contents Ash Wednesday | 2 First Sunday of Lent | 7 Second Sunday of Lent | 15 Third Sunday of Lent | 23 Fourth Sunday of Lent | 31 Fifth Sunday of Lent | 39 Palm Sunday | 47 Holy Triduum | 51-53 Easter Sunday | 55 Divine Mercy Sunday | 63
ash wednesday Joel 2:12-18 | Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14, and 17 | 2 Corinthians 5:20–6:2 | Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Here I am, again with ashes on my forehead being reminded of my poverty on this first day of Lent. Since we last celebrated Easter nearly a year ago, we as a church have faced our poverty, especially through the church scandals that arose in August. The reality of sin and brokenness was undeniable and more so than ever before. We were encouraged to fast and pray for healing and conversion. That healing and conversion is needed too in my own heart. Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of Lent. Jesus, where do you want to work in my heart in these forty days? Help me to see what part of my heart stirs you to concern and where you take pity (cf. Joel 2:18). I know, deep down, it is in that place where you will meet me in your abundant compassion (Psalm 51:3) and will be rich in kindness (Joel 2:13). Sometimes facing the reality of sin leads me down a dead-end road of self-reliance by trying to earn my salvation through good Lenten practices like fasting and almsgiving. Please help me to rely on you as I seek to return to you with my whole heart (cf. Joel 2:12). Thus, may any prayer commitment, sacrifice, or charitable service be out of love for you and the joy of a deeper encounter with you through this year’s Lenten resolution.
Why is it important for me to receive ashes today? What do they mean for me at the beginning of Lent? In what way will I seek to make space in my heart for an encounter with Jesus? Find some way to grow closer to the Lord during these forty days of Lent.
sr. tatum mcwhirter Apostles of the Interior Life
thursday after ash wednesday Deuteronomy 30:15-20 | Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6 | Luke 9:22-25 Today at the beginning of our Lenten journey, the Lord meets us and gives us a great choice, perhaps the only choice we are ever given: the choice between life and death. “The blessing and the curse…life and prosperity, death and doom…” These are not metaphors or exaggerations for dramatic effect. The situation for the Israelites in the first reading is just as urgent as it is for us today! We must make the active decision to choose life. Today. Right now. This sentiment is re-echoed by Jesus in the Gospel, who in his great love urges us to pick up our cross daily and follow him. Today is all we have to pick up whatever is burdening us, bear it with courage, and embrace it along with Jesus in order to find life, and life to the full. Now take a moment to pause and gaze upon the crucified Jesus. Let him speak his words of love to you, allowing them to penetrate your heart: “Do not be afraid to choose life - to choose the cross. There is no reason to fear the way of suffering, because I have already walked it before you and I am walking with you now. My heart aches at the death that I see surrounding you, calling you to live as a slave to the world. My desire is to pull you out of that death and into life. Out of the darkness and into light. Out of fear and into freedom. So, take courage and have hope. Pick up your cross and walk with me. I love you so much.”
What is holding me back from choosing life today? Where in my life does Jesus want to set me free this Lent? Resolve today to pick up your cross and follow Jesus wherever he may lead you.
sabrina sanchez ‘19
Business Management | After graduation I plan to work in missions full-time, and eventually I would like to work in development/fundraising for a non-profit organization or a church.
march seven | 3
friday after ash wednesday Isaiah 58:1-9a | Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 18-19 | Matthew 9:14-15 Lent is a time of fasting and preparation, and the readings today focus on how we are called to a life of contrition and fasting in the name of Jesus Christ. The first reading emphasizes the differences between fasting for ourselves and fasting for God. The prophet Isaiah says we fast “to make [our] voice heard on high!” instead of actually professing our sorrow and contrition towards God. Just as we would sing out our praises to God, we are called to proclaim our failures and shortcomings by fasting with a contrite heart. Isaiah reminds us that this repentance and fasting is something that must be carried out at all times, not just in times of complete sadness or desperation. Although this constant repentance is difficult to accept and carry out, it is something we are challenged to be receptive to in our lives. We can be receptive to this by the grace of understanding that we as humans are imperfect. However, that imperfection is gratified through a life of service to Jesus Christ. A life of service can be lived out both directly and indirectly. We may give ourselves to Jesus through prayer and give of our time to the church, but we may also love and serve others as Jesus did. The first reading today maintains that in giving of ourselves to others, we are participating in the selfless fast that Jesus calls us to. We are living by his example of a selfless love. Through a life of humble and generous servitude, we are preparing our hearts to enter into full communion with Jesus just as he gave his heart to us on the cross.
How might we be receptive to Christ’s call to contrition in our lives? In what ways have I and have I not fasted for Christ? When we give of ourselves to others, who are we doing it for? Them? God? Us?
martina ricca ‘21
Psychology | I plan to be a grief and trauma counselor for children, but really, I think I’m going to end up being a stay at home mom, and I couldn’t be more excited for that.
saturday after ash wednesday Isaiah 58:9b-14 | Psalm 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6 | Luke 5:27-32 Imagine being a widow of five children. Your little boys cry every night from hunger. The water you give them is not enough to fight off the Jerusalem heat. Everything has been difficult since your husband passed. Then, he knocks on your door. He takes half of everything. You beg him to stop. You beg him for mercy, but he doesn’t show any remorse for what he does. He’s done this hundreds of times. The community of Jesus’ time would’ve known all too well what it meant for Jesus to be talking to a tax collector. It meant talking to the enemy. I imagine they were forced into this downward spiral of a life. They wonder how they got there in the first place, and still, the law continues to haunt them. They experience total darkness. There is no one to console them. All that is left is sadness and survival. At first, I found it surprising when Jesus says, “Come follow me” to the immediate response of Levi. I never respond so easily to Jesus. I fight and weigh the costs. I hesitate because I am afraid of what Christ might ask of me. I don’t see the need to respond so quickly. But, in imagining Levi’s life it makes perfect sense. Levi had nothing left to weigh. He knew he was a sinner because he had heard it from the voices and stones of the entire world. He had nothing to defend himself from the “light that shall rise…in the darkness.” In the recognition of his total depravity, he was prepared for the Savior. The earnings of his dark past turned into a “great banquet” of thanksgiving. And with him, “a large crowd of tax collectors” came forth. Jesus came to heal the sick, not the healthy.
This Lent, may we exclaim to Jesus with our whole heart, “answer me, for I am afflicted and poor.” Because, as we see in the Gospel today, it is only those that know they are broken who see the call of Jesus.
john paul hernandez ‘19
Mechanical Engineering | After graduation, I hope to serve the church as a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionary followed by a career as a project manager. But above all, I hope to serve as a loving father.
march nine | 5
photo by CASSIE STRICKER â€˜19
God alone deserves our worship
first sunday of lent Deuteronomy 26:4-10 | Psalm 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15 | Romans 10:8-13 | Luke 4:1-13 Today is the first Sunday of Lent. This Season recalls Jesus’ forty days in the desert where he overcame the devil through prayer, fasting, and a virtuous life. Today’s Gospel (Luke 4:1-13) tells the story of the temptations of Jesus in the desert. After Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, the Holy Spirit led him into the desert where he was tempted by the devil. Every temptation is an incitement from the devil, through our evil desires, to commit sin: “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire conceives and brings forth sin, and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15). However, Jesus had no evil desire because he is God. Jesus’ victory over the first temptation teaches us the cardinal virtue of “temperance.” Temperance is the grace that enables us to control our sensual desires, by putting our relationship with God first, since “man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3). Jesus’ victory over the second temptation teaches us the cardinal virtue of “justice.” Justice means giving to another his/her due. Justice towards God is religion: worship and adoration. God alone deserves our worship. Therefore, “you shall worship the Lord your God, him alone you shall serve” (Deuteronomy 6:13). Jesus’ victory over the third temptation teaches us the cardinal virtue of “prudence.” This is the grace that enables our practical reason to discern what is good in any situation, and to choose the right way of attaining it. Prudence teaches us that “you shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test” (Luke 4:12).
Am I doing enough to cultivate the virtues that would enable me to resist temptations? Am I doing enough to avoid situations that might lead me into temptation? Is my prayer life strong enough to enable me to overcome or recover quickly from temptation?
fr. augustine ariwaodo Associate Pastor of St. Mary’s
march ten | 7
monday of the first week of lent Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18 | Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 15 | Matthew 25:31-46 “And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” How easy is it to forget about those we don’t want to see? I find my problem is much less often not noticing the needs of others around me but rather not wanting to do anything about it, and I think many of us struggle with the same thing. If we don’t want to help or can’t help, the easiest thing to do is to avoid the issue and ignore the need. God calls us higher though. He challenges us in the readings today to do more; to go the extra mile. He says earlier, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” a straightforward yet incredibly difficult command. When we hurt, we want others to notice. In our need, nothing fulfills us more than someone else stepping in to help us. We should do the same for others.
Lent is a season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Almsgiving, often misunderstood, is giving whatever you have to give to fill a need, not just money. Take this time to go the extra mile, to not just see the need, but acknowledge it and do what you can to meet it. In meeting the needs of others, in loving them as you love yourself, you’ll begin to encounter our suffering Lord in all of them and comfort him on his way to the cross.
thomas snyder ‘21
tuesday of the first week of lent Isaiah 55:10-11 | Psalm 34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19 | Matthew 6:7-15 God’s word is like refreshing rains for our parched souls. In the first reading from Isaiah, God shows us that his word comes to us like water from the heavens and makes our souls “fertile and fruitful.” God’s word gives us the strength and ability to serve him (“seed to the one who sows”), but also sustenance and rest amidst our trials (“bread to the one who eats”). His word forms us and enables us to bear fruit for him. Then, in the Gospel, Jesus Christ shows us how to use our own words to glorify God. Jesus teaches us not to be prideful or extravagant in our prayers but to look to the loving and forgiving words he gives in the Our Father. Jesus’ prayer is simple and humble. The words of Jesus, like that of God the Father, nourish and fertilize our souls so that we can bear fruit with our own speech. Without the words of the Holy Trinity, our souls can become exhausted and fruitless. Our minds can become parched for truth. Only the Trinity can satisfy this spiritual thirst. Through the word of God in Scripture, personal prayer, and the Mass, we can find the strength and knowledge to do God’s will. The words of the Trinity should form our own words. Let us pray that the word of God guides all of our prayers, thoughts, and actions so that the goodness that God abundantly provides for us “may not return to [him] void.”
