Tag Archives: lent

April 3 – Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion

Isaiah 52:13-53:12 ● Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9 ● John 18:1-19:42

Take the mercy, accept the help

Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
While he lived on earth, anticipating death, Jesus cried out in pain and wept in sorrow as he offered up priestly prayers to God. Because he honored God, God answered him. Though he was God’s Son, he learned trusting-obedience by what he suffered, just as we do.

Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9

REFLECTION


What separates Christianity from all of the other great world religions is Jesus: God who became human, a human who “experienced it all” except for sin. How fortunate we are to have a God we can pray to who has been through weakness and testing, who knows what it is like to cry out in pain and weep in sorrow. This Jesus is our greatest advocate, and we can go directly to him to ask for help. We don’t need to be ashamed to ask, because Jesus knows what it is like to try to trust in God even while suffering.

ACTION


The scriptures often urge us to ask God boldly and directly for what we need. Bring your requests to Jesus now, without shame.

Reprinted with permission. For more information about this booklet and Bible translation, please see TheMessageCatholic.com.

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April 2 – Holy Thursday

Exodus 12:1-8,11-14 ●  1 Corinthians 11:23-26 ●  John 13:1-15

Wash each others' feet

Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron.
Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.

John 13:3-5,12-17

REFLECTION


With this foot washing, Jesus isn’t simply reversing the hierarchy of his hierarchical culture. With his example, he is showing his disciples a different way—one in which no one is a master and no one has to be a slave. In Jesus’ community of friends, all are asked to serve one another and be served.

ACTION


Think of a relationship you are in now in which you experience a power imbalance. Prayerfully consider if you are called to take some action to equalize the relationship. Are you being asked to wash someone else’s feet? Are you being invited to have your feet washed by another?

Reprinted with permission. For more information about this booklet and Bible translation, please see TheMessageCatholic.com.

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April 1 – Wednesday of Holy Week

Isaiah 50:4-9a ●  Matthew 26:14-25

My champion is right here

The Master, GOD , opened my ears,
and I didn’t go back to sleep,
didn’t pull the covers back over my head.
I followed orders,
stood there and took it while they beat me,
held steady while they pulled out my beard,
Didn’t dodge their insults, faced them as they spit in my face.
And the Master, GOD , stays right there and helps me,
so I’m not disgraced.
Therefore I set my face like flint,
confident that I’ll never regret this.
My champion is right here. Let’s take our stand together!
Who dares bring suit against me? Let him try!
Look! the Master, GOD , is right here.
Who would dare call me guilty?

Isaiah 50:5-9a

REFLECTION


To be God’s servant, we are called to listen attentively, to stay awake, and to “take orders” faithfully, trusting that God has a greater plan than what we can see. As Christians, we know that suffering is inevitable, but that God stands right there with us in the midst of it.

ACTION


Listen closely today for how you are called to take a stand against evil even though it might entail suffering. Ask for the courage to “follow God’s orders.”

Reprinted with permission. For more information about this booklet and Bible translation, please see TheMessageCatholic.com.

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March 30 – Monday of Holy Week

Isaiah 42:1-7 ●  John 12:1-11

The Fragance of the oils

Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus’ feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house.
Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him, said, “Why wasn’t this oil sold and the money given to the poor? It would have easily brought three hundred silver pieces.” He said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of their common funds, but also embezzled them.
Jesus said, “Let her alone. She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You don’t always have me.”

John 12:3-8

REFLECTION


We can read this story is a microcosm of the Gospel message. A luxurious gift is offered with deep love, and Jesus shows us how to receive it with gratitude. But a dark spirit of jealousy, miserliness, judgment, and self-interest opposes the gift and finds fault with it. Yet Jesus refuses to give into this spirit and upholds the beauty and love offered.

ACTION


When have you opposed or protested giving gifts of love (in the form of money, acts of service, forgiveness, etc.) to others for any reason? Pray for the ability to be gracious and generous in your own giving, as well as celebratory of others’ generosity.

Reprinted with permission. For more information about this booklet and Bible translation, please see TheMessageCatholic.com.

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March 29 – Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

Mark 11:1-10 ●  Is. 50:4-7 ●  Phil. 2:6-11 ●  Mark 14:1-15:47

Blessed is He

When they were nearing Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany on Mount Olives, he sent off two of the disciples with instructions: “Go to the village across from you. As soon as you enter, you’ll find a colt tethered, one that has never yet been ridden. Untie it and bring it.”
The people gave him a wonderful welcome, some throwing their coats on the street, others spreading out rushes they had cut in the fields. Running ahead and following after, they were calling out,

Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in God’s name! Blessed the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in highest heaven!

Mark 11:1-2,8-10

REFLECTION


Jesus didn’t show up in Jerusalem like a mighty warrior riding a war-tested military horse. He entered on an inexperienced young colt, without an army or accompanying bodyguards. The common people gave him the only welcome poor people could give, spreading out their own coats and cut foliage for their version of a royal carpet. Yet it was a spontaneous, wonderful, joyous welcome as they recognized his true authority—not as the military king of their country, but the one who comes in God’s name.

ACTION


Do you ever miss the coming of God into your life because He shows up without fanfare and perhaps in a much lowlier state than you were expecting? Pray to have your eyes opened to the unexpected ways Jesus will come to you today.

Reprinted with permission. For more information about this booklet and Bible translation, please see TheMessageCatholic.com.

