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Urban Impressions of the Stations of the Cross

Sunday, March 27, 2016

March 27 - The Resurrection of the Lord

Christ Indeed Has Truly Risen

Beginning with last night’s Easter Vigil the Church has embarked on the most important 50 days of the Liturgical Year. Easter is the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection from the dead and our salvation. It culminates in his Ascension to the Father and sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Church. 

The Easter season stretches 50 days, from East Sunday to Pentecost, but a special part of that season, the “Octave of Easter” comprises the eight days from East Sunday to the Second Sunday of Easter. During these eight days the Church celebrates the joy of Easter as if Easter Sunday is happening over and over. The joy of the Octave is expressed in the words of St. Paul in his 1st Letter to the Corinthians, Alleluia! All faith flows from faith in the resurrection: “If Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, is your faith.” (1 Cor 15:14)

The word “Easter” comes from Old English, meaning simply the “East.” The sun rises in the East, bringing light, warmth and hope. It is a symbol for the Christian of the rising Christ, who is the true Light of the world. Last night at the Easter vigil, Archbishop Cupich blessed the fire used to light the Pascal Candle and that fire was eventually shared with everyone in the Cathedral to light their candles as the deacon carried the lit Pascal Candle through the darkness of the night proclaiming the Exsultet, the proclamation of Easter: God’s saving activity throughout human history, culminating in Christ’s defeat of death and resurrection from the dead.

The Pascal candle is the central symbol of Christ’s divine light. It is kept near the ambo (the lectern used for the readings at Mass) throughout the Easter season. It is lit for all liturgical celebrations. Afterward it is moved to the baptistery and used at every baptism. 

St. Augustine was fond of quoting part of the Exsultet that exhorts us: “Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal King, let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness. Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice, arrayed with the lightning of his glory, let this holy building shake with joy, filled with the mighty voices of the peoples”

Nicholas O’Hearn

Holy Name Parishioner; Co-Chair, Cathedral’s Faith Formation Commission;
Member, RCIA catechetical team and usher 

One Word at a Time - Call

Saturday, March 26, 2016

March 26 - Holy Saturday At the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter

Holy Saturday

I have often thought of this day as the between day, after Good Friday and before Easter. However, as I have experienced life, Holy Saturday has expanded for me. It has become a point of reflection on God’s plan of salvation for us. I first, meditate on Abraham and Isaac. How Abraham is obedient to God’s request to offer Isaac as a holocaust. Then he answers Isaac’s question by professing “God himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust.” 

In this answer, I reflect on Jesus laying in his tomb and the apostles in hiding. What did the apostles think about? Did they have faith in God like Abraham? It is my understanding that Abraham trusted in God’s promise and had faith that he would raise Isaac from the dead. 

I will continue to look into the areas of my life that remain hidden, among the dead. What actions can I take, to embrace the resurrected Jesus? 

My invitation is that you take a space of time this Saturday and reflect on how to allow God’s light to illuminate the hidden areas of your life.

Reflection by J.G.G

Friday, March 25, 2016

March 25 - Good Friday

Silent Celebration

In some countries, Good Friday is referred to as Silent Friday. Silence is a key theme that we see in today’s readings and it is significant because it unites us with God and with each other. In the last verse when the Gospel is almost over, we kneel and pause for a short time. After reading through the details of how Jesus lived out each scene preceding his death, we are silent. There is nothing to say, because, no matter how gory and painful and “un-heavenly”-like this whole experience was, God’s will had been fulfilled. Once Jesus “hands over the spirit”, we are silent. Similar to the silence of Jesus’ death when he met God his father, we are silent in this holy moment when the spirit is passed on to us as well.

When can you be silent in order to unite yourself with God?
Who are you close to that you can be silent around without feeling uncomfortable?

Noelle Bond
Young Adult volunteer and RCIA sponsor

March 25 - Good Friday

Who would believe what we have heard?

Yet it was our infirmities that he bore,
our sufferings that he endured,
while we thought of him as stricken,
as one smitten by God and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our offenses,
crushed for our sins;
upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,
by his stripes we were healed.
We had all gone astray like sheep,
each following his own way;
but the LORD laid upon him
the guilt of us all.

he shall take away the sins of many,
and win pardon for their offenses.