Do I savor the life giving waters of God’s word in Scripture, prayer, and the Mass? Do I allow the words of Jesus, the Word made flesh, to form my own speech and prayer?
noah thompson ‘19
Psychology with a Business Minor | I am in the process of applying to seminary for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, and I hope to serve Jesus well there and potentially as a priest in his church!
march twelve | 9
wednesday of the first week of lent Jonah 3:1-10 | Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19 | Luke 11:29-32 In today’s Gospel Jesus says to the crowds, “This generation is an evil generation, it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given to it.” We can see ourselves in this mentality even today as so many of us have been accustomed to instant gratification. We post on social media and immediately know how we are received. The good feeling we get from being accepted in these situations comes without hesitation. In our spiritual life, we tend to want to rely on intensity and passion in order to grow in our relationship with God, but we often forget that prayer is not about how we feel. Prayer is a gift of grace that requires a determined response on our part, and that response requires effort. We know that prayer is good and we know that daily prayer helps orient our hearts toward that which is virtuous and pure, but why do we struggle against something that is so simple and good? It is imperative to keep in mind that the path to holiness is continuous but it is not linear. It is a process in which consistency is greater than intensity. In order to grow in consistency, we must learn to love the process and recognize the small strides we make in our faith. The people of Nineveh found faith when they heard Jonah preach. They did not need a spectacular conversion moment. They understood that faithfulness is remembering in the darkness what they learned in the light. It is a decision and a will to show up and be with the Lord. Later in the Gospel Jesus says, “At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.” That something greater is Jesus, the Son of God; he is patiently waiting to encounter you. How will you respond?
Can you recognize places in your life where Jesus is calling you to conversion? How can you learn to love the process of growing in relationship with God?
kate bruening ‘20
Biomedical Sciences | Unsure of my future plans, but Jesus, I trust in you.
thursday of the first week of lent Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25 | Psalm 138:1-2ab, 2cde-3, 7c-8 | Matthew 7:7-12 In the first reading, Queen Esther is crying out to God asking for his help. She is alone and says she has no one else but God. This is aligned with the Gospel when Jesus tells his disciples, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find.” Our Lord wants us to be able to take up our cross and follow him. Jesus wants us to turn to him and ask for what we need. The most beautiful thing is that he has already said yes to you; he said yes to you on the cross. Christ made the ultimate sacrifice of love to give us mercy and salvation. He loves us THAT much and wants us to go to him with a trusting heart. We need not forget to give thanks to God. Don’t just give thanks in the good times, but also rejoice in his name through trials and tribulations. It won’t always be easy, but choose him through it all. Christ is giving us a chance to take our cross, turn to him, and use those obstacles to make our lives better and to teach others. At October’s Magnify, there was a talk about Christ saving you in your brokenness. That talk hit me. I reflected on a time where evil had me in its grasp and I didn’t even realize it. It was hard, but I chose to shake that evil off and trust in God. I chose to follow him to the best of my ability. I compared who I was a few months ago to the person I am now, and I couldn’t help but look at the Eucharist and see his beauty and love. I couldn’t stop crying because Christ saved me. Cry out to him and he will save you. He has done all the work of overcoming this world, we just need to trust in him.
Jesus is inviting all of us into his arms to rest. All we need to do is say YES today and every day. What is our cross? In what way are we broken? Do I truly trust in him? If not, what is stopping you? Do I live a Christ-like life in all I do?
emily llamas ‘19
Psychology | I hope to have a career that can help children or young adults spiritually, behaviorally, or in education.
march fourteen | 11
friday of the first week of lent Ezekiel 18:21-28 | Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-7a, 7bc-8 | Matthew 5:20-26 Today we are called to repentance. Oftentimes, we’re comfortable where we are and ignore this call. Jesus, however, unsettles us. As Jesus teaches us from the mount, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven unless we are truly good, and what he calls good is much more demanding than what we call good. We may believe that we’ve obeyed the command to refrain from killing if we’ve never murdered those with whom we are angry, but Jesus characterizes even anger as liable to judgement. What are we to do? Jesus advocates quickness: go and resolve the matter. We strive to settle serious matters outside of the courts to avoid prison. We should strive even more to settle spiritual matters to avoid eternal judgement. We are impelled to examine ourselves, to turn away from evil, and seek forgiveness. We can be encouraged in the midst of this self-examination. In Ezekiel, God tells us that as we turn away from our evil and towards his good, we will live. Does this story become old? Frequently, the process of turning away from sin and receiving absolution can feel like a chore. Is this the height of our faith? Are we just here to be redeemed from our sin? At times, we might not long to be free from sin but rather from the need for salvation from sin. Why must we always seek forgiveness? The psalmist hints: “With you there is forgiveness, that you may be revered.” We have no good worthy of reverence outside of God. It is not simply to enter some neutral state of being that we seek forgiveness; we must be filled with the God who is our life. Let us pray alongside the psalmist that we may wait for our life more than sentinels wait for the morning.
Do I see Jesus’ commands as a good higher than my own? Do I feel that his ways are unfair? In my anger with others, do I seek reconciliation? Will I wait for the Lord? Do I long for him? Or will I turn and walk in my own path?
PhD in Physics | I plan to work for a while in the research industry, but I would love to eventually teach physics in the long run.
saturday of the first week of lent Deuteronomy 26:16-19 | Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8 | Matthew 5:43-48 In the Old Testament it was assumed right to hate your enemy. “Loving your neighbor” was understood as loving your fellow countrymen, those whom you know and respect, or other members of the Jewish people. Now Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel, “But I say to you, love your enemies.” This is a radical teaching and must have seemed outrageous to the people of Jesus’ time, not unlike many of his teachings. But it makes sense when you really think about it. After all, if we are supposed to strive to “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect,” loving even our enemy is what we are called to as children of God. In the first reading and the psalm, this theme of being called higher is also present. Deuteronomy states, “Be careful to observe them with all your heart and your whole being.” All of these things show me that we can’t live out the Christian life halfway. We either whole-heartily follow as his disciples did or grumble and walk away like those at the feeding of the five-thousand who couldn’t truly believe in what Jesus said. Let us remember to break the mold, be bold in love for all, and follow Jesus with our entire hearts to fulfill our call as children of God.
Do you strive to follow God’s laws and commands with all of your heart? Am I loving towards all people, especially my enemies and those who are hard to love? Remember that God always keeps his promises no matter what; are you willing to receive his aid and become a true disciple?
meredith mcqueen ‘20
Human Resource Development | I hope to work as a college recruiter or something related in the human resources, but mostly I still have no idea.
march sixteen | 13
photo by CASSIE STRICKER â€˜19
find strength and faith in the promises of Christ
second sunday of lent Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18 | Psalm 27:1, 7-8, 8-9, 13-14 | Philippians 3:17–4:1 OR Philippians 3:20–4:1 | Luke 9:28b-36 Our Lord reveals himself in today’s Gospel as the fulfillment of all that Israel has hoped for while allowing his three closest disciples to see his resurrected glory. Christ does this to give them assurance of the blessing God wishes to bestow on them before descending the mountain on their journey towards Jerusalem and his imminent Passion and death. If we recall, only John remains with Jesus during his suffering and death. The others, subject to fear and timidity, abandon our Lord in his greatest need and turn away from the light of salvation in exchange for temporal security. By now, on this second Sunday of Lent, we may be experiencing similar difficulties and temptations with our Lenten observances as the desire to break our fasts are intensifying. Let us not fall prey to the temptations to give up and give in to the comforts of this world, but find strength and faith in the promises of Christ. Heed the words of reassurance we receive in the psalm to wait patiently with courage for the blessings of God. Let us keep our gaze on this glimpse of Christ’s Easter glory witnessed in the Transfiguration and ask for his assistance to endure this season of penance and sacrifice. Let us also find strength in the words of St. Paul: “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).
In what ways have I failed to observe my Lenten fast/sacrifice? In what ways can I take small steps to getting back on track? Prayerfully re-read today’s psalm. Ask the Lord for courage and patient endurance throughout this Lenten season as we await the glory of the risen Christ.
blayne jemelka ‘12
march seventeen | 15
monday of the second week of lent Daniel 9:4b-10 | Psalm 79:8, 9, 11, and 13 | Luke 6:36-38 In today’s Gospel, Christ delivers teachings on the compassion of God and love of one’s neighbor in the Sermon on the Plain. In this sermon, Christ addresses some of the faults of our fallen human nature and instructs how the love and plan of God can be fulfilled instead. Christ leads us away from focusing on the shortcomings of our fellow man and teaches us to prioritize our own holiness and righteousness which we learn from the love of the Father. Just as God does not deal with us according to our sins, neither should we deal with our brethren according to their sins. Christ came to us not only to bring the law as the prophets did, but to fulfill the law. Just as the law of God’s people was fulfilled from written laws and codes to Christ Jesus, so should we fulfill the commandments Christ taught in our lives. It is not enough that we know or agree with the Gospel, but that we believe it and that belief is lived out through our works and human interactions. In our age we see both the legalism of the Pharisees in modern Christians and apathy for God’s law from growing secularism. In this time of Lent where we leave and abandon many things, we must make sure we never abandon the law of God. Further, our lives are a witness to the fulfillment of the law Christ has brought us.
How have I been true to God’s law this Lent? In following the law do I feel like I am fulfilling Christ’s instruction? Have I focused more on other’s faults than my own attainment of virtue?
jacob mangold ‘20
Mechanical Engineering | I plan to build the domestic church and be part of a Catholic community.
solemnity of saint joseph 2 Samuel 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16 | Psalm 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, and 29 | Romans 4:13, 16-18, 22 | Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24a OR Luke 2:41-51a Today, the church celebrates the solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary. This is the feast day of St. Joseph. In the Gospel today, Joseph finds out that his betrothed, Mary, is pregnant and knows that it is not his child. He plans to break off the betrothal, but angels come to visit Joseph and explain to him that Mary is pregnant by the love of the Holy Spirit with a Son. This Son “will save his people from their sins.” Perhaps one of the most interesting things about Joseph is that, throughout the entirety of the Bible and New Testament, he does not say a single word. His silence is not for his lack of holiness; rather, his silence allows his actions to speak even louder. This pure devotion to the Lord that Joseph has can be seen throughout this Gospel - he does not question the Lord, but rather does as he is told. In this way, we should emulate St. Joseph’s obedience to God and not question his will. We see how to do this throughout the Acts of the Apostles - the apostles give up their possessions and live in community with one another as children of God as Jesus commanded them. Today, however, this seems to not be so easy. We often run into many obstacles in our everyday lives that hinder our ability to see God and his will. Unfortunately, we often stop there. Instead, we must persevere through the many distractions of everyday life: cell phones, social media, idle words, etc. and find God in everything we do. The more distracted we are, the harder it is to see the signs that he places before our eyes and the more resistant we often become to him when he does call us.
