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April 30, 2018

John 14:21-26

They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?”

Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

”I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.

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 courage to love

We are constantly trying to do the right thing. We try to make the right choices, follow the just laws, and observe the commandments to be faithful to God and to be righteous. Jesus tells us that this pursuit to be righteous must always consist of an underlying passion to love as God loves us. Courage is required to love unconditionally as Jesus asks us to. Forgiveness, sacrificial love, returning hate with love, and loving our enemies can put us in very vulnerable, helpless situations, in which, we are fearful. It takes courage to love unconditionally, and so Jesus gives us the advocate, the Holy Spirit, to give us the faith and the courage needed to love.

Even in those instances where it does not feel like the rational thing to do, we must never cease to love. In love, we find Christ.

—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

Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends,

what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.

—Attributed to Pedro Arrupe

 

 

 

 


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April 29, 2018

John 15:1-8

”I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

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.

Pruned so that we might bear fruit

One of my earliest memory growing up is visiting Grandma’s house in north central Wisconsin and eating raspberries right off the backyard bushes. 45 years later every time I eat raspberries, the color, smell and taste return me to the abundance growing in my grandma’s backyard.

The Gospel text we hear at Mass today says that every branch that “does bear fruit he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you.”

God desires abundance in each one of us. And, although not a gardener, my gardening friends tell me that pruning is necessary to make the roots stronger, thus making the vine healthier and able to hold up during times of drought. Pruning can help new branches to grow. Ultimately, pruning encourages the growth of more tasty fruit.

How deeply God loves us. In this Easter season, can we allow God to prune us so as to increase the fruitfulness of our generosity?

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

Prayer

Loving God, you have promised to remain in us as we remain in you.  May we allow ourselves to be pruned of those things that keep us from growing stronger in your love.  Take away that which weakens our desire to remain in you, so that we may bear fruit in the world. Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

 


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April 28, 2018

Acts 13:44-52

The next sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; and blaspheming, they contradicted what was spoken by Paul. Then both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we are now turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles, so that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and praised the word of the Lord; and as many as had been destined for eternal life became believers. Thus the word of the Lord spread throughout the region. But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, and stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their region.

So they shook the dust off their feet in protest against them, and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

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.

Unexpected invitation to follow

Imagine standing in a crowd with almost everyone you know.  You are there to hear what Paul and Barnabas, who are leading what is essentially a new movement, have to say about Jesus.  You are not Jewish, but you know that Jesus was a Jew, and that the apostles and other early disciples were Jewish. While you hear their words, and believe that Jesus was the Son of God, you fear that you will be turned away because you are not Jewish.

Then, imagine the shouting match between Paul and Barnabas and the Jewish authorities.  Paul basically tells them that because they chose not to believe in Christ, God has sent them “to be a light for the Gentiles,” expanding the promise of salvation to you.  What does that feel like, to know that Jesus wants you. He wants you to believe, and to follow him.

This isn’t something that only happened 2000 years ago.  Jesus extends that invitation to follow to each of us today.  How will you respond?

—The Jesuit Prayer team

Prayer

Will you come and follow me
If I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know
And never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown,
Will you let my name be known,
Will you let my life be grown in you,
And you in me?

—Verse 1, The Summons, text © 1987, The Iona Community

 

 


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April 27, 2018

St. Peter Canisius  

John 14:1-6

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.

And you know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

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 way, the truth, the life

How often do we feel like Thomas here? A disciple of Jesus, with faith in God, but we have no idea where Jesus is leading us.

For me, that seems like the everyday reality. So we make ourselves into sleuths, seeking any clue from above as to what direction we should be heading. We might ask ourselves: was that coincidence actually a coincidence or was it God trying to show me something? I don’t think this sleuthing what Jesus is asking of us though. The only clue worth recognizing and contemplating is Jesus himself. I think he simply wants us to keep our eyes, minds, and hearts fixed on him.

When we feel lost, look to Jesus. He is the way.

When we feel confused or not sure what to believe, listen to Jesus. He is the truth.

When we feel spiritually dead, give everything to Jesus. He is the life

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

Prayer

You are the way, the truth, the life
Without the way there is no going
Without the truth there is no knowing
Without the life there is no growing
Show us the way, that we may go
Teach us the truth, that we may know
Grant us the life, that we may grow
Eternally.

—Ted Tracy, SJ

 


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April 26, 2018

John 13:16-20

Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfill the scripture, ‘The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he. Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.”

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.

Small acts of service

In today’s Gospel John references Jesus’ washing of the feet. Jesus gave us this beautiful and moving example of service. As I start each day I ask myself, “How can I be of maximum service to God today by being of service to the people about me?”  When I notice that I am feeling agitated, worried, or having fights in my headwhen I am the only person in the roomI often think “how I can be of service right now?”. I will get up from my desk and ask our office manager about her day. I will call a friend to say have a nice day. I let a person in line at the bus stop go ahead of me. I am amazed that I always feel better and the thing I was worried about seems to disappear.

What small acts of service can I do 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, may we live out the instruction of St. Therese of Lisieux: “Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.” Amen

—Prayer based on the words of St. Therese of Lisieux

 


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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

 

 

 

 


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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

 

 


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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

 


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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

 


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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!

