As we march through Lent, it can be easy to think it's all about sacrifice. No chocolate, no alcohol, no meat on Fridays. Yet here, only in the second week of Lent, we have the story of the transfiguration. This reading reminds us of the "why" behind what we do. We don't fast from dessert to lose weight. We don't donate money or serve others because it's merely a nice thing to do. Lent is about transformation!READ MORE
It will take too long. I can't spare it. I don't know anybody. I am just too busy. How many excuses can you think of to put forth as reasons why you should say no to the call of Jesus Christ? Wait. You didn't know to whom those responses were directed? We say no to many things and many people, but we wouldn't say no to Jesus. Really?READ MORE
Emails. Carpools. Shopping lists. Home repairs. It can seem like we move so quickly from one thing to the next. Our news comes in sound bites and headlines. How often do we take time for silence, for prayer, for reflection, for wisdom? Jesus warns us of stumbling through life without an adequate sense of where we're going. "Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?" This Sunday's Gospel isn't about fumbling along but offers a self-check on our own motivations.READ MORE
I sometimes spend more money than I should. I make decisions based upon my wants and not my needs. Those actions can create a financial difficulty or circumstance where more sacrifice is needed. Instant gratification or selfish impulses can create havoc in one's bank account, marriage, or family. All these issues to deal with simply because I wanted what I wanted and I got it. Yes, it sounds like the actions of a child.READ MORE
What an audience Jesus has in today's Gospel! "A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of people from all over Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon." Disciples, pagans, and devout Jews gathered together to hear Jesus speak in the Sermon on the Mount. All of these people had something in common. God was someone to be bargained with, and if God liked you, you were rewarded with good fortune. This Sunday, Jesus tells us a different story. "Woe to you who are rich ? who are filled now ? who laugh? when all speak well of you. Blessed are you who are poor? you who are now hungry ? when people hate you and when they exclude you and insult you." Jesus completely flips the script on what it means to be blessed by God. What he proclaims as "woe" are states of life we often strive for, and "blessed" are the states we work hard to avoid!READ MORE
Sts. Cyril & Methodius
These brothers by birth became brothers in mission. Cyril and Methodius were born to a Greek diplomat in the 800s. The two brothers served in local governmental posts before each withdrew to a monastery. Their lives changed when the political leadership in Eastern Europe — what is now Ukraine — requested priests who spoke the native Slavic languages. Cyril and Methodius had proven themselves as able administrators and holy men, so they were sent as missionaries. First, Cyril invented an alphabet. This became the foundation for what is now used today and is still called the Cyrillic alphabet! Next, the brothers translated the Gospels, the Psalms, and other liturgical books into the native language of the people. Their work spread across Eastern Europe. God indeed raises up saints for their times!
Today's Gospel is one of tension and contradiction. We enter the scene at the local synagogue. It is near the beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry, and He has returned home to Nazareth for a short while. There, in the midst of the men who watched him grow up and who played with him as a boy in the dusty streets, Jesus proclaims that he is the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies of Isaiah. The response is understandably mixed. "All spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, 'Isn't this the son of Joseph?'"READ MORE