Is my will aligned with God’s? How can I better follow the path that Jesus laid for us? How can I be more obedient to God? What call of God am I resisting? Why? If God were to command me tomorrow, would I obey no matter what it was?
mitchell weaver ‘19
Aerospace Engineering | I plan to hopefully enter the workforce this May!
march nineteen | 17
wednesday of the second week of lent Jeremiah 18:18-20 | Psalm 31:5-6, 14, 15-16 | Matthew 20:17-28 Growing up, I was pretty shy. I remember my mom had to force me to go to CCD because, not knowing any of the other children yet, I was terrified to go in alone. My mom has pushed me out of my comfort zone several times in life, and rarely were they ever situations that I wanted to be pushed into. In each instance, however, I found that things would go much differently than I expected. I wonder if James and John felt this way when their mother requested that they sit at Jesus’ right and left. They just listened to Jesus predict his Passion for the third time, and now their mother is asking him for her sons to have a place right beside him in his kingdom. It must have been a little scary to commit to drinking from the same cup as a man who has just foreshadowed his own death. Perhaps it sounds like the mother of James and John is just seeking glory for her sons. But, like any mother, she wants the absolute best for her boys, and she sees that the “best” for James and John is to be as close to Jesus as possible. I eventually saw that this was what my mom was doing. She could see the good in being uncomfortable that I couldn’t. This Lent, let us embrace being uncomfortable to grow closer to Jesus. Let us become aware of what our hearts truly desire so that when Jesus asks us, “What do you wish?” we may have the grace to let our Blessed Mother guide us closer to her Son. Let us leap out of our comfort zones to embrace the life God has in store for us.
What do I desire from this Lenten season? Is it closeness to Jesus? Am I hesitant to let God pull me out of my comfort zone? How can I let Jesus draw me closer so that I may sit right beside him in his kingdom?
morgan knobloch ‘20
Communication | After graduation, I hope to find a career that allows me to combine my passion for writing and love for people through managing communications for a church, non-profit, or school district.
thursday of the second week of lent Jeremiah 17:5-10 | Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4, and 6 | Luke 16:19-31 “In a year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.” In the midst of a drought in our lives, it is tempting to allow despair and doubt to fill our hearts and to rely on our own strength to get us through it. While in the midst of my own drought last year, the questions I asked Jesus over and over again were: Why did you send me out here to endure this drought alone? Why did you think I could handle this? I allowed doubt to fill my heart, and I believed that the only way I was going to get through it was on my own. When we attempt to take our trials into our own hands, we struggle through them and end up failing. God does not call us to struggle through the drought alone. He calls us to unite our sufferings to the cross and trust in him completely. Even if we feel that our situation is hopeless, our Father is incredibly gentle. He will never give us more than we can handle and does not desire useless sufferings for us. He will always bear fruit through every trial we face. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is in the LORD.” Do not be afraid to ask Jesus to help you trust in him completely. In trusting him, we open up our hearts to receive growth in patience, wisdom, and strength to overcome the most difficult trials we face in our lives.
Where in your life is Jesus calling you to trust in him? What fruit has Jesus given to you through the trials you have faced?
adriana martinez ‘19
Electrical Engineering | I will be interning with Chevron in California this summer and hope to return with them full-time when I graduate in the fall.
march twenty-one | 19
friday of the second week of lent Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a | Psalm 105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21 | Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46 One of my favorite children’s books is Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors. As a child, we were already learning how much each of us are called to be different. The favorite son of Jacob, Joseph, enjoys abundant blessings as we do with our Father in heaven. However, that becomes a cause for jealousy in his family. Persecuted and eventually sold by his own kin, we see that simply receiving love can become a bold act. How often are we hesitant to receive love due to fear? In this reading, Joseph dares to proclaim that he is loved and known, as we should. We can do this today by living vulnerably and chasing authenticity. Joseph is often called the dreamer. Not only because of his ability to interpret dreams, but because he had high aspirations for his life. All of us do! We are not called to live normally. We are called to be who God created us to be, boldly and completely. We can be bold by sharing our hearts. If you feel joy, show it! If there are parts of you that you want to change, share that with others as well. Humans are complex, beautifully broken creatures. We desire authentic relationships, ones that require dedication and depth. Fear of being vulnerable is what keeps these relationships from us. Like Joseph, know that you are loved. Know that you love being loved, and wear your heart on your sleeve. Your Father is giving you gifts, and he desires your happiness. Allow his sacrifice to wash away fear of the unknown, leading you to leap into an authentic life as his child. He wants to help you achieve all your dreams, if only you will let him in and live boldly.
How can you open your heart more in prayer? How are you being called to vulnerability in your relationships? What dream is God calling you to pursue?
emelie gulde ‘22
Mays Business | I hope to specialize in supply chain management and eventually move to San Antonio.
saturday of the second week of lent Micah 7:14-15, 18-20 | Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12 | Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 The parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the strongest images of the sacrament of reconciliation. We often find ourselves in the position of the Prodigal Son - confident we can succeed on our own without the help of our Father. Sometimes we feel confined by rules of our parents and want to liberate ourselves by going off on our own. Yet, we are not called to walk alone. There comes a time when we, like the Prodigal Son, fall and reach a low point. It is then that we have to admit our mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and come home. However, this is easier said than done. Admitting mistakes is hard. It takes courage to travel all the way back home. When the Prodigal Son approached his father, he was full of shame - feeling that he was not even worthy to be a servant of his father, let alone his son. He had a script he rehearsed of what he was planning on telling his father. Yet when he came home, his father did not rebuke him. His father was waiting for him, saw him coming, ran to him, and embraced him. It was so difficult for the son to ask for forgiveness, but it was so easy for the father to forgive his son. When his son began his script, his father cut him off and immediately declared a celebration because his son who was lost had been found. That sort of heavenly banquet is exactly what Jesus shouts for when we ask him for forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation. Imagine all of the saints in heaven throwing a heavenly banquet for you every time you are forgiven because the Lord shared with them the good news that their beloved son or daughter has come home. Our identity as a son or daughter will never change and know that you can always come home.
Jesus is so quick to forgive us, but do you find it difficult to forgive yourself? What goes through your mind when you prepare for the sacrament of reconciliation? How do you feel when waiting in line? Do you feel like the Prodigal Son approaching his father?
kathryn oefinger â€˜19
Management of Information System & Business Honors | I graduated in December and will begin working at Deloitte in Dallas, TX this fall.
march twenty-three | 21
photo by ANTONETTE JEMELKA
we are expected to thrive
third sunday of lent Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15 | Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 11 | 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12 | Luke 13:1-9 “The Lord is kind and merciful” and demanding! These readings are very challenging today, and as we begin this reflection, it is appropriate to remember this quote from St. Josemaria Escriva: “I am asked for very little compared to how much I am being given.” And what does God give us? Deliverance from Egypt, i.e. slavery to sin. He has “witnessed [our] affliction” and “heard [our] cry of complaint” (Exodus 3:7). Jesus has “come down to rescue [us]” and to lead us into “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8). Jesus saves us from sin and death and leads us to heaven! Eternal life is certainly worth whatever it is that God asks in return. But, God not only asks that we bear fruit; he expects us to bear fruit (Luke 13:6). He does not want the bare minimum of receiving our sacraments and attending Mass on Sunday (1 Corinthians 10:2-5). Yes, Jesus dies on the cross and frees us from sin, but that is just like the Israelites going through the Red Sea. A lot of desert is still between us and the Promised Land (heaven). But like the fig tree in the Gospel, we are not asked to simply survive; we are expected to thrive. God makes possible this thriving through the gift of his grace, but we cannot store it away. It must be made manifestly visible, like the fruit on a tree. That is why the tree is planted: to bear fruit for others, not for itself. And that is why we have been created and given grace: to draw others to Jesus just as we have been. This seems difficult. We see that the journey from the Red Sea to the Promised Land is hard. We worry if we even have enough strength to make it on our own, much less trying to bring others with us. But that is why we are here; we are called to bear fruit. We should remember that “the Lord is merciful and gracious” (Psalm 103:8). Let us ask the Lord to “cultivate the ground” around us so that we may bear fruit (Luke 13:8-9).
Meditate upon the unmerited gift of your salvation. Make an act of thanksgiving to Jesus who “loved you and gave himself up for you” (Ephesians 5:2). What tree (who) bore fruit in your life and drew you to Jesus? Thank God for that person. Pray about who in your life needs you to bear fruit in order to be drawn closer to Jesus.
kevin pesek ‘10
Campus Minister & Director of RCIA
march twenty-four | 23
solemnity of the annunciation Isaiah 7:10-14, 8:10 | Psalm 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 11 | Hebrews 10:4-10 | Luke 1:26-38 “God is with us!” The reality that God became human is one of the greatest mysteries of our faith. How much must the Father love us if he sent us his only Son, knowing the humiliation and death Jesus would face? God is capable of everything, yet for our sake became powerless and chose to dwell in the womb of a young virgin. Jesus’ entrance into humanity means that he lowered himself to experience all that we experience. He is there in our loneliness and feelings of abandonment, our wearied efforts to earn love, our search for truth in places it can’t be found, and in our inability to comprehend who God is. In today’s readings, God opens his people’s eyes to see that he is not a distant judge or a disappointed ruler; God is a loving Father who desires to intimately unite himself to our brokenness. The glory of the Annunciation and each moment after is that Jesus cries out for you and speaks to your heart: “Behold I come.” He comes as an infant, dependent on human hands, to show us that we can become one with him. He comes to embrace us where we are and to tell us that our identity as beloved is not something we can earn, but a gift freely given in our baptism, where we receive the identity of Jesus himself. He comes to offer us Divine Mercy so that when we continue to fail, we can remain hopeful that his arms of healing are open wide. He comes even to be humiliated and put to death on a cross, so that sin is defeated and we have the invitation to resurrected life. The glory of this Lenten season is that Jesus is inviting us to turn to the Father with the same assurance of our belonging and say to him, “Behold, I come to do your will.”
Are there parts of my heart that I haven’t allowed Jesus to come into? Do I believe that God simply desires to come to me, be with me, and in that simplicity has the power to transform me? How is Jesus preparing me to live in the grace of his resurrection?
tori badillo ‘20
Public Health | I plan to go to nursing school after graduation and continue living mission wherever Jesus leads me.
tuesday of the third week of lent Daniel 3:25, 34-43 | Psalm 25:4-5ab, 6 and 7bc, 8-9 | Matthew 18:21-35 In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the servant who is forgiven a large debt by his master but then turns around and refuses to forgive a much smaller debt owed to him by another. How often are we like that first servant - freely receiving forgiveness from Jesus for even our most grave sins, but then quickly turning to others and often struggling to forgive them for relatively minor transgressions? Although we will never fully comprehend the mercy God shows us, we cannot even begin to understand his forgiveness until we ourselves show forgiveness to others. Jesus reminds us in today’s Gospel that we will only receive forgiveness to the extent we ourselves give it; we cannot receive what we do not give. In fact, every time we recite the Our Father, we pray to God “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Forgiving those who hurt us is not always easy, but it is always necessary. Peter, sharing in our humanity and the challenging nature of forgiveness, questions how many times he must forgive others. Jesus tells him to forgive “not seven times but seventy-seven times.” In the Bible, the number seven is highly symbolic, signifying completeness, totality, and abundance. The idea of forgiving not just seven, but seventy-seven times highlights to us that God’s mercy is so incomprehensibly and absolutely infinite. In his infinite mercy, the Father patiently forgives us seventy-seven (or more!) times. Perhaps he has forgiven you for many sins, or maybe even the same sin many times. As long as we ask for it, the Father’s mercy is inexhaustible and he will continue to lovingly extend his forgiveness to us time and time again. Do we do the same with others? Give thanks to the Lord for all of the times he has forgiven you, and pray to receive the grace to extend forgiveness to people in your life. The psalm today reminds us: “He shows sinners the way.” Look to the forgiveness he shows you, and strive to show that same forgiveness to others.