Today we commemorate a revolution. The very fabric of the universe was forever altered. God, the creator of Heaven and Earth, became man, and suffered one of the cruelest deaths man ever imagined for another man. By doing so, God set in motion the upheaval of the system left behind in those earliest days of creation. It was a in a garden that sin entered this world. The free choice of a man and a women separated humanity from the closest of relationships with God. In another garden one Man's free will to accept the cup, the fate, handed to him would lead to the possibility of man's reconciliation with God. A single act of sacrifice becomes the moment when the order of the universe is changed. Man has renewed hope to be in right relationship with God. 

The words from Isaiah remind us of Christ's willing self-sacrifice. Isaiah reminds us of the gifts given to us through this tragic, revolutionary day.

Let us remember it is due to our sins, not his, that Jesus was on that cross we venerate today. As you meditate on the scripture, change the we to me. Put yourself in this passage. hear all that God has done for you. Then, offer God your response - it may be gratitude, humility, awe, silence, worship...maybe a little bit of many things. Take time today to respond to God's revolutionary sacrifice. A sacrifice made out of an unimaginable love...for you.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

March 24 - Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper

We Become What We Receive

Have you been at the Eucharistic table when Fr. Boivin is presiding? Upon receiving the Eucharist himself, Fr. Boivin repeats the words from today's Psalm: "How shall I ever repay the Lord for all that he has done for me? I will take this cup and call upon that holy name." Both the Psalm and the Gospel today tell us precisely how we are to repay the Lord for his love and mercy. We are to receive Jesus as pure gift. Like Peter, we struggle to simply accept Jesus' love poured out for us. Next time we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, let us remember the words of today's Psalm and the actions of Jesus washing his disciples' feet. And when it feels strange to be the recipient of such a gift, remember that in the Eucharist we become what we receive.

In the next few days, how will you prepare your heart to receive the Risen Lord this Easter?

Karen L.
RCIA Sponsor and Minister of Care

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

March 23 - Wednesday of Holy Week

The Sting of Betrayal

How chilling it is, to read about Judas' blatant, methodical betrayal of Jesus! Not only was he already in cahoots with the leadership wanting Jesus' removal, but he sat with Jesus, shared a meal with him, and played innocent to His face! How sad, for Jesus, I feel, to be among friends, knowing His death is near, and yet also knowing one of these men would betray Him to that end. I find myself, not only in awe, but pitying Jesus. Though "just a man," He was willing to take on the mantle of our sins and die to cleanse us of them. Not only that, but He had to face some of the darkest aspects of humanity on His way to the cross, and the first, that betrayal from one of His own.

And yet he still went along with God's plan. He still chose to die for us – He suffered this pain, for us. Jesus knows the darkness of mankind: Anything we suffer, so has He – Multifold.

RCIA Candidate

March 23 - Wednesday of Holy Week

What was he thinking?

I want to despise Judas, I really do. And it is so incredibly easy to cast him as a two dimensional villain. He is the foil upon which Salvation depends. Yet, he was a real person - he had far greater depth and breadth to his personality, life, and history than the few short verses the Gospel spares for him.

I wonder, what prompted Judas to go to the chief priests? Was he disillusioned because the Jesus he knew was not the Christ he wanted? Did he do the deed for those silver coins, perhaps to pay a bill or purchase a medicine? Did someone plant the idea in his mind, whispering doubts and fears? 

The ramifications of our decisions and words may reverberate far beyond our initial intentions. Short sighted plans and hastily spoken words may have lasting effects. Let us pray with the words from Isaiah for "a well-trained tongue" and ears that are open to hear God's guidance in our lives.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

March 22 - Tuesday of Holy Week

Called from Birth

Today Holy Name Cathedral celebrates the Chrism Mass, one of my favorite Masses of the year. If you appreciate the priesthood as I do, then the sight of these generous and holy men gathering together and renewing their commitment to the Church and to us is sure to swell your heart. Each one gave up having a family of their own to father the family of God. We should thank them, and we should pray for them daily.

