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Fourteenth Sunday ordinary Time Cycle B

July 4, 2021  Cycle B

14 Sunday Ordinary

 

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  Prophet priest king



This Sunday, not only looks at the prophets of old,

but once again, reminds us that at our baptism we were anointed to be prophet, priest, and king.

We are to make God present for others.

 

 

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In the first reading, we hear from the prophet Ezekiel. He was among the first, along with the nobles in Jerusalem, to be taken into the exile of Babylon. Amazing, how God has given His Chosen People chance after chance to be faithful to Him, but they failed time after time.

Out of the eighteen kings that Israel had, a period of 400 years, only four remained faithful to God.  Still God continued to call his people back to Him again and again.  He never gives up on humanity and that includes us.

God will always call us back.  But we still have freewill to say yes or no to that call.  God will never force us to the call He has given each of us at our Baptism.

He  allowed Ezekiel to be taken into the exile of Babylon, so that he could  be the voice of God who would help those who had abandoned God and lost everything.

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While in Exile,  Ezekiel helped  the people to understand the reason for the Exile; they had not been faithful to God. This exile, this loss of everything, was to help them to return to God.  And later, Ezekiel would give them hope to know that things would work out right.

Truly, God showed His love, mercy, and patience with them and as He does with each of us.

Remember that we too are called to be prophets; not to tell the future, but to make God present in the world today.

 

Godcalling_1_

At times, we answer this call to make God present to others by being patient, by being merciful, by being compassionate, by being forgiving, by being loving, even to the enemy and yes, even to those who do not deserve it.  

But for our world today, to make God present can seem to be weakness. How can God be seen in my weakness?  We don't try to be weak, but when we are, there is God working in our weaknesses.

For the prophets of old, they too experienced God's power in weakness.

Paul


Certainly, St. Paul experienced weakness in all he went through; the times he was rejected, imprisoned, ship wrecked, etc.

Saint Paul is not down because of his weakness, but learns more of how God works and Paul gets to the point where he can even boast of his weaknesses.

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He says that in his weakness, God is made strong.  What a gift to be able to see this in our own lives as Christians.

When we think that we have failed our call to be prophet, when we feel rejected, these words of St. Paul can be a help as we pray for our willingness not to give up; not to listen to the world that seems to tell everyone that only power and strength are the way to go, that nothing  good comes through being weak.


Rejected

 

 

Pict Mark Gosp


In the Gospel, Jesus is rejected many times, and even as we hear in  today's gospel where He is rejected by those where He grew up and knew him from His childhood.  

That will certainly be true for us at times in our lives.  

In those times of weakness, we need to continue to pray for the courage to be the prophet we were called to be, and to remember that...

 

 

 

 

 

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"My grace is sufficient for you,

For power is made perfect in weakness."

2 Corinthians 12.9

 

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11th Sunday ordinary time cycle B

June 13, 2021

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Up until the year 597 B.C.  Ezekiel had been  the priest in the temple in Jerusalem. He was among the first of those who were taken into the Exile to Babylon. For those in Exile, he told them that the Exile was because of their sinfulness. He also gave them hope that God would not desert them.

 

Deodar-Cedar_1

He gave them words of encouragement that better days were to come. He gave the image of how God can trim the top of a giant tree and replant it.  So it would be with this failed people.

 

God-will-ever-give-up-on-you

 

That same story is true for us.  Even in our darkest moments, God will not give up on us.  He will take our difficult moments and replant them into something wonderful.  The real problem we have is that we usually want God to act right now.  We are part of an instant culture.

 

God not give up

At our Baptism we are called to make Christ present in the world, and for sure, at times, we failed, but God will never leave us.  He encourages us to begin again and again. He gives us a chance to experience His great mercy.

 

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St. Paul writes this letter to encourage the Christians of his time.  We know that God has called us and given us the gift of faith.  We are to hold on  to this gift.  

 

Paul says we need to remember that we...

...walk by faith not by sight.

God is working in all the ups and down of our lives.  Often we need to pray for the patience to allow God to work in His time and ways not ours.

 

  We-walk-by-faith-not-by-sight-i-dont-want-to-be-scared-of-living-like-Christ-2-cor-5-7

 


We are to use the events and situations that we are placed in to make God's love present to the whole world.
For sure we are called to walk by faith not by sight.