Where has Jesus shown me forgiveness and how has that forgiveness transformed me? Is there someone in my life I need to extend forgiveness to? Is a lack of forgiveness on my part limiting my ability to fully receive the forgiveness of the Father?
amanda horton ‘21
Business Honors & Management | I am still figuring my future out - please pray for me as I continue to discern the Lord’s will in my life!
march twenty-six | 25
wednesday of the third week of lent Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9 | Psalm 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20 | Matthew 5:17-19 In today’s Gospel, Jesus is teaching about the law. He tells his disciples that no one should misunderstand why he has come. He came to accomplish the law’s purpose, which is to show that God’s laws were given to help people love God with all their hearts and minds. Jesus even goes further to mention that the smallest detail of his law will not disappear until its purpose is achieved. The people who ignore the law and teach others to do the same will be called “least” in the kingdom of heaven, and the people who teach the commandments will be called “greatest” in the kingdom of heaven. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”” (Mark 12:30-31). In order to love others, we must love God first, correct? We must follow what he tells us and obey what he wants for us. Your actions do not go unnoticed and can influence all the people around you and the church. If you live your life through the Scriptures and through the love of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, you can be the example to others in the world. These commandments summarize God’s laws, and you should let them rule your thoughts, decisions, and actions. If you are uncertain, always turn to prayer and ask God for guidance on how to love God and others through any circumstances in your life.
Do I love others as Jesus loves me? Am I living out my daily life for the good of myself, others, and the church? What can I do every day to make sure I express Jesus’ love to the world?
logan yosko ‘20
Interdisciplinary Studies EC-6 | I hope to teach in a private school second grade classroom where I can share the word of God with the children.
thursday of the third week of lent Jeremiah 7:23-28 | Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9 | Luke 11:14-23 In this first reading, the Lord is inviting his people to listen to his voice and walk in the truth of being his people. How often we see the goodness of being the Lord’s people, yet we turn away from the goodness and allow our hearts to be hardened. During this season of Lent, I think the Lord is asking us to bring our hardness to him. What are the things that are making your heart hardened from the Lord? Is it wounds that you do not want to bring to him? Is it fear or guilt from some of your sin? Is it not believing fully in his mercy? Has it been a long time since you have intentionally spent time with him? The Lord is asking you to bring your wounds to him and he will heal them. Let him know where you feel guilty and invite him to redeem the situation. Read about the Lord’s mercy in other parts of the Bible. Choose for this week to spend time with the Lord. Be reminded of the goodness of the Lord. We cannot soften our own hearts; it has to be something that we bring to the Lord in complete abandonment.
Today, invite the Lord into the hardness of your heart and allow him to soften it so that you can have a fuller understanding of how he sees you and invites you to see others. During Lent it is tempting to only think of our sin and allow that to harden our hearts; instead, turn closer to the Lord and let him soften it.
abby trahan ‘20
Master’s in Public Service & Administration | I plan to pursue a career in non-profit management.
march twenty-eight | 27
friday of the third week of lent Hosea 14:2-10 | Psalm 81:6c-8a, 8bc-9, 10-11ab, 14 and 17 | Mark 12:28-34 In today’s Gospel, Jesus is asked by a scribe what the first of all the commandments is. In other words, which law is the key to all of the other laws. Jesus responds by proclaiming that we shall love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. He doesn’t just stop there, though. He goes on to say that we shall also love our neighbor as ourselves. In effect, Jesus has summarized all of the Ten Commandments in two simple phrases. The heart of the matter is this: love in action commits us to God, and love in action commits us to one another. Often times in our lives we come across people who are hard for us to love. We view love more as a “feeling” rather than a “doing,” and we limit the generosities of our hearts because we are restrained by the selfishness of our humanity. We must look to the foundations of our relationship with the Lord to better know one another. He seeks to know each of us in the way that we should seek to know the hearts of others. “Breathe God in, breathe love out” is the life anthem I have adopted over the years. In moments of recognition that we are not acting in this love, it is a beautiful reminder to pause, welcome Jesus into our space, and to re-examine what it means to live as a disciple who both accepts God’s tenderness and care and freely gives it back to the world.
Is my relationship with God my top priority? What do I prioritize over faith? Do I often respond in haste, sometimes without thinking and without the love of God? Does my heart view everyone I meet as a child of God, or do I pick and choose who is deserving of my mercy?
sarah perna ‘19
Biomedical Sciences | I plan on attending law school in the fall of 2019. I hope to pursue a career as an attorney in order to bring justice and forgiveness to areas of despair.
saturday of the third week of lent Hosea 6:1-6 | Psalm 51:3-4, 18-19, 20-21ab | Luke 18:9-14 In today’s readings, we are reminded of the merciful love that is Jesus Christ. In the Gospel, Jesus addresses a parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector. In the Pharisee, we see overwhelming pride that takes away from the gift of seeing the beauty in others. In the tax collector, we see a man who is aware of the wounds in his heart and desires God’s mercy. The question we need to ask ourselves is: Are we aware of the wounds in our own hearts? In the Gospel, it is evident that the tax collector acknowledges his sins while the Pharisee does not. Instead, the Pharisee only focuses on the beauty of his righteousness. While Jesus desires us to see the beauty he created within us, he also asks us to open our hearts to our wounds so that he himself can provide healing. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Jesus invites us to live this portrayal of the tax collector and humble ourselves before him because he is waiting for us with open arms. After reflection, if you find that you are more like the Pharisee and only focus on your own righteousness, I encourage you to “return to the Lord.” You need to raise your eyes to heaven and invite Jesus into your heart so that he may bind your wounds. However, if you find that you are more like the tax collector, it is time to accept the forgiveness of Jesus. Once your sins are absolved in the sacrament of reconciliation, Jesus asks that we also forgive ourselves. We need to push past our feelings of unworthiness and be thankful for his merciful love. In the psalm for today, we are reminded of his longing: “It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.” All Jesus asks of us is to crave his mercy. Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge the wounds in our hearts and freely offer them up to the mercy of Jesus so that he can perform his gracious works.
What are wounds in my heart that I have suppressed from Jesus? In what ways do I relate to the Pharisee and tax collector in this parable? Do I believe that I deserve God’s mercy?
katelin jacobi ‘19
Psychology | I hope to attend graduate school to attain a PhD in counseling psychology.
march thirty | 29
photo by ANTONETTE JEMELKA
he desires to meet you in your need
fourth sunday of lent Joshua 5:9a, 10-12 | Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7 | 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 | Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 Today’s Gospel passage invites us to enter into the story and to place ourselves as a character in it. The younger son squanders his inheritance on a life of dissipation - a life of complete disintegration from his father and his family. He sets out on his own determined to find success and happiness. After spending all he had, he finds himself in dire need. He feels empty, lost, confused, and alone. After experiencing this, the son comes to his senses, gets up, and goes back to his father. “While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). In our own lives, we all have moments where we move away from God the Father, where we set out on our own and end up feeling empty, lost, confused, and alone. This is what happens when we sin. We move farther away from the Father. We find ourselves in dire need and alone. We think “this can’t be all there is, there has to be more to life.” This is where God desires to meet each one of us. For those that have been running from him for a while, he sees you. For those that may have just fallen or are just having a hard time with Lent, he sees you too. He desires to meet you in your need. He wants to run to you. All he needs is for us to come to our senses and set out to return to him. While we are still a long way off, he will catch sight of us, be filled with compassion, and run to us. Today, I invite you to reflect on where you are in your relationship with God. I invite you to reflect on how this Lent is going. Maybe you have set out on your own in some way, determined to do it all on your own just to find that you feel empty, lost, and confused? God is waiting for you in that. The Father catches sight of you and runs to meet you, to embrace you, to kiss you.
In what ways have you set out on your own and distanced yourself from the Father? How did that leave you feeling? How can you allow him to run to you and embrace you?
madeline hill ‘16 Campus Minister
march thirty-one | 31
monday of the fourth week of lent Isaiah 65:17-21 | Psalm 30:2 and 4, 5-6, 11-12a, and 13b | John 4:43-54 In today’s Gospel, we witness the second sign Jesus performs in Galilee. The royal official desperately seeks Jesus’ aid in healing his ill son. He believes in Jesus and trusts in his capabilities, but he has the expectation that Jesus’ healing will look a certain way. But Jesus says, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” When have we been like the royal official? When have we been desperately seeking Christ but doubt that he is near? Are we unaware of his goodness and presence because we are only looking for him in a way we deem ideal? When the man begs Jesus to come with him, Jesus simply says, “You may go, your son will live.” The man left, fully trusting Jesus in his word. Do we fully trust in Christ’s word? The son was healed, and the whole house came to believe. When Jesus reveals himself to us, do we fully believe in him? Do we rejoice and give thanks? So often we can struggle with limiting Christ. We become lost in how we believe or want Christ to be working in our lives. We get attached to our plans and our ideas. We feel comfortable when we think we have control. When something does not go the way we expect, we can get frustrated and cry out, “Why Lord?” We forget his will for us is greater than our own. But we must trust in the One who created our hearts. Let us receive the grace to surrender. Let us see through Christ’s eyes and be receptive of his will and his love. Jesus, we trust in you.
Where do we find ourselves holding onto control instead of fully trusting in the Father? Do we desire Jesus’ will over our own? Do we doubt his presence or love for us? Do we trust his word?
shelby harris ‘19
Early Childhood Education | I hope to love and learn with the little ones!
tuesday of the fourth week of lent Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12 | Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9 | John 5:1-16
I saw water flowing, Alleluia. From the right side of the temple, Alleluia, Alleluia. In today’s first reading, the prophet Ezekiel was led to the door of the temple in Jerusalem where a mysterious spring flows from the right side of the temple. To the east of Jerusalem there is the Dead Sea, a lake whose salt content prevents the appearance of any form of life. The angel leads Ezekiel alongside the spring as it grows into a nearly unfordable river flowing into the Dead Sea, purifying the oily saline waters. The Dead Sea represents the world that has separated itself from God while the salt represents sin, which poisons everything and destroys divine life in the hearts of men. Along the river banks grew magnificent fruit-bearing trees, deeply rooted in the pure waters from the temple. How often do we ask the Lord to help us bear good fruit but then leave him at the altar on Sundays? As it is nearing the middle of the semester, school and anxiety often become our masters. We don’t spend as much time with Jesus because our studies take priority, but the Spirit and the Bride say come. Our vocation is to be a student, but our first responsibility is our souls. The only way we will be satisfied is by getting closer to the source in the Eucharist. Jesus doesn’t care how long it’s been; he is always willing to refresh you and give you a new life. Sink your roots in the Spirit, for the soul thirsts for living water that only the Lord can provide.
