Easter Triduum

(Thursday to Saturday) March 29-31, 2018 When God told us to call him Father, he meant us to understand that he feels about his children the way human fathers do. How did the Father feel, then, when he saw his Son during his agony in the garden, praying "in anguish" until "his sweat became like great drops of blood," and crying out to him, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me…"? Jesus added, "Yet, not my will but yours be done" (Luke 22:42). The Father's will was to let Jesus, his uniquely begotten Son, suffer this anguish of mind, and all that followed, in order to include us in his family as sons and daughters by sharing his divine life with us. What kind of love is that? T

A Father We Serve Peacefully

March 28, 2018 Wednesday of Holy Week (Week VI of Lent) Isaiah 50:4-9; Psalm 69; Matthew 26:14-25 The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced. Isaiah 50:7 Failure is not disgrace, but feels like it. So does being on a losing team. And, as often as not, Jesus wins by losing—beginning with his triumphant defeat on the cross. Christianity lives on hope or it dies. Hope is trust in a person, and trust is an ingredient of love. It also draws love. “Steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the LORD” (Psalm 32:10). Those who know God as their loving Father trust him. And their trust unites them to him in love. In terms of personal fulfillment, growing in trust and love for God is wo

A Father Who Is Faithful

March 27, 2018 Tuesday of Holy Week (Week VI of Lent) Isaiah 49:1-6; Psalm 71; John 13:21-38 Now is the Son of Man glorified... John 13:31 From the cross, Jesus saw little in his life but failure. He had failed to convert Jerusalem, Capernaum, even his home town (Matthew 11:23; 23:37; Luke 4:29). His disciples had deserted, leaving him alone (Matthew 26:56; John 16:32). He felt his Father had abandoned him (Matthew 27:46). But Isaiah gave words to his faith: Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, yet… I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord! (3:3ff.) He knew: “The Lord called me from birth. From my mother’s womb he gave me my name.” And s

A Father Present By Absence

March 26, 2018 Monday of Holy Week (Week VI of Lent) Isaiah 42:1-7; Psalm 27; John 12:1-11 Here is my servant whom I uphold… Isaiah 42:1 Through God the Son made weak in Jesus, God the Father showed his power. Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and… the earth… who gives breath to its people and spirit to those who walk on it… The Father is affirming Jesus, and all who, as his weak body on earth, live and speak by the power of the Spirit. “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one… I, the Lord, have called you… grasped you by the hand, formed you, and set you… as a light for the nations… to open the eyes of… those who live in darkness.” The more Jesus “emptied himself,

The Father Vindicated

March 25, 2018 Palm (Passion) Sunday (Week VI of Lent) (Mark 11:1-10) Isaiah 50:4–7; Psalm 22; Philippians 2:6–1; Mark 14:1-15:47 Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:11 Palm Sunday tells us three things: Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph to be defeated and die. But his defeat was his victory. Jesus was “obedient to the point of death.” “Because of this, God greatly exalted him.” He is “Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Is the Father who sent Jesus to die consistent with the loving Father we have been seeing? Yes, because “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may… have eternal life” (John 3:16). No, bec

A Father Who Gathers Us

March 24, 2018 Saturday (Week V of Lent) Ezekiel 37:21-28; Responsorial: Jeremiah 31:10-13; John 11:45-56 To gather into one the dispersed children of God. John 11:52 The Father sent Jesus to fulfill the promise Ezekiel delivered—of a father yearning to give his family the blessing of being one in faith and fidelity to the Covenant; with one ruler and one shepherd, in peaceful possession of a land where he would dwell with them and be their God, as they would be his people. The promise reveals the Father’s heart: the love of a father for his children. The Father still wants to give us this, and sent Jesus to bring it about. But when the high priest pointed out the threat Jesus was to the

Our Father Makes Us God

March 23, 2018 Friday (Week V of Lent) Jeremiah 20:10-13; Psalm 18; John 10:31-42 Understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father. John 10:38 We cannot say “I am God” without qualification. But the shocking truth is, for Christians to say without qualification they are not God is more false than to say they are. It ignores the deep mystery of grace. The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers another shocker that requires more explanation to deny than to affirm: “We are not just Christians; we have become Christ!” (no. 795). Jesus, accused of “making yourself God,” makes parallel statements about himself and about us: “The Father who dwells in me does his works” (John 14:10). “

