February 25, 2018 – 2nd Sunday of Lent

Today’s “Blessed” https://www.franciscanmedia.org/blessed-sebastian-of-aparicio/

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy:

Genesis 22:1-2 , 9a-10 …18 – Ps. 116, – Romans 7:31b-34 – Mark 9:2 -10

“I heard the Lord call my name…”

Looking at the first reading for today’s liturgy you can see that liturgists from somewhere thought it important to cut out a few verses of this very dramatic story. Consequently an important connection between Abraham, our father in faith, and his son Isaac and God the Father and His beloved Son, Jesus loses some of it’s impact.

In verse 8 we could have read, that Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and loaded in on the back of son, Isaac as they went up the hill of Moriah. This is a clear pre-figuring of Jesus carrying His own cross up the hill of Calvary. Understanding this gives additional meaning between Abraham in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament.

The other important aspect of these readings for this 2nd Sunday of Lent is the aspect of “listening.”   Abraham “heard” the Lord call to him and followed through with his response. In the Gospel account of the Transfiguration the voice of God thunders from the sky, “This is my beloved son, listen to Him. These are the same words that were heard when Jesus was baptized by John in the River Jordan. And similar words were uttered by the centurion at the Crucifixion, “in truth this man was a son of God.”

Today we are bombarded by so many words coming at us from every side that it’s hard for us to listen. But psychologists tell us that even while someone else is speaking to us we’re talking to ourselves in our head ten times faster! No wonder we never really hear what’s being said!

But if we really listen to today’s scriptures we should be able to comprehend that Jesus is pointing out to us what our life is all about: a transformation from life here in this world to life in Heaven. But this transformation only takes place after we have ascended our personal mount of Calvary. Jesus says to us, “unless you take up your cross and follow me you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Did you hear what He said? Were you listening? Amen!






February 23, 2018 – Friday in the 1st Week of Lent

Saint for the day: Polycarp (c.69 – c. 155)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Ezekiel 18:21-28 – Ps 130:1 – 5-7-8 Matthew 5:20-26

“Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? Says the Lord God. Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live?” (Ezekiel 18:23)

In these early days of Lent we are almost being bombarded with this theme of turning from evil in order to seek the good. God is not out to “get” the good person but, rather, to see him turn from whatever is blurring his vision of what God desires us to be. Today’s Responsorial Psalm – 130 – is well-known to all Dominicans because it is prayed every day before we come into the Refectory to eat our meals. We pause to remember those friars who have gone before us (reminiscent of the days when the friars were actually buried in the cloister walkway outside the dining room.) This entire Psalm echoes the theme of today’s Liturgy: reconciliation and the promise of forgiveness. God is always standing outside that door waiting to be let in with his loving gift of forgiveness. It might be helpful if you go back and read this part of Ezekiel and substitute all the “generalized” words making them personal: e.g. “If Daniel turns away from sin … none of the crimes Daniel committed shall be remembered … etc, etc, and so forth. I often do this with the Scriptures in order to be sure that I don’t just presume that God is speaking to some anonymous person out there; and the words don’t apply to me. It’s always good to remember that when you’re praying the scriptures – in personal reflection – nobody’s holding you to “universal orthodoxy” and you want to be able to receive the word in all the fullest ways possible. That generally means that this Word of God has the ability to touch you in ways that draw you closer to God and His loving forgiveness. The beautiful thing about this is that God’s forgiveness is outside of our concept of time and space. I just counted the number of friars from just this Western Dominican Province of the Holy Name who have died in the years since I entered the Order – 1959 – and there are 124 friars that I personally knew and for whom we are still praying. I certainly hope that nobody decides to do away with this tradition before I, myself, die, since I know that I will need all the prayers possible to squeeze through those pearly gates! Just think about it: God sees everything in one blink of an eye and all he asks of us is to remember these words from Psalm 130: “… with him is plenteous redemption and he will redeem Israel (and all of us) from all our iniquities.” Amen!

February 20, 2018 – Tuesday in the 1st Week of Lent

Saints for the day:Lourdes “Blesseds:” Jacinta (died 1920) & Francisco Marto (died 1919) 

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Isaiah 5:10-11 – Ps.34 -Matthew 6:7-15

“Becoming a prayerful person”

 Today the Church gives us two more “bookends” to help us in our journey in becoming prayerful people. In Isaiah we hear that “my word which goes out shall not return to me void until it has done all that it is supposed to do.” And the Gospel tells us n0t to multiply our words like the pagans do. So, how do we make sense out of what we are hearing in today’s liturgy?

