Tag Archives: Death

13th Sunday of the Year: Life, Death and the Gift of Faith

Study:  Consider people you know who are suffering right now.  What is the nature of their struggle?

Pray:  Keep a list of those who are sick nearby when you pray.  Remember them often.

Serve:  How can your faith help someone today who suffers?  How can you be an instrument of healing and comfort?

Mass Readings – 13th Sunday of the Year

Consider for a moment someone you love who is seriously sick.  Perhaps it’s a disease, an upcoming surgery, and undiagnosed circumstance, or the relentless experience of pain...we all know loved ones who suffer – and we would do anything to help.

Now imagine that you have heard about a miracle worker who cures the sick and resuscitates the dead.  I know that if I discovered that Jesus of Nazareth was even remotely in the area I would rent a bus and bundle in everyone I could fit just for the chance that he would lay hands on them.

This is the situation we encounter in the Gospel today.  People are crushing in on Christ; they have heard of his power and they are are desperate for healing.  The double miracles in the reading point out a number of key concepts:

  • Our longing for healing
  • The desperation of those who suffer
  • The depth and breadth of emotions around illness
  • How we all have experience with sickness and death
  • God’s profound gift of healing & life

Simply put, an encounter with Jesus Christ is a healing encounter.  In the face of sickness and disease, the Lord draws near – bringing grace and power – to restore life to those who suffer.

As his disciples, we are part of this healing mission.

  1. Who is suffering in our lives right now?
  2. How can we help through prayer or service?
  3. How do we promote comprehensive healing – in Body, Mind, Heart, and Soul?

Jesus comes to bring life; may our lives – guided in faith – be directed toward healing the wounds we witness.

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Note: This blog post was originally published on June 23, 2015.


5th Sunday of Lent: The lesson of a grain of wheat

Study: When in my life have I had to let go of something, someone, so that growth could happen?

Pray: Am I struggling right now to let go?  Ask God for help – wisdom and strength – to do it.

Serve:  Is there someone in my life that needs help letting go of a past mistake or hurt?  How can I help them?

Pastoral Note: The 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent provide an option for using the “Year A” readings at Mass for the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) process, but for those who follow the usual cycle the reflection is offered below.

Mass Readings – 5th Sunday of Lent

The Gospel of John today offers an image that contains the central idea of the Christian faith:

Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
John 12:24

Picture a grain of wheat in your hand.  It is a tiny, lifeless thing; alone it can be crushed for flour.  Yet if that grain is allowed to fall to the ground two things will happen.

First, the grain will die to itself.  That is, it will cease to be a GRAIN of wheat.  Its hull will be broken down and disintegrate, the kernel will lose its appearance, and it will no longer be able to be used for flour!

Second, the grain will become something new.  The grain will be transformed into a new and living creation, full of life and possibilities.  It will not resemble the grain – it will be vastly larger, living, able to grow, and full of new potential.

Simply put, as the grain of wheat “died” to its old self, a new life was able to burst forth.  The old passed away, making new hope and opportunity available.  This is the Paschal Mystery – a journey from death to life.

Like the grain of wheat, Jesus will also make this journey; from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, his life will be a process of transformation, change, and new life.  Through his death, he will not only be raised to life, but he will become the instrument by which God saves us as well.

What does this mystery mean for us?  If this journey from death to life is our own, how do we live it out?  How do we experience the Paschal Mystery in our lives?  Here are four ideas for reflection:

1.  Death – we no longer need to be afraid!
2.  Life – we let go of our selfishness – to grow!
3.  Sin – we “die” to our faults; God’s grace fills us.
4.  We become like Christ – if he did it, so can we!

The Paschal Mystery makes sense, because we encounter the process of death to life in so many everyday experiences.  It is not an easy journey, but when we open our hearts to this mystery, we allow God’s transforming grace to work within us, remaking us into a new creation, alive in Christ!

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Note: This post was originally published on March 15, 2015.


