Paying a Visit

Palm Sunday

We are entering into the holiest week of the year as we join Jesus for his final days of earthly life: partaking with his disciples at the Last Supper, grieving with his followers as he is led to the cross and crucified, waiting in silence as he lies in the grave, and then rejoicing with the whole world as he rises from the dead!  I know this is a busy time – lots of preparation for Easter and family and travels…but in the midst of this week, take some time to join the Father in “paying a visit”, if you will, to the grave of Jesus, so that come Easter Sunday you can experience in a new and deeper way the unbelievable power of the resurrection!

Why Should I Let You Into Heaven?

4th Sunday of Lent

A Catholic university professor once asked a group of his students how they would respond if they were to die that very night, appear before God, and be asked the question, “Why should I let you into heaven?”  All the answers had one thing in common: they were all wrong.  The answers revolved around the things we do for God.  But the Good News of the Gospel is that it’s all about what God has done for us!  Jesus Christ came to this earth to carry the weight of our sins, to suffer and die for us, so that we could enjoy eternal life with Him!  Any good that we do…it’s because of what God first did for us!

Thirsty for Souls

3rd Sunday of Lent

In the Gospel today, as Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at the well, He proves how God is not slowed down in the slightest by our unworthiness or mistakes or sinfulness: God still thirsts for this woman’s faith and trust. Even though she is in what we’d call today an “irregular marital situation” (married 5 times and currently living with a man who’s not her husband) Jesus still offers to her the Holy Spirit.  Jesus thirsts for each and every one of us, too – God thirsts for souls!  Will you give Him a drink of yours?

Taking a Compliment

2nd Sunday of Lent

In the Transfiguration, Peter, James and John glimpse for a moment Jesus as He truly is, in His radiant glory as God.  The voice of the Father proclaims “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” and Jesus takes the compliment, allowing it to strengthen Him for his coming suffering and death in Jerusalem.  By our baptism, we are made radiant as God’s children as well, and the Father says to us, “You are my beloved child, with you I am well pleased!”  Those words are meant to strengthen us for the struggles in life, not to be pushed out by all the excuses we come up with.  Do you know how to take the compliment?

A Tale of 2 Men

1st Sunday of Lent

Our readings today present us the with tale of 2 men:  The 1st man – Adam – and the New Adam – Jesus Christ.  Both are tempted by the serpent.  The Old Adam falls and turns away from the Father; the New Adam stands strong in faithfulness to His Father.  This Lent is a journey into the desert with Jesus.  It will be a time of testing and temptation for us just as it was for Him.  In the face of the temptations to come, will we be like the Old Adam, or the New Adam?

Palm Sunday

We enter now into the holiest week of the year as we walk with Jesus through His final days, culminating with His death and resurrection.  We heard today the reading of the passion narrative and we are invited to personally enter into this Holy Week so that we might die with Jesus and rise with Him on Easter.  For us, this week will be as holy as we make it – so let’s make it a good one!

Lectio Divina

5th Sunday of Lent

What if you were alive when Jesus was preaching and teaching?  What if you were a part of the stories in Scripture?  What if you heard Jesus speak to you?  God’s Word is living and active, and the same God who was at work then is still at work now.  Lectio Divina (‘Divine Reading’) is a way of reading the Scriptures by inserting yourself into the story – the sights, the smells, the sounds, the feelings – you read through a passage slowly, place yourself in the story and experience what God has to say to you through His living Word.  Try it!  It’ll change your life.

Pain, Invitation and Mercy

4th Sunday of Lent

Pain in our body warns us that something is wrong – physically.  Pain in our interior life warns us that something is wrong – spiritually.  Both the younger son and the older son in today’s Gospel experience pain.  It’s pain that leads the younger son home.  It’s pain that keeps the older son from going back inside his home.  Pain, as a warning, is also an invitation: an invitation from our merciful Father to come home, to come back inside, so that we can experience the feast that God is preparing for us!

Repentance and Mercy

3rd Sunday of Lent

Jesus is serious in today’s Gospel: “But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”  When we sin, we choose ‘Not-God’, and we get exactly what we want – ‘Not-God’ – that’s the definition of hell.  Jesus came to save us from this choice, so He calls us to repentance – to take full responsibility for our mistakes and to beg for God’s forgiveness, to turn away from sin and turn toward God.  Then Jesus can finally do what He’s been waiting to do – He can take away our sins and fill us with His life!  Then we know, by experience, the mercy of the Father.

Click here for my homily from this weekend.

Mountaintop Moments

2nd Sunday of Lent

In the midst of our Lenten journey, we catch a glimpse today of Jesus transfigured in glory atop a mountain.  This Jesus who was seen by Peter, James and John is the same Jesus who has appeared to us, who has tangibly broken into our life at moments, who has woken us up, if only for an instant, to the reality of His presence in and around us.  What are some of your mountaintop moments?  These experiences are meant to strengthen us for the journey.  When the road seems too long, remember the view from mountaintop, and keep your eyes open…who knows when you’ll suddenly find yourself on top of another mountain?

Click here for my homily from this weekend.