Get our free Prayer App
Apple  Android 

January 23, 2018

Mk 3:1-6

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.”

Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

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.

What does it mean to do good?

Today’s Gospel challenges me. I am invited to do good and to save life, and to do this even when it goes against the authorities – whoever or whatever that might be.

What does it mean to do good to someone who is experiencing homelessness when society, the authority, labels that person lazy, undeserving of a hand up? What does it mean to save the life of the immigrant when our government wants a wall to keep that immigrant out? How do I do good in the face of gender inequality in our society and in our Church? In these and other similar situations, do I speak out or remain passive, hoping things will resolve themselves? Or worse, do I look the other way, hoping that they might just go away?

—Tom Drexler is the Executive Director of the Ignatian Spirituality Project, a ministry providing Ignatian retreats to men and women experiencing homelessness.

Prayer

As you restored the man’s withered hand, help me, Lord, to restore all that I encounter to be breach barriers in my daily life and the world in which I live.

—Tom Drexler

 

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 22, 2019

Heb 6:10-20

For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. And we want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

When God made a promise to Abraham, because he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise. Human beings, of course, swear by someone greater than themselves, and an oath given as confirmation puts an end to all dispute. In the same way, when God desired to show even more clearly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it by an oath, so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God would prove false, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to seize the hope set before us.

We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

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.

Called out of complacency

I work in a primary school and hands down the most dreaded time of year by faculty, staff and students alike is the end of January and beginning of February. It is cold, dark, seemingly endless, far from Christmas break, and even farther from Spring Break. Liturgically speaking, February is the humdrum Ordinary Time of the school year. As we round the second half of January and brace ourselves for February today’s readings remind us that we are called to patience and fidelity in our unglamorous day-to-day work as Christians. We are called out of our “sluggishness” and complacency.

We, like those who originally received this letter, are reminded to stay faithful to the holy ordinary of our daily lives. St. Paul reminds his audience to remember the ways God has been faithful over the years. So too with us. As we pray today we might ask: How, specifically, has God been good to me today? This week? This month? This year?

—Br. Matt Wooters, SJ, is a social worker at Nativity Jesuit Academy in Milwaukee, WI.

Prayer

Help me.
Help me be a fire today.
Help me light the ways for others who feel overwhelmed by the dark.
Help me celebrate the holy ordinary.
Help me notice You.
Help me.

—Br. Matt Wooters, SJ

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 21, 2019

1 Cor 1: 26-31

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.

He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast 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.

Boast in the Lord

‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’ The last line of this Scripture reading echoes St. Ignatius’ words in a letter he wrote to Sr. Teresa Rejadell in June 1536.  Ignatius tell her that if she speaks of how God works in her life “you would be giving praise to the same Lord because you are making known His gift, and you glory in Him, not in yourself.”

It’s not often part of our culture to talk about how God’s goodness has shown up in our daily life.  I thank God in prayer, but rarely share that experience with other people. I am challenged by today’s reading to share with others my experiences of God.  Can you take a few minutes to reach out to someone you trust and tell them about one way you feel God’s presence in your life?

—Kay Gregg is the Assistant Department Chair of Campus Ministry at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL.

Prayer

God,
Help me to find time in my day to speak about you.
Help me to use opportunities to share with others how you are present in my life.
Let this be my mantra for today:
“When I boast, let me boast in the Lord.”

Amen.

—Kay Gregg

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 20, 2019

Jn 2:1-11

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

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.

Generous mercy

From our earliest moments, we learn to navigate challenges in life. We discover that being good earns a reward. Painfully, doors can pinch and pots on the stove can burn. If someone else gets a bigger piece of cake, I get a smaller piece.

In John’s Gospel today, the reference to Mary as “Woman” hints of the Genesis account of Adam and Eve stealing from God’s gifts in the Garden of Eden. Jesus has come to repair the damage of original sin by showing mercy for us who are wounded by life’s hard lessons. Jesus’ gift is not just sufficient in the moment, but generous to an excess.

Twice this Sunday I can take time to sift through my moods and choices, asking in this New Year whether I am trusting God’s grace to exceed my expectation – or maneuvering on my own to come out ahead.

—Fr. Paul Deutsch, SJ, belongs to the Central and Southern Province of the Jesuits and is Sophomore Counselor at Jesuit High School in Tampa, FL.

Prayer

Dear Jesus:
May I know thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
and follow thee more nearly, day by day.
Amen.

—St. Richard of Chichester

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 19, 2019

Mk 2:13-17

Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples—for there were many who followed him.

