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Word for the Weekend: March 17


                      Transfiguration by Cornelis Monsma
      used with permission; click on image for larger version

This weekend is the Second Sunday of Lent, on which Sunday every year the gospel is an account of the Transfiguration.

The scriptures for this weekend and commentary on them can be found here. Bringing children to Mass with you? Check here for hints on helping youngsters prepare to hear the Word.

The first lesson is from the Book of Genesis and describes a strange, ancient rite in which two parties walk between the halved carcasses of slaughtered animals, signifying each party's willingness to suffer the fate of the butchered animals should either default on their promise.

The second lesson, from Philippians, describes the transformation that should take place in each of us when we live in Christ. The language here is strong but keep in mind that St. Paul is writing from prison and understands that he may be put to death for the faith - read the last lines of this passage in that context!

The gospel is the Lucan account of the Transfiguration of Jesus in the company of Peter, John and James and Moses and Elijah who appear to them on the mountain top.  The experience knocks Peter for a loop!  In Luke, this scene takes place between two predictions of Jesus' suffering and death, indicating that the nature of true discipleship is a willingness to exchange glory for sacrificial suffering. The scene ends with a comforting voice from the heavens saying, "This is my chosen Son, listen to him."


 

   
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Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 3/13





 

   
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Pocket Prayer: WEDNESDAY 3/13


If you'd like one of these pocket Crosses for your own, check here.  Each day this Lent I'll offer a brief thought here (Pocket Prayers) about how Jesus might touch our lives in this holy season.  I hope this will help all of us to be more faithful on our Lenten journey to Easter.

Pocket Prayer for Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

Just struck me today, Jesus, how bold I am
to ask you, the Lord,
the Prince of Peace, the Savior of the world -
to ask you to touch me,
one of billions of souls in the world
who's done little or next to nothing
to deserve you passing glance,
let alone your gracious, gentle, healing touch...

And yet - that's just what I'm asking for!
And I ask because I'm told there's not a minute,
not a moment, not an hour, day or night
when you're not reaching out precisely to touch me,
to remind me that you're with me always:
before me, behind me, above me, below me,
around me and within me...

Yes, I'm bold to ask for your touch, Lord,
but not nearly as bold as are you in reaching out
to touch me, shape me, tame me, mold me
and even recreate me
in your image and in your love...

Lord Jesus,
boldly touch my life
today!



 

    
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Pocket Prayer: TUESDAY 3/12


The image above is a pocket Cross we're distributing in my parish this Lent: a portable, daily reminder of the ashes we received and the Lenten pledges we made on Ash Wednesday. If you'd like one of these Crosses for your own, check here.  Each day this Lent I'll offer a brief thought here (Pocket Prayers) about how Jesus might touch our lives in this holy season.  I hope this will help all of us to be more faithful on our Lenten journey to Easter.

Pocket Prayer for Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

Last Thursday, Lord, I prayed:
Make me sensitive to your touch:
slow me down, slow me down, slow me down,
   lest I brush past your gentle touch
      and miss your blessing...


Well, I'm not sure I've slowed down that much,
   though I have felt your hand on my shoulder,
      gently working to hold me back a bit...

But I do find myself more sensitive to,
   more aware of your touch in simple ways, like:
how your word spoke to me
   when I prayed yesterday morning;
how you eased an over-scheduled day
   into something manageable and productive;
and the gift of your Spirit
   moving in our men's group last night...

You're opening my eyes and my heart, Lord,
   lest I brush past your gentle touch 
      and miss your blessing...

I'm grateful for your presence yesterday, Jesus,
   and pray you'll touch my life again today...   Amen.

How did the Lord touch your life yesterday? 


 

    
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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 3/12

Source unknown

Sometimes, Lord, I can feel like I'm in a prison
but now's the season to pray 
for the gift of freedom offered us 
in the peace and grace of Easter -
and so I make this my Lenten prayer:
Give me freedom in my heart, Lord,
when I'm locked up,
locked in,
locked down...

Give me freedom in my heart
when I'm imprisoned by my past...

Give me freedom in my heart
to break the shackles of old habits...

Give me freedom in my heart
when I'm walled in by lonely days...

Give me freedom in my heart
when I'm confined by sleepless nights...

Give me freedom in my heart,
when all my hope is held a hostage...

Give me freedom in my heart
when doubt incarcerates my trust…

Give me freedom in my heart:
rend the chains of my resentments...

Give me freedom in my heart
to slip the handcuffs of my shame...

Give me freedom in my heart
and unbind what holds me fast...

Give me freedom in my heart
to know your saving peace and pardon…

Give me freedom in my heart
to welcome in your word of mercy...

Give me freedom in my heart
to find my innocence restored…

Give me freedom in my heart
to be the person you created...

Give me freedom in my heart, Lord,
 let your grace my freedom be…

Amen.
Open Door to a New World by Michael Bednarek



 

    
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Monday Morning Offering: 3/11


Coffee in the Morning by George Mendoza


Good morning, good God!

In the spirit of this holy Lenten season, Lord,
I offer you a contrite* heart...

I don't understand the mystery of your mercy, Lord:
   you love me even in my sins;
   you never fail to see the good in me;
   you always see what is to be loved in me;
   you never cease to reach out, gently,
      to rescue me from my selfish ways,
      to bring me home to the embrace of your arms,
      to mend what is broken within me,
      to heal what is sick,
      to forgive what is sinful...