In Isaiah we hear that “the Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name”. We have a shortage of priests, but God must be calling enough men and wanting to name them in persona Christi. What is preventing more from saying “Yes”? Should we simply accept that we will have fewer priests in the future, or can we do more to encourage and support those who are called? We know the reasons why we have fewer priests, and some of them are hard to talk about, i.e. the priest scandal or why our families are now on average so small. Should the Church reflect the culture or should we work even harder to get the culture to reflect the Church? Isaiah says we do not toil in vain, even when we think we do. Our recompense is with God, and we are called to bring light to the nations. 

Our own nation needs the light of Christ more than ever. Ask yourself “How can I be formed into what Isaiah calls “a polished arrow” and hit a bullseye for the Lord?”

From Barb R

Liturgical Minister at HNC

Monday, March 21, 2016

March 21 - Monday of Holy Week

“He shall bring forth justice to the nations,” starts Isiah in the first reading for the first day of Holy Week. He then exhorts all of us to seek justice, not with shouting and preaching but with our lives. How is justice manifest in our lives? 

Recently, as I returned home from the University, the cleaning people were already in my condominium as I was late and the concierge let them in. A mother and her teenage son were working diligently. The short Mother did all the eye level work and the son did all the high level work. I noticed he had ‘cleaned up’ around my computer and was horrified. His Mother could see the expression on my face and apologized. No one ever touches anything near the computer! They continued cleaning and got all their work done. As they were leaving I thanked them and apologized for my reaction about the computer. I gave the Mother a tip and asked where the son was. She said he was already out in the hall. I gave him the same tip I gave his Mother and he said: “Wow, you’re really fair!” Thanks, I need ear plugs. The look on his face was that he was for once treated justly. 

Justice is sometimes difficult to mete out. Our own perception sometimes blocks our sense of justice. We sometimes hear: “ I had to work hard for what I have, ‘they’ should too!” Today, let us remember Isaiah’s exhortation to bring justice to our world as Christ did. What can I do at my work or at home to be just to the people I interact with? When someone is unjust to me on the road or at my work desk or on social media what is my reaction? How can I be a just disciple of Christ?

Professor Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D
Extraordinary Minister, Faith Formation, RCIA team member, Lector, facilitator of Mercy in the City small group

Sunday, March 20, 2016

March 20 - Palm Sunday

The Master has need of you
Today's Readings

Today we celebrate the beginning of the key moments of Jesus’ life. The reading for the beginning of Mass that precedes the procession with Palms tells the story of Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem. As Jesus approached Jerusalem, He sent His disciples to get a donkey. In Jesus’ time, as it is today, a donkey was a very humble, very “low” animal, used only for labor. Jesus instructed His disciples that if anyone challenged them about taking the donkey, that they should reply “The Master has a need of it”.

They got a young donkey, one that no one had sat on before. At that moment, the most humble of creatures became the bearer of Christ. The rich and the powerful rode horses, but the King of the World rode a donkey. Jesus resisted many times to be called the "Messiah", but at the climax of His life, when He allowed people to call Him "Messiah", as He entered Jerusalem, it was in this manner.
The donkey has great significance in our lives and our understanding of Jesus’ mission. He denied the traditional view of a Messiah, one of power and domination, but instead preached love and humility. At Jesus' entrance, probably no one payed any attention to the donkey, but his mission was very significant. The donkey brought Jesus to Jerusalem to fulfill all the prophecies and bring Salvation to the world.

Happiness can come to us when we discover the mission that God has for us, when instead of looking for completeness through self-sufficiency and self-determination, we humble ourselves and realize that our life is not about us, it’s about surrendering our lives to Christ. When we let Him do great things in us and through us, we realize that the Master has a need for us too.

Reflection by Flor Delgado
A member of the Young Adult Board and the Faith Formation Commission

One Word at a Time - Pray

Saturday, March 19, 2016

March 19 - Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent and Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Sin must be something most horrible since it has obliged GOD to condemn creatures as perfect and as lovable as the angels. But what then must Your mercy be, Dear GOD, to bear with me after so many crimes, with me who am no more than a handful of mire, and to recall me to You without any wish to destroy me! How great must Your Love be to outweigh, to overcome this dreadful aversion which You naturally have for sin! Really, this consideration pierces my heart, and fills me, with a very tender love for You.

