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

Link to today’s readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/021618.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!

We are now in a time of penance, time to take stock of our life and see what is necessary to turn us back to God. We have abandoned the law of the Lord and now is the time to take it back. The work we do will change the world. The question is who will you work for? The Lord or the evil in the world?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray that I keep my heart and mind on you and that those in my little corner of the world will follow me. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

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

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Link to today’s readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/021518.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?”

Taking up the cross of Christ makes our life worthwhile. If we do not carry a cross and suffer with Christ we will not know the redemption of Christ. Looking for the easy way? There really is none, because life without suffering is a false life. Pick up your cross and get to know Jesus.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, you are always there to help me carry the crosses in my life. Without you, they would be unbearable. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Ash Wednesday Heart

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

Link to today’s readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/021418.cfm

Brothers and sisters: We are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.

For he says:

In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you. 

Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

“Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Today is the day to start your new life in Christ. Lent is the time to bring yourself closer to Our Lord, now is the time to plan for your salvation. Do not delay – accept the mercy of God and return home.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me during this Lent to come closer to you, to learn more about you and to bring others with me. In Jesus’ holy name, amen.

Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

 

Link to today’s readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/021318.cfm

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” They concluded among themselves that it was because they had no bread. When he became aware of this he said to them, “Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?” They answered him, “Twelve.” “When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?” They answered him, “Seven.” He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

He is warning them against the agitators who will stir up their faith and try to confuse them with distortions and lies. Who do you know today who does that? Who tries to stir up trouble for the faithful and cause them distress and trouble? We have to trust in the one who multiplies our fragments, not those who stir up problems with no solutions.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I follow you. I have no desire to listen or follow those who stir up the leaven of distrust and hate. In Jesus’ holy name, I pray for those who do and pray they are willing to open their hearts to you. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.

Link to today’s readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/021218.cfm

The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore.

So many no longer believe unless they see a sign. What sign do you need? In this world we have many signs and wonders that Our Lord has given us, but many refuse to believe. We need nothing else but His word. Do you refuse to believe? Can you see what He has done?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, you give us so much and I give you praise and glory for the wonders you have performed. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.

Link to today’s readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/021118.cfm

Brothers and sisters, Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Avoid giving offense, whether to the Jews or Greeks or the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in every way, not seeking my own benefit but that of the many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Do everything for the glory of God. That is such important advice for us today. Too often we do things for our own glory and forget about God. That is a mistake. If we imitate the wrong people, we put our eternal life in jeopardy. There is only one we need to please and that is God.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray that others choose to do all for your glory. You are all that matters for our eternal life. In Jesus’ holy name I give you praise, Amen!

I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.

St. Scholastica

Learn more about St. Scholastica: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=240

Link to today’s readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/021018.cfm

In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat, Jesus summoned the disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance.” His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?” Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They replied, “Seven.” He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave  thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd. They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also. They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets. There were about four thousand people.

He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples and came to the region of Dalmanutha.

Jesus showed his Disciples once again not only the power He had but their need to trust in Him. The bread and fish fed the multitude with much left over. If we offer what we have to Our Lord, no matter how small, He will multiply it into an overabundance.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, you multiplied my blessings many time and I continue to offer everything I have to you, to be used for your glory. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

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