“When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.” (Mark 16:9) Jesus chose Mary Magdalene to be the first one who saw him risen from the dead. Do you think that you are disqualified from seeing and announcing the risen Jesus because of your past ? In the light of the Risen Jesus, all these past demons make our witness that much more believable — only if we allow ourselves to be touched by the liberating hand of Christ, just as Mary Magdalene did.
As Holy Week begins, Jesus perhaps will send people to you to ask for something valuable to you. It might be your attention, time, or energy. It’s natural to resist at first. We’ve got things to do, after all. But if the interruption is from Jesus himself, listen to that voice which calmly says, “The master has need of it.” And simply let it go. You’ll be amazed what the master will do with it.
God asks a rhetorical question to Samuel, the prophet: “How long will you grieve for Saul, whom I have rejected as king of Israel?” Like us, Samuel is depressed that the old king failed. It’s painful to admit that the old regime is done. But God won’t let us wallow our pity-party forever. “I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,” announces the Lord, “for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”
The Holy Spirit is the living water of love which flows from the pierced side of Jesus, the new Moses. What symptoms in your life suggest you’re spiritually dehydrated? Ask God to provide his water to quench your spiritual thirst, and he will.
“Man does not live by bread alone,” he says, “But by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” Jesus’ fasting reveals his fast hold to the Father in everything. May our fasting help us to grasp ourselves more firmly, and then to hold fast to Jesus alone.
In another passage from his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus continues to turn his disciples’ way of thinking upsidedown. One of the lessons for the Christian steward in today’s Gospel is that if we have a chance to help someone in need, we should be generous and give more than is expected of us.
Jesus’ words aren’t meant to condemn. They are meant to signal something new, a restored humanity. Jesus doesn’t just give external laws; he gives us his Holy Spirit to internalize the law through love. He wants to fill us with his love.
"If” can be deep with excuses, but it can also be wide with possibility. If I bring it all to God. If I stop relying on my own abilities. If I prayed more than I talked. If I make my heart firm. If my faith does not rest on human wisdom.
The beatitudes of Jesus are a kind of self-portrait. But it is a strange picture. At first, the blessings of being poor, mourning, and hungering and thirsting for righteousness may seem bizarre or, worse, a religious delusion. Who wants to look like that? But if we look again, we begin to see the characteristics of Jesus’ form.
In today’s Gospel story, Jesus honors John the Baptist by taking up his baton of preaching repentance immediately after John’s arrest. John’s disciples, reeling from his incarceration, find their way to Jesus.
Today, we humbly ask that the Holy Spirit descend upon St. Ann parish. Just as the Holy Spirit gave Jesus the direction and strength to endure the trials of the desert, so too do we ask the Holy Spirit to direct and strengthen our efforts.
The Blessed Mother knew more about God before opening a book than most of us could discover after a lifetime of study and prayer. There is no one whose knowledge of Christ was so intimate, so deep, so simultaneously ordinary and extraordinary, as the human woman who bore him, birthed him, nursed him, raised him and eventually gave him up.
Putting our complete trust in the Lord without expecting anything in return. Striving to put God first in all things and follow Him wherever He may lead us. Joseph was a model of these pillars of our faith.