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March 28 – Saturday of the 5th Week in Lent

Ezekiel 37:21-28 ●  John 11:45-56

He Keeps on Doing Thinkgs

The high priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish ruling body. “What do we do now?” they asked. “This man keeps on doing things, creating God-signs. If we let him go on, pretty soon everyone will be believing in him and the Romans will come and remove what little power and privilege we still have.”
From that day on, they plotted to kill him. So Jesus no longer went out in public among the Jews. He withdrew into the country bordering the desert to a town called Ephraim and secluded himself there with his disciples.
The Jewish Passover was coming up. Crowds of people were making their way from the country up to Jerusalem to get themselves ready for the Feast. They were curious about Jesus. There was a lot of talk of him among those standing around in the Temple: “What do you think? Do you think he’ll show up at the Feast or not?”

John 11:47-48,53-56

REFLECTION


Do you ever get the impression that the religious leaders in the gospels sound like little kids incessantly arguing and complaining? Jesus isn’t following their rules, and he definitely isn’t conforming to their assumptions of how God acts. They can’t abide by his non-conformity, so they have to eliminate him.
Jesus understands the danger so he withdraws to prepare himself for the confrontation that inevitably is to come.

ACTION


Where can you withdraw to prepare yourself for a trial that is coming your way? With whom can you safely surround yourself?

Reprinted with permission. For more information about this booklet and Bible translation, please see TheMessageCatholic.com.

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March 27 – Friday of the 5th Week in Lent

Jeremiah 20:10-13 ●  John 10:31-42

He is in me; I am in him

Again the Jews picked up rocks to throw at him. Jesus said, “I have made a present to you from the Father of a great many good actions. For which of these acts do you stone me?”
The Jews said, “We’re not stoning you for anything good you did, but for what you said—this blasphemy of calling yourself God.”
Jesus said, “If I don’t do the things my Father does, well and good; don’t believe me. But if I am doing them, put aside for a moment what you hear me say about myself and just take the evidence of the actions that are right before your eyes.
Then perhaps things will come together for you, and you’ll see that not only are we doing the same thing, we are  the same—Father and Son. He is in me; I am in him.”

John 10:31-33,37-38

REFLECTION


The gospels give us many examples of opportunities to “judge a tree by it’s fruit.” Jesus asks the Jews to judge him by his good actions, not by his words. So too, are we asked to evaluate others. Someone we know may not be Christian, but shows to others the compassion and mercy Jesus showed. Others may technically be following the religious laws (like “the Jews” in this passage) but be utterly missing the spirit of those laws. Can we let go of names and labels, and simply look for the fruit that a person is producing?

ACTION


Today train your eyes on someone’s “good fruit” and thank God for how God is working through him/her.

Reprinted with permission. For more information about this booklet and Bible translation, please see TheMessageCatholic.com.

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March 26 – Thursday of the 5th Week in Lent

Genesis 17:3-9 ●  John 8:51-59

Never look death in the face

Jesus said, “I’m not crazy. I simply honor my Father, while you dishonor me. I am not trying to get anything for myself. God intends something gloriously grand here and is making the decisions that will bring it about. I say this with absolute confidence. If you practice what I’m telling you, you’ll never have to look death in the face.”
At this point the Jews said, “Now we know  you’re crazy. Abraham died. The prophets died. And you show up saying, ‘If you practice what I’m telling you, you’ll never have to face death, not even a taste.’”
Jesus said, “If I turned the spotlight on myself, it wouldn’t amount to anything. But my Father, the same One you say is your Father, put me here at this time and place of splendor.”

John 8:49-52,54

REFLECTION


Sometimes we can be labelled as crazy for following Jesus’ gospel of love. But what if it is really the culture of individualism, over-consumption, militarism, and economic inequality that is crazy instead? If our savior was accused of being crazy for opposing the cultural and societal norms of his time, isn’t it telling if we get labelled as crazy with him? If we honor the
Father, love our neighbors (near and far), and trust that physical death isn’t the ultimate end, then we are in Jesus’ good company, even if others think we are crazy.

ACTION


Consider today how you might surround yourself more with people who are counter-cultural in their efforts to follow a “crazy” Jesus.

Reprinted with permission. For more information about this booklet and Bible translation, please see TheMessageCatholic.com.

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March 25 – Annunciation of the Lord

Isaiah 7:10-14;8:10 ●  Hebrews 10:4-10 ●  Luke 1:26-38

Nothin is impossible with god

Upon entering, Gabriel greeted Mary:
“Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty,
Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.”
She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus. Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.”
And Mary said,
“Yes, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me just as you say.”

Luke 1:28-31,37-38a

REFLECTION


Did Mary really “see it all”? Perhaps the veil between this world and the next was lifted for a moment and everything was made clear then. But almost certainly things weren’t always as clear after the angel left her. Later, she puzzled over things people told her about Jesus, she was hurt by his pre-teen rebuke when she found him in the temple, she felt confusion about his calling when he began his public ministry, and she felt the agony of watching him be tortured and killed. But she continued to honor her “yes” to God, despite not knowing how things would end.

ACTION


Recall a wonderful, profound, or beautiful experience in your life that was clearly of God’s doing although it may have initially seemed impossible. Thank God for that now, and ask that this memory strengthen your faith that nothing is impossible with God.

Reprinted with permission. For more information about this booklet and Bible translation, please see TheMessageCatholic.com.

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