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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

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.

Tuesday

Scripture readings for today: Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 34; Matthew 6:7-15

For many people, to pray means asking for something: health, success, a relationship, etc. But for Jesus, to pray is to seek to be a son or daughter of God who remains always in His sight.

If we are looking for intimacy with God, words are unnecessary. The Father already knows all our needs.

I remember once hearing a baby cry from an outside room. The father called the mother to the kitchen, saying, “The baby is hungry.” Babies cry because they are hungry, cold, in pain, or lonely. The father knew how to read that particular cry as one of hunger.

How? The dad’s intimate love for his child revealed everything about the baby. And your Heavenly Father knows very well how to read the cries of His sons and daughters.

At a retreat I remember seeing an elderly sister who spent hours before the Blessed Sacrament. She didn’t move her lips. She didn’t need to. Being the daughter of the Father—a daughter who loved just looking at Him—was enough.

This is why Jesus appreciates the Our Father, which teaches us to look first to God (Your name, Your kingdom, Your will) and only then to ask for our daily bread.

Praying is seeking intimacy with the God who loves us. Having this means having everything.

Father Ruskin Piedra, C.Ss.R.
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Download our 2015 Daily Lenten Devotions booklet here.