April 25, 2018

Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist

Mark 16:15-20

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Our mission from Jesus

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Mark the evangelist. The Gospel of Mark concludes with words of mission for all followers of Christ, words that we might hear anew in this way:

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:

“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Be authentic so that the words you preach and the actions you take may be received as Good News.

These signs will accompany those who receive and are transformed by the gift of faith:

Because they know me they will not permit pessimism, gossip, or the illusion of self-sufficiency to take control of their lives;
Because they love me they will speak new languages so that they can better communicate with and understand others;
Because they follow me they will handle things that otherwise would be too ‘dirty’ or too ‘beyond the norm.’

They will lay hands on the sick, invite the lonely to share a meal, and practice patience with themselves and others.”

What signs speak to you of one who is transformed by the gift of faith?

—Sr. Jessica Kerber, aci is a Handmaid of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a women’s congregation of Ignatian Spirituality that is a member of the Charis Ministries Partner Program.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, as you appeared to the disciples, encouraging them and sending them forth, so also you have made yourself known to me. Knowing you is my greatest gift. May my words speak of hope and my actions speak of love so that others too may have the chance to know you, for knowing you they will love you, and from there, all else changes.

—Sr. Jessica Kerber, aci

 

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 24, 2018

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen

Jn 10:22-30

At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand.The Father and I are one.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

An invitation to relationship

Jesus goes about his ministry: healing the sick, setting the captives free, bringing the good news to the poor, and being the physical manifestation of God’s love on earth.

Yet, the people gather around Him and ask: “How long will you keep us in suspense? … Tell us plainly.” You can almost imagine Jesus throwing his arms up in exasperation. He has told them, and he has shown them, but they’ve missed it somehow.

The people have been waiting for the SparkNotes, 140-character, simple answer—which is not what Jesus offers. Instead, he invites them “to know” him, “to hear” his voice, and “to follow” him. Jesus doesn’t keep them in suspense but invites them into something more radical: relationship.

That relationship heals us and completes us. It reveals Jesus as both Christ and friend, if we but look into the depths of that love.

—Colten Biro, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the USA Central and Southern Province in First Studies at Saint Louis University. He is a frequent contributor to The Jesuit Post.

Prayer

Jesus, you’ve invited me into something deeper.
Into deep encounters.
Into the complexities of relationship.
Into the depths of your love, for me.
Give me the courage to seek the deeper answers,
The ones found only in relationship with You.
Amen.

—Colten Biro, SJ

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 23, 2018

St. George

John 10:1-10

“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Are we seeking God?

To be human is to hunger and keep pursuing. We constantly pursue more love, more growth, and more meaning. Throughout this life journey, there are times we do not know what we are truly hungering for or where we are going.

Jesus makes it very clear in the passage that all paths to abundance and eternal life go through him. Are we looking for him? Are we listening to him? The Jesuits talk about striving to be a “contemplative in action.” Perhaps as we continue with our busy schedules and daily activities, we can recommit to more prayer, reading scripture, receiving the sacraments, and simply to the inner silence needed to consider whether our life is what God desires for us.

Do we truly seek God in our day-to-day lives? Do we find Jesus in our relationships and activities? For Jesus knows each of us by name and he is the shepherd who will lead us always.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is Chair of the Theology Department and was recently named Assistant Principal for Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.

Prayer

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone

—Thomas Merton

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 22, 2018

John 10:11-18

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

The Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.”

Several years ago, when I was an associate pastor at Gesu Parish in Milwaukee, I remember preaching on Good Shepherd Sunday. That Sunday as I walked up and down the long aisle going on and on about the Jesus as the Good Shepherd, unbeknownst to me and to her parents, a toddler had slipped away and began wandering the long aisleway. As she drew further away from her parents, she became confused and lost. Suddenly, stuck in my tracks, I looked down and saw the toddler, who had wrapped her arms around my alb and legs. I picked her up into my arms and returned her to her parents.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He is deeply committed to us. He will go to the wall for us and even lay down his life for us. He watches out for us. He gathers those who are lost and returns them home.

