May the word of the Lord fill you with love and bring you peace.

Link to today’s readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021416.cfm

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, One does not live on bread alone.” Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.” Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and: With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.

The power of the word of God defeats satan’s lies. His temptations are false and only lead to sin and death. Jesus withstood His temptations by quoting the word of God to him and we can do the same. The word of God is powerful and holds the power of defeating satan. Notice, that it says that “he departed from him for a time.” That shows that even Jesus was subject to continued temptations, so we are not immune to being tempted time and again. Our defense is the same as Jesus’ – prayer, fasting and the Word of God. Are you willing to be saved from these lies? Are you willing to take the steps necessary? How important is your eternal life?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I know you are with me when I am tempted and I know that you will save me – all I have to do is ask. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen. 

Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.

Link to today’s readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021316.cfm

Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.” 

Do you think you have sinned so much that God cannot forgive you? He spent His time with sinners, He sought them out and He forgave them. There is nothing you have done that Our Lord will not forgive – BUT you must go to Him and ask for His forgiveness. When you do, if your heart is true, you will be forgiven. He is just waiting for you to come to Him.  

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for forgiving me for the wrongs I have done to you. When I falter, Lord, hold me up. When I fall, forgive me and help me up. In Jesus’ holy name, I pray AMEN! 

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.

Link to today’s readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021216.cfm

Thus says the Lord GOD: Cry out full-throated and unsparingly, lift up your voice like a trumpet blast; Tell my people their wickedness, and the house of Jacob their sins. They seek me day after day, and desire to know my ways, Like a nation that has done what is just and not abandoned the law of their God; They ask me to declare what is due them, pleased to gain access to God. “Why do we fast, and you do not see it? afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?” 

Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits, and drive all your laborers. Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting, striking with wicked claw. Would that today you might fast so as to make your voice heard on high! Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: That a man bow his head like a reed and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am! 

Is this not what Pope Francis is calling us to during this Year of Mercy? Do you expect people to see that you are fasting? Or do you do it with a bright smile and skip in your step? Jesus wants us to keep a day of fasting, He wants us to give up something in our lives that keeps us from Him. But He also wants us to do something for the “least of our brothers”. How are you answering Jesus’ call? How are you saying yes to Him? 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, fasting is a struggle that I offer to you. When I fall pick me up, when I fail, forgive me. Help me Lord to always give to you and for you with joy, praise and offering glory to your Son Jesus Christ, Amen! 

A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Link to today’s readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021116.cfm

Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” 

Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?” 

Are you willing to deny yourself the things of the world, for the sake of eternal life? If you follow the world your life is worth nothing, for the world has nothing of value to offer you. But if you die to the world and follow Christ you will earn life everlasting. The choice is yours. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I try to die to you daily. Forgive me when I fail and help me to pick up the pieces and start again. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen. 

Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Ash Wedesday Cross

Learn more about Ash Wednesday: http://www.catholic.org/clife/lent/ashwed.php

 Link to today’s readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021016.cfm

Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. 

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. 

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.” 

Lent is upon us. It is a time to step back into ourselves and take stock of where we are with the Lord. Look at your life, see where the Lord fits in on a daily basis. Do you only spend time with Him when you have nothing to do or do you make time to spend with Him? Offer your life to Him this Lent, fast and pray and He will reward you. Be sure you are give with good cheer and joy so you do not receive pity from anyone. Your Father will see you and know your heart. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me this Lent to see you and find you more closely in my heart. In Jesus’ holy name, I give you glory, Amen!!!! 

Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Link to today’s readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020916.cfm

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. (For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.) So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: 

“This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.” 

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! For Moses said, Honor your father and your mother, and Whoever curses father or mother shall die. Yet you say, ‘If someone says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’ (meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”

Jesus is more worried about what is inside us, our hearts, than the superficial things like washing hands. The Pharisees twisted the law to suite their purposes. They took the commandments and made their own rules to suite their purpose. Jesus knew their hearts were in the wrong place. He wants our hearts to be filled with Him and His word. Where does your concern lie? On your heart or in your mirror? 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to cleanse my heart and mind of the things of the world and fill them only with you. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen. 

How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!

Link to today’s readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020816.cfm

After making the crossing to the other side of the sea, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there. As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him. They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed. 

Do you know Jesus when you see Him? Granted He is not walking physically among us, but He is among us in the people in our lives. Jesus comes to us daily in the people that cross our paths, the ones who are hurt and need a friendly word or smile, the ones we have known all our lives but just need that extra hug. You can be healer like Jesus, by seeing Jesus in everyone in your life. Even if it is hard, He IS there. 

Prayer: Thank you Heavenly Father for the people you sent into my life. You have stretched me and made me grow by the people you have sent to me. In Jesus’ holy name, I offer praise and thanksgiving, Amen! 

Lord, go up to the place of your rest!

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