What do I run to when my spirit is dry? When I see my brothers and sisters bear good fruits, do I rejoice in this or do I become jealous? Where in my life can I accept God’s aid and not do things ‘by my own strength’?
allison hunter ‘20
Allied Health | I am applying to accelerated RN programs in Texas and will see where the Lord wants me to serve in the future.
april two | 33
wednesday of the fourth week of lent Isaiah 49:8-15 | Psalm 145:8-9, 13cd-14, 17-18 | John 5:17-30 In today’s first reading from Isaiah, we are met with celebration. The Lord’s people are finally able to return home to Jerusalem. While they are still exiled, they are assured by the prophet that greater times are coming. The Lord calls out to his people to show themselves, so he is able to bring justice and salvation to all. This is a joyous and hopeful occasion, yet Zion is still skeptical of the promises made, fearing that God had forgotten his people. We all go through periods wondering if God is really there; we wonder if he has forgotten his promises to us. It can be hard to stay hopeful for the real joy that God brings us when there are so many “easy” fixes for our happiness in today’s world. In periods of desolation or doubt, we can be quick to accuse God of leaving us and seek out temporary bandages for wounds that we know only God can truly heal. Immediate happiness does not mean that the wound is gone, and it can be hard to see that when the world is telling us we have been fixed. God does not forget us in the same way that a mother could never forget a child she bore. We must never forget that in times of darkness our only true salvation lies in Christ. In these times it is hopeful to remember that this, and every other battle, has already been won, and Christ is abundant in his mercy for us. We must have hope that he will lead us to true victory with him, regardless of what the world tells us happiness is.
In our own lives, what are easy “fixes” that we use instead of turning to God? What are times in your life where you have felt God did not keep his promise to you? Reflect on how he wants to meet you there.
alexandra deleon ‘19
Human Resource Development | I one day would like to create a Catholic-based business.
thursday of the fourth week of lent Exodus 32:7-14 | Psalm 106:19-20, 21-22, 2 | John 5:31-47 In today’s Gospel, Jesus addresses people who are asking, “How do we know he is telling the truth?” Because Jesus is Lord, his own word is sufficient truth and does not require outside validation. He knows his identity rests in the Father. However, in his goodness, he adjusts to those listening to him who believe it is not enough for one to testify his own cause. So, knowing their hearts, he lists those which witness to him - John the Baptist, his works and miracles, the Father, and sacred Scripture. Why does Jesus say “I do not accept human praise…”? He is exemplifying how each of us should solely search for God’s glory and not our own. Jesus is God, so his humility amongst the crowd here takes us back to the basics - the Father deserves all praise because he created that which merits praise! In properly ordering our priorities to first live a life that seeks to glorify God, we uphold the natural order of our values that God intended us to uphold. Just as the Lord alone can fully console where we hurt, he alone can fulfill where we seek affirmation. Jesus knew his identity was secure by way of the perfect love of his Father. Therefore, we can draw from the Gospel today that self-seeking is a distraction on our path to holiness. We have been totally redeemed and validated by Jesus through his life and Passion. He looks on you with a love that indicates your incredible worth. Our interior peace will be sustained by finding joy in our littleness because it reminds us that we need him. Jesus has gifted us the identity of beloved by the Father; therefore, may we cast out fear as humble servants, boldly claim our confidence that he will never leave us, and joyfully accept our shortcomings as opportunities to draw nearer to him. Today, let us encounter others with a spirit of selfless and tender love that witnesses the life of Jesus.
Why does Jesus provide testimonies about himself? What does it reveal to you about his heart and his gracious desire to meet us where we are? Who/what has witnessed the light of Jesus in your life? What areas of your life can you invite Jesus into more? What areas of your life do you desire Jesus to pour into and affirm your identity as his son/daughter?
sarah walsh ‘19
Communication & Psychology | Campus Ministry Intern | I intend on pursuing a master’s in clinical mental health counseling to walk with others in discovering the Lord’s deep desire to heal us.
april four | 35
friday of the fourth week of lent Wisdom 2:1a, 12-22 | Psalm 34:17-18, 19-20, 21 and 23 | John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30 In today’s first reading, we hear how the wicked wrongly judges the just one. And, based upon these faulty assumptions, we learn of the wicked’s plan to persecute the just (and therefore God). Today, not much has changed. As Catholics, our faith is constantly put to the test by things of this world - media, friends, even family. This persecution can be disheartening and scary to face. However, today’s psalmist reminds us that God is near to those who are suffering and rescues them from their troubles. Even though he watches over us, there will be moments in our lives that God calls us to enter into something that could bring persecution. Although this may seem counterintuitive for God to lead us on a road that includes troubles, we should not shy away from taking that path. In today’s Gospel, Jesus willingly enters Jerusalem, a city full of people seeking to arrest and kill him. He even spoke openly, drawing attention to himself, yet no one arrested him. May we be inspired by Christ’s boldness and God’s goodness to face the challenges, troubles, and persecutions of life. Let us trust in him and continue to spread the love of God through these trials. Life, without question, will have difficult moments, but are you willing to trust in God and have peace in your heart through these testing times?
Where have I been blinded by my own wickedness and erred in my judgement? Do I trust God to be near me in times of challenge? How could I trust better? What fear is keeping me from bravely entering into situations that I may be persecuted in?
morgan gable ‘19
Genetics | I am going to medical school so that I may ultimately spread Christ’s love through taking care of patients.
saturday of the fourth week of lent Jeremiah 11:18-20 | Psalm 7:2-3, 9bc-10, 11-12 | John 7:40-53 “ O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.” Today’s responsorial psalm verse is taken from Psalm 7. When praying with the readings for Mass, I rarely focus my prayer on the psalm. However, today’s responsorial psalm struck me as particularly important, especially as we begin the end of this Lenten season. Life can be exhausting. Expectations, responsibilities, due dates, assignments…There have been many times throughout college that I have wanted to just hide away from it all; to hide away from the myriad of things that call my attention and time and never seem to go away. It is particularly in these moments that I have found my greatest consolation with the Lord, in going to him in prayer. It is in these moments of exhaustion and despair that I have heard the Lord call me and invite me to take refuge in him, and it is in those moments that I recognize more clearly than ever that he is my only true refuge. However, refuge in the Lord does not mean hiding from the world. Christ calls us to embrace our crosses and follow him. He wants to carry our crosses with us, if we will but only invite him. It is in this embrace of our crosses that we may imitate our Lord and allow him to lead us to that true refuge: the Resurrection. Christ did not hide from his Passion, but embraced it fully that we may be redeemed in the Resurrection. Let us not seek refuge in the Lord as a hiding place, but rather find our full refuge and hope with our Lord in the glory of his resurrection. To him be honor and glory and power forever. Amen.
How is the Lord calling me to take up my cross and follow him for the remainder of Lent? Do I seek refuge from the world in material things or in prayer with God? In moments of despair, how can I better remember the hope of the Resurrection?
brandon bain ‘20
april six | 37
photo by CASSIE STRICKER â€˜19
Jesus condemns sin, not us
fifth sunday of lent Isaiah 43:16-21 | Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6 | Philippians 3:8-14 | John 8:1-11 When the accusers had all left, the divine Teacher remained alone with the woman. St Augustine’s commentary is beautiful: “Relicti sunt duo: misera et Misericordia - the two were left alone, the wretched woman and Mercy.” The wretchedness of man and Divine Mercy come face to face; a woman accused of a grave sin and the One who, although he was sinless, burdened himself with our sins. “Go and sin no more.” We can hear these words spoken to us every time we go to confession. Jesus condemns sin, not us. Yet we can fail to remain in his merciful love by returning to our sins. So how do we go forward and sin no more? Only divine forgiveness received with an open and sincere heart gives us the strength to resist evil and “sin no more.” Pause to contemplate this scene in prayer, this meeting of misera et Misericordia, in order to receive his mercy and leave with his strength.
Do I believe that Jesus’ words, “Neither do I condemn you,” are also true for me? How can I cooperate with God’s grace to “go and sin no more”?
fr. greg gerhart ‘09
Associate Pastor of St. Mary’s | I plan on rejoicing in the holiness that Aggie Catholics bring to the church and the world.
april seven | 39
monday of the fifth week of lent Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 OR Daniel 13:41c-62 | Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6 | John 8:12-20 In the Gospel today, Jesus says, “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” At first glance, this seems simple. Of course Jesus would reflect the Father; within the Trinity, they share the same divinity. However, Jesus does not say this simply because he was referring to the Trinity. Through this, Jesus is offering us the key to dwelling with him in heaven by being a perfect example of what we should be striving for. He is reminding us that we should be so close to the Father that those who encounter us may also encounter him through us. We are called to run towards Jesus, to be so close to him that we begin to act like him, whether that be with how we treat others, ourselves, or the joy that we carry within us. Our lives are meant to reflect Jesus and the life that he lived. While in college, I have asked myself many times: What am I being called to do? The more that I reflect on this, the more the Father reminds me that all he asks of me is to love others and to love him. He reminds me that all of us are called to be missionaries, through our baptism, in unique ways. Sometimes these ways can seem ordinary, and they rarely fit what we typically expect “missionary” to mean. More importantly though, he reminds me that it is less about what we feel we are called to do and more about the extent to which we live it out. When we choose to live our vocation out fully, we are able to truly reflect Jesus to those around us in the same way Jesus reflected the Father.
In what ways can I better reflect Jesus? Am I fully living out my vocation, even in the most ordinary tasks? Am I spending enough time in prayer with the Father asking that those who encounter me encounter him?
emma felicidario ‘20
Public Health | I hope to attend nursing school and eventually work in pediatrics.
tuesday of the fifth week of lent Numbers 21:4-9 | Psalm 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21 | John 8:21-30 We are called to have faith in God’s design. In the first reading, the children of Israel grow tired during their journey with Moses. Eventually, the children of Israel lose their patience and start complaining against their human leader and their heavenly leader - a clear lack of faith in God’s design of their journey. In response to the complaints, the Lord punishes the children of Israel by sending serpents to deliver fatal bites. Interestingly, the same people that first complained to God realize the error of their ways, repent, and urge Moses to pray on their behalf to be saved a step in the restoration of faith in God’s design and infinite power. Moses follows through with intercessory prayer, and God in his mercy responds with a solution for salvation. Even more interesting is the fact that the Lord declares that those who have been bitten will live by looking at the bronze serpent that Moses was instructed to create. How peculiar is it that the children of Israel are saved by looking upon an image of the very source of their downfall? I believe that we can learn from this action. When we fall, it is important to examine the temptation that drew us in and examine our own hearts and desires. We too can learn from the error of our ways, rise back up, and be more vigilant and faithful in the inevitable trying times. We are called to have faith in God’s identity. In today’s Gospel, Jesus declares, “For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” Similar to how the children of Israel experienced the impact of having a wavering faith in God during their journey with Moses, we too will suffer should we lack faith in his identity. Lent is a beautiful season to examine our hearts, desires, and our level of faith in the Creator. I pray that we may all have an increase in faith in God’s design and in his identity. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
When I repent, do I closely examine what caused me to fall? During the difficult times, do I complain against God or do I pray for strength and help? Do I believe and have faith that God holds the best plan for my life?
troy añora ’18 (b.s.), ’22 (phd)
PhD in Mechanical Engineering | I hope to serve and teach students as a professor who is not afraid to live out the faith in the academic and STEM community.
april nine | 41
wednesday of the fifth week of lent Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95 | Daniel 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56 | John 8:31-42 By explicitly trusting in God, Abraham recognized God’s work in his life. True descendants of Abraham understand and imitate this complete faith. Jesus’ questioners in today’s Gospel failed to identify Jesus as God and, by trying to get rid of him for their own benefit, showed that they did not share Abraham’s God-seeking heart. If we want to experience the freedom of what God wants for us, we have to let go of what enslaves us and trust God. We all yearn for freedom, often mistaking that to mean living however we want. However, our hearts are repeatedly enslaved by this definition of freedom. In this reading, Jesus recognizes what enslaves us and shows us how we can truly be free. Freedom is more than being able to choose what you want. Freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God (CCC 1731). When we are able to recognize truth, the way God intended things to be, we can intentionally direct our lives toward fulfillment in God. This ability is threatened by sin - by our tendency to satisfy our self-seeking desires. When we give into this tendency, it becomes harder for us to perceive what is true from fallacy. The way to overcome this is to root everything in Christ. To do this means to abide in God’s love for us and listen to what God invites us into. God desires this relationship with us, regardless of the sins that may hold us back. He is the truth that will set us free. “God wants our heart more than he wants our healing” (Fr. Michael Schmitz).
