Praying the Word

April 9, 2020 Holy Thursday

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14

Psalm 116

John 13:1-15

Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciple’s feet and dry them with the towel around his waist.  John 13:5

Lord, I don’t know how I would feel if you knelt down in front of me and washed my feet. I believe I’d be stunned, embarrassed or shocked. But this act of humility and love is just like you. Again you teach us to have the same humble treatment of our brothers and sisters. Lord, help me to remember this act throughout the year not just on Holy Thursday.  I believe you love me so much that you are willing to wash my dirty and smelly feet. I know you care for me so deeply that you will tend to my every need. Even to give me your body and blood in the great Sacrament of the Eucharist. Thank you Lord for offering me a whole new life with you! Teach me how to love and serve as fully as you have done. You can wash my feet anytime.  Amen

Praying the Word

April 8, 2020 Wednesday of Holy Week –A

Isaiah 50:4-9

Psalm 69

Matthew 26:14-25

“Surely it is not I, Lord?”  Mt. 26:22

Lord, the events of your passion and death begin with betrayal by one close to you. How easy, it seems, that Judas could hand you over to your enemies for money. Maybe it wasn’t money that moved him. Whatever it was, it had to hurt you most deeply. Of course, you suffered and died not just because of Judas but because of the sins of all humanity. My sins are among those that you carried to your cross. So I too bear responsibility for the scourging, humiliation, spitting, curses and the burden of the cross. Lord, I am deeply sorry for what you endured for me. I sinned against you out of pride and selfishness but you saved me out of love. Over the next few days, I will place my brokenness at the foot of your cross knowing that you will heal and restore me to holiness. I pray for the grace to walk with you and to never betray or deny you ever again. May I be loyal and faithful to you at all times and places. I give you my life, dear Jesus. Keep me close to you always so that I will always know and heed your will.  Amen. 

Praying the Word

April 7, 2020 Tuesday of Holy Week –A

Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 71

John 12:21-33, 36-38

“Master, why can I not follow you now?  I will lay down my life for you.” John 12:37

Lord, what were your thoughts as you looked around the table at the men who had left everything behind to follow you. You knew each man’s heart. You knew who would stand firm and who would betray and deny you. The man you chose to lead your fledgling church was pledging loyalty to death but you knew he would fall short in just a few hours. But you also knew that he had love for you in his heart and that given a second chance and the grace of the Holy Spirit that he would be the Champion of the early Church. He would stand up to the Jewish hierarchy and even the Roman empire. We all can fall short at one time or another. None of us is perfect and you know what’s in our hearts. Lord, thank you for all the second chances you’ve given me to follow you more closely. Look into my heart and soul and bless me with the grace to persevere and stay strong. Our Psalm today says “Be my rock and my fortress.  You are my hope, O Lord; my trust, O God from my youth.” Amen 

Praying the Word

April 6, 2020 Monday of Holy Week –A

Isaiah 42:1-7

Psalm 27

John 12:1-11

Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased…Psalm 42:1

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany.  They gave a dinner for him there… John 12:1

Lord, six days before your Passion and Death you shared a meal and friendship with Martha, Mary and Lazarus whom you loved. They loved you too.  They must have been delighted for you to spend your precious time with them.  You knew clearly what lay ahead for you.  The Psalm today describes a “Suffering Servant.”  We have believed that servant was you.  It also could be applied to your Church. We are all called to be servants to one another. What better time than in the midst of the suffering world right now to be a servant that trusts in God, is willing to obey him and to look for his will in every moment of this pandemic. Today’s suffering servant doesn’t complain about being in quarantine or housebound. Today’s suffering servant would do well to imitate you who was about to give every drop of your blood for us. You didn’t look for ways around your coming trial. You knew that after the cross was a glorious resurrection. We know this disease will run its course and we will be free to work, go to school and once again visit with our grandchildren. 

 Psalm 27 continues: The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?  You weren’t afraid of the crowd gathering outside.  Martha and Mary served you to the end.  Amen. 

Praying the Word

April 5, 2020 Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord –A

Isaiah 50:4-7

Philippians 2:6-11

Matthew 26:14-27:66

“Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.” Mt. 26:35

Lord, today we begin the most solemn week of the year. Your word describes betrayal, denial, humiliation, cruelty, suffering, death and complete acceptance of the Father’s will. How would I have felt if I was in Jerusalem this week?  I put myself among those who cheered wildly in greeting you as their king with shouts of Hosanna. Would I have stood by you to the end on Calvary? Or would I have scattered like the rest of your followers when things got out of hand? Lord, I’m so grateful that you died for all people: those who stood with you and those who ran away out of fear and even denied knowing you. Thank you so much for giving us the Eucharist to always have you present with us. Lord, please forgive me the times when I’ve failed to follow you. With all that is going on in our world today, the observation of your Passion and Death will be quite different this year. Even so, I want to praise you and honor you each day this week for your complete dedication to the Father’s will and for the promise of Resurrection to come. You O Lord be not far from me; O my help, hasten to aid me.  Amen.