After the sight of my disorders, a sweet thought has succeeded the confusion which I felt as a result of them. It concerned the greatness of the matter on which GOD's Mercy could be exercised, and a most firm hope that He would be Glorified in forgiving me. "This hope is laid up in my bosom" (Job 19:27). This hope is so firmly fixed in my heart that with GOD'S Grace, I would yield up my life before surrendering it.

Then I cast myself into the arms of the Blessed Virgin. She received me with a readiness and a sweetness that was wonderful. And what touches me most about this is that I AM conscious of being at fault in having up to now, served her ill. But I have come here with a great purpose of overlooking nothing this year, which would help me to conceive a great love of her, and to draw up a plan of devotion towards her which I shall try to keep all of my life.

Saint Claude La Colombiere +1682

Friday, March 18, 2016

March 18 - Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

“The Lord GOD is with me, a mighty hero.” 
Jeremiah 20: 10-13

Today Jesus teaches us that God, our champion, never abandons us. This is true at every turn in our lives, from the most mundane of our daily struggles to our darkest moments of doubt and despair. Gods steadfast love is ALL that we need to know and count on. Our faith in our God is triumphant. 

“The Lord is with me, my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.” 

In the readings Jesus relies completely on the Father for protection against being stoned by the crowds as He defends His works and His reality as the “Son of God.” Jesus does elude the angry crowds and walks back to the river Jordan where John had baptized. 

Where will you go to be with the Father? 

A very human image of our Lord is one of Jesus taking refuge and seeking comfort in a familiar place, a holy place. As we recall the Father declared His love and approval of His son during the baptism at the river Jordan. And Jesus returned to this place, it helps us understand how to live but especially during those times of trial and tribulation, or even persecution. Our champion is always with us to defend us in daily battle and there is a place to retreat. In the end, the people began to believe the words John spoke about the Son of God. 

Where is your refuge or retreat to be with the Lord? 
Is this refuge a physical place or place within you heart?
Are there certain people that bring you closer to God?

Reflection by J. Yacopino
A parish member of Holy Name Cathedral for many years, active in the Faith Formation Commission, serves as an Extraordinary Minister of Communion and participates in RCIA as a sponsor.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

March 17 - Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent

O GOD, who chose Bishop Saint Patrick to preach Your Glory to the peoples of Ireland, grant through his merits and intercession, that those who glory in the name of CHRISTian, may never cease to proclaim Your wondrous deeds to all.

Through our Lord JESUS Christ, Your Son, Who Lives and Reigns with You in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, One GOD , for ever and ever. Amen! Ave Maria!

Denying Self, Taking Up Our Cross, and Following JESUS
Today's Readings

Saint Bernadette's 'testament' is an exceptionally expressive statement of gratitude for the gifts that she received:

For the extreme poverty of my father and mother,the failure of the mill,the wood that brought unhappiness,the wine of fatigue,the dirty sheep.........thank You , my GOD.

For the extra mouth to be fed that I was,for the ragged children,for the sheep that I watched.....thank You, my GOD.

Thank You, my GOD, for the procurator, the superintendent of police, the policemen, and for Abbe' Peyramale's harsh words!

For the days when you came, Our Lady Mary; for the days when you did not come- only in paradise can I give you thanks!

For the slap in the face,.....for the bantering, the insults, for those who believed I was crazy, for those who believed I was lying, for those who believed I was greedy, thank you Lady Mary!

For the spelling I never learned, the knowledge of books I never had, for my ignorance and my stupidity, thank You!

Thank you! Thank you! Because had there been in this world a girl more ignorant and stupid than I, You would have chosen her.

For my mother who died so far away, for my sorrow when my father instead of opening his arms to his little Bernadette, called me "Sister Marie-Bernard," I thank You JESUS!

Father Tadeusz Dajczer +2009

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

March 16 - Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

The Truth Will Set You Free

We often hear this in our daily lives, most frequently in a more secular setting. A favorite of academia, the quote evokes a sense of openness and freedom for the pursuit of knowledge. But for us as Christians and Catholics, this has a much deeper and more profound meaning. In John 8:31-32, Jesus challenges us to embrace a greater truth to guide our lives, "If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

The words preceding the “truth” statement are particularly important. Understanding the “Word” calls for us to pay particular attention to the source of our truth, especially today. There is a relentless stream of sources of “truths” bombarding us everyday – in the media, on the Internet, through our social media, in polls & surveys of public opinion…

What are your sources of “truth”?
Who is your authority?

