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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.

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.  

Wednesday, 18 March 2020 06:52

WEDNESDAY, WEEK III of LENT

PSALM 147

R.    Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R.    Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
He spreads snow like wool;
frost he strews like ashes.
R.    Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them.
R.    Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Some folks mistake the earthly Jerusalem with the heavenly Jerusalem, our mother. But the Bible is very clear . . . what we await is the heavenly Jerusalem, as the Letter to the Hebrews points out: "You have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering" (Heb 12:22).  And the vision of Book of Revelation: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Rev 21:1-2)

 

 

 

Tuesday, 17 March 2020 15:30

TUESDAY, WEEK III of LENT

“For your name’s sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever, or make void your covenant. Do not take away your mercy from us, for the sake of Abraham, your beloved, Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one, To whom you promised to multiply their offspring like the stars of heaven, or the sand on the shore of the sea.
(Dan 3:25,35-36)

The image of the three youths in the fiery furnace captures the imagination. But even more, the prayer that one of them offers in the midst of the flames: “for the sake of Abraham, Isaac & Israel (Jacob). As my grandmother used to say, “Sometimes God just needs reminding!”

Tuesday, 17 March 2020 15:13

SAINT PATRICK's DAY, MARCH 17, 2020

Saint Patrick was from Roman Britain. When he was 16 he was captured and taken as a slave to Ireland. He eventually escaped and returned to his home. After he was ordained, he went back to Ireland and spent the rest of his life ministering there. He was the first bishop of Ireland.

Christ, be with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. (from The Breastplate of Saint Patrick)

 

Remember your mercies, O Lord. (Psalm 25)

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