Perhaps if we start at the very, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the Word was God.”

In Genesis we read,   “And He Said,It is good.” Then Jesus said, “and God said, let there be light. And so it was. His disciples thought He is the “Light of the World” so that we can walk without stumbling or falling.

So, if God has said all there is to say how do we enter into that scene with our prayers? Are we supposed to change God’s mind? Do we think that we mortals can see a better picture of things than God can?

As I sit here in the dark of our Chapel in the early hours of the morning trying to come to grips with this subject of “prayer” I think that I will have to land on some kind of an understanding of what it’s all about.

For that reason, I go back to those opening words of the Bible: “in the beginning all was a formless void … and God said, ‘Let there be LIGHt.’” And we know that Jesus is that light so our prayer might be, “Lord, bring me into your light that I might see you more clearly and follow you more dearly. Then, all of a sudden it’s not simply a matter of telling God what we need but of being in His light that brings meaning to our journey no matter what we are going through or experiencing. Amen!



February 19, 2018 – Monday in the 1st Week of Lent

 Saint for the day:Conrad of Piacenza ((c. 1290 – Feb. 19, 1351)

 Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

:Leviticus 19: 1-2, 11-18 – Ps 19 – Matthew 25:31-46 http

To all my faithful readers: I just had anothere glitch with the computer and it’s late and I am making more mistakes with each stroke of the keys so I’ll just leave it her and come back to it in the morning and hope to make better progress after a good nights sleep. Such is life …. Brother Daniel

February 18, 2018 – First Sunday of Lent


Saint for the day: Blessed John of Fiesole – 1387 – Feb. 18, 1455

Scripture Readings for today’ Liturgy:

Genesis 9:8-15 – 1 Peter – 3:18-22 – Mark 1:12-15

“Repent and believe in the Gospel.”

“Most revolutionaries end up as dictators!”

Jesus was must assuredly a “revolutionary” but He didn’t end up a dictator. How did he escape this trap that seems to plague nations and countries throughout our world. And not just in our time but all throughout history. What is the difference?  And what kept Jesus (and you and me, too) from going this route?

The move from revolutionary to dictator is a subtle move. I don’t think anyone with revolutionary ideas thinks that they will one day be a dictator.

This is where today’s Gospel can give us some insight into how easy it is for any of us to chose the ‘apparent’ path to success over the – sometimes more difficult path – of honesty and integrity.

Satan uses the most basic means of temptation when he encounters Jesus who is tired and hungry after 40 days alone in the wilderness. And he uses the very things that all of us need and crave: food; power and control.

These are the very things that the poor and downtrodden of our world don’t have. That’s why Jesus tell us, “this is the kind of fast that I desire: to feed the poor when you encounter them; to loose the bonds that tie people powerless and to bring them into the banquet.” (another of my ‘loose’ translations – but I think you get the point.)

Satan doesn’t tempt us in outlandish ways but comes at us in our basic needs. That’s why it’s so easy for us to slip into his trap. Our task during Lent is to realize that the bread that Satan offers us is really just stone. It’s not the “Bread of Life” that Jesus offers. The “power” that Satan offers is the one that will lead us into dictatorship whereas the “power” that Jesus offers is the “power to serve: if you want to be great, become the servant of all.”

The last temptation which is more subtle than the others is the temptation to “fame.” All of us would like to be miracle workers and have control over the elements but this is not where Jesus calls us. Even the magicians in Pharos’s court could do tricks.

Bottom line: “seek ye first the Kingdom of God … and all these things will be added unto you.” Amen!

February 17, 2018 – Saturday after Ash Wednesday

Saints for the day: The 7 founders of the Servite Order

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Isaiah 58:9b-14 – PS. 86 – Luke 5:27-32

Once more, in these first days of Lent our scripture readings are clearly pointing out that our Lenten Journey needs to be more than just “putting aside superfluous actions.” We need to go back to those “Beatitudes” which we have just recently been reminded about; “removing oppression … feeding the hungry … not following your own ways … not seeking our own interests or speaking with malice. (Isaiah 58:9ff)

How do we do this? The response verse from today’s Psalm might give us the answer: “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.”(response verse to Psalm 86)

 Two important thoughts are packed into that line: “teach me” and “walk in your truth.” We have to meet up with the Lord in order to hear what he says to us. And then – we can’t just walk back to whatever we were doing – we have to “walk in his truth.” 

