Gospel Reflection for Sunday, March 1, 2015

imagesReadings for Sunday, March 1, 2015

The second reading today forms a perfect bridge between the first reading and the gospel.  Parallels are drawn between Isaac not withholding his only son, and God not withholding his only son.  This is another example of how so much of the Gospel is foreshadowed in the Old Testament.  Jesus is the fulfillment and perfection of all covenants formed with God and His people in the B.C. years.  Jesus is the New and Everlasting Covenant!

In order to understand this Sunday’s gospel, the story of the Transfiguration, we  have to understand a bit about the Jewish feast of Sukkot.  This feast is also known as the feast of Tabernacles (meaning tent) or booths.  It was the last feast that God asked the  Israelites to observe.  It took place for seven days during the fall, and marked the end of the agricultural year.  The Jewish people would build temporary booths, or tents in which they would eat celebratory meals during the observance.  These “tents” were built to remind them of their forty years in the desert before entering the Promised Land.

In Sunday’s gospel, Jesus takes three of his apostles, Peter, James and John up a mountain.  Often times when something “momentous” happens in the bible, it involved a trek up a mountain, perhaps because the “height” makes one feel as though he is closer to heaven – closer to God.  It is undoubtedly symbolic – perhaps it is “the climb” itself that is transforming.

There, Jesus is transformed before his friends’ very eyes.  His body begins to glow, and his clothes became “dazzling white.”  Jesus, loved his apostles, and his followers.  He knew that soon they would witness his torturous death on the cross, and that they would need a “beatific vision” to get them through it all – something to hold onto!  He instructs them not to tell what they had seen until after the resurrection.  At that moment, they had no idea what “resurrection” meant.  But when all was said and done, they would look back upon the heavenly sight of the transfiguration and put the pieces to the puzzle together.  Jesus loved them so much that he wanted to give them hope – hope for His resurrection and hope for their own.

It’s funny how Peter sees Elijah and Moses in the vision with Jesus.  Though the two had long since died, the vision of these Old Testament patriarchs must have been very convincing and real, because Peter immediately offered to pitch a tent for the two due to the festival that was being observed.  How human!  I could definitely see myself in Peter’s shoes in that situation!

Lastly, and probably most importantly, it is during the Transfiguration, that God reveals Jesus as His Son and commands the apostles to “Listen to Him.”  How can we better “listen to Jesus” during this Lenten season?  How can we transfigure/transform our lives so that we can be more like Him?

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Lord Jesus, Stay With Us

imagesStay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over. Luke 24: 29

Jesus is a very interesting person. His words are full of wisdom. His presence is heart warming. His gentleness and kindness are deeply moving. His message is very challenging. But do we invite him into our home? Do we want him to come to know us behind the walls of our most intimate life? Do we want to introduce him to all of the people we live with? Do we want him to see us in our everyday lives? Do we want him to touch us where we are most vulnerable? Do we want him to enter into the back rooms of our homes, rooms that we ourselves prefer to keep safely locked? Do we truly want him to stay with us when it is nearly evening and the day is almost over?

Henri J.M. Nouwen

Enter into my home, dear Lord Jesus. I give myself to you.

I read this Lenten reflection this morning and it gave me cause to ponder, so I wanted to share it with you. If you have not done so already, consider making Jesus the King of your heart and of your home this lent. Nothing can make as profound a change in your life as this. Invite Him in, and don’t be afraid to let go! Trust in the Lord with all your heart!! Proverbs 3:5

I know that many of you are experiencing extreme cold and blizzard-like conditions. If you can’t make it out to church to participate in the stations of the cross, I came across this neat idea: Light 14 tealights. As you pray the stations, extinguish a candle representing the station. By the time you get to “burying Jesus in the tomb,” the last candle will have been extinguished and you will be in darkness. This is a great visual for children.

Also, a neat, easy thing to add to your Lenten observances is stopping what you are doing at 3 p.m. everyday for one 60 seconds of stillness and silence. This is easy to do almost anywhere, and serves as a daily reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made for our sins. You can add a simple prayer to say in that moment of silence like, “Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on me!”

Have a blessed day.  Try to stay warm!

 

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A Great 3 Minute Lenten Meditation

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My Apologies

This website building stuff is tougher than I thought!   After some technical tweaking, I think that you will see the right homepage now.  Thank you to those of you who let me know there was a problem & to those of you who shared the link ( even though it was a bad one –  Yikes!!)    Praying for all of my family and friends, viewers and subscribers!  May God bless you and yours!

Website link

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Forty Days

This is a great, short video on lent and the historical significance of 40 days in the bible by Scott Hahn.  Scott is so knowledgeable and so smart, yet he explains things at my level!  I hope that you enjoy the video and learn something new!  Have a blessed lenten journey!

