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Word Made Flesh

Lenten renewal means taking the deep breath of prayer

John Connelly
March 9, 2015
Fifth Sunday in Lent
March 22, 2015

In this week's First Reading God gives insight into the call we all have. "I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts. . . . All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the Lord, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more." God's desire for all of us is intimacy. He wants us to know him. Not just to have ideas about him but to live in daily intimate communion.

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Difficult times can expose fire hazards

Kathleen Giffin

February 23, 2014
Second Sunday in Lent
March 1, 2015

My basement is ripped apart right now, stripped bare to concrete and studs. The catalyst was a flood just before Christmas that required the panelling and carpet to be ripped out. In the process, two significant fire hazards were discovered, one in some faulty wiring and another associated with the clothes dryer. Each had the potential to literally bring our house down. Neither was likely to have been discovered if not for the renovations we are now doing.

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God's law is more desirable than gold

Brett Fawcett

February 23, 2015
Third Sunday in Lent
March 8, 2015

It's easy to get to a point where we start to hear without hearing. How many times do we hear or recite the Our Father or the Hail Mary without paying attention to the fact that we're uttering meaningful words and not just a series of familiar, vaguely pleasant syllables? Perhaps the Ten Commandments, which we hear recited in today's First Reading, also falls into this category; how often do we stop and really read and reflect on those oft-heard ordinances when we see them hanging on a wall (usually on a poster in the shape of two tablets)? If we do ever stop and think about them, what is our reaction?

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Dare to glorify God with a life of joy

John Connelly

February 9, 2015
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 15, 2015

In this week's Second Reading we are offered this challenge, "Do everything for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10.31). How can you and I fulfill this scripture? How do we do everything for God's glory? We can start by thinking about all our daily actions. Each thing we do is important. Actions that are small or large, honest or dishonest, good or bad. St. Ignatius of Loyola saw the purpose of his life in the maxim: "For the greater glory of God." Something that glorifies God is in tune with his truth and love. It must be in tune with the ultimate reality underlying all creation – God.

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Lent is season to change sinful patterns

Lydia Cristini

February 9, 2015
First Sunday of Lent
February 22, 2015

I think it was Father David Bittner who explained "covenant" in a way I found easy to understand: an agreement or a contract, which makes the parties into family members. He used the example of the covenant of marriage, which makes formerly unrelated people into a family of two. The Hebrew people entered a covenant with God almost 4,000 years ago and almost 2,000 of those years are mapped out in the Old Testament. God promises he will be their God, he frees them from slavery and he continually blesses them. The Hebrews? They promise they will be his people, and they continually complain and are frequently unfaithful to him.

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God invites us to listen to his voice

Brett Fawcett

January 26, 2015
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 1, 2015

Every morning, the first words on the lips of countless priests, religious and laity are the opening lines of today's psalm: "Come, let us sing to the Lord, and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us." This "invitatory" psalm, so called because it invites us to prayer, then encourages us to "listen to his voice." It is wise to begin every day with this reminder. We often forget to stop what we are doing and allow ourselves any silence – or, if we do, it is often only so that we can refresh and strengthen ourselves (many modern techniques marketed as "meditation" focus on this), rather than opening ourselves up to listen to God's voice speaking to us from the depths of our sanctified soul.

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Innocent suffering helps save the world

Maria Kozakiewicz

January 26, 2015
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 8, 2015

I have just talked to my friend who works with severely handicapped children. One of them, a girl aged 13, died suddenly, after a life of cruel limitations and suffering. As my granddaughter is the same age, my heart trembled at the thought of what the girl's family must be going through. Suddenly this unknown child became very dear to me. The early teens is the most beautiful time of a child's growth, comparable with the budding of roses or gentle unfolding of leaves on trees in April. I thought about Job, the symbol of suffering, and also about another small girl, whose dresses, toys and other simple mementos I saw in a church in Rome.

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God's voice is heard through pure joy

Lydia Cristini

January 12, 2015
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 18, 2015

Called by God. What does that even mean? Our Catholic faith tells us each human being has a universal call: the vocation to holiness or, in other words, the vocation to love. But each of us also has a unique call, a unique purpose, based on the specificity of who God created us to be. So, the question is: How do I hear God's specific call for my life? That's where it gets tricky. Samuel heard an audible voice saying his name. That hasn't happened to me yet.

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Small gestures can fulfill yearning for love

Kathleen Giffin

January 12, 2014
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 25, 2015

Gordon Neufeld tells a story of meeting a young man who had extraordinary success in overcoming an early childhood of abuse and neglect. When asked what had sustained him to continue to choose life and goodness instead of the despair and self-destruction so typical of those who suffered as he had, he told this story: Someone had taken him to church once when he was young. He was sitting by the aisle when, at the end of Mass, the priest walked by in the closing procession.

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Pagan Magi retained a sense of wonder

Maria Kozakiewicz

December 29, 2014
Epiphany
January 4, 2014

The star of Bethlehem, which shines in the Gospel of Epiphany, has long puzzled me. The ancient pagans of both East and West believed in oracles, dreams and prophetic utterances. They believed that gods communicate with people through nature and that the stars are part of this mysterious language as they may predict events to come. Thousands of years before Jesus was born, sign interpretation became a specialized art. Most of it was obviously fraud. Popular forms of divination were rejected by the Jewish faith, although it admitted the existence of some God-inspired individuals and a few God-sent dreams.

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