Thursday, April 26, 2018

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter - Our Gaze Fixed on Christ

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.” Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.


Introductory Prayer: Father, how empty is the life that doesn’t know the joy of Jesus your Son. I have come to this prayer today to know you and your Son better, to love you more and to imitate your perfections. Thank you for this time of prayer.

Petition: Lord Jesus, grant me a greater intensity in my relationship with you, the Way, the Truth and the Life!

Follow Me, I Am the Way: Remember the olden days, when you would stop in a gas station and ask directions? “Follow me” was the easiest way to give directions. Something like that is happening in the Gospel today. To Thomas’ question, “How can we know the way?” Jesus gives himself as the answer. We know the way with infallible precision. A personal and passionate relationship with Christ is the sure way through this confusing world. Let us keep our relationship with Jesus always on our spiritual GPS. Whenever we have a doubt, we should ask ourselves, “How would Jesus act in this situation? What is the path he would follow?”

Believe in Me, I Am the Truth: Jesus gives his followers a truth so rock solid, that nothing can shake them. Just as he is the Way, he is also the Truth. “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved” (Acts 4:12). With the Truth of Jesus, we have the answer to basically any question we need to ask. What a comfort it is to have Jesus as the Truth in this world of jaded souls and in this climate of relativism.

Come to Me, I Am the Life: “He’s the life of the party” is a compliment of high regard in certain circles. He’s the spark plug, the guarantee for an entertaining evening. If he’s not there, a deflated feeling hangs in the air and everybody wonders if there isn’t a better way to be spending their time. A life lived with Jesus is never dull. He is the “Life” of more than just a party. The Christian with an intense relationship with Christ is completely fulfilled — he is never bored, nor is he boring.

 Conversation with Christ: Lord, you are the Way, the Truth and the Life. I thank you for giving me the great grace of my Catholic faith. Help me to share with others the immense joy of this personal relationship you have given me.

Resolution: I will speak to someone today about having a personal relationship with Christ.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter - A Life of Service

When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it. I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.” From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever rec believe that you are God. I believe that you became man, suffered, died, rose from the dead and ascended in heaven. I believe that you sent us the Holy Spirit to guide us along our earthly journey towards your heavenly Kingdom. Thank you for your infinite, unconditional love. Thank you for showing me the way. I place all my trust in you and yearn to love you more each day.


Petition: Lord Jesus, make me prefer to serve rather than be served.

1. The Teacher: The disciples called Jesus “Master” during his lifetime. Many others did too –– and rightfully so –– because Jesus is the Master. The third time St. Peter saw the Lord after the Resurrection, he confessed: “Lord, you know everything” (John 21:17). And even if it meant accepting difficult growth lessons in life, St. Peter was able to accept humbly that Christ truly was Master, that he does know all. In contemplating Christ, we must try to remember who it is who is speaking, acting, working miracles, suffering, working and instructing. It is God, the Master of all: a man like us, yes, but also God, holding the keys to all things.

2. The Disciple: The master became a slave. God served men. We can only bow in humble adoration knowing that our all-powerful God came to earth to serve us. Time and time again Christ gives his disciples an example of their own mission: to serve others. Love God by serving others; live like Jesus by humbly submitting to God’s will. This is the essence of Christianity: to live a life of humble service with all people, especially with those we find it most difficult to serve. One word captures it: charity.

3. The Blessing: Christ invites us to serve. Being a servant to others is not easy, because it means we have to be humble. It was not easy for Christ either, but he had a motivation: to love and save us. Serving is a blessing –– even in those situations when our passions flare up and we would like to justify ourselves –– because we can love. Love transforms our world; it transforms hearts and allows the grace of God to touch the depths of the soul. If we have love for souls as our motivation to serve, every opportunity we have to live as servants becomes a blessing, a blessing to live like the Master who came to serve and not be served and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me this day to imitate you as a humble servant of all. Inflame my heart with a great zeal for souls so that in every moment I may desire to bring your love to others.

Resolution: I will do a concrete act of charity today for someone in need.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Feast of Saint Mark, Evangelist - Our Turn


And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for taking the time to be with me. There are things in life, Lord, that attract me, but you attract me more. I hope in you because you are always faithful to your promises, and I love you. Maybe I don’t fully understand what it means to love, and maybe I don’t love the way I should, but I do love you.

Petition: Lord, help me to focus on what I can do to tell others of your love.

1. Christ: When Christ blesses, it happens. When he takes yeast and kneads it with three measures of flour, it leavens the dough all through. When he blesses the bread, it multiplies. When he blesses the Eucharist, he is there for us. Christ blesses his apostles. He also wants to bless me and my work. These are not just events of the past, for God’s word is a living word. He also wants to bless me and my work. How can I draw down Christ’s blessing upon me, my family, the people I love, and the work I do? All I have to do is ask him to bless me and believe that he can and wants to. He will take care of the rest.

