Tag Archives: Repent

Ash Wednesday: Make it a powerful Lent. Catholic Inspiration

The ashes on our foreheads invite us to repent of the sins that keep us from God and one another.  Through fasting, prayer and almsgiving we have powerful tools that can open our hearts and transform our lives in this great season of Lent.

Mass Readings – Ash Wednesday

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1st Sunday of Lent: Repent and believe in the Good News

Study:  Start out this Lent with a good Examination of Conscience.

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the grace to repent.

Serve:  Consider a practical way you can bring “good news” to someone in your life.

Mass Readings – 1st Sunday of Lent

Mark’s Gospel is direct and to the point:

Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:  “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel.”  (Mark 1: 14-15)

It’s time.  Maybe you got a late start to Lent, maybe it caught up on you before you were ready.  Maybe you’ve been ready, but you needed that little push – that extra kick – to get started and make a change.

It’s not complicated.  Is there something that’s keeping us from God or one another?  Is there something that needs to be different in our words and actions?  Does the pattern of our lives need to be altered toward the Lord’s goodness?  Two simple steps:

  • Repent
  • Believe in the Good News

In the first reading the rainbow is a sign from God that never again will the world be flooded with waters of destruction.  The covenant with Noah is a built on hope: life is worth saving, worth fighting for, worth dying for, and worthy of the ultimate sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.  Once we recognize God’s faithfulness, we can more easily let go of past sins and temptations – turning to the one who love’s us completely.

Is there anything holding us back from the Lord?  Now is a good time to honestly assess our lives, cast out what does not belong, and call upon the grace of Jesus Christ.

After all, he brings Good News – and once we’ve left our sins behind, we can embrace the joy that flows from Heaven.

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3rd Sunday of the Year: Repent and believe in the Gospel.

Study:  Recall a time when you made a serious mistake.  What steps did you take to make it right?  Do you have any unfinished work that needs to be done?

Pray:  Saying “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” can be very difficult; don’t try it alone!  Ask the Lord for the grace and strength.

Serve:  How can you help another on the path to repentance?  How might you encourage people to seek healing and forgiveness?

Mass Readings – 3rd Sunday of the Year

Remember back in elementary school when we all learned long division?  Perhaps you remember some of those really long problems that took a whole sheet of paper to write?  I recall the excitement when I found the answers at the end of the book, only to have my hopes crushed when the dreaded words “show your work” were part of the instructions…

To demonstrate the exercise our 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Tempesta, would put a problem on the chalk board and demonstrate line by line, showing the work and how the process repeats until you made your way through the entire problem.  At the end you would have the answer, with all the work to prove it.

I remember asking Mrs. Tempesta what would happen if you made a mistake early on in the process.  She smiled and repeated the problem along side the original – with one tiny mistake.  The wrong answer at the end of the work glared at our class; when we asked what do you do if your answer doesn’t match the solution in the book, she replied, “You have to start at the beginning, find your mistake, and rework a new solution.”

Welcome to repentance.

We all make mistakes: we say things we can’t take back; do things we regret; allow things to happen that we’d give anything to erase.  And while we can’t change the past our faith tells us that we have a process that can bring healing and restore relationships.  Like long division, we find our mistakes, REPENT, and rework a solution that follows a new path of behavior.

The words “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” are some of the most powerful in any language.  The first reading and the Gospel today are especially adamant that we take them to heart – repenting of our sins and choosing a Godly path that brings healing to our lives.  Remember: God never gives up on us!  The process looks like this:

  • We run through our own personal examination of conscience
  • We admit it – perhaps directly or in the Sacrament of Confession
  • We are sorry for the hurt we have done, acknowledging our sins/mistakes
  • We do our part to make it right – doing what we can to fix and heal
  • We call upon God’s healing grace and strength

Perhaps it’s been awhile since we stepped into a confessional.  Perhaps it’s been awhile since we have honestly looked into our hearts.  Today we can take a moment to look inside, see what doesn’t belong, and make the move to repent of our sins and turn to the Lord.  May we see in the example of Jonah and Jesus today that we have hope; God keeps calling – inviting us to turn away from sin and embrace the Good News.

And if you are looking for some help in checking out your heart, try these options for an Examination of Conscience.

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Note: This post was originally published on January 19, 2015.


2nd Sunday of Advent: Prepare the way of the Lord…in your heart. Catholic Inspiration

The prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled in John the Baptist to “prepare the way of the Lord” for the coming of Jesus.  Advent offers us the opportunity to make our own preparations as we repent, reconcile and look for the holy.

Mass Readings – 2nd Sunday of Advent

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Daily Mass: Responding to the sign of the times. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – Friday of the 29th Week of the Year

Jesus reminds us that just as we pay attention to the signs of the weather, so we also respond to the signs within our heart.  St. Paul carries this point further as he recognizes sin and calls upon the Lord for the strength to live in faith.

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23rd Sunday of the Year: Watch, Look and Listen

Study:  When was a time when I failed to speak up?  When was a time I failed to listen?

Pray:  Call upon the Lord for the wisdom to know when to speak and when to take heart to the words of another.

Serve:  Is there someone in my life right now that I am called to speak to?  Or listen to?

Mass Readings – 23rd Sunday of the Year

Do you remember the Aesop’s fable “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” that we used to hear as children? It is a simple yet profound tale. A young boy is given the responsibility to watch over the animals in the event of an attack from the wolves. Bored of his duties he calls out “Wolf!” and laughs as the area villagers come running.

Delighted with his game the boy cries “Wolf!” a few more times, each time getting the attention of the people. Finally disgusted with his actions they no longer respond, even when a real wolf shows up and attacks the child; his failure to keep watch prevented his message from being heard.

In the first reading today Ezekiel says that being a prophet is a lot like being a watchman. The watchman was responsible for protecting the people from bandits and wild animals. The watchman was required to stay alert, remaining vigilant and ready to call out in a moment’s notice should danger arise.

If danger came, and the watchman failed to alert the people, then the watchman was at fault. But if the watchman called the alarm and no one came, then the people were at fault. Simply put, if the watchman does his duty and no one comes, then those who hear the warning and fail to respond are held accountable.

Likewise, anyone who hears a word of encouragement or guidance and fails to respond is also accountable. Ezekiel, the Psalm, and the Gospel today all point out that there are times when we must open our hearts to messages that we may not want to hear. We may be tempted to “harden our hearts.”

Let’s face it. No one wants to be told what to do. No one wants to be disciplined or chastised; we love our freedom and independence too much for that! Yet there are times when the Church is empowered to keep watch, lest members of the community drift into choices and actions which are harmful and destructive.

This is not easy! The scriptures today alert us to the fact that there are moments when we may be asked to either give or receive a hard word out of love. We might have to give it – to help another from making a mistake. We might have to receive it – and allow another to help us from falling into trouble. Keeping watch is never easy, but without the support of each other, we run the risk of a far greater harm.

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Daily Mass: Seek the Lord with all your heart. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – Friday of the 1st Week of Lent

Jesus invites his disciples to seek God above all else, turning away from sin and making a change deep within our hearts.

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