I don't understand, Lord,
but I'm ever grateful for
the mysterious mercy you never fail to offer me:
and so this morning,
I offer you my contrite heart...

So great is your love, Lord, for each of us;
so exquisite the delight you take in us
even when we forget or tarnish or deny
the image of your beauty within us...

I return, Lord,
with a heart I sometimes try to hide from you
when I've marred your beauty
mirrored in my soul...

So, I offer you my contrite heart...

I lose sight of your goodness within me
and I fear that you see only what I see -
my brokenness...

So, I offer you my contrite heart...

I forget that you come to meet me
   where I'm rough-edged
that you might smooth me;
   where I'm rough,
that you might mend me;
   where I'm broken,
that you might strengthen me;
   where I'm weak,
that you might heal me;
   where I've sinned,
that you might forgive me
   and forgive me and forgive me once again...

And so I offer you my contrite heart...

And  I know, Lord,
that sometimes I see in others
only their rough and broken edges
and I miss their goodness
- through which your beauty shines -
and so I offer you my contrite heart
with the hope of learning to see and love others
as you see and love them,
as you see and love me...

Forgive my sins, Lord,
and receive what's good within me:
be gentle in receiving the heart I offer you
for I offer you a broken and contrite heart...

Help me forgive those who have hurt me, Lord,
and to see the goodness within them,
to see what you love in them:
let me be gentle in receiving them
into my contrite heart...

Help me to trust in the mystery of your mercy, Lord,
in the mystery of your merciful and sacred heart...

I offer you my contrite heart, O God,
this morning, this day, this night
and in the week ahead...

Amen.

*apologetic, humble, remorseful, repentant,
just plain sorry!




 
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Pocket Prayer: MONDAY 3/11


The image above is a pocket Cross we're distributing in my parish this Lent: a portable, daily reminder of the ashes we received and the Lenten pledges we made on Ash Wednesday. If you'd like one of these Crosses for your own, check here.  Each day this Lent I'll offer a brief thought here (Pocket Prayers) about how Jesus might touch our lives in this holy season.  I hope this will help all of us to be more faithful on our Lenten journey to Easter.

Pocket Prayer for Monday of the First Week of Lent

Yesterday I asked you to surprise me with your touch, Lord -
and you did: it was between the two morning masses -
you know the moment I'm thinking of...

But later, Lord, at day's end,
looking back on a very busy Sunday,
I saw something else:
I saw the way your hand was upon me all day long,
guiding me in making an important decision,
pointing the way to go when I had a choice to make,
lifting me up at a moment my spirit was low,
sustaining me when my energy flagged,
brightening this sloppy gray day
   with the sunshine of others' love...

Thank you for your touch, Lord,
and thank you for helping me look
not just for particular moments of your presence
but for the way you're with me all day long,
your hand, your touch, upon my life.

You touched my life yesterday, Lord,
I pray you'll touch my life again today!

Amen.


 

    
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Homily for March 10

Photo by CP

Homily for the First Sunday of Lent
Scriptures for today's Mass

I had a homily prepared for the weekend but then just before the Saturday 5:00 Mass I had another idea - and I went with that!  So I did not preach from a text and have only the audio to offer here. As the graphic above indicates, this homily might be titled Lenten Trash and Treasure.




 

    
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Pocket Prayer: First Sunday in Lent 3/10


The image above is a pocket Cross we're distributing in my parish this Lent: a portable, daily reminder of the ashes we received and the Lenten pledges we made on Ash Wednesday. If you'd like one of these Crosses for your own, check here.  Each day this Lent I'll offer a brief thought here (Pocket Prayers) about how Jesus might touch our lives in this holy season.  I hope this will help all of us to be more faithful on our Lenten journey to Easter.

Pocket Prayer for the First Sunday of Lent

On Sunday of this first full week of Lent.
touch my life, Lord, in some way I least expect
- and then -
tug on my sleeve, whisper in my ear,
chuck me under my chin
or give me a little clue (or a big one!)
lest I miss your healing touch,
your gentle assist, your unexpected blessing
or just your smiling glance
cast in my direction...

Surprise me, Lord,
and do all you can to make sure
I don't miss the surprise!

Surprise me, Jesus
and touch my life
today!

Amen.


 

    
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Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 3/10



Got the ashes on Wednesday
   - or maybe I didn't...

Know what I'm giving up for Lent
   - or maybe I don't...

Praying more each day
   - or maybe not so much...

Setting coin aside to help the poor
   - or really wanna do that...

Off to a great start!
   (It's Lent already?)

Lord,
   it's five days into Lent
   and we're all in different places...

Some of us have already run five strong laps
   - others are still looking for the starting line...

Some of us do this really well
   - and some of us have a hard time with it...

Help me be modest in my goals
   and realistic in my pledges...

Help me make a simple plan for Lent
   and, with your help, keep it...

Help me pause each day for prayer,
   if only for three minutes...

Help me fast and go without
   to learn what it is I really hunger for
      and what truly feeds me...

Open up my heart and my wallet
   to those in need...

And I know that with you, Lord,
   it's never too late to begin!
So, on this first Sunday morning in Lent,
   on this day that you have made -
      Lord Jesus, touch my life!

Amen.




 

    
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