2. Apostles: Imagine the apostles talking after the Ascension. Andrew would might say to Peter, “Peter, Christ told us to preach to all nations.” “You are right, Andrew, we need to go to the next town,” Peter would agree. “No,” Andrew would urge, “we have to go to Athens and Rome.” Peter might object, “Athens and Rome! But we don’t know anyone there.” In an attempt to persuade him Andrew would add, “Peter, Jesus wanted us to begin here in Jerusalem because this is the largest Jewish city. However, he has shown that he has also called the Gentiles to the Church. We must go to their capitals, their cities of greatest influence so that they too might hear the message Jesus entrusted to us.” Despite their fears, they obeyed Christ and proclaimed the good news in new places.

3. Us: Now it is our turn. As it always has been, being an apostle today is difficult. As we get older, it gets harder. Nevertheless, it is our turn. We live at a crossroads of history. I know Christ is blessing me. He is sending me. I feel fear, but I know he is asking me to imitate the fidelity of the first apostles. He is only waiting for me to begin preaching so that he can bless all that I undertake in his name.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for coming. Thank you for giving the apostles the strength to resist and persevere. Now it is my turn. Grant me the graces I need to proclaim the good news.

Resolution: I live life but once. So today I will analyze how I use my time and resolve to eliminate one of the bad habits that leads me to waste time.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter - Nobody Can Steal From Jesus

The feast of the Dedication was then taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter. And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”


Introductory Prayer: Jesus, I believe you are who you say you are. Thank you for granting me this gift of faith. You came so that we, the lost sheep, may be found. Thank you. You brought us knowledge of who we are and what we are worth.

Petition: Lord, help me to hear your voice when you are calling in the night.

1. Kept in Suspense: Suspense is a state or a character of being undecided or doubtful. How many times have we been in suspense, waiting for Christ to do amazing things in our lives, doubting that he could save such lowly sinners like ourselves? Are we undecided in believing in Christ? He has already told us and shown us through his works who and what he is. We are to be his sheep and await him; sheep know their shepherd’s voice, and they follow their shepherd. Then we can await eternal life. Suspense also means “to have a pleasant excitement as to a decision or an outcome.” What is the outcome of life? It is true salvation, and it is eternity with the heavenly Father. Today, as in every day, we should have a “pleasant excitement” in waiting for our outcome. As we go to bed at night we should look at Christ and say, “Another day closer to heaven.”

2. Spiritually Blind: Christ is always standing right beside us. What in our lives is blinding us from seeing him? In human terms, seeing comes through the senses. However, we need a spiritual connection with our Lord in order to see him: The spirit replaces human sight. Once that connection is made, we see God everywhere: in people, in charitable actions, in the beauty of nature. Then, we see him in ourselves. When we see Christ in us, we begin to have peace and assurance that we may yield abundantly.

3. Yield Harvest: Christ’s peace flows in us when we are open and begin to see the path to salvation. Think about how the water of spring rain brings forth life that yields a good harvest. We believe in living water. This living water provides us peace and harmony in Christ. It fills us and brings forth in us work accomplished in peace. Believing and abiding in Christ yield great successes, rich harvests. Let us be watered by trust and bear much fruit in the name of Christ. Come, Lord Jesus.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, you have called me many times. Many times I have turned a deaf ear to you, not believing that you could carry my burdens. Help me today, Lord, to believe in you; help me to testify to you, Lord; help me to be amongst your sheep that I may follow you. When I think it is too hard, help me to seek you in prayer and see what you have told me to believe, so that I may have eternal life in you and through you.

Resolution: Today I will speak to at least one person about God’s infinite love and mercy.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter - Going Through the Gate


Jesus said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them. So, Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”


Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are here with me. This time with you now in prayer is the most important time in my day. I know that you have prepared many graces for me. I wish to take advantage of them with grateful fervor.

Petition: Lord, help me to go through the gate! May I hear no other voices but yours!

1. Jesus Is the Gate: We all want to be happy. There is no one on the face of the planet who would consciously choose to be frustrated and miserable. Yet how is it that so many people unconsciously choose to be, or are missing the boat on what really makes life worthwhile? Jesus is the gate! If we truly want to fulfill our deepest human aspirations, we have to know and love Jesus Christ. As long as Jesus is second to anything or anyone in our life, we have not fully passed through the gate. Taking the plunge and truly passing through the gate is the best decision we could ever make.

2. The Voice of Strangers: If we don’t go through the gate, we are vulnerable. Those who are not fully committed may find the offers of strangers quite enticing. But Christ’s sheep reject those voices out of fidelity to their Shepherd. Perseverance in our Catholic faith and our Catholic lifestyle requires a constant effort to refocus on the Lord. Even if we are besieged by a cacophony of competing voices, the voice of the Lord will always rise above that din. We must be faithful. Our prayer life is the privileged place to screen out the noise and truly hear Christ, which is why our prayer is the most important time of the day. How vibrant is my prayer life?

