships He endured.

Secondly, Jesus has just finished speaking about loving our enemies. Perfection, in this sense, means that we seek to obtain the same expansiveness as Christ in defining our neighbor.

Finally, it’s helpful to look at similar Scripture passages. 1 Peter 1:15 says, “As He who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct.” And St. Paul states in Ephesians 5:1-2, “Be imitators of God and live in love, as Christ loved us.”

These verses impress on us to have the same attitude as God. We are not directed to imitate God in perfection but in forgiving and in loving others as Christ has loved us.

Father Kevin MacDonald, C.Ss.R.
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

 

Download our 2015 Daily Lenten Devotions booklet here.

Friday

Scripture readings for today: Ezekiel 18:21-28; Psalm 130; Matthew 5:20-26

In his rule for monks St. Benedict wrote that they should “prefer nothing to the love of Jesus.” It is Jesus’ love that makes a community blessed and holy. It is His love that brings peace, forgiveness, consolation, and reconciliation to all humankind.

It is His love that saves us from sin and death. It is His love that liberates us so we can once again be connected to the Father and, we hope, enter the kingdom of heaven.

We are called to imitate the love Jesus has shared with us. One of the best ways we can do that is by taking the first step in the reconciliation process. If someone has something against us, we should seek out the person and try to make peace. We should reach out to those who have offended us, putting aside our own hurts and needs and offering them forgiveness and consolation.

If we want to enter the kingdom of heaven, we must realize that the reign of God is present among us here and now. We must embrace Jesus’ attitude of compassion, forgiveness, justice, and reconciliation.

May the love of Jesus give us the ability never to hesitate to forgive and seek forgiveness, never to let hatred, distrust, and disappointment bury us in the tombs of anger, self-pity, and self-righteousness.

May His love nourish, strengthen, and enable us to extend the hand of reconciliation and peace to one another.

Father John McLoughlin, C.Ss.R.
Ephrata, Pa.

Download our 2015 Daily Lenten Devotions booklet here.

Thursday

Scripture readings for today: Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25; Psalm 138; Matthew 7:7-12

Today’s Gospel about persistence in prayer—to ask, seek, and knock—is not so much about wearing God down and getting Him to come around to our way of seeing and doing things but to get us to come around to His way of seeing and doing things.

We’ve had the experience of praying about something and not getting it or heard others speak about it. So why keep asking? We’re called to change our focus and make prayer not so much about us but about God: to make the Lord the center of all we are and do.

So when we go to pray, why don’t we try this on for size? Let’s pray not so much to get what we want but what God wants. That moves us beyond ourselves, beyond our concerns and cares, which are valid and have a time and place but are only a part of that grand, cosmic design that the Lord very much wants to bring to completion.

It all comes down to what we probably say every day: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.” Let’s hope that’s what we want more than anything else. So we keep on asking, seeking, knocking, and praying for it.

Father Mark Wise, C.Ss.R.
Philadelphia

Download our 2015 Daily Lenten Devotions booklet here

Wednesday

Scripture readings for today: Jonah 3:1-10; Psalm 51; Luke 11:29-32

“Nya nya nya nya nya! I’m greater than you are! Nya nya nya nya nya!”

How many times did I hear that taunt—or one just like it—on the playgrounds of my youth?

Today’s Gospel reminds me a lot of that phrase. The queen of the south—was she from Sheba?—is put forth as very wise, but still she seeks the superior wisdom of Solomon.

Or take the Ninevites: they repented at the preaching of Jonah, who didn’t even want to convert them. He wanted the wrath of God to rain down on them.

Yet in both cases there is someone even greater, and that person, of course, is Jesus Himself. The whole point of Jesus’ discourse is “Why go anywhere else? Come to me! I’ll take care of your every need.”

This is not an idle boast: it is the truth. Jesus does indeed take care of our every whim, every desire, every hope.

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

Download our 2015 Daily Lenten Devotions booklet here.

Tuesday

By Father Bob Pagliari, C.Ss.R.

Redemptorist missionary Rev. Thomas William Lacey died on February 22, 2015, at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Towson, Maryland, comforted by the prayers of his family and confreres.

Read or download Father Lacey’s full obit here.