I am always fascinated by the etymology of words and phrases. This is part by the historical context, but also because we often don’t pay enough attention to the original meaning of everyday language. Sometimes I find looking up the original meaning makes me laugh but more often, I find myself stopping to reflect on its original intention. 

The word “truth” comes from the Old English triew├░ (West Saxon), meaning faith, faithfulness, fidelity or loyalty. This is more than just discovery of a fact. It calls for a way of being, a way of living your life as a Disciple of Christ. It takes actions and behaviors consistent with the Word. It shifts things around, making the means far more important than the ends. Truth is hard and often difficult, but it is truly what “will set you free.”

Our Holy Father recently spoke to this in his daily homily. Here is a brief excerpt to reflect upon:

Lori Doyle
Parish Pastoral Council/Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

March 15 - Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Look Up!

How often do we grow impatient and grumble when life does not go smoothly and easily for us? Like the people of Moses' time, we often lose sight of God because we are focused on our own comforts and worldly pursuits. When we have fallen into sin and despair, God reminds us to look up. The children of Israel were instructed to look at the mounted serpent for healing from their sins. We are called to lift our heads and gaze upon Christ on the cross, and in doing so we are constantly reminded of his endless love and mercy.

Reflection questions:
  1. What do you see when you look at the crucifix?
  2. What attachments in this world keep you from looking up to behold God's love for you?

Karen L.
RCIA Sponsor and Minister of Care

Monday, March 14, 2016

March 14 - Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent

See the Light

Jesus spoke to them again, saying, 
“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, 
but will have the light of life.”

Light is the giver of life, both literally and spiritually. We know without sunlight, all of God’s creatures cannot thrive and eventually will not survive. The same is true for us – without the Lord we cannot thrive and grow. It is our relationship with the Lord that brings us strength, hope and life. 

We can turn to Him in faith for courage, especially in the darkest and most difficult of days. The first reading shows how Susanna, facing the certainty of an unfair death, still turned away from the darkness of evil and to Heaven for hope and survival delivered by the words of Daniel. “Through tears she looked up to heaven, for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly.” Trusting in God means believing even when we cannot see how He will be there for us. 

How do you stand up for someone or something in the face of others who contradict what you believe? 

How has the Lord come to you when you were hopeless?

What stops you from completely trusting He will be there for you?

Daylight savings time started yesterday bringing us another hour of daylight for the next six months. Spring starts in six short days on Sunday, March 20. We are entering the season adding a few additional minutes of light each day as we approach the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year.

Consider making those few extra minutes each day as time with God – 
praying, listening and being with Him.

The Light of the World by William Holden Hunt was first painted in 1853. Notice the sole source of light in the painting comes from the lantern carried by Jesus. A closer look at the lantern reveals a pattern of stars and symbols of Judaism and Islam, symbolizing Christians’ belief that Jesus is the Light for all people. 

Lori Doyle
Parish Pastoral Council; Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion

Sunday, March 13, 2016

March 13 - Fifth Sunday of Lent

God’s mercy and forgiveness

In the gospel of John 8:1-11, we see that the Pharisees are trying to trap Jesus, again, with the case of an adulterous woman. Jesus’ response is to ask those among them that are without sin to step forward and carry out the sentence laid down by the law. When no one steps forward, Jesus then sends the woman on her way with his compassion, to sin no more and to live in God’s love. This gospel not only teaches us that we shouldn’t pass judgment of others (ever hear of the saying “when you point a finger at someone, there are three pointing back at you?”), but we should show mercy and forgiveness to those that sin. Have you lived your life without sin? All of us have sinned, in one way or another, and are unworthy to judge other sinners. Jesus, the one without sin and our judge, offers up His mercy and forgiveness so that we may continue to live in God’s love.