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PraySLUH is a prayer site rooted in the spiritual tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. At SLUH, we believe that God is truly present and active in our lives in and through all things. PraySLUH is a site where you can come daily to see where and how God is accompanying you, through prayer with scripture, prayers, and short reflections.



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April 30, 2018

John 14:21-26

They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?”

Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

”I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.

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 courage to love

We are constantly trying to do the right thing. We try to make the right choices, follow the just laws, and observe the commandments to be faithful to God and to be righteous. Jesus tells us that this pursuit to be righteous must always consist of an underlying passion to love as God loves us. Courage is required to love unconditionally as Jesus asks us to. Forgiveness, sacrificial love, returning hate with love, and loving our enemies can put us in very vulnerable, helpless situations, in which, we are fearful. It takes courage to love unconditionally, and so Jesus gives us the advocate, the Holy Spirit, to give us the faith and the courage needed to love.

Even in those instances where it does not feel like the rational thing to do, we must never cease to love. In love, we find Christ.

—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

Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends,

what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.

—Attributed to Pedro Arrupe

 

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

April 29, 2018

John 15:1-8

”I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

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.

Pruned so that we might bear fruit

One of my earliest memory growing up is visiting Grandma’s house in north central Wisconsin and eating raspberries right off the backyard bushes. 45 years later every time I eat raspberries, the color, smell and taste return me to the abundance growing in my grandma’s backyard.

The Gospel text we hear at Mass today says that every branch that “does bear fruit he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you.”

God desires abundance in each one of us. And, although not a gardener, my gardening friends tell me that pruning is necessary to make the roots stronger, thus making the vine healthier and able to hold up during times of drought. Pruning can help new branches to grow. Ultimately, pruning encourages the growth of more tasty fruit.

How deeply God loves us. In this Easter season, can we allow God to prune us so as to increase the fruitfulness of our generosity?

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

Prayer

Loving God, you have promised to remain in us as we remain in you.  May we allow ourselves to be pruned of those things that keep us from growing stronger in your love.  Take away that which weakens our desire to remain in you, so that we may bear fruit in the world. Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

 


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April 28, 2018

Acts 13:44-52

The next sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; and blaspheming, they contradicted what was spoken by Paul. Then both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we are now turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles, so that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and praised the word of the Lord; and as many as had been destined for eternal life became believers. Thus the word of the Lord spread throughout the region. But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, and stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their region.

So they shook the dust off their feet in protest against them, and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

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.

Unexpected invitation to follow

Imagine standing in a crowd with almost everyone you know.  You are there to hear what Paul and Barnabas, who are leading what is essentially a new movement, have to say about Jesus.  You are not Jewish, but you know that Jesus was a Jew, and that the apostles and other early disciples were Jewish. While you hear their words, and believe that Jesus was the Son of God, you fear that you will be turned away because you are not Jewish.

Then, imagine the shouting match between Paul and Barnabas and the Jewish authorities.  Paul basically tells them that because they chose not to believe in Christ, God has sent them “to be a light for the Gentiles,” expanding the promise of salvation to you.  What does that feel like, to know that Jesus wants you. He wants you to believe, and to follow him.

This isn’t something that only happened 2000 years ago.  Jesus extends that invitation to follow to each of us today.  How will you respond?

—The Jesuit Prayer team

Prayer

Will you come and follow me
If I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know
And never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown,
Will you let my name be known,
Will you let my life be grown in you,
And you in me?

—Verse 1, The Summons, text © 1987, The Iona Community

 

 


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April 27, 2018

St. Peter Canisius  

John 14:1-6

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.

And you know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

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 way, the truth, the life

How often do we feel like Thomas here? A disciple of Jesus, with faith in God, but we have no idea where Jesus is leading us.

For me, that seems like the everyday reality. So we make ourselves into sleuths, seeking any clue from above as to what direction we should be heading. We might ask ourselves: was that coincidence actually a coincidence or was it God trying to show me something? I don’t think this sleuthing what Jesus is asking of us though. The only clue worth recognizing and contemplating is Jesus himself. I think he simply wants us to keep our eyes, minds, and hearts fixed on him.

When we feel lost, look to Jesus. He is the way.

When we feel confused or not sure what to believe, listen to Jesus. He is the truth.

When we feel spiritually dead, give everything to Jesus. He is the life

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

Prayer

You are the way, the truth, the life
Without the way there is no going
Without the truth there is no knowing
Without the life there is no growing
Show us the way, that we may go
Teach us the truth, that we may know
Grant us the life, that we may grow
Eternally.

—Ted Tracy, SJ

 


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April 26, 2018

John 13:16-20

Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfill the scripture, ‘The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he. Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.”

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.

Small acts of service

In today’s Gospel John references Jesus’ washing of the feet. Jesus gave us this beautiful and moving example of service. As I start each day I ask myself, “How can I be of maximum service to God today by being of service to the people about me?”  When I notice that I am feeling agitated, worried, or having fights in my headwhen I am the only person in the roomI often think “how I can be of service right now?”. I will get up from my desk and ask our office manager about her day. I will call a friend to say have a nice day. I let a person in line at the bus stop go ahead of me. I am amazed that I always feel better and the thing I was worried about seems to disappear.

What small acts of service can I do 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, may we live out the instruction of St. Therese of Lisieux: “Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.” Amen

—Prayer based on the words of St. Therese of Lisieux

 


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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

 

 

 

 


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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

 

 


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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

 


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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

 


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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

 


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