The Father Of A Family

March 22, 2018 Thursday (Week V of Lent) Genesis 17:3-9; Psalm 105; John 8:51-59 Your God and the God of your descendants after you. Genesis 17:7 To convey the identity of the First Person of the Trinity, Jesus chose the word “Father.” And the word God chose to express the mystery of our graced relationship with him is “family.” To Abraham God said, “I make my covenant and my promise ‘to you and to your descendants.’” Christians call Abraham our “father in faith.” We are filii in Filio, “sons and daughters in Christ, God the Son,” who is also a son of Abraham. The “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” is the gift of family relationship with God and with all who, by accepting the Son’s Life (ex

The Father’s Truth Is Ours

March 21, 2018 Wednesday (Week V of Lent) Daniel 3:14-20, 91-95; Responsorial: Daniel 3:52-56; John 8:31-42 Slaves do not abide in a household forever, but children always abide. John 8:35 Before the Civil War, household slaves had higher status than field slaves because, working in the home, they acquired the family’s culture. But it was not fully theirs because they did not “abide” in the home. Jesus differed from the Jews who learned God’s truth only through their culture and historical contact with God, because Jesus “grew up” with God’s Truth from all eternity. “I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence.” Reflecting on creation as a guest in God’s world frees us partially

A Father Visible In Us

March 20, 2018 Tuesday (Week V of Lent) Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 102; John 8:21-30 Anyone who looked at the bronze serpent lived... Numbers 21:9 Often the sufferings in our situation make us complain to God as his People did: “Why have you brought us to die in this desert?” The serpent on the pole was a preview of Jesus on the cross. Whenever we think of God as uncaring, we are dying to our relationship with him. The remedy is to look at the proof of the Father’s love in Jesus. “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him” (1John 4:9). Jesus said, “I am the Way (to the Father), the Truth (of the Father), and the Li

A Father Of Saints And Sinners

SAME DAY: Monday March 19 (Week V of Lent) Daniel 13:1-62; Psalm 23; John 8:1-11 I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Psalm 23:4 Through Daniel God saved Susanna from being punished for a sin she did not commit. Then through Jesus he saved another woman from being punished for a sin she did commit. The obvious conclusion is that God our Father is a real father to saints and sinners alike. Adultery is bad. But what human father would stone his daughter for committing adultery? What makes us think God our Father would burn a son or daughter of his at the stake for all eternity for all those things we so easily call “mortal sin”? When Jesus said to the woman, “I do not condemn you. Go, a

Our Father Is A Father

March 19, 2018 Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary 2 Samuel 7:4–16; Psalm 89; Romans 4:13-22; Matthew 1:16-24 Monday (Week V of Lent): Daniel 13:1-62; Psalm 23; John 8:1-11 I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. 2Samuel 7:14 What does it mean to be a father? David says of God (Psalm 89), “You are my father… the rock, my savior!” David didn’t know about God making us his real children by grace. He just meant God would treat him in every way a father would. This is how Joseph was father to Jesus. And because of his care for the holy family, Joseph is named the “patron of the universal Church.” He is foster father to all who are sons and daughters of the Father “

We Share Our Father’s Mind

March 18, 2018 Sunday (Week V of Lent) Jeremiah 31:31–34; Psalm 51; Hebrews 5:7–9; John 12:20-33 All, from least to greatest, shall know me. Jeremiah 31:34 God promised to make “a new covenant” with us, one not based on observance of laws, but on the gift of living union with God in mind and heart and will. I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts. No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives how to know the Lord. All, from least to greatest, shall know me. No longer does God say, “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Now he says, “I will be their Father, and they shall be my children.” The New Covenant is not just a relationship o