What prevents us from experiencing a true relationship with God? What are some common misconceptions of freedom in society?
kelly xavier ‘20
Nursing | I hope to become a pediatric nurse and work with children internationally.
thursday of the fifth week of lent Genesis 17:3-9 | Psalm 105:4-5, 6-7, 8-9 | John 8:51-59 “Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought, his portents, and the judgments he has uttered” (Psalm 105:5). In the first reading today, God establishes his covenant with Abraham. God promises Abraham a multitude of amazing and wondrous things - “I will make nations of you; kings shall stem from you.” Not only does God promise Abraham these things, but God vows to keep his covenant, “an everlasting pact,” with all of Abraham’s descendants; with us, his little ones. Sometimes I think we forget that God’s promise of everlasting life to us does not just start after we die, but rather is fulfilled every single day as we turn to God for help. It can be easy to remember the “big” promise of heaven and forget all of the “little” promises God makes to help us with all of our hardships. Whether it’s an exam, equipment breaking down, temptation, or anything else, God promises to be there for us, to help us, to love us as we struggle through it. We need these “little” ones if we are ever to reach heaven. We need to remember and have HOPE in all of God’s promises to us. Throughout this remaining time in Lent, try to remember these “little” promises every day and take hope in them. Try to remember that God not only loves us when we keep his commandments, but also when we fall. He desires and loves everything about us, especially the parts we dislike the most. “Hope, O my soul, hope…Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end” (St. Teresa of Avila).
What promises do I forget or lose hope in that God makes me every day? Do I let fear or shame of my struggles prevent me from hoping in God’s promises?
catherine dillier ‘14
Mechanical Engineering | I want to work at a Department of Defense research lab after completing my doctorate.
april eleven | 43
friday of the fifth week of lent Jeremiah 20:10-13 | Psalm 18:2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 7 | John 10:31-42 In today’s Gospel, people are trying to stone Jesus for saying the truth - that he is God. It was easy for me to point fingers and condemn their behavior, until I realized how often my words or actions say the same thing. There have been many times where I have told Jesus that he was not God through what I have said and done. Whenever I sin, I am saying that Christ is not the most important thing in my life, and I make other things gods instead. Accepting the truth that Jesus is God means making him more important than everything else. This is a radical idea that angered the Jews to the point of wanting to put Jesus to death. It is still a radical idea today to live in a way that shows that Christ is the center of your life. It is difficult, but not impossible. Many have given their lives and shown Christ to be the most important thing. The Gospel reading states that when Jesus left their midst and went across the Jordan, “many there came to believe in him” because everything John the Baptist said about him was true. Because of the testimony of another, many came to believe. We are also invited to believe and to proclaim the radical truth that Jesus is God and to show this truth through our actions.
How can I show that Jesus is God through my words and actions? Is Jesus the most important reality in my life? Why or why not?
lauren frazier ‘19
Education | I plan on becoming a teacher.
saturday of the fifth week of lent Ezekiel 37:21-28 | Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12abcd, 13 | John 11:45-56 The world and culture we live in provide endless opportunities for us to sit shell-shocked and bewildered, lacking hope in the Father’s plan for us and our world. However, the Lord’s word to his people in the first reading illuminates that promise and plan we desire to cling on to. The Lord sees the mess that his children are in, and he reassures them that a time of rejoicing and hope is coming! Divisions will be no more, the people will be delivered from their sins, and he will make a new covenant that will never end with them. How incredible for us to hear and receive this promise! In our world and our own hearts, it is clear that divisions and confusions exist. Over and over, we face darkness, struggle with the same sins, and let hope fade. But these fights are never the end of the story. The Lord comforts us in saying that the evil that clutters the world is nothing at his hands. No matter how divided and messy our life seems, our Lord comes for us with a promise of adoption. This reading serves as a wonderful reminder that only the Lord can fully cleanse us of our faults. Our culture pushes the idea of “self-help” as the best fix for our problems, but human power can only bring us so far. We need a savior to carry us the rest of the way. Today, the Lord is calling us to let him be our God and put aside our dependence on our own strength. In the midst of Lent, where our own faults are brought to light, let us allow the Lord to help us turn back to him. Let us give up our reliance on our own power and turn instead to the ever-ready help the Lord wants to bestow on us, his children.
Which struggles do I take on myself instead of asking for the Lord’s help? Do I get discouraged easily, or do I find hope in every situation? How can I fully rely upon the Lord instead of myself?
sarah gregory ‘20
Nutritional Sciences, Dietetics Track | I hope to become a registered dietician and work with impoverished communities either here in the States or abroad.
april thirteen | 45
Jesus our savior calls us to freedom
palm sunday of the lord’s passion Luke 19:28-40 | Isaiah 50:4-7 | Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24 | Philippians 2:6-11 | Luke 22:14–23:56 OR Luke 23:1-49 We enter into the Passion of our Lord today. When I was little, Palm Sunday readings used to make me really upset. How could I demand the crucifixion of Jesus? Why didn’t he shield his face from “buffets and spitting”? Why was he “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”? I couldn’t face the weakness of Jesus. I couldn’t cope with him taking my place. I did not want to be a part of the crowd who, despite demanding his crucifixion, was forgiven. There comes a point in our walk with Jesus where we are called to face our weakness and our inadequacy. Where we find ourselves on our knees in front of our crucified, suffering Lord, weak and helpless. In this moment, though we face a temptation to despair, Jesus our savior calls us to freedom. Jesus has said yes to human weakness and our inadequacy. He has spoken “to the weary a word that will rouse them” of mercy and total understanding. Jesus suffered so that he could be a king who knows the pain and the neediness of his people. He suffered to offer us complete understanding. We are called to accept our own weakness and inadequacy to understand that of others. This is the freedom we have in our weakness. The greater our weakness, the greater capacity we have to truly love. Our inadequacy becomes the fuel to enter into the victory of the cross and salvation. The love of Jesus, the truth of the cross, is not one that demands our love and that forces us to give back or earn what’s been won for us. There is no expectation. The cross is a complete and total gift. We have the freedom to live in this truth; the love of Jesus is gentle, joyful, total, and life-giving.
Do I trust that Jesus does not want me to feel shameful before his cross? How can I live in the truth that Jesus gives himself to me in total freedom? In this final week of Lent, how can I better reflect and enter into the mercy of Jesus and the Father?
katie villarreal ‘18
Political Science | Campus Ministry Intern | I plan on pursuing a career as a policy analyst for pro-life interest groups.
april fourteen | 47
monday of holy week Isaiah 42:1-7 | Psalm 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14 | John 12:1-11 In today’s Gospel, while Jesus reclined with Lazarus, Mary poured her costly perfumed oil over Jesus’ feet and dried them with her hair. Judas, who would soon betray Jesus, questioned why Mary would do such a thing. Judas only had concern for himself while Mary cared very little about herself and solely about Jesus. To Mary, anointing Jesus’ feet with costly oil was the least she could do. She loved and cared for Jesus so much that, to her, he was everything. She wanted her fierce love and devotion to be poured onto the feet of Jesus with all humility and selflessness. She didn’t care what it took to show Jesus how much she loved him. She only cared that he knew. I often find myself eager to show Jesus my love for him but unsure how to express this adequately. I want Jesus to know the depth of love that I have for him, wishing I could show my love through a tangible action like Mary did. But in seeking to prove my love, the Lord has revealed to me in prayer that he simply wants me. He wants me to come to him and simply rest in his presence. He wants me to live each day of my life with him, bringing him all of my joys and my sorrows. Jesus knows that in my drawing near to him and his Sacred Heart, I am showing both my desperate need and love for him. We must draw near to Jesus, giving him everything, especially our own messy hearts. Just as Mary poured out her love on Jesus through costly perfumed oil, may we too pour our love onto Jesus through running to him and allowing him to enter our days. For this act of love is enough for him.
What are ways that we are striving to earn his love instead of simply loving him as we are? Do we believe that the Father delights in us? Are we seeking to spend our days with Jesus, or do we let other things get in the way?
reya martinez ‘19
Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences | I hope to work at a Catholic summer camp to gain experience to someday open my own summer camp.
tuesday of holy week Isaiah 49:1-6 | Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15 and 17 | John 13:21-33, 36-38 In today’s Gospel, I feel like Peter. When Jesus says that one of us will betray him, I am “at a loss as to whom” he means. We have all followed Jesus so closely it seems impossible that there can be treachery among us. It seems impossible that he will be with us “only a little while longer.” I have left everything for the calling to follow Jesus, and yet where he goes to next I “cannot come.” And while I want to believe that “I will lay down my life” for him, Jesus knows that I will deny him three times instead. Relating to the guy who seems to trip over his own eagerness is natural for all of us. Once we’ve come to truly know Christ, we want nothing more than to serve and please him. But sometimes, like Peter, our eagerness is misplaced. Instead of focusing on the ways that Jesus will glorify God as he has promised to, we worry about where he’s going and why we can’t come along. But Jesus knows the truth that, despite all of this eagerness and worry, we will deny him. Often more than three times, we will deny him. And yet upon seeing Peter after the Resurrection Jesus does not shame him; he meets Peter with love. He meets us with that same love after we sin. Jesus knows that, in some cases, our sin can partly be misplaced eagerness and loves us despite having denied him. He knows the true intentions of our hearts and has crafted those hearts for greatness. In the first reading, we are reminded that we are to be made “a light to the nations,” despite our sin. So, when we sin and deny him like Peter or betray him like Judas, we must only turn back toward the Father to be received with love and made a light for the world.
