Category Archives: Feasts & Solemnities

The Passion of the Lord

The Face of Christ

Study:  Reflect on a time you experienced weakness and suffering.  Where did you find the strength to continue?

Pray:  Gaze upon a crucifix and offer to Christ any struggles you are facing right now.  Bring the needs of your loved ones to the foot of the Cross as well.

Serve:  Is there someone in your life who is carrying a heavy cross right now?  How can you offer comfort and assistance?

Palm Sunday Readings (with Year A reading for the Procession with Palms)

How many times throughout our lives have we made the sign of the Cross?  Stop and think:  at Mass; meal prayers; morning & evening prayers; special gatherings; and moments of blessing and grace.  This simple action, which we teach to children at an early age, invokes a connection with the passion of Jesus.

We adorn our homes with the Cross.  A crucifix is a common gift to a new home; crosses are placed in bedrooms and common areas as a reminder that Jesus is the source of our help and strength.

We adorn ourselves with the Cross as well:  a crucifix on a chain; a cross in our pocket; earrings; rings; bracelets; and all the extra cards, bookmarks, figurines, and miscellaneous items that remind us that Jesus died on a Cross.

The passion we read every year on this day focuses our attention on the central mystery of our faith.  Out of love for us God sent His Son, Jesus, who gave his life on the Cross that we might have eternal life.  Through his suffering and death, we recognize that God has made a pathway possible that we might all journey through this life to the gates of Heaven.

The Cross teaches us many lessons:

  • Life is difficult, and at times painful
  • Weakness and sin are part of our experience
  • God identifies with our pain
  • God dies that we might have life

At the core of our teaching the Cross stands as the testament of God’s love for us.  Yet the Cross appears to be an embarrassment – after all, why would God (all powerful, all knowing, supreme) choose to be humiliated?  Does that not mean that God is weak?  Why could God not take away our sins in a way that showed majesty and splendor?

In reality, the weakness revealed in the Cross uncovers our frailty, not God’s.  Jesus endured the Cross because of our broken, wounded nature.  He carried the Cross because we were unable to – as St. Paul writes “The wages of sin is death” in Romans 6:23 – and he bore the suffering, pain, and grief that are the natural result of our sinfulness.  God is not weak, rather God takes on our weakness so that we can be made whole.

The Cross proclaims the truth that God meets us where we are in life.  In our weakness, in our humiliation, in our low moments of doubt and sin God comes to us.  Jesus, like us in every way but sin, understands our pain because through his Cross he shares in the suffering of the world.  He knows us, loves us, and saves us through his Cross.

Every time we make the sign of the Cross may we recall what the Lord endured for us.  Through the Cross we discover our strength as we trust in God’s love and  seek to follow that love as we journey through this life toward the world to come.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.  Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!

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Catholic Inspiration Archives

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Note: This post was first published on April 3, 2017.


The Annunciation of the Lord. Catholic Inspiration

The angel Gabriel was sent from God…and the world was forever changed with Mary’s response! May this Good News strengthen our hearts as we speak words of hope to one another today.

Mass Readings – The Annunciation of the Lord

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


Solemnity of St. Joseph, the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Catholic Inspiration

He never says a word in the Scriptures, but St. Joseph demonstrates by his actions his faith in God and his capacity to sacrifice for others. May his example inspire us today.

Mass Readings – The Solemnity of St. Joseph

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


The Presentation of the Lord: Christ understands us; He’s already been through it.

helping hand

Study:  Recall a moment when someone really understood you.  You felt safe, relaxed, and at peace knowing that you were loved completely and sincerely.

Pray:  Take a moment to open your heart to Jesus.  You might want to read/pray the readings today (especially the 2nd reading from Hebrews) and gaze at the Cross.

Serve: Is there someone in your life you can reach out to?  Is there someone with whom you might be able to be present without judgment or bias – but simply meet them where they are in kindness, respect, and love?

Mass Readings – Presentation of the Lord

During my study as a seminarian I served as a chaplain at a hospital.  I had the opportunity to work with a rich diversity of people from a variety of skills and backgrounds.  Through this time I learned much about my strengths and weaknesses as a minister.

One day I was assigned to visit a man who had a heart attack.  He was unhappy, sullen, and angry at me (and everyone else who came in).  He kept claiming that he was “as healthy as an ox” and had “never been sick a day,” but we could all see that his life was in a fragile state.