3. Abundant Life: The effort to go through the gate and to listen only to the voice of the Good Shepherd pays abundant dividends. “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” What is that life like? Put simply, there’s nothing like it. The abundant life that Christ gives us is the indwelling presence of the Holy Trinity in one’s soul. It is the love that envelops authentically Christian homes and communities. It is the peace that comes from a conscience that has experienced forgiveness and is committed to living in the truth. What could anyone give us that can possibly compare to all of this?

 Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I thank you for this time we have spent together. Many times I have allowed other voices to distract me from yours. I pledge to walk the path of fidelity to you. Grant me the grace to persevere always and to give others an example to help them through the gate.

Resolution: I will reach out to a relative who is estranged from the Church, reflecting some of the love of Christ the Good Shepherd with hopes it will direct him or her to the gate.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Fourth Sunday of Easter - I Lay Down My Life

Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.”


Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for this opportunity to be with you in prayer. My heart is ready to listen to your words of eternal life so that I may choose to follow you more closely on the path of true love.

Petition: Lord, may I be faithful to your will in my life.

1. I Lay It Down: The Father entrusted Christ with a mission. Christ was to bring about our salvation through a life of unlimited self-giving, even to the point of giving his own life. Being God, he could repay the Father for our sins; being man he could identify with our fallen humanity and raise its dignity so that we might become the Father’s children. Christ was the perfect bridge between fallen man and an infinitely holy God. His mission of bridging this chasm came about through freely accepting the will of the Father. Our Lord would receive nothing in return, and yet he was faithful even to the point of death.

2. On My Own: Jesus was not ordered to give himself for our sins. He offered himself. Freedom is best used when it willingly embraces God’s will, whatever the cost might be. We have to remember that Jesus knew what lay beyond his preaching and his miracles: the road to Calvary. He spent many nights in prayer on the Mount of Olives in preparation for his hour. He foretold his fate to his disciples and continued forward towards this end despite their misunderstanding. And in the end, when the hour came, he proved faithful. When the hour of darkness sought him, he stepped forward to say, “I am he.” Christ never flinched in front of God’s will. He felt its weight. Sorrow flooded his heart. An easier path tugged at his humanity. But he proved that love is stronger than death, that true freedom can defeat sin and master it.

3. A Life of Love: Perhaps offering ourselves to God frightens us. What will he ask? What will I have to leave behind? Will I be able to do it? However, fear vanishes when we live out of love, like Christ. We need to remember that the Father asked him to die for us, and then look at the fruits this bore! Taking on our humanity, he left behind the splendor of his divinity and raised us to a new level. He did the impossible by bearing the weight of all our sins. He trusted in the Father to give him strength. Today we might be asked to die more to our self-love, to leave behind a vice we have been struggling with or to trust that with grace we can live a truly Christian life in a world hostile to Christianity. In the end, if we love Christ, we will not be frightened because he has already shown us the way –– and he has already conquered.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, give me the courage to be a faithful Christian at all times and in all places, with whomever I meet and in whatever I say. Help me to give testimony to who you are.

Resolution: I will offer one concrete act of self-mastery for love of Christ today.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Saturday of the Third Week of Easter - Are You Going to Leave?

Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”


Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here and now as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

Petition: Lord, help me to embrace fully all that you have revealed.

1. Hard Words to Swallow: Many of the Jews would not accept that Jesus was one with the Father—that he was God. For some, Christ’s divinity was a leap greater than they were ready to make. His message had not yet penetrated into their hearts. So when he explained how he would give himself to them in the Eucharist, they balked. The first act of faith (belief in his divinity) was crucial for them to be able to make the second act of faith (belief in his Eucharistic presence). Each truth that Christ reveals about himself is connected to other truths he wants to reveal about himself. If we don’t accept one, the others can become difficult, too. Conversely, as we grow in our knowledge, faith, and love of Christ, other difficulties in our spiritual life become easier.

2. Do You Also Want to Leave? Christ’s invitation to accept his truth and his love is always just that: an invitation. He doesn’t force himself on us. Each saving truth he presents is free to be accepted by us, or left aside. But we are impoverished by rejecting any truth about Christ, since he is truth itself. It is the same with each grace he offers us. After this discourse on the Eucharist, many of Christ’s disciples left and no longer accompanied him. As he had invited them to follow him freely, so were they free to go. But would they be able to share in the joy of his resurrection? Would they receive the fullness of life that he had promised them? Would they find what their hearts needed and wanted most if they no longer walked with Christ? All judgment is left to God’s mercy alone.

3. To Whom Shall We Go? Peter already believed in Christ’s divinity. “We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” Anything else Christ might teach or say Peter could accept, even if it was something he couldn’t fully understand. Peter’s confidence and trust in Christ enabled him to cut to the chase: What could he possibly gain by going anywhere else or to anyone else? Even if the path with Christ is strewn with obscurity and great suffering—as it would be—what other direction could Peter possibly take that could be better?

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I too have come to believe and am convinced that you are the Holy One of God. How could I possibly find meaning and peace of soul anywhere except in you? Your words and your presence in the Eucharist are life for my soul.

Resolution: Today I will accept any suffering that comes my way, confident that it is somehow part of God’s loving plan.