Tag Archives: loss

Daily Mass: Love your enemies. Catholic Inspiration

While the phrase “love one another” sounds great when we like the people in question, the real test of faith occurs when it’s tough.   The command of Jesus to “love your enemies” will demand us to become like the Lord – who even forgave those who nailed him to the Cross.   To do this we call upon God for the grace we need to be filled with the love of Christ so that we can share his love in all moments of life…even when surrounded by enemies.

Mass Readings – Saturday of the 1st Week of Lent

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


5th Sunday of the Year: Confronting the reality of human suffering

Study: Reflect upon an experience of suffering.  How did your faith help you face it?

Pray: Are you or someone you know facing pain or loss?  Pray that God gives the grace needed to face it.

Serve: Walking with others on their journey of anguish demands time and attention.  Are you being called now to assist someone in need?

Mass Readings – 5th Sunday of the Year

Let’s take a look at these readings:

  • 1st Reading – Job speaks from his anguish and misery.
  • Psalm – “Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.”
  • 2nd Reading – Paul states his need to preach the Gospel.
  • Gospel – Jesus heals the sick and preaches to the people.

On the surface of these readings we see the obvious – there are times when we encounter suffering.  Whether it’s body, mind, heart or soul…most people on more than one occasion are brought low by pain, struggle or loss.

What’s more, there is no “spin” in the Bible.  Instead, we repeatedly see in the Scriptures a raw look at the challenges people face without trying to explain away the hardship.  It’s almost as if the Word of God seeks to remind us that the journey of life often stops in places of anguish.

We might be tempted to ask the Lord why.  We might try to find reasons why a good and almighty God allows it.  Such a reaction is normal and typical.

Here’s the problem.  Many of the hardships of life have no easy answers or simple explanations.  Much of life is a mystery, and many things will not be explained until the day we stand before the Lord when all is revealed.

Suffering by itself serves no purpose, yet we often recognize that there are many times we “suffer” for something greater:

  • The athlete who suffers in practice to perform in competition
  • The student who suffers in study to perform academically
  • The employee who suffers with work to complete a challenging project
  • The friend who suffers for a loved one to bring help and comfort
  • The parent who suffers for a child to show compassion and care

You get the point.  We often embrace suffering because we recognize that there is meaning and purpose in much that is difficult, challenging and hard.

But what about when we don’t understand?  One of the most helpful questions I have ever found in the face of suffering is this:

How does my faith help me face this?

For remember, when our lives are focused on the Lord all things – even suffering – fit into a proper perspective.  Christ’s suffering on the Cross breaks the bonds of sin and death; Christ’s resurrection shows us that there is something far beyond the realm of pain and loss.

As Jesus healed and preached Good News we call upon our faith to help us face the difficulties of life with strength.  Perhaps we will not know why suffering happens, but God will give us the grace to learn how we will face it.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

 


Daily Mass: Our Lady of Sorrows. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – Our Lady of Sorrows

Following immediately after yesterday’s Feast of the Holy Cross, the readings today focus on Mary as she endured the “sword of sorrow” as she stood at the Cross of her son.  Her sorrow reaches out through time and space to all people who have been overwhelmed by grief.  May her example help us to face our moments of pain with a sure and steadfast faith in Jesus Christ.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

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The Descent from the Cross, Rogier van der Weyden, 1435, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid.

Note: This is one of the most moving paintings I have ever stood before.  


Daily Mass: Our Lady of Sorrows. Catholic Inspiration

station-jesus-in-the-tomb

Fr. Andrew’s Daily Mass Homily Podcast

Mass Readings – Our Lady of Sorrows

Mary’s example of faith in the midst of sorrow inspires us to face our grief and loss in this life with God’s grace.


Daily Mass: Jesus is the Cornerstone. Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s Daily Mass Homily – Friday of the 2nd Week of Lent

Daily Mass Readings

With help from some 4th graders from Mrs. Peterson’s class at Cathedral School, Fr. Andrew looks at how God can take bad things and bring about great goodness.

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If you are looking for more material to help you this Lent, you might consider this list of presentations I have offered over the last couple of years.  Feel free to check it out and share if you find it helpful:

Podcast Resources for a Powerful Lent

4th grade


1st Sunday of Lent – Be with Me Lord, When I am in Trouble

Helping Hand 2

Study: Reflect on a moment when you were in a critical need.  What pulled you through?

Pray: Ask the Lord for grace regarding a difficult situation.

Serve:  How can you be a helping hand to another?

1st Sunday of Lent Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

Let’s take a look at these readings that help us kick off Lent:

  • 1st Reading – a recap of how God saved the Israelites in Egypt
  • Psalm – “Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.”
  • 2nd Reading – “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
  • Gospel – Jesus overcomes the Devil’s 3 temptations

Have you ever been in trouble?  Serious trouble?  End of your rope?  Lost?  Confused?  Abandoned?  Scared?  Feeling like you cannot breathe because the air has gone out of your chest?  Feeling utterly alone?

You’re in good company.  People of faith for over 3000 years have called upon the Lord in their darkest moments – seeking guidance and strength.

And God provides.  We don’t have to look very hard to find examples of pain and suffering, hardship and loss, struggle, catastrophe and sin.  We also know that there are no promises that life will be easy and free from pain.  What we know is simple:  God walks with us and sustains us in our moments of need.

Of course this is only a half truth – God walks with us always!  God never leaves us, but for some very human reason we seem to call out loud and strong when we recognize our need for the Lord.  Isn’t it odd that we “get it” when we are in need…that many of us who dedicate our lives to Christ see much more clearly when the truth is self-evident?

Perhaps not.  Perhaps what this first week of Lent shows us is that our need for God (always present in our lives) is most easily observed when we cannot hide from our need.  For when we are in trouble, we are confronted with the clear and obvious reality that it is only with the Lord’s grace that we can be guided and sustained.  In the times of our testing we discover both our limitations and the Lord’s love.

What are you facing in your life right now?  What requires your own personal admission and acceptance of Christ’s mercy?  Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble!

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If you are looking for more material to help you this Lent, you might consider this list of presentations I have offered over the last couple of years.  Feel free to check it out and share if you find it helpful:

Podcast Resources for a Powerful Lent