Remember a time when all hope was lost, and out of nowhere consolation abounded. Let us give thanks to the Good Shepherd, who is always watching out for us.

—Fr. Mike Bayard, SJ, is the Socius of the USA West Provinceof the Society of Jesus.

Prayer

The LORD is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack. In green pastures you let me graze;
to safe waters you lead me;
you restore my strength.
You guide me along the right path
for the sake of your name.
Even when I walk through a dark valley,
I fear no harm for you are at my side;
your rod and staff give me courage.

—Psalm 23

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 21, 2018

Acts 9:31-42

Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

Now as Peter went here and there among all the believers, he came down also to the saints living in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, for he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!” And immediately he got up. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.”

So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Co-laborers in the vineyard

In the miraculous healings presented in today’s first reading, Peter mirrors miracles that Jesus performed during his lifetime.  Peter heals Aeneas, a paralyzed man, telling him to “get up and make your bed.” In Mark 2:1-12, a paralyzed man’s friends lower him through the roof and Jesus heals him and says “rise, pick up your mat and walk.”  Peter then manages to top this miracle by raising a woman named Tabitha from the dead, just as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.

St. Ignatius talks about God’s invitation to each of us to be co-laborers in God’s vineyard.  Peter certainly co-labored with Christ, both during Jesus’ earthly ministry and after his ascension, and did so in often dramatic ways.  While most of us may not perform such extreme acts as part of our discipleship, we are still each called to work with Jesus in bringing the Good News to the people we encounter in our daily lives.

What is one act I can do to co-labor with God today?

—The Jesuit Prayer team

Prayer

Good and gracious God, we know that as we labor in the vineyard of this world, we do not labor alone.  We are your coworkers, and we work toward something that will bear good fruit in the world. Give us the strength to walk with you, and the courage to respond to your invitation to us each day.  We ask this through our brother, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 20, 2018

Acts 9:1-10

Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Chosen Instrument

Today we hear the story of Saul’s (St. Paul’s) conversion. Jesus says of Paul: “he is an instrument whom I have chosen” or This man is a chosen instrument of mine” in other translations. Do you view yourself as an instrument of God?

God uses all of us, not just a special few, to spread love, compassion, and bring glory to him. We don’t need a spectacular conversion like St. Paul’s to contribute. God uses the simple and ordinary. He uses all parts of us, including our sins and weaknesses.

Paul’s past of persecuting Christ’s followers is something most would be ashamed of, something we’d want to hide. But God uses it to bring good. Paul’s story brings hope and encouragement to those who hear it. Later, when Paul is questioned by Jewish leaders, he points to this past as powerful defense for why they should believe him now. How might God be using your sins or weaknesses to bring about good?

—Jake Derry is the Campus Ministry Associate at St. Mary Student Parish at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Prayer

Lord my God, when your love spilled over into creation you thought of me. I am from love, of love, for love. Let my heart, O God, always recognize, cherish and enjoy your goodness in all of creation. Direct all that is me toward your praise. Teach me reverence for every person, all things. Energize me in your service.

Lord God, may nothing ever distract me from your love; neither health nor sickness, wealth nor poverty, honor nor dishonor, long life nor short life. May I never seek nor choose to be other than what you intend or wish.

—St. Ignatius Loyola, First Principle & Foundation, trans. Jacqueline Bergan & Sr. Marie Schwan, 1985.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 19, 2018

John 6:44-51

No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.

I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Who are our teachers?

They shall all be taught by God.

Jesus was a master teacher and he was passionate about his subject. He loved teaching about God: the goodness of God, the power of God, the love of God, the forgiving nature of God, the existence of God, As I reflect on how I am living my life I can ask myself, “Who or what am I allowing to be my teachers today? Do I allow hate and resentment to be my teacher or love and forgiveness? Do I allow the negative messages of the world to be my teacher or do I allow the hope that God promises to teach me. Ignatius reminds us that everything can help us to get closer to God. Therefore, I can use everything to teach me to love God more deeply.

