From Loyola Press, here is a short two-minute video on "Deepening Friendships" with God and Others. The video can be found at this link. The speaker is Vinita Hampton Wright. Other Lenten Videos from Loyola Press can be found at the right of the page. Please don't forget that Loyola Press also offers a daily 3-Minute Retreat that is found at this link.
Every Lent is a chance for us to do a little “life laundry,” as Paul Brian Campbell, SJ, explains in this video. This video is from LIVING LENT DAILY by Loyola Press - a series of short videos to inspire your journey through lent. Find it at this web site.
A RETREAT FOR THE SERIOUSLY ILL
GENNESARET, a retreat designed to provide a spiritual and temporal oasis for men and women suffering with a serious illness, will be held the weekend of May 1,2,3 2015 at the Archdiocesan Retreat Center, located in Kearny N.J. The retreat will begin Friday at 1:30 P.M. and end with a closing Prayer Service Sunday at 1:30 P.M. There is no cost to you for the retreat.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:HILARE REINOLD @ 732-566-7237 PEGGY WALSH @ 908-654-5575 MAIRE MERRITT @ 732-670-5980 LINDA CAPOBIANCO @ 732-608-7277
Here are three resources to deepen your Lenten experience:
WORD ON FIRE: Mary Ann Dowd and others recommend Father Robert Baron's daily Lenten meditations at this link. (The sign-up link is towards the bottom of the page.)
IGNITING OUR VALUES: The Jesuits offer “Igniting our Values,” a Lent 2015 digital prayer experience beginning on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18, through Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015. Each evening, material for the following day’s prayer will be posted at this web site.
BEST LENT EVER: Don and Kathy Geiger recommend "Best Lent Ever" as a source of renewal at this web site. NEW! LIVING LENT DAILY: From Loyola Press, a series of short videos to inspire your journey through lent. Find it at this web site.
Like many of you, we read the "Word Among Us" reflections. Often they give exactly what is needed, sometimes a particular day really hits on something or helps in our discernment.
The readings at the end of January focused on the work of evangelization. They included the call, "Jesus went up to the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted, and they came to him. Mk 3:13"; "Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.Mk 1:17 "; the method, "God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.2 Tim 1:7 "; "The sower sows the word."Mk 4:14; "Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear."Mk 4:23; "The seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.Mk 4:27 "; and the best reality of the best news...God loves us. "The one who had made the promise was trustworthy.Heb 11:11"
The reflections on two days really made me think..."did a Cursillista write this?"
This is from the reflection on the 'Fishers of men' verse. "So here are some suggestions that will help make you into a vessel of grace: First, ask God to give you a desire to share his good news. Second, find the courage to ask people, even strangers, "Can I pray with you about anything?" You'd be surprised at how many people are open to a quiet, nonthreatening invitation. Third, invite people to join you at Mass. Offer to come and get them if they can't make it on their own. Take them out to breakfast afterward. Become a friend, and your love for Christ will rub off on them."
And from the reflection on the 'Sower and the Seed'. "Think for a moment how many other seeds the world, the flesh and the devil are sowing all around us. There's nothing stingy in their tactics. How much more, then, should we counter all these poisonous seeds with the seeds of the gospel! The need is great, so don't be intimidated! And by all means, don't feel defeated or outnumbered! God has promised to be with you always as you spread your word.
So how are you going to sow today? What opportunities will you seize to spread the seeds of the gospel? They're all around, after all. Keep your eyes open, as you ask the Lord to help you see ways you can creatively witness to his love. Who knows? He may even give you brothers and sisters in Christ who are just as zealous as you to proclaim the word, in season and out."
Are you a carrot, an egg or a tea
bag? Think about that for a moment. We’ll come back to it later.
We read in Mark's Gospel that in the synagogue
in Capernaum “all who looked on were amazed.” How many times in the Gospels do
we hear that the people who listened to Christ’s teachings and or witnessed his
miracles were “amazed?” Just what does that mean? Have you ever watched a
magician and wondered “How did he do that”?
Did you stand there with your mouth open in total shock? Being amazed by
something is like looking at beautiful fireworks. We say, “Ooh” and “Ahh” when
we see it; but when it’s over we walk away just the same as we were before.
These people in today’s Gospel were very much like that. They loved to hear the
words of Jesus, to see His miracles, but they didn’t change the way they lived
or the way they thought.
Contrast that with the Blessed Mother. The Gospel tells us
in numerous places that “Mary pondered these things in her heart.” She listened to the message of Her Son and
took the time to think about it and to apply it to her own life. She was
changed by what she saw and heard. Mary was the first Christian and the example
for each of us of what we should be.
When we come to Church on Sunday, are we changed by the
message of the Gospel, by the homily, or by the Eucharist that we receive? Do
people see anything different in us? Do
we leave here and ponder what we have witnessed, or are we just amazed, and
Many of us, perhaps most of us, look at the world around us,
the corruption in government and in business, the failing economy, the poverty
and ask “Why?” We need to know that God has put us here to make a difference.
He wants us to hear His word, make it a part of our lives, and to transform us
so we can transform the world. The problem is that many of us are not changed
by participating in the Mass.
I want you to imagine three pots of water on the stove. Into
the pots we put a carrot, an egg and a tea bag. We bring the water to a boil
for several minutes. Then we remove the carrot, egg and tea bag. The carrot,
which was once firm and crisp, is now soft and limp. The egg, which had been
liquid inside, is now hard. The teabag, although wet, is relatively unchanged;
but the water it was in is changed.
This illustrates an important lesson for us. The boiling water is the obstacles
and trials of life. We can be like the carrot, the egg or the tea bag. We can
lose our faith and become soft like the carrot; we can be hardened by the
events of our life and become hardened like the egg; or we can learn from our
troubles and change the environment around us like the teabag.
The Gospel gives us the opportunity to see what God’s plan
is for us and how to face our surroundings. Our world is a very different place
than it was when we were younger. It has
become very modernistic and materialistic. It is anti-Christian. Perhaps that
is because the Christians of the world have been changed by the environment.
Think of those Christians and Muslims who are fundamentalists. They are almost
fanatical about their faith, while we are almost indifferent. Something has to
change in us if the world is to change. Christ has said, “Let your light shine
before men, so that seeing your good works they may give glory to God the
Most of us are very excited about today’s Super Bowl. The
players who are there have worked hard to get there. They practiced long hard
hours and trained their bodies. Some of them are even playing with sore muscles
and bones. But they want to win that trophy and get their Super Bowl rings.
These are good things, but the life that Jesus is offering us is worth much
more than a Super Bowl Ring. Don’t you
think we should work just as heard to be the best person we could be, like
Christ was and is?
In another verse of scripture, Christ says, “When the Son of
Man comes in His glory, will He find any faith on earth?” I once marveled at
this and wondered” How can that be?” Today I see that it is very possible. You
and I must make a choice as to where we are going and where the world is going.
We can no longer be lukewarm about our faith or we will be changed by the world
around us. We must be changed by
Christ’s words and be the light and salt that brings change to the world.