 

The-Gospel-of-Mark


The people Jesus addressed were a people who believed that the Messiah would be a political leader to lead them to freedom from Roman domination. So 
Jesus spoke in parables, using words which related to them and their agricultural mentality.

 

Parable-of-the-Sower-10-11-13-620x350


Jesus gives this parable of a sower to help us to see how God works.  As with seeds planted in the dry earth and depending on nature for water, the process was, at times slow, and God often works in our lives in the same way.

Are we willing to allow God to work

in His ways

or

will we give up on God

and try to do things our ways???

  


Palm Sunday Cycle B

March 28, 2021

 

 

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-03-17/c48da623-296a-41f5-89ea-5c6653980e67.png

 

Review the Readings Palm Sunday

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 Holy Week Readings Check Below

Holy Week

 

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Review Good Friday Readings

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My Reflection 

As we approach the holiest season in the Church calendar it is important to let each celebration speak to our current lives.  It is so easy to get caught up in the sentimental aspect and not really apply what the Lord is trying to teach each of us about our spiritual journey.  There is nothing wrong with the sentimental aspects but the real substance is what the readings are saying to us.



 

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The first reading speaks of what has been called, "The Suffering Servant".  Early Christians identified this with Jesus Christ.  The Jews, throughout their history, have identified this image with their own struggles.

 

At our baptism, we were anointed and impregnated with the Holy Spirit.  We were given the mission to make Christ present for others that we meet on our own spiritual journey, and that certainly means the description of the Suffering Servant in this reading can also apply to each of us.

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None of us like suffering, difficulties, rejections, etc. but they are a part of our lives as they were for Christ.

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 Christ gives us an example so that we can know what to expect in our own spiritual journey.  

Each of us will have to carry the cross and it does help to know that it is a part of our journey to make Christ present in the world today.  

 

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Christ realized that all the ups and downs and the extreme suffering were a way to win salvation for all humans.  It can be so easy to reject our own struggles and say, "Well I am not really Jesus and besides He is God and I am not."  

But by our Baptism we have all been to make Christ present in the world for others.  We are called to be in some way the presence of Christ for all we encounter

 

Philipians.
St. Paul dealt with this when he addressed the Christians Community of the Philippians and their struggles, rejections, and sufferings. Many bible scholars believe this was an early Christian liturgical hymn.  It points out, as we will hear, that Christ is God, but was also fully human and does not reject or turn away from human suffering because He is God.  He understood these struggles were a part of his journey to bring the forgiveness of God to all humanity and we too have been called to be a part of his mission.

  Mark


As we listen to the reading of the Passion,  we need to call to mind, that like Jesus, our suffering is not for nothing.  It is a part of our journey and all of humanity's journey to eternal life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jesus recognized it was part of the will of the Father and the way obtain eternal life for all humanity.

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All of these readings should help us to see that suffering is a part of our journey, too.  

And we need to continually pray for the grace to accept that it is a part of our life's spiritual journey from time to time.  

Suffering

We do not go out looking for suffering, but for sure, it will come.  The question becomes, will we use it in our spiritual journey, or will we reject it just as the world teaches us.

 

 



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On Palm Sunday, Jesus was welcomes as a hero.  He could have just hung on to that of being a hero, but He does not.  He freely enters into His Passion and Death.

 

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We live in a world that doesn't see any value in suffering, yet Christ has shown us differently, and He invites each of us to enter it when it comes and to realize it is part of our journey to eternal life.

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Below is a link to an ancient readings used

in the the Liturgy of the Hours 

It can be a good reflection to use during Holy Week

 

Melito-of-sardis

Saint Melito of Sardis

Click here to read the ancient homily by St. Melito of Sardis

 

 

 

 






 

 

 

 

 

32nd Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle A

November 8, 2020

Thirty Second Sunday Cycle A

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10 Virgins be ready

For each of us......Do you have enough Oil

 

 

 

 

Photo Feb 09, 3 21 08 PMThis book of Wisdom was written in about the year 150 B.C. by devout Jew in Egypt.  He was attempting to educate his fellow Jews in their own philosophy and not the philosophy of the Greeks that was influencing them.    

 

 

It is a good reminder for me as to how easy it is to turn to the world philosophy of today that says the way to happiness is...

 

Money

Fame

Power

Education

Hot Car

Possessions

Great clothing

etc. 

 

There is nothing wrong with these, but when they become the whole purpose of my life, they can become idols that help me to escape from my problems, my struggles, my cross.