Who am I in today’s Gospel? How can I learn from their example to better glorify Christ in my life? How have I sinned? Where have I fallen short of my calling to greatness this week? How can I better align myself with Christ during this Holy Week and in preparation for Easter?
elizabeth courtney ‘21
Political Science | I want to live out my missionary calling through pursuit of the Lord and his people in my daily life.
april sixteen | 49
wednesday of holy week Isaiah 50:4-9a | Psalm 69:8-10, 21-22, 31 and 33-34 | Matthew 26:14-25 In the first reading from Isaiah, we are given a unique call to action and are taught an imperative lesson for living out our faith. The reading discusses the importance of confidence in the Lord and total trust in who he has called us to be. As we read through it, it is easy to notice the surge of passion, of desire, that begins to form within us. It is as if God is giving us a spiritual pep talk through the prophet Isaiah, and we can have confidence in the fact that “the Lord GOD is [our] help” and we “shall not be put to shame.” It is easy to see that this passage is referring to Jesus, who is about to enter into his gruesome Passion and death. He knows that everything hangs in the balance, that he must not fail. And he knows that he will not fail, because he has confidence in who he is and who God has created him to be. He dares “anyone [who] wishes to oppose” him to try, knowing that God is his help and no one will prove him wrong. But too often we are like Judas in the Gospel reading. We do not know who we are, and we take matters into our own hands. Too often we fail to trust in God’s plan for our lives, and we begin to despair. Despair is the fruit of pride. When we begin to despair, it is because we have begun to trust in our own abilities instead of the Father’s. Without him we can do nothing, and yet we try to do things without him every day. But just as Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray him, he knows our shortcomings and our faults. He knows we are broken, and he knows that we are imperfect. And he desires for us to bring him those imperfections. Nothing pleases him more than when a lost soul comes home to him. He knew exactly what Judas had done, and he knew that this action would lead to one of the most excruciating and gruesome deaths one can imagine. He knew every lash of the whip that was to come, every thorn that would pierce his head, every tear his mother would cry, every fall beneath the weight of the cross, every voice of condemnation he would hear along the road to Calvary, and every painful sting of the nails being driven through his hands and feet. Even then, at the Last Supper, he knew all of this and still did not condemn Judas. And neither does he condemn you. Go to him with confidence in his mercy and in who he made you to be. It will bring him and you the greatest joy.
What mission of faith is God calling you to? What are the words of the prophet Isaiah meant to prepare you for? Where do I fail to trust in the promises of God? How am I taking matters into my own hands as Judas did? Do I realize just how much Jesus loves me? Am I ready to bring my brokenness into the light of his love and, if not, then what is holding me back from this love?
joseph p pettibon iii ’22
Engineering | I plan to continue to study Engineering next year while being open to wherever God calls me!
holy thursday Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14 | Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18 | 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 | John 13:1-15 Today we enter the Sacred Triduum. During Lent we tried to practice prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in a more intentional way, our aim being to make room, to open new spaces in our hearts and lives; room for the Gift, who is the very person of Christ. The Passion and death of Jesus, a terrifying event for our fearful humanity, lay before us. Tonight, though, our attention is drawn first of all to this Gift, to the promise of salvation and abundant life. Yet as we dive into the liturgy of Holy Thursday, we may be taken aback by the unexpected way it comes to us.
Love is bending down so low, by washing our feet that we, like Peter, cannot take it. “Lord, stop!” What a shock to see the Lord, the Master, the true God and true man, humbling himself so much. Life is handing himself over to death, giving his body and blood to save and nourish us. Our world is set upside down. We struggle to accept such a sacrificial love, but Jesus strongly desires us to receive it. “Do this…,” “unless I wash you…” It is his plea, and we, like the Apostles at the Last Supper, are called to say ‘Amen’, to receive even if we don’t understand. Jesus, it is both beautiful and terrifying to accept to be loved in such a way. At the same time we also fear of losing your love. You are about to be taken away from us. You announce it at the very moment of giving yourself to us, your friends. Isn’t this the story of our life? We are overwhelmed by a love that seems too good to be true, and at the same time, when we start tasting it, we are afraid of losing it. The Gift holds a promise for more; for fulfillment, for resurrection after death. What might seem to be lost will be found again, abundantly. Grant us the grace to believe in and to receive you, to hold onto the promise and to remain until dawn comes, until resurrection wins over death and perfect love casts away all fears.
How do I react to being loved and cared for by the Lord in such a sacrificial, humble way? How difficult is it to believe that this love is real? How have I experienced the fear of losing it? Have I exposed the fear to him? In which ways can I dispose my heart in these days to receive the Lord and his gift?
sr. celestina menin Apostles of the Interior Life
april eighteen | 51
good friday of the lord’s passion Isaiah 52:13–53:12 | Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25 | Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9 | John 18:1–19:42 “Who are you looking for?” Jesus asks them. Even in the midst of the turmoil - the raucous night, with lanterns, torches and weapons, Judas, soldiers and Pharisees, Peter desperately wielding a sword - our Lord goes out to them from the Garden of Gethsemane. He asks the crowd, “Who are you looking for?” He wants to hear them say his name. He knows his time has come. Jesus knows he is the one. He is the answer to everything. As a little girl, Good Friday made me sad. I was not yet Catholic, but I knew that this day was different. Good Friday was a concept almost too horrible for me to bear. I didn’t understand how those around me could go on with business as usual when this was the day that we commemorated the death of Jesus. “Shouldn’t things be different,” I remembered thinking? Yes. Things should be different today. Because, in reality, they are. Fr. Richard Neuhaus wrote, “If what Christians say about Good Friday is true, then it is quite simply the truth about everything.” Our beautiful Savior, hanging on the cross, is the truth about everything. This kind of overwhelming sacrifice of love redefines the world. It is what we seek when we are alone, when we are lost, when we are overburdened, when we are suffering. The cross of Jesus displays the lavishness of God’s love. It is in uniting our hearts to the heart of our Savior on the cross that we begin to know his love for us. “I was born for this,” he tells Pilate in the Gospel today. Yes, he was born for this very moment - this culmination, to give his perfect life, and, in doing so, to bring us back to the heart of God. So, this triduum, Jesus walks right into my life and yours. Through whatever messy night we have, full of rowdiness and clutter and confusion and sin. Nothing scares him away. There is no burden too great for his cross to bear for us. And he asks us the same question he asked that crowd almost 2000 years ago. “Who are you looking for?” Our answer is the same this time. But said in love, not anger. One name, one Word made flesh. Jesus, you are the one we are looking for. Because you are the Way. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
What distracts us in our day to day life from searching for Jesus every day? How can we help ourselves be more focused on him during these holy days before and during Easter and less distracted by the busyness around us? Look at a crucifix today and pray over the image you see. Know that Jesus would have given up his life for you, even if you were the only person on earth.
lauren donohue gulde ‘97 Communications & Media Coordinator
holy saturday Genesis 1:1–2:2 OR Genesis 1:1, 26-31a | Psalm 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 13-14, 24, 35 OR Psalm 33:4-5, 6-7, 12-13, 20 and 22 | Genesis 22:1-18 OR Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18 | Psalm 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11 | Exodus 14:15–15:1 | Exodus 15:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 17-18 | Isaiah 54:5-14 | Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13 | Isaiah 55:1-11 | Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6 | Baruch 3:9-15, 32c4:4 | Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11 | Ezekiel 36:16-17a, 18-28 | Psalm 42:3, 5; 43:3, 4 OR Isaiah 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6 OR Psalm 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19 | Romans 6:3-11 | Luke 24:1-12 “…But their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb, bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone; then he went home amazed at what had happened.” When we read through the long list of readings on this Holy Saturday, it is easy to get caught up in the gifts of the Lord. We read the story of creation - he created night and day, the earth and the sky, the fish, the birds, and all the creatures of the earth, man in his likeness, and the Sabbath. And in the story of Abraham, God proved his faithfulness in fulfilling his promises if we withhold nothing from him. He saved Israel, promised that his love would never leave us, and promised us life and renewal as he invited us to the living water in Isaiah 55. We are reminded that none compare to him, and that he is our God who gives us a new heart and a new spirit. Even the Epistle reminds us of his greatest gift to us - his death and resurrection. But if all we do is receive these gifts, then we have failed to live out the joy that comes with Easter’s anticipation. For we are to be baptized into his death and buried with him. “…[We] must think of [ourselves] as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).
Not only are we called to die with him (to sin and to our old selves), but we are called to live in the newness of life with him. We are not called to take the good and forget to live out our lives for him. Instead, we must see the burial cloths, like Peter in the Gospel, and run home amazed. Let us be the ones who believe and spread the good news! God gave us these gifts to share the fullness of the faith with all those we encounter.
katie fitzgerald ‘16
Development Digital Media Specialist
april twenty | 53
photo by CASSIE STRICKER â€˜19
God moves the things we cannot move on our own
easter sunday Acts 10:34a, 37-43 | Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23 | Colossians 3:1-4 OR 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8 | John 20:1-9 “Who will roll away the stone?” To encounter the risen Jesus is to know and be transformed by the One who rolls away the stone for us. As the holy women approached the tomb of Jesus on the third day they said to themselves, “Who will roll away the stone?” To their surprise, the stone had already been moved. The same stone-rolling resurrection effect is made available to us today when we seek Christ. The Resurrection is meant to set us free interiorly. When we abide in Christ and rely on the Holy Spirit through prayer, then God moves the things we cannot move on our own.
Take time in prayer to meditate on the freedom that comes through Christ’s resurrection. Is there a heavy stone that you can’t move in your life? Entrust it to God to move according to his will, in his way, and in his time. Now that your Lenten resolutions are complete, consider some Easter resolutions.
fr. brian mcmaster ‘95 Pastor of St. Mary’s
april twenty-one | 55
monday in the octave of easter Acts 2:14, 22-33 | Psalm 16:1-2a, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 | Matthew 28:8-15 The Lord has risen! Hallelujah! Why isn’t everyone rejoicing? In the Gospel today, a rumor has spread about the whereabouts of Jesus, and leaves us with the phrase: “And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.” Wow. The God of the universe just rose from the dead, and some still choose unbelief over miracles. This is the world that Jesus rose from, and the very world we live in today. Those who bore his witness have passed down the story and life of Jesus, and yet there are still those who choose to turn their head from the miracle of his death and resurrection. You know how families have stories that they pass down from generation to generation? Either your parents are immigrants to the US, or your grandpa used to live on a farm and worked his way through college? By passing down these stories, whatever yours may be, you are living as a witness to the lives and sacrifices your family has made before you. The church needs you to be this witness to Christ’s undying love. The apostles aren’t roaming the earth anymore spreading their witness of Christ, and Jesus sits in silence in the tabernacle every day, thirsting for the whole earth to experience his love. We live in a broken world of suffering and loneliness, and Jesus wants to dwell in each of our hearts in a way that pours out into everything we do. In my own life, I know I struggle with living in hope of the Resurrection. Do I believe that Jesus died and rose for me, and all of me? Sure. I know he loves me and I am the beloved, but do I have hope that all my suffering will be redemptive? When St. Therese of Lisieux spoke of suffering, she rejoiced because she knew the fruits of her littleness would be great in heaven. He thirsts for you. He desires to resurrect your heart. You can choose to doubt his miracles, but then you risk missing the point of salvation history: rejoicing!