Scott Hahn Video

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My Life Story in Houses

Last weekend, we crossed two bridges to visit our hometown for the first time in a few years.  My husband and I grew up in Terrytown, Louisiana.  We wanted to show our 10 year old where we came from, as he was born until after we moved to the town where we now live.  We enjoyed our little stroll down memory lane, but the thing I really gained from the trip was a profound sense of gratitude – for where we have come to where we are presently.  God has provided so faithfully.  May we never take His love and providence for granted!

IMG_0812                                 the Mississippi River Bridge headed toward the Westbank

 

 

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the little one bathroom house where I was born in 1966  (actually I was born in a hospital, but this was our first family home)  My room was the window to the far left.IMG_0832This is a two bedroom, two car garage house where my family moved when I was 7 – same town – several blocks away –  It looked so much warmer when we lived there – with bushes and trees – looks a bit cold now:(

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This was Eric and my first house – a cottage about 10 minutes away from our parents’ homes.  Great memories – where we brought our first two babies home from the hospital:) When we owned it, there was a tree in the front yard, and the grey and white colors were reversed.101_1989The “Cardinal” house where we lived for 12 years after moving to the Northshore – Covington.  A wonderful neighborhood!

101_3117Our latest abode – with an extra room for our youngest.  Blessed!

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Reflections on the Readings for Sunday, February 22, 2015

Readings for Today

In today’s readings we see parallels drawn between Noah’s 40 days and 40 nights “at sea” and Jesus 40 days and nights in the desert.

As humans, we so wish to travel the path of least resistance.  We want for everything to come easily for us.  We wonder what we’ve done wrong when things are difficult.  The truth is that the path of least resistance is not good for our souls.  Trials, temptations, difficulties and suffering are necessary to make us more Christ-like – more ready to be in God’s presence for all eternity.  Suffering brings us closer to God – closer to Christ crucified.

We await with joy the preparations of advent – it is such an electric, awe-filled time of year.  Do we look with the same anticipation the lenten journey?  I know that I don’t.  I don’t like to look at my sin in the face and admit my need for repentance.  Repentance is uncomfortable.  Looking at my failings is uncomfortable.  Meditating upon the cross, I am painfully aware that it was my sin – my selfishness – that put Jesus there.

During lent, we are called to take a deeper look at our lives.  We are called to enter the desert with Jesus -to strip away our crutches, our pride, our vanities – to stand bare before the Lord.  In order to truly rejoice in the resurrection of Christ and our salvation, we must do the hard work.  We are called to reform our lives based upon God’s laws instead of conforming to the ideals and wiles of this world.

One of the major problems in our world today is that sin is not called sin anymore.  Everything is labeled “o.k.” as long as it is not hurting anyone.  That is the biggest load of bologna!

God never changes – He was, is and always will be God – Truth.  We do not reform our lives by trying to change God.  He doesn’t need to bend to the modern world.  The world needs to bend toward Him.  This thought reminds me of Michelangelo’s “Creation” on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel – how God is reaching out to mankind (Adam) earnestly, and Adam is reaching toward God half-heartedly.  Adam’s body language speaks volumes!  It speaks so sadly of human nature, does it not?

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The good news, however, is the very real hope that we can hold onto.  This is the hope that Noah had when he boarded the ark – the hope that Jesus knew when the Spirit called Him into the desert – the hope of the resurrection Jesus knew before being nailed to the cross.

As we begin this lenten journey, let us really as for the grace to “do the work” of reform, repentance and penance.  Let us ask God what He would like to change or perfect in us, then give Him the permission to do whatever He deems necessary for the good of our souls.

He made us.  He loves us completely.  He can be trusted.  He will not leave us alone.  When leading us into our own desert times, He travels with us, and in us.  Be not afraid!

 

 

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Looking for Some Really Inspirational Reading for Lent?

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“From the Hub to the Heart,” Book Tells of Journey From Fast Living to Living the Fast

Contact: Andrew LaVallee, Live the Fast (phone number: 781-647-4644 x12)

Boston, Massachusetts   February 11, 2015 /Christian Newswire — Andrew LaVallee lived the fast life. A man of extremes, LaVallee grew up in a tough neighborhood and he drank, swore and gambled his way through most of his adult life. He achieved financial and worldly success in his bakery distribution business. After his conversion, LaVallee embraced the Catholic faith of his youth and felt God calling him to promote fasting. When he decided to write his story, he joined forces with writer Leticia Velasquez who writes, “This book tells the story of what happened when a movie star known for his portrayal of Jesus Christ in The Passion of the Christ, Jim Caviezel, looked into this successful man’s eyes one day and challenged him just as Christ challenged the rich young man. He dared Andy to visit Medjugorje, an obscure, poor village in Croatia, where for over thirty years it has been alleged that the Virgin Mary has been visiting earth and calling her children to live lives of prayer, penance and fasting. Andy’s reaction was predictable; ‘No way am I flying fifteen hours to pray a Rosary!’ But little by little, Our Lady’s call to Andy opened his heart and he boarded that plane, prayed that Rosary and his life has never been the same.”