J. Wright

One Word at a Time - Bear

Saturday, March 12, 2016

March 12 - Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent

As I read today's readings, while there were a few things that struck me, the psalm struck a unique chord in me. It seemed to me that what echoed throughout the psalm was the idea of God as the protector. Over the last few years I have experience an array of big "life events." Some of them have been beautiful and blessed (marriage, birth of children), while others have been challenging, difficult or sad (sickness or death of a loved one). Throughout each event, God seems to have filled a slightly different role....and He knows best which role I need filled. While He may fill a unique role depending on the event (ie comforter at one point, healer at another), above all He is the protector. With faith in Him, there is no way I could despair.
  1. Are there any times where you have been in the midst of hardship/on the brink of despair and things suddenly "worked out?"
  2. What role is Christ playing in your life today? Is He a Healer? Comforter? Companion?"
Reflection by ML
RCIA Candidate

Friday, March 11, 2016

March 11 - Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent

The Foreshadowing of Good Friday

We are over Lent’s halfway mark, and Easter Sunday is within our sights. But, before we can celebrate Easter Sunday, we have to see our Lord is crucified on Good Friday. The first reading today foreshadows this day. The people with hard hearts target the innocent one, the just one. Throughout this reading, the wicked say they are willing to kill the son of God to see if he will be saved – “Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.” (Wisdom 2:20)

Though it’s not yet Good Friday, we sense that it’s getting close. The tests, arrest, and trial are coming. As I read through today’s readings as well as the ones that surround them, I am more aware of the calendar and feel the story is quickly moving toward a crisis. Jesus hasn’t been arrested yet, but we know that it’s only a matter of time. That’s what the first reading foretells. 

How are you preparing for Good Friday? Have you contemplated what Jesus may have thought and felt as his hour neared?


Thursday, March 10, 2016

March 10 - Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent

The Father’s Witness

In today’s readings both Moses and Jesus had a tough time. Once again the people have strayed. They tried to tell people God’s message but the people didn’t want to receive it. Never the less they challenged the people to turn from sin and idolatry and come to the light of God’s grace and mercy. 

The first reading shows God’s reaction when he discovers the Israelites worshiping false idols and being stiff-necked. We remember from other readings that this is not a new phenomenon. God gets angry and threats to allow his wrath to blaze up and wipe them from the face of the earth. But Moses intervenes, and asks God to give the people a second chance. Moses reminds God that his greatness and power lies in his mercy and forgiveness and not in his power to destroy. God relents, because as we know, both He and his Son Jesus are great givers of second, third, fourth and fifth chances... How many times would God have been justified in punishing us for things we have done against his law? 

In the Gospel reading, Jesus’ opponents refused to accept his divine authority and claim to be the only Son from the Father. They demanded evidence for his claim and equality with God. Jesus answers their accusations with the supporting evidence of witnesses. The problem is the scribes and Pharisees search the Scriptures, looking for eternal life, but don’t recognize it in Jesus himself. They made the Law their god and rejected Jesus. They looked for praise from their fellow humans and were too concerned with outward appearances resulting in an inability to recognize the word of God. Their pride made them deaf to God’s voice. God gives us his grace freely but the fruitfulness of the gift is in how we receive it.

You’ve seen God’s works and heard his Word, do you really believe he’s for real?

How can you listen with faith, trust and obedience?

Do you truly believe that God’s word has power to set you free from sin and ignorance and to transform you to be more like him?

As believers we have a responsibility to share the good news of God’s love. How do you share the good news of God’s love with others?

Reflection by Kathy M, Member Faith Formation Commission, Wednesday evening Bible study and liturgical minister

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

March 9 - Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

A Note on Living Out the Things We’ve Learned: 

‘Don’t be amazed at this…’Jesus says this right after a rather lengthy talk about his relationship to his Father, the kind of talk that people who love theology drool over. There’s all kind of things to ponder about what he says and it’s not a bad thing to think about those things (and honestly, it’s kind of hard to not be amazed by the grand scope of what he says). But he follows it up by saying ‘Don’t be amazed at this, because the hour is coming…’ In other words, don’t just think about theology unless you’re willing to put it into action. The day when we are all being judged, God will be wanting to see what our thoughts about Him lead us to do, not how well developed our thoughts were about Him. 