I know that in times of difficulty, of doubt, I need to pray for the gift of wisdom.  To be able to discern and not escape the problems,  my cross.  Many times my struggles, my cross,  are a way of growing spiritually and if I am not careful I will do almost anything to escape and to miss the opportunity to grow spiritually.

 


Matthew 25

 

 

 

In the Gospel of this Sunday .we hear the story of the ten virgins.  

 

 

 

 

 

I know that for me in all my daily experiences I have the opportunity to store up oil so I am ready when the bridegroom comes.  

This is not just at the end of my life, but it is every day.

 

Will I have enough oil when He comes inviting me to enter the wedding feast, to experience the kingdom right now?

Oil-lamp

 

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In Paul's letter we hear of the concern many had wondering what would happen for those who had died before the coming of Jesus, which they believed was just around the corner.

 

 

 

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I have come to understand, that for me, it is not to wait to experience Jesus at the end of my life, or at the end of time, but to realized that He comes every day and that I need the gift of wisdom to be able to recognize Him in all the situations of my life, especially those situations which seem difficult and call me to conversion; those times I complain and doubt.  These are always gift of the presence of the Lord showing me who I am spiritually and giving me more oil for my lamp.

 

 Getting Oil...

 

Do I reflect the mercy, compassion, forgiveness, and love of the Christ I have been called by my baptism
to make present in the world?  

Or do I put me first and the other last or second?

 

Now is the time to get oil for my lamp so I am ready.

 

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Click below to view video clip

Video Clip ...Fr. Greg Friedman Franciscan...Background on the readings 

 

 

 

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31st Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle A

November 5, 2017

31 Sunday

 

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Below is an audio clip which I hope will be of help.  Simply click on it. 

Audio Clip by Fr. Doug click on following.....   Download 31 Sunday

 

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 Malachi ...The First Reading... was considered the last of the Prophets in the Hebrew Scripture, e.g. Old Testament

 

God's Chosen People were released from their exile in Babylon in 538 BC and rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem in 515 BC. Slowly they have turned away from God.  Only a small remnant remains faithful. Even the priests have not done what they were called to do; to help the people turn to God.  So, Malachi, around 450 BC, preaches to them.  We hear his words in the first reading.  

Remember that each of us in our baptism were annointed to be prophet, priest, and king.  We too were called to make God present for others.

 

 

 

 

 

  Capture


In the Gospel  we hear a similar message to Malachai's, as Jesus addresses the Pharisees.  

They are considered learned, chosen, religious leaders.  But they have let their pride get the better of them.  They like being chosen, being important, being leaders.

 

 

 

If we stop and think about this is our own lives;  isn't it easy, especially for us who are practicing Catholics, who go to Mass regularly, who volunteer, who do all things right, etc., to judge those who struggle with their faith.

 

It is so easy to think that I have faith because I have done all the right things.  

This was the Pharisees and that same mentality can be alive in each of us now and then.

Jesus pharisees
When Jesus confronted the Pharisees it was to help them see their pride, their sins, but they refused for they thought that they were holy and wise and more learned than others in the law.  They would not convert.

For me, the blessing is to be able, through this Word, to see that at times, I too am filled with pride.  That at times, I fail to make God present to others through my compassion, my mercy, my forgiveness.  

Please God, convert me;  change my heart.

 

 

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Once again, St Paul addresses this Christian Community and praises them that they have been faithful to the message they had received.  I am sure they too had difficulties.  That they too had sinned.  

But they continue to make God present for other.  They never gave up.

 

 

 

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When we were baptized we were called and in spite of our pride, our sins, our failures, we are to make God present in the world for others.  

The Thessalonians did not give up and neither should we, even in our darkest moments.

Let us not be afraid of our failures, our sins, but when we see them, pray for God to change our heart; to convert us.  

Let us continue to pray that in spite of all, we will fulfill our call at baptism to be prophet, priest, and king; to make God present in the world for all we meet.

 

 

 

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Nineteenth Sunday Cycle B

August 9, 2015

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The first reading is the story of the prophet Elijah when every thing seemed to go wrong.  Elijah was on his way to Mount Horeb, where Moses had  received the covenant, hoping to contact Yahweh .

In spite of Elijah's  efforts to help the Israelites in following the covenant of God, he seemed to have failed.

So he, being so down, begins a journey through the desert and runs out of food.  He prayed that he might die.