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston has high praise for Andy: “The past decade of Andy LaVallee’s life shows the power of Men’s Conferences, the impact of good Catholic friendships, the help of the Blessed Mother to draw near to Christ Jesus, the power of fasting, and the positive impact of Catholic social teaching in the workplace.  We are fortunate in the Archdiocese of Boston to have leaders such as Andy LaVallee who actively reach out to invite others to experience the joy of living as a disciple within the Catholic community.”

Mother Olga of the Sacred Heart, Foundress of Daughters of Mary of Nazareth says, “In (Andrew’s) pilgrimage we each can experience the fullness of our conversion when the new life of faith from within intersects with the old world from without….writing and publishing this journey is yet a testimony of his desire to reach the fullness of his conversion not only for himself but to share its grace with others. May God’s Name be glorified and many people be inspired by this conversion pilgrimage and journey deeper into their own conversion through this book.”

This inspiring book is available in print and on Kindle via Amazon.com and is also available via the author’s website: livethefast.org

I  recommend Andy’s book.  His story inspiring and makes the perfect companion for one’s lenten journey.

 

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Prepping for Lent – a Self Reflection

The parties have been attended; the king cake eaten; the festivities are winding down.  I’m now trying to mentally prepare for lent which begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday.  What does God want me to give up?  What spiritual/merciful act might He want me to add?  What would best mold me into the person that God wants me to be?

I have a confession to make.  I have not had a lot of success with giving up food items in the past.  I am jealous of those who give up something they love for a whole 40 days with no problem!  In moments of weakness, I fold.  I eat.  Then I feel really bad about myself – my lack of will power.

I think that I’ve been approaching the whole “giving up something” thing the wrong way.  I am not supposed to use it to gain self-mastery, or to better myself by eating healthier – or in losing a few pounds.  Giving up some luxury should be a stripping away of things that keep me from full communion with God.  Perhaps if I approach fasting as an emptying of myself so that God may fill me – or as a gift of love to the God who gave His life for my redemption, I might do better.  Self gift over self-mastery –

Perhaps, If I were to spend a few moments each day during lent contemplating Jesus’ total self gift by looking at the crucifix that hangs on the wall in my bedroom, God might give me the strength to keep my promise of self gift to Him.  I’ve heard that it is a very good practice to meditate upon the passion of Christ for a few minutes each and every day.  Shamefully, I avoid this, because it is painful to know that I caused Christ’s pain.  I do pray the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary, but I must say that I much, much prefer the joyful ones!

What do I depend on each day – What am I using as a crutch?  What might come between me and God?

Dr. Phil/nap time – fulfills my need to check out/recharge

coffee – fulfills my need for warmth and talk time with Eric

Facebook – fulfills my “need to know”

chocolate – fulfills my need for empty calories??/

bread, butter, cheese – the French in me – I could live off of this!

1D Four CD – elevates my mood with a little “sing a long”

After making the list above, it seems to me the most beneficial thing might be subtracting the Facebook.  There I go again -thinking of how it benefits me – instead of “emptying” or “gifting.”  Of course, this would not include my WordPress posts which automatically get posted to Facebook.  I just wouldn’t go checking out Facebook for feedback or to find out who is doing what.  Perhaps, the time I spend on Social Media could be time better spent.  I think that I may also give up the radio in the car on Fridays and spend that time in conversation with God.

I’m also going to make a lenten “bowl of good deeds”.  I did this with my kids a couple of years back – a borrowed idea. Each day the youngest will choose a strip, and we will do what the strip says.  Some examples include:

making a card for someone who is sick/lonely

saying EXTRA prayers as a family

picking up litter in the neighborhood

performing a random act of kindness, etc.

I hope that my thinking out loud has helped you to begin thinking about your plans for Lent. It is upon us!  I will keep you all in my prayers as we enter into this journey from winter to spring (thinking of those who are snowed in right now), from darkness to light, from death to resurrection, from lent to Easter!  Have a blessed Ash Wednesday, everyone!

 

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Weekend in New Orleans, Mardi Gras 2015

IMG_8336 IMG_0748 IMG_0702 IMG_0781 IMG_8220 IMG_0768 IMG_8320 IMG_0788  IMG_0721 IMG_0762 IMG_0751 IMG_8357 IMG_8358 IMG_8344 IMG_8221 IMG_8347 IMG_8333                        IMG_8217

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