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Do you Believe This?

A reflection for the 5th Sunday of Lent, Year A. The readings are Ezekiel 37:12-14; Psalm: 130; Romans 8:8-11 and John 11:1-45.

I’ve heard and read the story of the raising of Lazarus so many times and I usually focus on the end; on the actual raising of Lazarus. This is Jesus’ last of seven miracles in the Gospel of John —John calls them “signs”— This is the miracle of miracles. Walking on water? Multiplying bread and fish? Turning water into wine? Healing the sick? But no one had ever heard of a dead man coming back to life. This is the miracle that got Jesus killed. After this miracle is when the chief priests had that meeting and decided that it was better for one man to die than for a whole nation to perish and they began plotting to kill him (John 11:45-53) – and not only him but also Lazarus (John 12:9-11). But there is so much in this Gospel reading. I’d like to focus today on what Jesus says to Martha: “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Do you believe this?” ‘Cause I don’t think we do.
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Let your light shine!

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A reflection for the 5th Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year A.
The readings are Isaiah 58:7-10, Psalm 112, 1 Cor 2:1-5 and Matthew 5:13-16.

Are you a saint? I’ve asked this question many times to many a group. “Who is a saint?” You may get two or three hands at the most. It’s a bit of an unfair question because we have the SAINTS – those are the canonized, the ones the Church gives us as examples and intercessors. But if you look at the most basic definition of a saint, someone who is in Heaven, then we should all be hoping to be saints. Don’t you plan on going to Heaven?

My friend Steve Angrisano always says that the other option is not a very good option: Stick to Plan A.

If you plan to go to Heaven, then you plan on being a Saint. Simple!

But how do we get to Heaven? By doing good works? By praying lots of Rosaries? By going to Mass? Sadly, all those answers are wrong. We get to Heaven because God is good. We get to Heaven because of God’s love and mercy. No one deserves or is worthy of Heaven. But we can get there because God is good and merciful.
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Repent

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A reflection for the 3rd Sunday, Ordinary time, year A. The readings are Isaiah 8:23–9:3, Psalm 27, 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17 and Matthew 4:12-23.

“Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Jesus today tells us to repent – we think that repent has to do with asking for forgiveness, but repent is really a word that means change or reform; turn your life around. Last week I reminded you of five things you should be doing every day so that your heart is ready to receive Jesus; to recognize him: Prayer, Scripture, Sacraments, Parish Community and Service/Charity. How’s that been going this week? So while we’re focusing on reforming our lives and changing things in our lives, I’d like to show you what I do.

Let’s pick one of these five: Scripture, and I’ll show how I read, prayed with and studied Scripture this week. If I was able to do it, anyone reading this can do it too.
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Do you know Him?

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A reflection for the 2nd Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year A. The readings are Isaiah 49:3, 5-6, Psalm 40, 1 Corinthians 1:1-3 and John 1:29-34.

“I did not know him” says John the Baptist! Imagine, John the Baptist, the relative of Jesus; his cousin, maybe, says that he didn’t know him! And he says it twice! I suppose it’s possible that he really didn’t know him, that they were distant cousins, but a different translation (that I prefer) says, “I didn’t recognize him.” It’s like they’d known each other all their lives… 30 years; they saw each other at all family get-togethers and maybe spent a few summers together; they were cousins…. And John did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. It’s like your little niece who you remember to be so shy and quiet and next thing you know she’s all grown up and she’s class valedictorian and goes to Law School and now she’s running for Prime Minister. Wow! I didn’t know her. No idea.

Two questions I want to ask you today: Do you know Jesus? We know a lot about Jesus, but do you know Him like you know your best friend or your spouse? And if not, what has to happen in your life so that you can know him?
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