 

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But the Lord miraculously fed him with bread and water and Elijah  was able to continue his journey in the desert.


The Lord appeared to him and showed him that he was not a God of fire but a God of mercy, and then sent Elijah back to continue his work.

Give up

I am sure that most of us had had moments or maybe even days or weeks of spiritual depression when we are close to giving up.

 

When our crosses, our struggles and difficulties, our doubts and fears, seemed at times to be unbearable, we feel like asking God to take us out of our misery...that was exactly what Elijah did and he discovered how merciful God dealt with him, encouraging him to go on.

Keepgoingsign

Let's pray that the next time we feel down and out, we will not ask God to take away all that bugs us, but ask God for the strength He gave to Elijah to bear the struggles and fears and continue going on.

 

Photo Jul 30, 3 07 57 PM Saint Paul wrote this letter to this community, encouraging them to live in peace and harmony and love of one another. We know that they had struggles and fears. They were to remember that they were children of God and therefore love, even in difficult times and with difficult people. That should dominate their lives.

 

Love-Your-Neighbor-As-Yourself-620x461

That same call is for each of us because we too were called and chosen by God at our baptism to make the love of God present in today's world.


We are to make God's mercy and compassion present in the world just as we heard in the first reading.


We are called to forgive and to forget.
When we do not forget we have not really forgiven.

 

 

John Gsop


In this Gospel we hear that Jesus will become the bread of life.

God is there always to feed us, just as He did for Elijah.

 Even difficult situations can, in a sense, be food for us.  We may even make discoveries about ourselves that we do not really love as we should.

Even so, Jesus feeds us again and again and strengthens us with his very self in the Eucharist.

 

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How difficult it was for the Jews to believe that Jesus was God that have come down from heaven and that He would give himself as the bread of life; that He would always be there to strengthen us for our journey in this life.

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 Will you let the Lord feed you???

Will you explore that difficult people and situations can be food from God???

Will you eat the bread of life in the Eucharist, experiencing forgiveness, compassion, and mercy so you can continue your journey in this life leading to eternal life?


The Baptism of the Lord Cycle C

January 13, 2013

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 Please note that the first and second reading have 2 options which the presider may select.  Photo Dec 29, 9 19 56 AM
This past week has been our last week liturgically of the Christmas Season.  One of the reason that the season lasts so long is so that we can celebrate the different showings or manifestations of the Lord. .



Shepherds
For sure we celebrated his birth and the showing or manifestation of Jesus to the Shepherds, to the poor 

 

 

 


Wisemen
 

Then last week we had the manifestation of Jesus to the Magi, the pagan population, the non believers  



 

 

This Sunday we experience the manifestation of Jesus at His Baptism by John as the one in whom ..."the Father is well pleased"

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Both options for the first reading are from Isaiah.  Again they show a God who has great concern and compassion for His People.  Readings like this can certainly help us in those times of difficulty, just as they did for the Israelites in the slavery of Babylon for whom they were written.  God did not abandon them and He will not abandon us, never.  It can be us who abandon God.  But He is always there to welcome us back.

Jesus has come into the world to save all humanity, pagans, non believers, sinner, saints, everyone.   This liturgical season of Christmas has been the time we have reflected on how great is God's compassion and mercy on all of us, saint or sinner; non believer or believer.

 

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Again, in both options for the second reading, we hear of God's great love for each of us.  We hear that God is there for all.  Wow!  What mercy and what patience and compassion!  We are given chance after chance to find the way to eternal life.

Baptism jESUS

Finally, we hear in the Gospel the Baptism of Jesus by John.  Jesus comes to show humanity the way to eternal ife.  He takes on our condition, our pain and suffering, our ups and downs, to show us the way to eternal life.  He makes Himself "vulnerable'.

This past week I came across a podcast from On Being with Krista Tippett that speaks about current research that says how important being vulnerable is, because it is where real growth can happen in each of us as humans.  I almost always run from being vulnerable.  What about you?

 Certainly Jesus  constantly made Himself vulnerable in taking on the human condidtion.  He did not escape rejections, abandonments, persecussions, sufferings, etc.

  To listen to that podcast, click on the link below.

On Being Podcast on Vulnerability


Imagine, Jesus was willing to take on the vulnerability of being human to gain salvation for each of us.  Was that what made His Father so pleased with Him.

 “You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.

BelovedSon
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My Personal Comment

Being vulnerable is what I escape from, almost always.  

