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.
Thus says the LORD:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness
in what I create.
New heavens, new earth, new us! That’s the Easter that never ends!
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
it is not from works, so no one may boast.
For we are God's work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works
that God has prepared in advance,
that we should live in them.
We are God’s work of art! We are not junk. We are made in God's image and likeness. Sometimes we really need this reminder!!!
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Asking ourselves WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?) is one thing, but asking the Lord what we should do . . . well, that can be dangerous business, because we always get more than we bargained for. Loving God is a cinch . . . we get all religious building grand churches and shrines and saying all the right prayers. But then Jesus adds, Love your neighbor. And the Scriptures add, “And no one dared to ask him any more questions.”
Say to them:
This is the nation that does not listen
to the voice of the LORD, its God,
or take correction.
Faithfulness has disappeared;
the word itself is banished from their speech.
If God calls you to do something for God in this world, you would think that it wouldn’t be a mission in vain. Sometimes we have to be faithful to what God has called us to, even though no one is listening.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.
One of the great blessings of Lent is a renewed focus on the Word of God. Whether we simply follow the daily readings from Mass, or we devote ourselves to 15 minutes of Bible reading each day, or we use some spiritual aid like The Word Among Us, Give Us This Day, Magnificat, or The Little Black Book, the most important thing is to read God’s Word. As Simon Peter says to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life.”
Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money changers
and overturned their tables . . . .
The Cleansing of the Temple occurs near the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel (according to John). The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) place the event at the end of the public ministry and immediately before the Passion Narrative. We who live on this side of the Resurrection have come “to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.”