Praying the Word

April 4, 2020 Saturday of the 5th Week of Lent-A

Ezekiel 37:21-28

Psalm Jeremiah 31:10-13

John 11:45-56

My dwelling shall be with them; I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Ez. 37:27

“…it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people.”  John 11:50

Lord, Caiaphas got it right although he didn’t know it. He proposed it was better for you to die than the people who followed and believed in you.  That’s exactly what you did.  You gave yourself on the cross so that all mankind can be brought back to the Father, even Caiaphas. Tomorrow we begin Holy Week and the final walk to the cross and Easter Sunday.  Lord, this is a good time for me to remember how faithful you are to me.  You have chosen to dwell with me and to be my God if I will be your disciple.  I believe you will never abandon me even when I turn away from you the source of all unity and goodness. You came to make me holy so I will offer myself to you now and this coming week so I can share in that holiness.  Only in you can I find lasting happiness and true fulfillment. I reject placing anything or anyone before you, my God.  You are the only one who can save me. Lord, take up your dwelling in my heart, cast out any idols you find there and bring me close to you.  Amen. 

Praying the Word

April 3, 2020 Friday of the 5th Week of Lent-A

Jeremiah 20:10-13

Psalm 18

John 10:31-42

But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion… Jer. 20:11

O Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.  Ps. 18:2

Lord, we are entertained by stories and movies about superheroes. They are beings with supernatural strength and power that protect and save us from the evil ones who want to conquer the world. We trust they will use their super-abilities to do good. Jeremiah was in trouble because he was speaking your word to an evil generation of people who wanted him silenced. He was in fear for his life. But he trusted in you as his champion.  Despite the surrounding threats he relied on his faith in you as his rock, his fortress, his deliverer. Lord, I too can be challenged by foes around me.  People can speak gossip against me. Behind my back they can plot to damage my reputation or even remove me from their lives. Whatever the reason, I too am in need of a champion. Sometimes I can even doubt my own value or can even be pulled into revenge against them. I know you are always at my side no matter how difficult my struggles or how alone I may feel.  I trust in you, and thank you for your “superhero” love for me.  Amen.

Praying the Word

April 2, 2020 Thursday of the 5th Week of Lent-A

Genesis 17:3-9

Psalm 105

John 8:51-59

I will maintain my covenant with you…throughout the ages…”  Gen. 17:7

“…before Abraham came to be, I AM.”  John 8:58

Lord, the Father established a commitment, a covenant, with Abraham and his descendants that he would maintain forever. God so desired a faithful people, loved a sinful people, so much he gave us You his divine Son.  Present at creation, incarnate in human flesh and glorious in resurrection, you fulfilled the promise made to Abraham. Promise made, promise kept.  Sin, the devil and death have been defeated by the new covenant you came to give us. You promised eternal life to us if we “keep your word.”  So simple, and yet so hard to do. Lord, I want to uphold my end of this bargain, this covenant, with you. Yet I fall short so often. Lead me today to make keeping your word THE priority in my life. Guide my decisions to reflect your will and purpose.  You have so blessed me with all the grace I need to stay faithful to the end.  I thank you for your awesome promises of an abundant life. Fix my eyes on you, today, dear Jesus. You are the way to heaven, the truth I believe and the life I want to live.  Amen

Praying the Word

April 1, 2020 Wednesday of the 5th Week in Lent-A

Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95

Psalm Daniel 3

John 8:31-42

“Blessed are you O Lord, the God of our fathers, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.” Dan 3:26

Lord, in these three young men we have such a wonderful example of faith and trust in you. When threatened with a horrible death in the furnace they proclaimed the truth that: “If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! But even if he will not, know, O king that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue that you set up.” (Dan 3:17)  With complete trust in their God they were willing to accept whatever God would or would not do. While in the furnace they praised and thanked God in song. Whenever we pray and petition you Lord, may we thank you before we receive what we ask for. May we trust that whether we receive our answer now or later let us be grateful to you beforehand. Lord, I believe you know best and will always deliver me from harm and provide for me whatever is best and good. Lord, I thank you for always being with me, even when all I feel is the heat of adversity.   Amen. 

Praying the Word

March 31, 2020 Tuesday of the 5th Week in Lent-A

Numbers 214-9

Psalm 102

John 8:21-30

The people complained against God and Moses Num. 21;5

Lord, I admit it. I am a complainer when things don’t go as I think they should. Complaining seems to be a universal human response to difficulties and disappointments.  The Israelites complained because of the hardships of their desert journey: lack of proper food, sufficient water and oppressive heat.  So they complained to you and to their leader Moses.  I remember as a teenager complaining to my parents when I thought their rules were unfair and restrictions on my freedom. I’ve had other complaining occasions in life even to God.  My parent’s rules were intended for my welfare at that point in my development. I resented those rules and complained.  Some people may be complaining to God about the current pandemic.  They don’t realize God didn’t cause it and their complaining is unfair. Dear Lord your will is all we need to follow. Whatever comes out of this current disease is your will and we should trust in your ways.  We would do well to be more like Mary who didn’t complain when the angel changed her plans and asked her to be obedient to God’s will for her.  She didn’t understand all her yes would change for her life. Dear Lord, guide me this Lent to a greater acceptance of your will and to trust you know best and will always protect me and guide me to greater faith.  Amen