Tag Archives: Sin

25th Sunday of the Year: Grace to face the challenges in life

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Study:  Recall a time when you were overwhelmed by difficulty.  What got you through it?

Pray:  Call upon the Lord for the courage and strength to face your challenges.

Serve:  Is there someone you know who is struggling?  How can you offer your support?

Mass Readings – 25th Sunday of the Year

Don’t you wish life would always be easy?  Wouldn’t it be great if challenges and obstacles disappeared with a simple thought?  What’s more, how about if evil, darkness, fear, and violence would vanish from the face of the earth?

I know: I will now wake up from my pleasant dream.  Since the dawn of creation evil and sin have been part of our world, and for this very reason Jesus Christ died and rose.  The death and resurrection of the Lord confronts the darkness  and shines with the light of faith.

As Christians we can thus recognize two fundamental principles:

  • Evil and sin are part of the fabric of life
  • Jesus Christ offers us salvation through his victory on the Cross

Simply put, this means that we have hope in the face of difficulty.  God continues to give grace and strength, empowering us to face our fears and engage life with the faith to continue in the presence of adversity.  We know that life is hard; we know that with the Lord’s help we can carry on.

Where do you find darkness and evil in your life right now?  Where do the difficulties and obstacles present themselves?  Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge these pitfalls and recognize how they tempt and distract us.

For the minute we understand our struggles, we are equipped with the knowledge to petition the Lord for the help we need.  What’s more, as we understand the struggles of those around us, we can reach out with love of Christ to support one another with sincerity and genuine assistance.

May we honestly confront the challenges of life, trusting in the Lord for the grace we need.

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Catholic Inspiration Archives

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Note: This post was first published on September 15, 2015.


10th Sunday of the Year: The problem is sin, the solution is Christ. Catholic Inspiration

Our faith acknowledges the presence and power of sin in our world today.  Temptation is all around us, working to ensnare us and lead us astray.  The solution?  Jesus comes into our world to free us from the chains of sin and lead us into the grace that only God can provide.

Mass Readings – 10th Sunday of the Year

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


10th Sunday of the Year: Christ gives us the grace we need.

Study: Recall a time when you had to confront your sinfulness.  What were the obstacles you faced?

Pray: Consider adding an Examination of Conscience to your daily prayer.

Serve: How can you extend mercy and forgiveness to others right now?

Mass Readings – 10th Sunday of the Year

There are a number of themes that surface in the Scripture readings this week:

  • 1st Reading – Adam and Eve before the Lord in their sin; the Lord’s command to the serpent
  • Psalm – “With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.”
  • 2nd Reading – The spirit of faith sustains us in the challenges of life and guides us to Heaven
  • Gospel – Jesus interacts with the scribes, his relatives and the disciples

Sin is real.  While we do not live in a world that wants to call attention to the times when we choose something contrary to the will and commandment of God, we know by experience and observation that it happens everyday.  What’s more, we often find ourselves hearing a thousand different excuses for the shortcomings and failures of those around us…offering every possible reason why:

  1. it’s not our fault
  2. it’s someone else’s fault
  3. it’s not really a big deal
  4. everyone else is doing it so I might as well
  5. it’s not a problem if you are not caught

and so it goes…

Yet what we find in the first reading is a clear acknowledgement of the sin of Adam and Eve through the temptation of the serpent.  In their weakness our first parents fell from grace and transmitted original sin into the spiritual DNA of humanity.  In our moments of humble insight we understand just how wounded we are and how easy it is to slip into behaviors that lead us away from God and one another.

The Lord, however, does not leave us in this plight alone.  Rather, the Psalmist reminds us that the Lord extends mercy upon us, and St. Paul teaches that the spirit of faith empowers us to face the trials of this life with the gift of grace.

The source of this grace is found in Jesus Christ, who claims us as his family through our willingness to do the will of the Heavenly Father.  In other words, God sends his Son to give us the help we need to return to Him!

Yes there is sin.  But we draw near to the one who overcomes the power of sin and restores what was lost.  May we call upon God for the grace we need to acknowledge our sins, accept the Lord’s mercy, and live in the light of Jesus Christ!

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

Photo Credit: Son of God, 2014.


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.


4th Sunday of Lent: Love that casts out darkness. Catholic Inspiration

The love of Jesus is a light that shines in the darkness of our world.  As we draw near to Christ we open our hearts and allow his love to fill and flow through our lives.

Mass Readings – 4th Sunday of Lent

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


Daily Mass: We build on Christ the cornerstone. Catholic Inspiration

The story of Joseph and the parable of the vineyard owner’s son reveal the capacity for evil that exists in every human heart.  In our need we build our lives upon Jesus Christ, the cornerstone who comes to free us from our sins and lead us into a life of grace.

Mass Readings – Friday of the 2nd Week of Lent

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

Photo credit: Son of God, 2014. 


Daily Mass: The Lord comes to call sinners. Catholic Inspiration

When asked why he eats with sinners and tax collectors, Jesus offers a powerful response, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.  I have not come to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners.”  As we acknowledge our sins and seek repentance we, too, receive the Lord’s saving mercy.

Mass Readings – Saturday after Ash Wednesday

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts