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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 2016
Monday

Jesus grew up in the very small village of Nazareth. Most of those who lived there were from Jesus’ extended family. When Jesus left, people in His own town began to hear things about Him—that He worked miracles, that He taught large groups of people, that He was fearless in confronting the religious leaders.

They had a very hard time believing it all. After all, they thought, “We’ve known him all his life.” “He’s (just) the carpenter’s son.” Some thought, “He’s gotten too big for his britches,” or “He’s let fame go to his head.” “Who does he think he is?”

Jesus, teaching at the town’s synagogue, reminds His family and neighbors that God will not be confined to our small way of thinking. The prophet Elijah worked a miracle for a “pagan woman.” So too did his successor, Elisha, curing the Syrian general, Naaman, of his leprosy.

God will not be hemmed in by petty religion and small hearts. In this Year of Mercy, we remember the words of a beautiful hymn: “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, like the wideness of the sea.”

There is nothing petty or small about the love of God shown to us in Jesus.

Father John McKenna, C.Ss.R.
Brooklyn, N.Y.

 

Scripture readings for today: 2 Kings 5:1-15; Psalm 42; Luke 4:24-30

Friday

Joseph was his father’s favorite. Dad had given him a beautiful coat, and his brothers were jealous of him. They wanted to kill him. But one of them said, “Don’t kill him. Just throw him in a dry well.”

Joseph was sold to the Egyptians for 20 pieces of silver and then became Pharaoh’s favorite. The happy ending occurred when his brothers, not recognizing him, went to Egypt to get food because everyone was starving, and Joseph forgave his brothers. Joseph gave them life even though they had wanted to kill him.

Joseph was a dreamer, and God had spoken to him in his dreams. One of his brothers had said, “Let’s kill him and see what comes of his dreams.” The Gospel shows us what came of Joseph’s dreams—because what happened to Joseph would happen years later to all the Israelites. They’d all be slaves as Joseph had been.

Joseph was sold for 20 pieces of silver, just like Jesus when Judas betrayed Him. Jesus forgives his brothers and sisters just as Joseph had done.

A few weeks from now, during Holy Week, we will celebrate what came of Joseph’s dream—because the dream of both Joseph and Jesus is new life, abundant life for us.

Father Thomas Deely, C.Ss.R.
Esopus, N.Y.

Scripture readings for today: Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28; Psalm 105; Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

Thursday

Today the readings point us in the direction of trusting in God and being in union with the presence of God.

Jeremiah compares those who put all their trust in the things of this world to a barren bush in the desert. It has no future because the things of this world are temporary. But the person who trusts in the Lord is like a tree planted near clean running water. With such a water source, it has a bright future and grows strong. God is the source that always sustains!

We do well to pay heed to Jeremiah. We need to nourish our spiritual lives by prayer and good works in order to be able to live generously and charitably. Otherwise we could end up like the fellow in Jesus’ story about the rich man and the poor and sickly Lazarus. The rich man in the story came to his senses, but by then it was too late.

Who are the people in your life who need you? Perhaps someone you haven’t spoken with in a long while, someone with whom you have severed ties, or someone you know who is lonely or ill. Act. The Lord calls us to do so—and in union with Him.

Father Edward Vella, C.Ss.R.
Oconomowoc, Wis.

Scripture readings for today: Jeremiah 17:5-10; Psalm 1; Luke 16:19-31

Wednesday

In the Scriptures today we’re faced with the conflict between good and evil. News in recent years has given us almost daily accounts of the triumph of evil in many parts of the world, especially the lands where Jeremiah and Jesus walked.

The perpetrators of evil claim what they’re doing is right and proclaim themselves martyrs for the cause as well! Jeremiah cries out in anguish to God for help in subduing those who are against him.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tries to teach His disciples and us to be aware of the intensity with which evil will confront goodness. He also points out the lengths to which His enemies will go to destroy goodness—and asks us to face the truth of our own wrongdoing.

These readings are not about something 2,000 years ago; they’re about today. If we feel frustrated at not being able to solve the major problems of the world, maybe we can start in our own home.

No one is perfect, and we can make the world better by honestly facing up to any evil in our own lives. The more comfortable we are in our own skin, the more easily we can acknowledge our sins.

May we trust the God of mercy during this holy season and make the world a better place!

Father Raymond Collins, C.Ss.R.
Philadelphia

Scripture readings for today: Jeremiah 18:18-20; Psalm 31; Matthew 20:17-28

Tuesday

About 750 years before Jesus’ birth, the prophet Isaiah preaches a return to faith, promising that God will take care of a troubled people struggling to survive against the Assyrian Empire and an unfaithful king. He compares the nation to the unfaithful people of Sodom and Gomorrah. But then he adds, “Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow.”

In the Gospel, Jesus makes an example of the scribes and Pharisees, criticizing their showy clothes: “They widen their phylacteries and wear huge tassels.” Jesus is trying to call them back to their mission in the Jewish community. They had been called by God to lead the people, but instead they tried to dominate them.

The word rabbi means teacher. Jesus came as a teacher, a rabbi, from Nazareth in the north. The leaders would not accept Him—but the people did. And that’s where the Lord got in trouble. They saw Him as threatening their authority.

Authority is a powerful and a dangerous thing. Some people get a taste of it and never want to let go. We see that in politics and even in the Church. We need to remember the last lines of Jesus in today’s Gospel: “the greatest among you will be the one who serves the rest.”

Father Michael Hopkins, C.Ss.R.
Long Branch, N.J.

Scripture readings for today: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20; Psalm 50; Matthew 23:1-12