In my visit I tried to speak about some of the topics that the doctors and nurses had been urging:  physical exercise, diet, use of alcohol, stress, and other related issues.  He refused to speak.  He shouted, insulted, complained, and denied the fact that he even needed to be in the hospital!

I (being very inexperienced at the time) thought I could wear him down by simply being more stubborn – sitting there and listening until he just ran out of air.  Suddenly, a middle-aged man walked in the room and asked me if he could visit with the patient alone for a few minutes.

I stepped outside, visited a few patients, and after about an hour I saw the man come out of the room with a big smile.  He went over to the nurse on duty and informed her that the patient was willing to listen to any medical advice and act on it!

When I asked him what happened, he said, “You see, I was once like him – in the hospital bed, denying everything, angry at everyone, and blaming every person – except the only one who could make a change…ME!  I showed him my scars, told him about the procedures, the medications, and the fact that I feel better now then I ever have.”

He then looked at me and continued, “I guess he just needed to hear it from someone who knows what it’s like.  Someone who understands because he’s been through it.”

We see a similar connection in the book of Hebrews today.  Jesus became like us – he suffered, died, and rose from the dead that sin and death might no longer have power.  He knows what it’s like to face the challenges and burdens of life, and because he understands, he is able to help us, guide us, and strengthen us in our moments of need.

Perhaps now is the time to recognize that the Lord knows us.  He knows what it’s like to face the challenges of life, and we can rejoice that the Master of the Universe comprehends our hearts – better then we do!  Maybe today is our chance to stop and turn to the Lord and allow him to love us.  Perhaps all we really have to do is stop “doing” for a moment and “be” present to Jesus.

It’s good to have a friend who knows exactly what we are going through and helps us on the way!

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Catholic Inspiration Archives

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Note: This post was first published on January 26, 2014.


Daily Mass: The Conversion of St. Paul. Catholic Inspiration

The conversion of St. Paul reminds us that repentance and change are part of our journey of faith. As Paul moved from persecutor to preacher of the faith, we consider how the Lord calls us to make a change in our hearts.

Mass Readings – The Conversion of St. Paul

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


The Baptism of the Lord. Catholic Inspiration

The baptism of Jesus recalls the gift of our own baptism and how our lives are now configured to Christ. May we live this great gift as we put our faith into practice.

Mass Readings – The Baptism of the Lord

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


The Baptism of the Lord

Bautismo_de_Cristo_por_Navarrete_el_Mudo

Study:  Find out about your baptism.  When was it?  Who performed it?  Who are your Godparents?  Who else was present?

Pray:  Thank the Lord for the gift of faith to know, love, and serve Jesus Christ.

Serve:  How can you live your baptismal call today?  How can your faith inspire or assist another?

Mass Readings – The Baptism of the Lord

A few years ago I was having lunch when I ran into Fr. Bob Koszarek, a retired priest from our diocese.  When I asked him what brought him out for lunch he said, “I am celebrating the anniversary of my baptism.”  The comment struck me, especially when he followed it up with, “Do you know the day of your baptism?”

The answer is no.  Yet as I prepare for Mass this week I have made a commitment to find out.  We claim (rightly so) that baptism is a crucial sacrament in the Church – the gateway to all other sacraments whereby we are configured to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Most people know if they have been baptized; my sense is that very few know the actual date.

Our faith is a precious gift – worth fighting for, worth dying for.  Perhaps today we pause to recall just how precious it truly is…Jesus Christ poured out his blood on the Cross for us that we might have eternal life.  His baptism was the revelation of the Trinity, where we hear the Father’s voice from heaven as the Spirit descends upon the Son in the form of a dove.  Our baptism allows us to participate fully in God’s presence for the grace and guidance we need.

I invite us today to claim our baptism.  Some simple steps:

  • Thank the Lord for the gift of faith to know Jesus and live as a Christian disciple
  • Embrace your faith through study and prayer
  • Serve others in the name of Jesus Christ (and with his help and strength)
  • Allow your life to bring Good News to the World

Our baptism is not a one time event.  Rather, it is an ongoing expression of Christ working through us.  May the Baptism of the Lord inspire us to live our faith with joy as we engage our lives with his power.

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Catholic Inspiration Archives

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Bautismo de Cristo, Juan Fernandez Nararrete; circa 1567, The Prado, Madrid, Spain.

Note: This post was first published on January 4, 2016.