Who or what is teaching me today?

—Lee Hubbell is the director of the LU-CHOICE and JVC Magis programs, and the director of ministry of the First Studies program, all at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you taught us through your words and actions, and you continue to teach us through the people, places, and experiences of our everyday lives.  Help us to be open to your lessons so that we may grow deeper relationship with you and our brothers and sisters. We ask this in your name. Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 18, 2018

Jn 6:35-40

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Labors of love

We labor at many things: our jobs, building community, supporting our family, accompanying friends, promoting justice. To “work” seems different than to “labor.” Laboring speaks of something ongoing, something that requires deeper concentration, an investment of oneself, and something that requires patience as well as commitment so that something greater will come forth.

St. Ignatius speaks of Christ’s work of salvation as a labor of love. Christ is actively laboring in each of us, in the people in our lives, in all of creation, to lead us to fullness of life in God. Today’s Gospel reading speaks of this truth: Jesus, the Bread of Life (he who sustains us daily), is laboring continuously for God’s will: that all of God’s children will come to fullness of life with God.

What are your “labors of love?” How do you recognize God laboring in you, and in the people and situations that surround you, in these labors of love?

—Sr. Jessica Kerber, aci is a Handmaid of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a women’s congregation of Ignatian Spirituality that is a member of the Charis Ministries Partner Program.

Prayer

Prayer for Generosity

Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do your will.
Amen.

—St. Ignatius of Loyola

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 17, 2018

John 6:30-35

So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

How does the bread of life show itself?

In the Gospel today, Jesus struggles to help the people understand something each of us struggles at times to see: we are thinking too small, too immediate—lost in our daily minutia.

The crowd talks of bread and manna, earthly gifts given to their ancestors to satisfy their immediate hunger. Yet, Jesus tries to broaden their vision to see something bigger: it’s not about bread that satiates hunger, but about “the bread” which animates your very life. Then, Jesus offers himself, “I am the bread of life …”

Jesus calls the crowd to himself, to receive him and ultimately his mission as their “bread of life.” This gift is both a comfort and a challenge to us, because that which animates and gives us life should fundamentally show itself in everything we do, even in our daily minutia.

So, how does “the bread of life” show itself in your daily life?

—Colten Biro, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the USA Central and Southern Province in First Studies at Saint Louis University. He is a frequent contributor to The Jesuit Post.

Prayer

God, you breathed life into me.
And, you gave me “the bread of life” in your Son.
Help that Life within me spill forth into everything I do.
Let me live the love of Jesus, even in the small moments of my day.

—Colten Biro, SJ

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 16, 2018

John 6:22-29

The next day the crowd that had stayed on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there. They also saw that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.

When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.”

Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?”Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Truly living in Jesus

Just like the disciples, we are on a constant quest to be content. We look for contentment in our relationships, our ambitions, our possessions, and other aspects in our life. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in “our quest” to be content in our day-to-day lives that we get in our own way. We begin to take these aspects of our life way too seriously and become ungrateful. We forget that most of these aspects represents the “food” that will eventually perish and that will never totally satisfy us or give us peace. As a result of this obsession with being content, we miss out on the joy in life.

In contrast, Jesus shows us another way. He fills us with the food of his love, faith, and joy. This “food” from Jesus nourishes us. What can we do to find it? The answer is in the attempt. It is like the old Godspell song, Day by Day. We simply must desire and strive to know, love, and follow Christ more intentionally all the days of our life. If we pursue this, we will discover and experience Jesus working through us giving us the food (love, faith, joy) that enables us to truly live in him and with him. Now and forever. Amen.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is Chair of the Theology Department and was recently named Assistant Principal for Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.

Prayer

O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly.

—St. Richard Chichester

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Welcome to FaithCP

Creighton Prep and the Midwest Jesuits have partnered to create FaithCP, a daily resource for prayer. FaithCP provides daily scripture, reflections, and prayers grounded in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits.


