January 8-9, 2022
Jesus never sinned. So why did he get baptized?
To be close to us. Instead of the waters cleansing Jesus from original sin, we can think of Jesus’s submersion into the river Jordan as Him baptizing the water. By taking part in this ritual, Jesus elevates it. He raises it to the level of a sacrament, a moment when we know that He will be present, through which we can encounter Him. That’s what happened when each of us were baptized. We became Christ’s brothers and sisters.
And if we’re joined to Jesus in baptism, then what he hears after coming ashore also applies to us: “You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.” Through baptism, we become sons and daughters of God. This is our true identity!
Reminding ourselves of this identity—for instance, when we make the sign of the cross with Holy Water—transforms the way we live. If God is Our Father, it means our life is a gift. And it means He’s inviting us into his work of generosity and love. How does this change the way we think about helping our parish community? About volunteering our time and talents? About supporting the Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal? Pray about it and see!
January 15-16, 2022
If you had to identify the most important priorities for the Son of God, Savior of Mankind, to accomplish during his earthly mission, saving a wedding feast by turning water into wine probably wouldn’t be at the top of the list. So what is Jesus doing in today’s Gospel?
Among other things, he’s demonstrating that love responds to earthly and everyday needs. It doesn’t just look for the big gestures or the grandiose displays—it looks for concrete opportunities. If love is true love, its focus isn’t self-aggrandizement, but actually serving the good of the other—like Christ does through something seemingly as mundane as providing good refreshment for the guests at a wedding.
We’re called to love like Jesus does: by responding to the concrete needs of our community. Contributing to our Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal might not be glamorous or grandiose—but you’ll be helping meet the everyday needs of your parish when you do. Ask Jesus to show you how He wants you to love in this way and see where it leads you!
January 22-23, 2022
Today’s Gospel is a transformational moment for Jesus. After standing up in the synagogue and reading Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming of one who will free the captives, heal the blind, and bring glad tidings to the poor, Jesus tells those gathered: “Today the Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Jesus gives his listeners any other interpretation: He is the Messiah. He is the one who fulfills all the Old Testament prophecies.
Do we believe this? Do we believe that Jesus really can bring freedom and healing and spiritual richness, to us and to the world? If so, then how important is His Church? How important is the liturgy, the sacraments, acts of Christian service, learning the Church’s teachings, and all the other good things we do at our parish?
Our parish activity is an essential way that Christ continues to fulfill these ancient prophecies, pouring His love out into the world. Help this essential work continue by supporting our Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal today.
January 29-30, 2022
The Gospel is the Good News. It shows us the path to everlasting life. But sometimes it does this not just by showing us what to do, but also demonstrating what not to do. Today is a great example. Jesus preaches in Nazareth, where he grew up. The hometown crowd is expecting to hear some inspiring words, and maybe even see some miracles. But that’s not what Jesus has in store for them. Instead, he challenges them, pointing to their self-centeredness and their unwillingness to open-up to God. Definitely not the easy message they wanted to hear!
This is a moment of decision for his audience. Do they allow Jesus’s hard words to change them, leading to conversion and deeper relationship with God? Or do they put up walls, and respond with anger and stubbornness?
We know how they chose. The challenge for us is to choose differently when we’re confronted by a challenging message from Christ and His Church. One of those challenging topics in our parish today is the need to support the Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal. It can be easy to react to this conversation by putting up walls or tuning things out. But the parish’s needs are real. What’s more important than whether we give or not is whether we allow ourselves to be challenged by the invitation to contribute, allowing ourselves to lower our defenses and to prayerfully listen and discern. Try it out today, and see how the Lord prompts you.
February 5-6, 2022
Have you ever done a “trust fall”? It’s a pretty crazy concept. With your eyes closed and arms folded over your chest, you fall straight backwards. Of course, there’s a very important element that hasn’t yet been mentioned: someone is standing behind you, ready to catch you.
The “trust fall” illustrates such an important truth: we are only willing to take a risk, to “fall,” when someone we trust is with us.
In our Gospel today, Peter commits to his own “trust fall,” casting in his nets after a whole night of fruitless fishing, all because he trusts the Lord and the Lord instructs him to. As a parish, we’re doing a “trust fall” right now, as we strive to respond to our Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal. It can feel like a big risk to ask to be vulnerable and ask our community members to help meet our diocesan needs, but we do it because we trust—both in the Lord, but also in all the people who make up this parish community—including you.
Maybe contributing to the Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal feels like a risk for you. Which is fine! The key, however, is to never forget that we’re not doing this alone. We’re taking part in the Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal as part of an archdiocesan community we trust, and with the love and support of a Lord who never leaves us. When we change our perspective from “fear” to “trust,” how does our willingness to give change? Take some time today to ground yourself in trust of the Lord, and see how your heart responds.
February 12-13, 2022
Scripture can sometimes be confusing. We know that God created everything, and called it all “good.” But in today’s Gospel reading, Jesus seems to suggest that partaking in this good creation—having enough to eat, being able to provide for our material needs, and enjoying ourselves and the earth—is somehow bad, even a curse. What’s going on?
None of these things—wealth, good food, laughter, or praise—are bad in their own right. The problem is when we are satisfied by these earthly things—when we’re so filled up with them that we lose the desire for God.
In contrast to this, Jesus praises those who are empty—the poor, the hungry, the sorrowful, and the excluded—again, not because poverty or hunger or any of these things are good in their own right, but because when we find ourselves in these conditions, we’re more open to God. We know that nothing here will ultimately satisfy us, and so we turn to Him.
The Church calls this the virtue of spiritual poverty—and it can transform the way we think about wealth. Instead of wealth becoming a kind of ball and chain, that holds us down and holds us back, spiritual poverty allows us to see that whatever we have is a gift—a gift God has entrusted to us, and asks us to use prudently as His stewards. Let’s keep the virtue of spiritual poverty in mind as we discern—as a community and as families—how we can support our Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal.
February 19-20, 2022
“What is love?” That phrase isn’t just the opening to an early ‘90s Eurodance song. It’s a question that the human heart has asked throughout history. Is it a feeling? A bond experienced between family and friends and romantic partners?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us the unique, Christian answer: love gives without counting the cost. It seeks the good of the other without looking for repayment in return. This is the kind of love that Jesus encourages His disciples to have, “for the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
We’re called to love like this in all our relationships. With our spouse, our children, our coworkers, and with others in our community. If you’re looking for another concrete way to love—to give without counting the cost—consider contributing to our Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal. Reread today’s Gospel and see where the Lord leads you.
February 26-27, 2022
How do we know someone loves us? Is it through the sweet words they say to us, the grand promises they make? While these things can be part of the equation, we come to learn that love can only prove itself through deeds. We know someone loves us not when they say they love us, but when they show they love us—by prioritizing us, caring for us, and seeking our good, even when it might mean making a sacrifice.
If this applies to us determining if someone loves us, it can also help us reflect on whether we truly love others. Do the things we say we believe about love, giving generously, and serving others lead to concrete deeds in our lives—the “good fruit” Christ talks about in today’s Gospel—or do they tend to not translate into action?
It can be difficult to tell! But the Lord gives us opportunities to put love into action each and every day—in our family, our workplace, and our wider community. As a parish, we actually have one of those opportunities before us today: the chance to contribute to our Archbishop’s Call to Share appeal. This is a concrete opportunity to not only give generously, but also to contribute to the “good fruit” that our diocese is producing today, sharing the love of the Lord with so many who desire to receive it. Ask the Lord to ask how he’s inviting you to put your love into action today.