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These reflections are a result of more than 40 years of ministry as a Roman Catholic priest. Most of these years I spent in the Diocese of Charlotte which covers Western North Carolina. Now I am retired, and live in Medellín, Colombia where I continue to serve as a priest in the Archdiocese of Medellín.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020 06:49

TUESDAY, WEEK IV of LENT

The angel said to me, “This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah, and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh. Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh. Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow; their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail. Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.” (Ez 47: 8-9, 12)

♫I saw water flowing from the right side of the temple, and all to whom this water came were saved.♫ The Vidi Aquam is an ancient antiphon sung in the Easter Season during the sprinkling with holy water that recalls our baptism. Water refreshes us with healing and salvation.

Sunday, 22 March 2020 14:48

MONDAY, WEEK IV of LENT

Thus says the LORD: Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; There shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create; No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying. (Is 65:17a, 18a, 19b)

This ancient prophecy of Isaiah speaks of hope for us here today in the middle of the world crisis caused by the coronavirus. A new heavens and a new earth . . . and a new us, with rejoicing and happiness.

Sunday, 22 March 2020 00:38

IV SUNDAY of LENT, THE MAN BORN BLIND

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him. Then Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” (John 9:35-39)

Jesus is always with the outcasts—when the man born blind was thrown out, Jesus went to find him.  It's amazing that as long as he was blind the man had no problems.  But once his eyes were opened, he gets thrown out of his religious community.  May the Lord open our eyes during these difficult times to see the world through the Compassionate Eyes of Christ.

Friday, 20 March 2020 20:18

SATURDAY, WEEK III of LENT

“Come, let us return to the LORD, it is he who has rent, but he will heal us; he has struck us, but he will bind our wounds. He will revive us after two days; on the third day he will raise us up, to live in his presence. Let us know, let us strive to know the LORD; as certain as the dawn is his coming, and his judgment shines forth like the light of day! He will come to us like the rain, like spring rain that waters the earth.” (Hosea 6:1-3)

In this difficult time when we need healing and hope, we certainly could use a cleansing spring rain, to water and restore us, so that we can know the Lord and live in the presence of God. For God is merciful and compassionate.

Friday, 20 March 2020 00:14

FRIDAY, WEEK III of LENT

Thus says the LORD:
 Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God . . . . 
 I will heal their defection, says the LORD, 
I will love them freely;
 for my wrath is turned away from them. 
I will be like the dew for Israel:
 he shall blossom like the lily; 
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar, 
and put forth his shoots.
 His splendor shall be like the olive tree
 and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar. 
Again they shall dwell in his shade
 and raise grain;
 They shall blossom like the vine, 
and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon. (Hosea 14:2a, 5-8)

Return, be healed, and blossom. Good news for difficult times.

Thursday, 19 March 2020 00:10

SAINT JOSEPH'S DAY, 19 March 2020

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.  (Mt 1:18-24)
"Silent Joe” as he’s called—because the Scriptures record not one word from Saint Joseph, unlike the Virgin Mary, who's always “proclaiming the greatness of the Lord.”  And so, Saint Joseph often gets overlooked and somewhat forgotten.  But without Saint Joseph, God’s mysterious plan would never have been accomplished.  

An article from Pray Tell Blog:

Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine
until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.
  (Mark 14.25)

Across our country, and throughout the world, Catholics are facing a Lenten fast that they could not have imagined on Ash Wednesday. With the suspension of public Masses in more and more dioceses, the faithful are temporarily deprived of the celebration of the Eucharist.

Reactions to this preventative action by the bishops who have instituted this suspension have varied. Some Catholics have expressed anger, and others have expressed gratitude. The suspension affects all, no matter what an individual’s opinion. We have this imposed “fast” in common.

But I think there is a way to remain in communion with Christ and with one another at this extraordinary time for our world and our Church. If we can accept the “fast” imposed on us by circumstances beyond our control, we can unite ourselves to Christ in his fast – not in the desert, but in the glory of his resurrection.

Our celebration of the Eucharist is, as a rule, preceded by a fast. It is not merely out of respect for the Eucharist, but also an act of faith in what the Eucharist promises for our future. In the Divine Office for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, the Magnificat antiphon sings of the “Holy Banquet … in which a pledge of future glory is given to us.” The Real Presence includes our real future, which is yet to be fully realized. Our small Eucharistic fast acknowledges that gap in that pledge.

In the glory of his resurrection, Christ now fasts until he can drink of the Fruit of the Vine with us in the Kingdom of God. His desire for communion with us is so intense that he wills to make it an unsatisfied hunger in himself, until he can sit down with us at the banquet of heaven. It becomes a longing for that unity foreshadowed in the Eucharist and awaiting us in the fullness of the Kingdom.

Several commentators have referred to the practice of spiritual communion when the Eucharist is unavailable to us. We also have the opportunity for this spiritual fast that can keep us in communion with Christ and with one another. The pledge of future glory still holds good. When the Eucharist once again becomes possible, it will renew the pledge that our fasting has kept alive.

Father Justin DuVall is a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, where he has served as prior, School of Theology provost and vice-rector and, most recently, archabbot. Since his resignation as archabbot in 2016, he serves as vice-rector at Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary in Indianapolis. Father Justin and I were classmates at Saint Meinrad School of Theology.