Our Father Is A Refuge

March 17, 2018 Saturday (Week IV of Lent) Jeremiah 11:18-22; Psalm 7; John 7:40-53 O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge. Psalm 7:2 There are times when we all need a refuge. Think of what life would be like if we had nowhere to go when we feel threatened or insecure. As Christians, we know this world is not all there is. There is an “alternate universe” that predates and encloses this one. A world of Life, Truth, Goodness, and Unity. It is the dwelling place of God. Where God is, there is refuge. A refuge has to be a place we can get to, get into, and get settled in. We can always get to God our Father. He is infinite, boundless, omnipresent. It takes no time to reach him. “I am continua

The Father Is Our Destiny

March 16, 2018 Friday (Week IV of Lent) Wisdom 2:1, 12-22; Psalm 34; John 7:1-10, 25-30 He calls blest the destiny of the just and boasts that God is his Father. Wisdom 2:16 Wisdom is “the habit of seeing everything in the light of our last end”—which is to be one with God. But not just with God as Creator, knowing everything he has made and done. The Christian “wise” live to be one with God as Father—sharing his own existence. Drawn into his heart. Into understanding of his innermost thoughts. Totally one with him in will and desire. This is our “destiny”—God’s intention for us. Jesus—Wisdom incarnate—lived and died for this. His every act was wisdom and love, because his goal in every th

The Father’s Voice Is Recognizable

March 15, 2018 Thursday (Week IV of Lent) Exodus 32:7-14; Psalm 106; John 5:31-47 The works the Father gave me to accomplish…testify… that the Father has sent me... John 5:36 Everything Jesus did was life-giving and showed love. He healed minds through teaching, hearts through forgiveness, and wills by inspiring them to live on the level of God. What Jesus did was proof enough the Father had sent him. He was doing the kind of work the Father did and wanted done. If any couldn’t recognize that, Jesus said, “They have not known the Father or me” (John 16:3). Knowing the Father helps us distinguish between true teaching and false. God is love. Any teaching that obscures that is suspect. Ever

The Father Saves

March 14, 2018 Wednesday (Week IV of Lent) Isaiah 49:8-15; Psalm 145; John 5:17-30 “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.” John 5:17 When I was younger, I was afraid of God the Father. So I went to Jesus as Savior for everything. But Jesus says, “The Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing.” Whoever has seen me has seen the Father… The Father who dwells in me does his works (John 14:9). The work of the Father and of Jesus is the same: “The Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son...” Jesus said, “I came so that they might have life… to the full” (John 10:10). That life is a gift of the Father. We take for granted that those wh

Our Father Sends

March 13, 2018 Tuesday (Week IV of Lent) Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12; Psalm 46; John 5:1-16 “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool…” John 5:7 The man at the pool of Bethesda had no one to put him into the water. Then Jesus came, sent by the Father. The Father also sends Jesus to us. The day our parents lowered us into the waters of Baptism, Jesus was acting with them, in them, and through them. The Son was sent by the Father to baptize us with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8l). The Father and Son together sent the Spirit. We can walk in the way of Truth and Goodness because all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity bring us to life. Now, with Jesus, the Father sends us—“in Christ,” and in the “power

Our Father Explains The World

March 12, 2018 Monday (Week IV of Lent) Isaiah 65:17-21; Psalm 30; John 4:43-54 Shout for joy and be glad forever in what I am creating.” Isaiah 65:18 True “myths” are not fiction, but fundamental folktales original people told around campfires to pass on their answers to the basic questions of life. The Judeo-Christian revelation began when God told his own story about creation (Genesis 1ff). God created the world to be a paradise. It isn’t, because we messed it up by sin. God accepts responsibility for giving us free will, knowing we would use it both to love and to hate. But what we make bad by sin, God can make good again. And intends to. “I am about to create new heavens and a new ea

Our Father Makes Us a Mystery

March 11, 2018 Sunday (Week IV of Lent) 2 Chronicles 36:14–23; Ephesians 2:4–10; Psalm 137; John 3:14-21 We are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:10 The human nature God created is so impressive that Psalm 139 sings to God as Creator, “I praise you, for I am… wonderfully made.” But now we are a “new creation,” the Father’s infinitely better handiwork, re-created in Christ Jesus by “grace,” the favor of sharing in God’s own divine life. Our being is a “mystery”—“a truth that invites endless exploration.” We might eventually understand human nature completely—through philosophy, psychology, biology—but we will never understand our divinized nature completely because it is

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