Tag Archives: new life

Daily Mass: The Lord renews our strength. Catholic Inspiration

Both Isaiah and Jesus offer words of encouragement: God renews our strength when we are weary!

Mass Readings – Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Advent

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


Daily Mass: I tell you, arise! Catholic Inspiration

The encounter between Jesus and the widow reveals the compassion and power of the Lord.  Christ continues to reach out to us with this same loving grace and urges us to rise up in newness of life.

Mass Readings – Tuesday of the 24th Week of the Year

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


Daily Mass: God transforms us with Easter glory. Catholic Inspiration

Both Peter and Mary Magdalene reveal how Christ’s resurrection transforms our human weakness and empowers us for service in the world.  We, too, are called to receive the grace of Easter into our hearts as the Lord takes the gift of our lives and equips us to proclaim the Good News.

Mass Readings – Tuesday of the Octave of Easter

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


11th Sunday of the Year: Growth and change in the Kingdom of God

Study:  Recall a time of profound change and growth in your life.  What helped you become better?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the grace to face difficult challenges and embrace them.

Serve:  Who in your life is confronting change right now?  How can you help them?

Mass Readings – 11th Sunday of the Year

First, let’s take a quick summary of the key themes in the readings this week:

  • 1st Reading – The Lord plants a tree in Israel
  • Psalm – “Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.”
  • 2nd Reading – We aspire to please God, whether at home or far away
  • Gospel – Jesus offers the parable of the mustard seed

Now that June is in full swing the color green is flourishing across the upper Midwest.  Summer delights the eye with growth and life, and from my view along the shore of Lake Superior this is most evident in the beauty of trees.

I have walked Wisconsin forests my entire life, and I find a peace and serenity among the grandeur and power of trees.  They anchor the soil, provide habitat for wildlife, shade for the weary, and a renewable resource for humanity’s handiwork.

Yet for the majesty of trees, they all start small – from a pine cone or an acorn, a “helicopter” seed or a shoot – massive trees have humble, tender beginnings.

Just like our faith.

We know from our own experience that all good things take time and effort to develop; growth and change occur through new encounters.  The process reminds us of two key points:

  • We have daily opportunities to grow.  Every day provides new ways for us to develop the gifts and talents God has given.
  • We are works in progress.  While we might lament that we are not where we want to be, we can face the challenges before us with the grace of Christ

In the first point we recognize opportunity and growth; in the second point we face obstacles with hope that these challenges will teach us new insights.  Growth and change are part of life.  What’s more, this change almost always begins from a small and humble beginning.

Where in your life do you have opportunities to grow?  Where do you see challenges that will require new ways of thought and action?  Take time to seek the Lord – to start small like a little seed – and grow in these moments into a new creation, guided and empowered to become more fully alive.

Now matter where we are in the journey of faith, may we open our hearts to God’s grace as we grow in faith, hope, and love as disciples of Jesus Christ!

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


3rd Sunday of the Year: The power of the resurrection. Catholic Inspiration

One of the hallmarks of the Early Church was the transformation that took place in the hearts of the disciples.  Standing before the Risen Lord, they were freed from the fear of sin and death as they opened their hearts to the power of repentance.  Their example inspires us to call upon God for the grace we need every day to walk in the light His love.

Mass Readings – 3rd Sunday of Easter

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


Easter Day: The Lord is Risen! He is risen, indeed. Catholic Inspiration

The resurrection of Jesus brings hope and life as we turn away from our sins and embrace the living Lord.  No matter what’s happened in the past, may we draw strength from God’s love and walk in the light of Christ’s amazing grace.  The Lord is risen!  He is risen, indeed.

Mass Readings – Easter Day

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


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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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

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