Do I choose to believe that Jesus has risen from the dead? What are the parts of my heart that still need to be resurrected? Will I dwell in hope amidst the sufferings of this world?
kim robinson ‘19
Mechanical Engineering | I will be working for Zachry Group in the fall, and living in Houston with my pug Otis!
tuesday in the octave of easter Acts 2:36-41 | Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22 | John 20:11-18 We might wonder why Mary of Magdala stayed weeping at the empty tomb after the other disciples had left. Though perhaps a better question might be, where was she supposed to go? Jesus was her hope, and she had been among the few disciples brave enough to be present to watch her Hope brutally crucified. And now she can’t even mourn with his body. We might do well to imagine her thoughts and prayers as she sobbed. “You loved me when the rest wanted me dead! You took my shame and covered it with forgiveness. Forgiveness! You said that God forgives me and I believed you! I still believe you, but they’ve killed you. They mocked you: Why didn’t you stop them? We all knew you could have! We saw you command storms. Don’t you see that I need you? You can’t be dead. Please stay, I need you. Did you give up on the world? Is that it? All this talk of kingdoms and blessedness and this is how you let it end? Why! Why didn’t you fight? Why did you have to leave me...” Her sobs are our sobs as we wait for the Lord. We don’t always understand. But we do know how it ends. “Mary!” a familiar voice calls. And I imagine Jesus laughing, “Stop holding on to me!” But Mary could not help but to embrace her Hope, sobbing and laughing all the same. He was back. How can it be?
This week, as we reflect on the Resurrection, we invite you to place yourself at the tomb and to hear Jesus calling out your name. Is his voice familiar? Do you recognize him? What does he want to share with you?
austin miller ‘19
Computer Science | I plan on serving as a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionary after graduation.
april twenty-three | 57
wednesday in the octave of easter Acts 3:1-10 | Psalm 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9 | Luke 24:13-35 In today’s Gospel, we are presented with one of the most vivid and insightful accounts of our Lord’s appearances after his resurrection. It is a story that reveals something about who we are, but also how Jesus opens our eyes to see him. The journey to Emmaus is more than merely a literal journey; it is also one which invites us to deepen our intimacy with the Lord. It tells the story of two disciples who journey seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus after witnessing the crucifixion and resurrection of their dear friend Jesus. In their failure to recognize Jesus as he physically walks beside them, we are reminded of our failures to recognize Jesus in our lives. Jesus knew that in the time between his resurrection and the full establishment of his kingdom would be the age of the church. His ascension was coming soon; this meant that these two men he encountered, every witness to his resurrection, and all generations of believers in history would not have his physical presence for proof or guidance. After the Ascension, Jesus’ life would be seen written within the pages of Scriptures and would be heard in the personal testimonies of the followers who had an encounter with him. The people of the world would then need to have confidence in the Word to light their paths. We see that Jesus does both in this story: he opens the Scriptures and encounters them in the breaking of the bread. When life turns out differently than expected, we may not be able to see where God is. We may want to run away and doubt his word or lose faith and, as a result, lose sight of who he is. This confusion may blur our sight from seeing that God is walking right beside us and guiding us through it. These are times in which we should not turn away, but rather remain with the Lord and invite him to stay with us. By trusting the Lord, that is where you will begin to recover your sight.
Why do you think these two men were prevented from recognizing Jesus’ presence? Have your eyes ever been opened up to the presence of Jesus in your life? Do you truly know that Jesus desires to walk with you through all the hills and valleys of your life? Has an encounter with the Lord been so real, so moving, so life changing that it has led you to tell others about him?
annika moreno ‘19
English | I am passionate about ministry within the corporate world, and I hope to find a job where I can minister to adults in their everyday lives.
thursday in the octave of easter Acts 3:11-26 | Psalm 8:2ab and 5, 6-7, 8-9 | Luke 24:35-48 In the Gospel, Jesus encounters the disciples after his resurrection and asks them three questions.
Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Have you anything here to eat? These first two remind us that even the apostles - those on the way, those striving to follow, those who have personally encountered Jesus Christ - still become troubled and have questions when Jesus makes his presence known to them. Jesus does not dismiss these concerns. He acknowledges the truth of his disciples’ hearts and meets us there. He leads us to his wounds, which remain on his glorified body. In these glorified wounds lie the answer to all our troubles and all our questions. In these wounds we are known completely and loved intensely. During my time in college, I have strived to follow Jesus as closely as possible. Inevitably, as I chase after the Lord, I still trip, I still sin, and I feel as if I have left Jesus. Jesus never leaves us. Whatever my troubles, he is the answer. We are loved by him always. When we have troubles or questions, he loves us. This reality is extremely encouraging and full of joy. Jesus asks the final question while we are overcome with joy. After his disciples have pondered him in their hearts, it is through sharing food that he continues the encounter. He is reminding us to take time to share our lives and meals with one another; to give thanks. Eucharist comes from a word that means “to give thanks.” It is in thanksgiving, in communion with one another, in the Eucharist, that we find our mission. Jesus calls us to be witnesses of all these things, to be secure in who we are because we know whose we are and, from this love, to go preach in his name to all nations.
Do I consider the troubles of my life from the eyes of Jesus? In what ways can I continue to give thanks to God and receive his joy? Have I brought my questions honestly to the Lord? How is Jesus calling me to be a witness?
chase elander ‘18
Computer Science with an English Minor | I will be a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionary on a college campus, welcoming students to encounter Jesus Christ.
april twenty-five | 59
friday in the octave of easter Acts 4:1-12 | Psalm 118:1-2 and 4, 22-24, 25-27a | John 21:1-14 In the first reading today, Peter and John are brought before the high priests to be questioned on the healing of the crippled man. When Peter answers their question, “By what power or by what name have you done this?,” his reply names Jesus Christ “the stone rejected by the builders which has become the cornerstone.” I have heard that statement many times but never understood quite what that meant. The cornerstone is the foundation stone in the center of a building upon which every other stone is oriented. When Peter calls Jesus the cornerstone, he is explaining that Jesus is the very center and foundation towards which we must orient all other things. In today’s Gospel, the disciples are out fishing alone after Easter and are uncertain of where to go or what to do. They have fallen back to comfort rather than trusting in the unknown of what God has promised them. In today’s world, we often resort to the things that comfort us rather than surrendering everything to God and his plan. When we hold back these things from God, whether it be trusting him or allowing him to be the cornerstone of our heart, we lose our way. The lives of the disciples are the perfect example of why it is worth it to strive for Christ every single day. My friends, it is worth it to put time into personal prayer; it is worth it to put time into forming holy relationships; it is worth it to spend time in adoration before Jesus. Our lives are the most fruitful and blessed when they’re oriented and centered on Jesus Christ, the One who holds all certainty and truth.
Do you seek counsel and guidance from the Holy Spirit when your faith is questioned as Peter does when speaking to the scribes and high priests in the first reading? Where in your life could you seek him more? Do you recognize the Lord’s presence in your life in both the small and large things? Does the way I live my life reflect that Jesus is the foundation of it all?
mary pettibon ‘20
Sociology | I hope to go to nursing school in Texas and always be an active member of the pro-life movement.
saturday in the octave of easter Acts 4:13-21 | Psalm 118:1 and 14-15ab, 16-18, 19-21 | Mark 16:9-15 After Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday, he appeared not once but twice; yet the people did not believe. In today’s Gospel we see that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene, a woman from whom he had driven out seven demons. Mary Magdalene was not a disciple or even related to Jesus, so why did he choose to appear to her first? It was likely due to the fact that she was there and ALWAYS there beside him. Some of the disciples denied him and abandoned him, yet she stayed close to him until his death. She was considered one of the least to other people, but not to Jesus. Mary Magdalene put any feelings of unworthiness aside and chose to trust in him. There are many times in which the world tells us we are not good enough because we don’t have the best grades, the best car, or the perfect looks, yet all of this does not matter to Jesus. He is not looking for perfection or worthiness; rather, he is searching for the lowly and the humble. Jesus desires us to trust him and believe even when everyone else seems not to, such as the people who Mary Magdalene shared the good news with. He doesn’t ask for us to change our whole lives but to just follow him and trust in him. He asks us to be the Mary Magdalene of today. To do this we need to abide in humility and lowliness. Do not be afraid, and go and “preach the Gospel to all the people.” “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less” (C.S. Lewis).
In what area of your life do you need to humble yourself more? What feelings of unworthiness do you need to put aside to follow Jesus with all your heart?
leslie rodriguez ‘19
Psychology | I hope to go to grad school to study social work and help families in need.
april twenty-seven | 61
photo by CASSIE STRICKER â€˜19
our merciful Father sees us, knows what we desire, and never stops knocking at the doors of our hearts asking to be let in
divine mercy sunday Acts 5:12-16 | Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-2 | Revelations 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19 | John 20:19-31 “The other disciples said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’” Thomas arrived back to the room and everything had changed. I imagine that all of his friends had strange looks on their faces, maybe shaky hands, and they were all telling him something that seemed borderline insane: Jesus, his teacher and friend, whom countless people watched breathe his last on a cross a few days ago, had just appeared out of thin air and stood right where he was standing. I imagine that he felt confused, and even a little bit left out, as the disciples tried to explain what had happened to them. In the end, he reached the conclusion that he could not believe it to be real unless he could see it and experience it for himself. We are surrounded by Thomas in today’s world. Many of those we encounter in class, the workplace, and even within our friend groups and families cannot fathom what it means to encounter the Lord in a real way. There are even times when each one of us struggles to see the Lord when he stands right before us with scarred hands outstretched. All of these experiences with disbelief in our environment and these moments of doubt that arise in our hearts are an opportunity. They are an opportunity to trust that our merciful Father sees us, knows what we desire, and never stops knocking at the doors of our hearts asking to be let in. As we hear in the responsorial psalm today, “His love is everlasting.” There is nothing that we could do to make him stop offering his love to us and, in his divine creativity, he will think of an infinite number of ways to show us the wounds in his hands and in his side if we only ask. And when we are blessed with the grace to encounter him, whether that be in a moment we realize his healing hand, in witnessing the beauty of a heart that knows him, in the eyes of those we serve, in the Eucharist…we must ask for the voice to boldly proclaim the truth: We have seen the Lord.
Throughout this Easter season, how can I continue to grow in prayer and, therefore, grow in relationship with the Lord? In what ways can I challenge myself to be the face of Christ for each soul that I come into contact with? What are some areas of my heart that cause me to struggle in trusting God’s mercy, and how can I take steps towards offering those places and wounds to him?
madison moseley ‘17 Pastoral Assistant
april twenty-eight | 63
he loved them to the end | john 13:1
“‘Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you that from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.’ And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.’” (Luke 22:17-20) ST. MARY’S CATHOLIC CENTER