Get our FREE App

Submit a Prayer Request

Archives

SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
22232425262728
2930     
       
    123
25262728   
       
   1234
262728    
       
       
       
    123
45678910
       
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   
       
      1
       
     12
       
     12
3456789
10111213141516
       

April 25, 2018

Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist

Mark 16:15-20

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Our mission from Jesus

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Mark the evangelist. The Gospel of Mark concludes with words of mission for all followers of Christ, words that we might hear anew in this way:

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:

“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Be authentic so that the words you preach and the actions you take may be received as Good News.

These signs will accompany those who receive and are transformed by the gift of faith:

Because they know me they will not permit pessimism, gossip, or the illusion of self-sufficiency to take control of their lives;
Because they love me they will speak new languages so that they can better communicate with and understand others;
Because they follow me they will handle things that otherwise would be too ‘dirty’ or too ‘beyond the norm.’

They will lay hands on the sick, invite the lonely to share a meal, and practice patience with themselves and others.”

What signs speak to you of one who is transformed by the gift of faith?

—Sr. Jessica Kerber, aci is a Handmaid of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a women’s congregation of Ignatian Spirituality that is a member of the Charis Ministries Partner Program.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, as you appeared to the disciples, encouraging them and sending them forth, so also you have made yourself known to me. Knowing you is my greatest gift. May my words speak of hope and my actions speak of love so that others too may have the chance to know you, for knowing you they will love you, and from there, all else changes.

—Sr. Jessica Kerber, aci

 

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 24, 2018

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen

Jn 10:22-30

At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand.The Father and I are one.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

An invitation to relationship

Jesus goes about his ministry: healing the sick, setting the captives free, bringing the good news to the poor, and being the physical manifestation of God’s love on earth.

Yet, the people gather around Him and ask: “How long will you keep us in suspense? … Tell us plainly.” You can almost imagine Jesus throwing his arms up in exasperation. He has told them, and he has shown them, but they’ve missed it somehow.

The people have been waiting for the SparkNotes, 140-character, simple answer—which is not what Jesus offers. Instead, he invites them “to know” him, “to hear” his voice, and “to follow” him. Jesus doesn’t keep them in suspense but invites them into something more radical: relationship.

That relationship heals us and completes us. It reveals Jesus as both Christ and friend, if we but look into the depths of that love.

—Colten Biro, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the USA Central and Southern Province in First Studies at Saint Louis University. He is a frequent contributor to The Jesuit Post.

Prayer

Jesus, you’ve invited me into something deeper.
Into deep encounters.
Into the complexities of relationship.
Into the depths of your love, for me.
Give me the courage to seek the deeper answers,
The ones found only in relationship with You.
Amen.

—Colten Biro, SJ

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 23, 2018

St. George

John 10:1-10

“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Are we seeking God?

To be human is to hunger and keep pursuing. We constantly pursue more love, more growth, and more meaning. Throughout this life journey, there are times we do not know what we are truly hungering for or where we are going.

Jesus makes it very clear in the passage that all paths to abundance and eternal life go through him. Are we looking for him? Are we listening to him? The Jesuits talk about striving to be a “contemplative in action.” Perhaps as we continue with our busy schedules and daily activities, we can recommit to more prayer, reading scripture, receiving the sacraments, and simply to the inner silence needed to consider whether our life is what God desires for us.

Do we truly seek God in our day-to-day lives? Do we find Jesus in our relationships and activities? For Jesus knows each of us by name and he is the shepherd who will lead us always.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is Chair of the Theology Department and was recently named Assistant Principal for Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.

Prayer

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone

—Thomas Merton

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 22, 2018

John 10:11-18

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

The Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.”

Several years ago, when I was an associate pastor at Gesu Parish in Milwaukee, I remember preaching on Good Shepherd Sunday. That Sunday as I walked up and down the long aisle going on and on about the Jesus as the Good Shepherd, unbeknownst to me and to her parents, a toddler had slipped away and began wandering the long aisleway. As she drew further away from her parents, she became confused and lost. Suddenly, stuck in my tracks, I looked down and saw the toddler, who had wrapped her arms around my alb and legs. I picked her up into my arms and returned her to her parents.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He is deeply committed to us. He will go to the wall for us and even lay down his life for us. He watches out for us. He gathers those who are lost and returns them home.