What does it look like to live life knowing that God has promised to protect and care us? 

What situation in your life right now would benefit from letting your knowledge of who God is direct your feelings, rather than your own outlook?

Reflection by Matt Everitt
RCIA candidate who will enter the Church this Easter
Member of the Virtual Faith Formation Team

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

March 8 - Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Go and Sin No More

A lot of time when I’ve heard ‘Go and sin no more,’ it feels like an insurmountable challenge. Like not sinning anymore is as simple as well…just not sinning anymore. But in this passage we get to see a different side of Christ’s command, his compassion for us in telling us to leave our sins behind. It’s not as much a distant God demanding perfection as it is a close friend who hates seeing us suffer at our own hand. Behind every command is a heart full of love. 

When you read one of Jesus’ commands for us, what’s your gut reaction? Is it positive or negative? 

What do you think in your life brought you to have that reaction?

Reflection by Matt Everitt
RCIA candidate who will enter the Church this Easter
Member of the Virtual Faith Formation Team

Monday, March 7, 2016

March 7 - Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Building Anew

Jesus tells us that he will create new heavens and new earth. He will build a place where people will eat what they grow and live in the dwellings that they build. A place where there will only be rejoicing and happiness. Jesus says people will only believe if they see signs and wonders. So he provides what needs to be seen for them to believe. In his birthplace even though Jesus performs miracles, they do not believe. Jesus said that is because, “a prophet has no honor in his native place.” 

It can be difficult when confronting life’s challenges to acknowledge the miracles and signs given to us by Jesus. What signs and wonders have you known? What signs and wonders would you like to know?

It can also be challenging to see those in our lives anew. When we have an almost unchangeable notion of who we think they are, for better or worse. 

The Lord will take the old and create it anew. In your life, are there areas that you wish you could make new? Are there areas of your life that need rejoicing and happiness? 

Crispina Ojeda-Simmons
Member of the Faith Formation Commission

Sunday, March 6, 2016

March 6 - Fourth Sunday of Lent

Seeking, Forgiving and Celebrating

As we move past the half-way point in our Lenten journey today we contemplate the process of conversion and repentance. This seems to be summoned up in the parable of the prodigal son and the merciful father. 

In describing this, Jesus begins with the illusion of freedom. The abandonment of the father’s house; the extreme misery in which the son finds himself after squandering his fortune; his deep humiliation at finding himself obliged to feed swine, and still worse, at wanting to eat the husks the pigs ate. We see the son reflect on all he has lost; his repentance and decision to declare himself guilty before his father, and the journey back. 

In his mercy, we see the father’s joy and generous welcome. We see the beginning of the process of conversion. The beautiful robe, ring and banquet are symbols of the new life of those who return to God and the Church! Only the heart of Jesus who knows the depths of the Father’s love could reveal to us the mercy of the Father in such a simple yet beautiful way.

This Sunday is called Laetare Sunday. It comes from the opening prayer of the old Latin Mass “Laetare” or “Rejoice” Jerusalem! The readings today reflect a mood of joy or rejoicing. The first reading from the Book of Joshua celebrates the fact that God always provides for His people who seek reconciliation and trust in Him. 

Nick O’Hearn
Co-Chair Holy Name Cathedral Faith Formation Commission
RCIA Team Member

One Word at a Time - Admonish

Saturday, March 5, 2016

March 5 - Saturday of the Third Week of Lent

I Desire Mercy not Sacrifice

In today's reading I am reminded of our Holy Year of Mercy during this Jubilee year.

We can ask ourselves where as sinners do we begin to learn of God’s mercy. If we meditate on this reading and research the scriptures, can we reach some clarity. 

In my experience of meditating on the reading I arrived in the following scripture. In Matthew 9:13 “Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

It begins by acknowledging myself as a sinner, of looking inward and finding our faults. This is reinforced in Hosea 6: 1-6 by examining one’s heart do we begin to learn to walk humbly with God. The reading hinges on having a contrite heart.

When we attend mass who are we being? Am I the Pharisee or the tax collector?

If we humble ourselves, we can begin to know the Lord. His mercy will come to us like Spring rain. 

In this season of Mercy, let us recall the Penitent Thief and remember to ask for forgiveness and extend forgiveness unto others.