Then we come to this Holy Gospel. I think that I would have chosen something other than the “call of Levi (Matthew)” for this early day in Lent. So, what might the Church want us to hear in this? You might get the answer if you close your eyes for a moment and visualize the scene: Levi is minding is own business when Jesus calls him. He immediately gets up and follows – leaving everything – his livelihood, his ill-gotten gains … and then gives a lavish dinner for a large crowd of tax collectors.

Go back to the opening line of that reading from Isaiah, “If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech … then light shall rise for you in the darkness” (Isaiah 58:9)

 My question would have to be: “what were the Pharisees and scribes doing hanging around a tax collector’s house? You can almost imagine them lurking in the shadows and peeking in the windows. They were in no way interested in helping people in any way and only had their strict interpretation of the law which they used in order to condemn people and ostracize them.   Jesus, on the other hand called people to him and fed and cured them.

Laws and regulations are a “means to an end” and not an “end in themselves.” They enable us to see clearly the path that we must walk on and to see the purpose of our journey: the Kingdom!These “themes” need to be taken seriously if we want to hear and know the reality of the last verse of this Isaiah reading: “Then you shall delight in the Lord, and … ride on the heights.” (Isaiah 58:13)

The main reason that Jesus “picks on” the S & P’s is that they were always pointing their fingers at others without a thought about their own actions.

You’ll remember some of the ways that I suggested we might more honestly make this Lenten Journey: not just giving up but more importantly, taking on – in the sense of following those Beatitudes: taking care of the downtrodden, the hungry, and the lame.

That’s why Jesus was so hard on the Pharisees because all they did was pile heavy burdens on the shoulders of the poor and never helped them up. The ending words of today’s Holy Gospel: “I have not come to call the righteous … but sinners.”

 In case you didn’t catch the drift: that’s you and me. Amen.



February 16, 2018 – Friday after Ash Wednesday


“Saint for the day:Gilbert of Sempringham (c,1083-Feb. 4, 1189)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Isaiah 58:1-9a – Ps. 51 – Matthew 9:14-15

“Whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

 Fasting is a way of stepping back & away from something in order to see more clearly the way we should go. If we stand right up against the giant sequoia we won’t be able to see that there is a way around it and also to see that on one side is a great precipice & on the other is the clear path. The stepping back is not the “end in itself” but only a means to an end – getting around the obstacle & back on the right path.

God doesn’t care one way or another whether or not I eat meat or if I wear a hair shirt. All He cares about is if I am on the right path or “way” that leads to Heaven and if on this “way” I lift up the down trodden, feed the poor and take care of the widow & orphan. If great intellectual battles are fought over the ways & laws of lent then we have really lost the war. “50 years from now isn’t nobody gonna know the difference.” Get down & get on the right path. Check to see if Gal 5:22 ff is your road map: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faith, mildness and chastity. Amen!

February 15, 2018 Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Saint for the day: Claude de la Colombiere (Feb. 2, 1641 – Feb. 15, 1682)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 – Ps. 1 – Luke 9:22-25

All throughout our lives we must make choices. It all started with Adam and Eve and will not end until we make the final choice to allow God to “take us to the next level.” In Deut. we are told, “I set before you life and death … choose life!” Then Jesus says, “he who loves (his) life will lose it.” I guess it comes down to what kind of life we choose: our own way – or the way of Jesus – which is the way of the Cross.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that all life – our own lives included – are in the process of evolving. There is nothing static about the way all life and all creation cycles through a process of “becoming.” The entire earth didn’t exist once, then came into being and, one day, might not exist! The Dominican Order came into existence at a particular time and might cease to exist one day. After all, where are some of the great monastic orders of yesteryear? Life changes! Everything sooner or later dies! Life & death are placed before us. Choose life … but all still die. So what is the “Life through Death” that Jesus offers? It must be that “which no eye has seen or ear heard.” And while we await “the New Heaven and New Earth” we continue to make choices to go with Jesus’ through life to death to life everlasting. Amen?

Ash Wednesday reflection

February 14, 2017 – Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent

Given the fact that I’m having some problems with my computer (or maybe it’s better to say, “problems with the computer operator) I have chosen to give you the “link” to the web site that I ordinarily use to get the readings and other “links” for the given date. Once there, you can easily get the links to the scripture readings along with a short commentary. Here’s the direct “link” that will give you a good introduction to this Holy Season that we are entering today. Copy the following “link” that will take you to a page which lists the scripture readings – along with a short commentary. “click here for the “link” to Ash Wednesday)


I’ll be back on tap for “Ash Thursday,” God willing!