I think Jesus is showing me the way to my spiritual growth.  

I will need to pray for the will to be more vulnerable.

What do you think?

If you wish....email me

vicardoug@yahoo.com

Thanks for your prayers and support!

 

Below is Something Extra

...that I came across that had  meaning for  me.

I know that Jesus came for everyone. But there is a difference between knowing something as a fact and knowing it in a way that really hits home.

God loves the loser, the nerd, even the person in the 10 items or less checkout line with 25 item. God loves the driver who did not single a left turn. Jesus loves people who have attitude, people who don't have a kind word for anyone or anything. Jesus came for this person, and would would come if this were the only person in the world.

I can include myself in the " everyone" for whom Jesus came. That's not always easy because lots of times I think of myself as the nerd or the loser.

But Jesus came for me. My job is to believe it.

Taken from THE LITTLE BLUE BOOK
Advent & Christmas Seasons
2012-2013


First Sunday of Lent

Click here to review the reading for this Sunday

 

 Once again we begin our spiritual journey into the desert of Lent.  Are we willing to make this journey; to leave some of our comforts?


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In the gospel we hear this Sunday, St. Mark tells us that the Spirit lead Jesus into the desert for 40 days to be tempted to abandon His Father's will for Him.  

 

That is true for each of us too. Are we willing to go into this time of the desert.  This time of giving up meat on Fridays of Lent, of  

doing more in the way...

 


Photo Feb 17, 2 30 51 PMof prayer,

of giving alms,

of watching our tongue,

of not making judgements,

of having more compassion and mercy,

of going out of our way for another?

 

Maybe you are asking yourself why.  Why give up my comforts, my pleasures, my conveniences, etc.?  

The Church has given us more freedom to go into the desert the way we want.  The desert is always the place where we can look more deeply into our spiritual lives.  But...it is so easy to say no to this invitation to the desert of Lent.

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The readings of this Sunday and all of the Sundays of Lent can be a help. But whatever you decide to do during your trip in the desert of Lent, don't give up.  Often when we do things that are uncomfortable and that help us to look deep within, we fail.  Doing something extra, giving up something, doing morPhoto Feb 17, 2 31 17 PMe prayer, etc., is always difficult.  We want to be comfortable.  So, when we fail at whatever we decide to do for Lent, we give up until next year.  But who knows if we will have a next year.  A good Lent is to see the struggle we go through, and to see it is hard, and we want to escape the being uncomfortable.

 So if you fail, don't give up.  Start again; the journey is only 40 days.

 

 

 

 

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The first reading from Genesis is the story of Noah.  
It is important because it demonstrates how much God loves the humans in His creation.  When the human race forgets its creator, God does not just wipe them all out and give up.  But He loves his sinful humanity and chooses Noah to build the ark and to start over. It shows the patience of God in not destroying humanity right away but gives a human, Noah, time to build the ark, before the flood, so that humans will not be totally destroyed.  Wow!  What patience, what mercy.  And guess what; he does the same for each of us.  Even when we fail, when we sin, God is patient and loving and merciful with each of us.  He calls us into the ark, the Church, so we will not be spiritually destroyed.  

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And even more, God makes a guarantee, a pact, a covenant with us that He will not destroy us.  And the reading says that He seals this agreement with a bow.  We need to continually be reminded of how much God loves each of us.  We need this Lent to once again look deep into our spiritual selves and to see our failures, our sins, and come before God for his mercy.

But if we can't or won't see our sins, then we may not experience God's great love and mercy.  Why are we often so afraid to see our sins?  Boy, looking at our sins can be so hard to do at times.  It is much easier to blame the other, or to blame the fact we were tired, or to say, well I am only human.  But to see our sin...we say, no not me.  I am pretty good most of the time.  And we leave our journey of Lent, our chance to experience God's love and mercy.  Why are we afraid?

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In the second reading, St. Peter addresses the new Christian converts.  For sure, they are on a journey of suffering, rejection, and persecution.  Remember that during that time, Christians were physically martyred.  He encourages them to remember that are on their journey to eternal life, the promise made to them and to us at our baptism.  

When times are difficult, when we see our own failures, in what we say and do, or in what we fail to say and do; remember these words we heard in today's gospel...

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"This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel."
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See your failures, your sins and know that forgiveness is at hand
The gospel, meaning good news,
is 
to see our sins
so
we can be forgiven
and
made new