Remember a time when all hope was lost, and out of nowhere consolation abounded. Let us give thanks to the Good Shepherd, who is always watching out for us.

—Fr. Mike Bayard, SJ, is the Socius of the USA West Provinceof the Society of Jesus.

Prayer

The LORD is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack. In green pastures you let me graze;
to safe waters you lead me;
you restore my strength.
You guide me along the right path
for the sake of your name.
Even when I walk through a dark valley,
I fear no harm for you are at my side;
your rod and staff give me courage.

—Psalm 23

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 21, 2018

Acts 9:31-42

Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

Now as Peter went here and there among all the believers, he came down also to the saints living in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, for he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!” And immediately he got up. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.”

So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Co-laborers in the vineyard

In the miraculous healings presented in today’s first reading, Peter mirrors miracles that Jesus performed during his lifetime.  Peter heals Aeneas, a paralyzed man, telling him to “get up and make your bed.” In Mark 2:1-12, a paralyzed man’s friends lower him through the roof and Jesus heals him and says “rise, pick up your mat and walk.”  Peter then manages to top this miracle by raising a woman named Tabitha from the dead, just as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.

St. Ignatius talks about God’s invitation to each of us to be co-laborers in God’s vineyard.  Peter certainly co-labored with Christ, both during Jesus’ earthly ministry and after his ascension, and did so in often dramatic ways.  While most of us may not perform such extreme acts as part of our discipleship, we are still each called to work with Jesus in bringing the Good News to the people we encounter in our daily lives.

What is one act I can do to co-labor with God today?

—The Jesuit Prayer team

Prayer

Good and gracious God, we know that as we labor in the vineyard of this world, we do not labor alone.  We are your coworkers, and we work toward something that will bear good fruit in the world. Give us the strength to walk with you, and the courage to respond to your invitation to us each day.  We ask this through our brother, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 20, 2018

Acts 9:1-10

Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Chosen Instrument

Today we hear the story of Saul’s (St. Paul’s) conversion. Jesus says of Paul: “he is an instrument whom I have chosen” or This man is a chosen instrument of mine” in other translations. Do you view yourself as an instrument of God?

God uses all of us, not just a special few, to spread love, compassion, and bring glory to him. We don’t need a spectacular conversion like St. Paul’s to contribute. God uses the simple and ordinary. He uses all parts of us, including our sins and weaknesses.

Paul’s past of persecuting Christ’s followers is something most would be ashamed of, something we’d want to hide. But God uses it to bring good. Paul’s story brings hope and encouragement to those who hear it. Later, when Paul is questioned by Jewish leaders, he points to this past as powerful defense for why they should believe him now. How might God be using your sins or weaknesses to bring about good?

—Jake Derry is the Campus Ministry Associate at St. Mary Student Parish at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Prayer

Lord my God, when your love spilled over into creation you thought of me. I am from love, of love, for love. Let my heart, O God, always recognize, cherish and enjoy your goodness in all of creation. Direct all that is me toward your praise. Teach me reverence for every person, all things. Energize me in your service.

Lord God, may nothing ever distract me from your love; neither health nor sickness, wealth nor poverty, honor nor dishonor, long life nor short life. May I never seek nor choose to be other than what you intend or wish.

—St. Ignatius Loyola, First Principle & Foundation, trans. Jacqueline Bergan & Sr. Marie Schwan, 1985.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 19, 2018

John 6:44-51

No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.

I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Who are our teachers?

They shall all be taught by God.

