February 29, 2020
Three Temptations, Three Lenten Practices
The three temptations that Jesus faced have one thing in common – to be in control.
First, to be in control of taking care of ourselves and our wants and needs.
Second, to be in control of God – we want God to do what we want, to provide for what we need (even in the way and at the time we want it).
Third, to be in control of others.
Which of these three is God inviting me to work on this Lent? Probably a little of all three.
And the three Lenten practices (disciplines) the Church teaches us can be helpful accordingly.
Fasting helps us to learn through hunger, thirst, and want that we are not in control of our own destiny, and that we depend on God and others.
Prayer helps us to let God be in control.
Almsgiving helps us to focus not on ourselves but others, not on our wants but the needs of others.
Image source: www.agnusday.org
February 22, 2020
Your Heavenly Father is Perfect
Jesus continues to show us how we can be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Last week, we could summarize the practices he taught as, “It is not enough to avoid evil, we must do good.”
Similarly, today’s Gospel can be summarized as, “Not only should we not take revenge, we must love those who wrong us.”
That is the way of God, which Jesus is inviting us to follow. That is the way to become more like the heavenly Father who is perfect.
Lent begins this Wednesday, this invitation from Jesus should be the motivation and purpose of our Lenten practices.
February 15, 2020
Earlier in Matthew 5, Jesus told the disciples to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.”
Immediately following that, Jesus now tells the disciples some concrete practices for them to share in his mission of fulfilling the law.
Two examples from the list:
It is not enough not to kill. The disciples must treat others with love and respect.
It is not enough to avoid false oaths. The disciples must live with integrity and honesty.
By living these new applications of God’s law, the disciples would be salt of the earth and light of the world.
February 8, 2020
Two Conditions of Being Disciples of Jesus
Jesus said to his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth” and “You are the light of the world.”
Consequently, if I am not salt of the earth and do not bring light into the world, I am not living as a disciple of Jesus.
It is also to note Paul’s reminder that Jesus Christ crucified is the true salt and light, not me (2nd reading). I don't have to generate my own salt or light. I am only His instrument.
February 1, 2020
The feast of the Presentation of the Lord marks the event when Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the Temple so that Jesus might be “consecrated to the Lord.”
With Baptism, all Christians are consecrated to God, which means “to be made holy” or “to be dedicated to a sacred purpose.” 
Saint Pope John Paul II highlighted this concept of consecration when he established this day to be the World Day of Consecrated Life in 1997. Religious profession or consecration continues this gift of holiness in men and women who God calls to this way of life.
Please pray for us religious to be more faithful and generous in our response to God’s consecration – to be holy.
Please encourage young people to consider this vocation, and pray for those who God calls it. May they listen and be open to God’s invitation to consecrate their lives to God, guided by the Holy Spirit, so that the whole world may see God’s salvation in Jesus Christ.
Image source: Philippe de Champaigne, The Presentation in the Temple. commons.wikimedia.org