Reflection by: J.G.G.

Friday, March 4, 2016

March 4 - Friday of the Third Week of Lent

The Greatest Commandment

In today’s first reading Hos 14:2-10, we hear of God’s love for us. God will help us thrive when we turn to him asking forgiveness and recognizing his greatness. God’s generous love is expressed in several images about the beauty and majesty of nature. 

In section 66 of Laudato Si, his encyclical on the environment, Pope Francis writes of "three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbour and with the earth itself."  In section 70, Pope Francis notes the importance of ”cultivat[ing]… a proper relationship with my neighbour.” Doing so is significant because in our interrelated nature, what any one of us does impacts all of us. 

In the Gospel, we again hear of love. Jesus speaks of the  greatest commandment: love of God and love of one's neighbors. The latter is known as the "Golden Rule." Jesus confirms that sincere regard for God and others, rather than rituals, matter. When we are guided by the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law, we are authentic and motivated by what matters.

In preparing this reflection, I found mention of a “silver rule” which at first glance seems very like the Golden Rule. There is an important distinction however; the silver rule simply proposes doing no harm, responding in a concern for reciprocity. The Golden Rule asks that we demonstrate love without expecting it in return.

How is it difficult to recognize others when there is so much to be attentive to?

Laura L. Ross
Lector mandated as a Eucharistic Minister of Holy Communion, altar server, & member of the Faith Formation Commission

Thursday, March 3, 2016

March 3 - Thursday of the Third Week of Lent

Let the Lord enter.

When the Holy Spirit enters our hearts we have God on our side. We can combat evil and live a better life.

The readings today make us think about the guidance of our Lord in our daily lives and the strength of our Lord to help us overcome evil.

We either follow Christ or oppose him. Christ is shown to be the stronger man who can combat the devil and win.

Think. Is there a time in your daily routine where the Holy Spirit is speaking to you?

Do you open your mind and heart to those inklings?

Has there been a time when the voice of God has guided you through a hard decision? 

What are the temptations of the devil in our modern lives? How can prayer open our hearts to Christ’s help and guidance?

Reflection by Kim K.
Minister of Care

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

March 2 - Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent

There are times we might misinterpret our relationship to Jesus as one that puts us above the law, or makes us exempt from it, because we are a part of a new order, a life promised to us through Jesus Christ. Jesus reminds us in today’s gospel that he “has come not to abolish the law but to fulfill.” Instead of doing away with the law, Jesus comes to us as the perfect fulfillment of the Ten Commandments. He submits to the law, just as we are called to submit to it. 

March 2 is the feast day of St. Agnes of Bohemia. Born into a royal family, St. Agnes opted out of the luxurious lifestyle to instead serve God through caring for the sick and poor. Similar to Jesus in the gospel, Agnes chose a life of service, even though she was born into worldly glory. 

Are there areas of your life that have room for service to others? Can you imagine what it must have felt like for Jesus and St. Agnes to dedicate their lives to service when they had the opportunity to choose otherwise?

Annie Syrowski
Is a Faith Formation Commission member and Minister of Care

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March 1 - Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent

Making Forgiveness Count 

If we were to forgive seven times that might mean to forgive daily. But we are asked to forgive seven times seventy-seven times. We are not to keep count of the number of times we forgive.

The numbers we are to be attentive to are the number of ways we may be kind to others. There are seven corporal works of mercy and seven spiritual works of mercy. Forgiveness is one of the latter.

The Archdiocese of Chicago has a page devoted to mercy

A list of resources on the works of mercy is found here

When you feel an inclination to help someone - even in a little way - don't dismiss your thought as negligible. Even a "hello" or a smile may make a significant amount of difference to someone. Practicing doing these might make it easier to grow accustomed to helping others in greater ways. 

Are there times you wished you would have said or done something kind?

Perhaps you were too hurried or hesitated for one reason or another.

Later you might have found you regretted what you didn't say or do.

While you didn't help then, you can now. When the opportunity presents itself to you, go ahead and do what occurs to you

Laura L. Ross
Lector mandated as a Eucharistic Minister of Holy Communion, altar server, & member of the Faith Formation Commission