Daily Mass: Embracing the Cross. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – Saturday of the 25th Week of the Year

Jesus announces that he will be handed over, and the disciples are afraid to ask him any questions about it.  The fact is, the Lord embraces the Cross to free us from our sins…inspiring us not to be afraid but to draw near Him in faith.

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Daily Mass: The lesson of a grain of wheat. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – Thursday of the 18th Week of the Year (St. Lawrence)

When a grain of wheat falls to the ground it dies, and through this sacrifice of itself it begets new life.  Our sacrifices – when directed by the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ – can also become a rich offering to the Lord, who will change and transform us with his gift of life.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


13th Sunday of the Year: Dying and rising with Christ. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – 13th Sunday of the Year

St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans that our participation in the life and death of Jesus Christ brings us eternal life.  This Good News is our legacy as disciples and our inspiration to offer our lives with the hope and strength of God’s grace.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


Monday Conversation: The Easter Season…now what do I do? Catholic Inspiration

The Easter Season lasts 50 days, and many people ask, “Now what do I do?”  This glorious season is meant to transform us by the light of the Risen Lord.  Here are three key points from this Monday Conversation (22 Minutes):

  1. Review Lent
  2. Face the fear of Sin & Death
  3. Evaluate our lives by the light of Heaven

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Holy Week Preparations

Holy Week

Pastoral Note: This post was originally given on April 12, 2014.  I share it once again in the hope that all of us will enter more fully into the gift of this sacred time.  Fr. Andrew

Study:  Recall a time in your life when you experienced death and new life.  Where did you find the strength?  Who helped you through this time?

Pray:  Spend some time reflecting on the death and resurrection of Jesus this week.  Read Mark 14-16; Matthew 26-28; Luke 22-24; and John 18-21.  Take in as many prayer opportunities as possible in your parish.

Serve:  Who in your life is dealing with life and death issues right now?  How might you be present to them to offer help, comfort, or strength?

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We enter into the heart of the Christian mystery: Holy Week offers us a time to pause, reflect, and pray as the Church ponders on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This mystery, often called the Paschal Mystery, recalls us to the saving work of the Lord.  His death frees of from the burdens of sin and death, and his resurrection opens for us the path to eternal life.  This mystery is profoundly experienced over the Triduum – the 3 Great Days:

  • Holy Thursday – the Mass of the Lord’s Supper
  • Good Friday – the Passion of the Christ
  • Easter (Vigil/Day) – the Resurrection of the Lord

On Holy Thursday we find ourselves in Jerusalem, eating with the disciples at the Lord’s Supper and feeling awkward as he washes their feet – wondering how we would react if he did that for us.  We might identify with Peter or Judas – especially when we consider the times we have willingly betrayed or turned our back on the Lord.

On Good Friday we experience the physical pain, emotional abandonment, and personal humiliation on the path to Calvary (also called Golgotha or Skull Place) and look on with horror at the cruel death of Jesus.  We might also consider the times we have helped others – as Simon did when he was forced to carry the Cross of Christ.    And then we stand in profound sorrow with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, helpless as the innocent suffer injustice.

On Easter we wait in vigil and rise early in the morning with Mary Magdalen, only to find to our wonder and joy that the tomb is empty:  Christ is alive!  Our world, like that of the apostles, is changed forever as we experience new hope and life.

A word to the wise – we get out of Holy Week what we put into it.  Here are some simple ways for an incredible experience.

  • Make church services a top priority – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter (Vigil or Day).
  • Take time to read and reflect on the scriptures (see at the top under “Pray”).
  • Make Holy Thursday an opportunity to offer a special act of service or kindness to another.
  • Make Good Friday fasting extra special with a gift to a particular charity that helps the poor.
  • Make Easter a time of gratitude – take a quiet moment to count our blessings and thank the Lord.
  • Find some time throughout this week to tell the people in our lives how much we love them.

May this be a time for all of us to grow closer to the Lord and one another.

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Walking with the Lord in Holy Week (March 9-12, 2015 – Our Lady of the Valley – Green Valley, AZ) This parish mission takes the listener on a journey with Christ – from his entry into Jerusalem, through the Last Supper, his Passion, and his Resurrection.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts