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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 2017
Friday

It is the Jewish feast of Tabernacles, and Jesus decides to go, “not openly, but as it were in secret.” Some of the people who heard him speaking were puzzled. “Is he the Messiah? He can’t be; we know where he is from.” 

According to popular belief, the Messiah was supposed to burst upon the scene mysteriously. No mystery here. The people react somewhat like the “wicked” in today’s first reading: He “boasts that God is his father . . . Let us condemn him to a shameful death.”

The choice the people faced is, in a sense, still before us. Many Jews today see Jesus as an admirable Jew but not the Son of God. Others see him as a great prophet. We recognize him as the Son of God. 

As Pope John Paul II said, “Christ is absolutely original and absolutely unique. If he were only a wise man like Socrates, if he were a prophet like Muhammad, if he were enlightened like Buddha, without doubt he would not be what he is” (quoted in Newsweek, March  27, 2000). 

What we said to the Father in our morning prayer, we might as well say to Christ: “May we reach out with joy to grasp your hand and walk more readily in your ways.” 

Father Philip Dabney, C.Ss.R.
Boston

Scripture readings for today: Wisdom 2:1, 12-22; Psalm 34; John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30 

Thursday

In today’s Gospel, Jesus accuses the people of not believing in him. He said to them, “You do not believe in Moses. If you had believed in Moses, you would have believed in me because Moses wrote about me.”

Jesus spoke very frankly to the people. Many of them did accept him. Others were just curious about him and astounded by his miracles. But when push came to shove, they abandoned him.

What about us? Is our love of Jesus sincere? Do we bear witness to him? Are we honest with him? Do we try to do what he asks us to?

What about a little extra devotion to Jesus, now that we’re deeply into Lent: a little more meditation on his suffering and death, a deeper realization of what he has done for us to bring about our salvation, a recognition of the strong personal love he has for each one of us?

We all have someone who loves us, and we realize how good that makes us feel. We know that the person who loves us appreciates our love in return. In the same way, I am sure Jesus appreciates and accepts our love.

During these last days of Lent, let us make an effort to concentrate on the love Jesus has for each of us and the fact that he is our loving and divine Savior—our true friend!

Father Eugene Grohe, C.Ss.R.
Esopus, N.Y.

Scripture readings for today: Exodus 32:7-14; Psalm 106; John 5:31-47

Wednesday

Our Lenten journey should draw us all to a deeper inward reflection regarding our relationship with God, with one another, and with our very self. That journey inward leads us to greater intimacy with Christ, which always leads us outward to authentic, loving discipleship. 

Our readings for today, however, seem to encourage us to linger perhaps a bit longer on a solitary path—alone with God. They remind us that the Lenten journey takes place within the reality of the personal human journey of life. 

In our first reading Isaiah captures the truth of life’s many challenges. He speaks of God’s enduring and loving presence, always calling us out of our personal darkness, bringing comfort and mercy in our hour of need, and reminding us that even though we sometimes feel as though God has forsaken us, the truth is, God is always tenderly embracing us and telling us, “I will never forget you!”

That promise is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who calls us to believe that he is the living face of God—God’s love in human flesh who has come to walk intimately with each of us on our journey of life. May we continue our Lenten journey, then, believing in his tender, comforting, merciful, and very personal love. 

Father Anthony Michalik, C.Ss.R.
Philadelphia 

Scripture readings for today: Isaiah 49:8-15; Psalm 145; John 5:17-30 

Tuesday

I was in the hospital for six days. And in just six days I was going out of my mind without anything to do. I can’t even imagine being laid up for 38 long years like the cripple in today’s Gospel. My reaction to Jesus’ question—“Do you want to be well?”—would be “Well, of course!”

The waters of the pool at Bethesda apparently were therapeutic. Whenever the waters were stirred up, the one who scampered into them first was healed. Our poor fellow had no one to assist him to get down into the waters. Hence he had to live with his infirmity. 

Now enter Jesus and his now-famous question. Jesus sensed the innate faith of the man. So he simply told him, “Pick up your mat and go home.” The poor man hesitated not a whit: reached down, picked up his mat, and began walking away. How amazed—and grateful—he must have been! 

Jesus can and often does the same for us. “Pick up that problem, and walk away!” All we have to do is believe in the power of Jesus. 

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

Scripture readings for today: Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12; Psalm 46; John 5:1-16

Monday

“O Lord, you brought me up from the nether world; you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.” These words of today’s psalm draw together the beautiful vision of Isaiah and the healing “sign” Jesus performs in the Gospel of John, when he saves the royal official’s son from death. 

This marks the beginning of a powerful momentum that will only increase as we approach Holy Week and Easter. Then we will witness Jesus as he “tramples down death by his death.” It could not be more clear: God chooses and desires life for each of us. 

But do we choose and desire life for ourselves? The days of Lent help us to acknowledge the uncomfortable truth that we sometimes choose death over life. 

How? When we choose lesser rather than greater goods, when we seek to find life apart from God, when we give in to hopelessness, despair, cynicism, resentment, and isolation—all of these are examples of choosing death over life.

Our prayer today might be to hear the Lord in the words of Deuteronomy 30:19-20, in a heartfelt way: “Choose life, then, that you may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you . . . .” May we say yes to God, who chooses and desires life for us!

Father Philip Dabney, C.Ss.R.
Boston

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