Jesus was a master teacher and he was passionate about his subject. He loved teaching about God: the goodness of God, the power of God, the love of God, the forgiving nature of God, the existence of God, As I reflect on how I am living my life I can ask myself, “Who or what am I allowing to be my teachers today? Do I allow hate and resentment to be my teacher or love and forgiveness? Do I allow the negative messages of the world to be my teacher or do I allow the hope that God promises to teach me. Ignatius reminds us that everything can help us to get closer to God. Therefore, I can use everything to teach me to love God more deeply.

Who or what is teaching me today?

—Lee Hubbell is the director of the LU-CHOICE and JVC Magis programs, and the director of ministry of the First Studies program, all at Loyola University Chicago.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you taught us through your words and actions, and you continue to teach us through the people, places, and experiences of our everyday lives.  Help us to be open to your lessons so that we may grow deeper relationship with you and our brothers and sisters. We ask this in your name. Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 18, 2018

Jn 6:35-40

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Labors of love

We labor at many things: our jobs, building community, supporting our family, accompanying friends, promoting justice. To “work” seems different than to “labor.” Laboring speaks of something ongoing, something that requires deeper concentration, an investment of oneself, and something that requires patience as well as commitment so that something greater will come forth.

St. Ignatius speaks of Christ’s work of salvation as a labor of love. Christ is actively laboring in each of us, in the people in our lives, in all of creation, to lead us to fullness of life in God. Today’s Gospel reading speaks of this truth: Jesus, the Bread of Life (he who sustains us daily), is laboring continuously for God’s will: that all of God’s children will come to fullness of life with God.

What are your “labors of love?” How do you recognize God laboring in you, and in the people and situations that surround you, in these labors of love?

—Sr. Jessica Kerber, aci is a Handmaid of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a women’s congregation of Ignatian Spirituality that is a member of the Charis Ministries Partner Program.

Prayer

Prayer for Generosity

Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do your will.
Amen.

—St. Ignatius of Loyola

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 17, 2018

John 6:30-35

So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

How does the bread of life show itself?

In the Gospel today, Jesus struggles to help the people understand something each of us struggles at times to see: we are thinking too small, too immediate—lost in our daily minutia.

The crowd talks of bread and manna, earthly gifts given to their ancestors to satisfy their immediate hunger. Yet, Jesus tries to broaden their vision to see something bigger: it’s not about bread that satiates hunger, but about “the bread” which animates your very life. Then, Jesus offers himself, “I am the bread of life …”

Jesus calls the crowd to himself, to receive him and ultimately his mission as their “bread of life.” This gift is both a comfort and a challenge to us, because that which animates and gives us life should fundamentally show itself in everything we do, even in our daily minutia.

So, how does “the bread of life” show itself in your daily life?

—Colten Biro, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the USA Central and Southern Province in First Studies at Saint Louis University. He is a frequent contributor to The Jesuit Post.

Prayer

God, you breathed life into me.
And, you gave me “the bread of life” in your Son.
Help that Life within me spill forth into everything I do.
Let me live the love of Jesus, even in the small moments of my day.

—Colten Biro, SJ

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 16, 2018

John 6:22-29

The next day the crowd that had stayed on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there. They also saw that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.

When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.”

Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?”Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Truly living in Jesus

Just like the disciples, we are on a constant quest to be content. We look for contentment in our relationships, our ambitions, our possessions, and other aspects in our life. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in “our quest” to be content in our day-to-day lives that we get in our own way. We begin to take these aspects of our life way too seriously and become ungrateful. We forget that most of these aspects represents the “food” that will eventually perish and that will never totally satisfy us or give us peace. As a result of this obsession with being content, we miss out on the joy in life.

In contrast, Jesus shows us another way. He fills us with the food of his love, faith, and joy. This “food” from Jesus nourishes us. What can we do to find it? The answer is in the attempt. It is like the old Godspell song, Day by Day. We simply must desire and strive to know, love, and follow Christ more intentionally all the days of our life. If we pursue this, we will discover and experience Jesus working through us giving us the food (love, faith, joy) that enables us to truly live in him and with him. Now and forever. Amen.

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is Chair of the Theology Department and was recently named Assistant Principal for Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.

Prayer

O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly.

—St. Richard Chichester

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!