When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

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.

Invitation to walk with Jesus

There is a famous Caravaggio painting that depicts the call of Levi which we read about in today’s Gospel. The painting is an incredible study in light and darkness. Bright light through a window behind Jesus shines directly on Levi’s face. This same light catches Jesus’ outstretched hand as he interrupts the counting of money and gestures towards Levi. You can almost hear Levi’s response—“What? You want me?”

This encounter, frozen in time and space, echoes one of those moments described in today’s passage from Hebrews when God’s word is described as “living and effective, dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow…it judges the reflections and thoughts of the heart.”

It is good for each of us to pay attention to God’s movements within our own hearts. Perhaps Jesus isn’t as direct with us as with Levi. Yet Jesus invites each person to walk with him more closely. Jesus invites me to understand anew just how he is truly my way, my truth, my life…here and now, this week, this month. How do I respond?

—The Jesuit Prayer team

Prayer

Why, then, do I fear?
God is here, deep within, forever:
Life grandly vibrant,
Love scandalously flagrant,
yet  heart quietly homing
and lord wisely lording.
But, then—why do I fear?

—Excerpted of “The Inmost Fear” by David Hassel, SJ, published in Hearts on Fire: Praying with the Jesuits

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 18, 2018

Mk 2:1-12

When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven. ”Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,“ Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’?

But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

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.

Supported by friends in faith

There are many things to be learned from this Gospel passage, but one of my favorites is the importance of supporting each other in our faith. It is the faith of the friends of the paralytic that moved Jesus to act. When we pray for others, or ask others to pray for us, we are helping or enlisting help in the same way as the people in this story. There have been times in my life when I haven’t been able or known how to pray for what I needed. Or I didn’t know just what it was that I really needed. At these times others have prayed for me and have supported my faith with theirs. And I have returned the favor when others have asked me to pray for them. This is just one of the many beautiful aspects of being connected to a larger community of faith. Who needs your prayers today?

—Mandy Dillon is a Retreat Coordinator at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, IL.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, today we pray for all those who have asked for our prayers, and for those for whom we have promised to pray. We thank you for the gift of others to pray for us and for the gift of our faith. Amen.

—Mandy Dillon

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 17, 2019

St. Anthony, abbot

Mk 1:40-45

A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!”Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.

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.

Getting past unnecessary prohibitions

Nobody’s doing what they’re supposed to be doing in this story. Jewish law at the time would have required anyone with a skin disease like leprosy to isolate themselves from others. This man defies the law when he approaches Jesus and asks for healing. Jesus proceeds to ignore legal prohibitions as well when he touches the man – a touch which makes Jesus ritually unclean. And finally, the man disregards Jesus’ instruction not to say anything and tells everyone!

The interaction between this man and Jesus invites me to reflect on the unnecessary prohibitions, the “shoulds” in my life that keep me from God and others.

What gets in the way of my approaching God for what I need?

What keeps me from imitating Christ’s love for the outcast?

How can I let my joy and gratitude to God impel me to share the Good News?

—Catherine Heinhold is the Pastoral Assistant for Ignatian Programming at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. where she facilitates prayer programs and the Young Adult Community.

Prayer

God, I ask you to give me the courage to overcome any “shoulds” (my own or others’) which may keep me from asking for help or from assisting those need. Amen.

—Catherine Heinhold

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 16, 2019

Mk 1:29-39

As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

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.

Building in time for prayer

“In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.”

I am reminded in today’s Gospel of the need for prayer in my life. Jesus was working overtime; everyone the disciples brought to him was cured. The next day was going to be more of the same so he carved out some time before the day began and prayed.

I wish I could do the same with more consistency. All too often when the day and evening is full, I can let go of that which I need the most. During the hectic days, I need the centering power of prayer to be able to recognize Christ amidst the busyness and pick up on whatever he may be inviting me to that day.

What might I do to build time for prayer into my busy day?

—Tom Drexler is the Executive Director of the Ignatian Spirituality Project, a ministry providing Ignatian retreats to men and women experiencing homelessness.

Prayer

Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples. Amen.

—Tom Drexler

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 15, 2019

Mk 1:21-28

They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”

But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

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.

Holding back from change

“Have you come to destroy us?” We humans aren’t great with change. It is January, the season of New Year’s resolutions, so maybe you are feeling the challenge of changing a routine or outlook on life. I know I am. There is something jarring and upending about the idea of changing our ways of acting and being and I hear that reflected in today’s Gospel. The man possessed calls Jesus by name and asks if he is here to destroy us. As we see, Jesus calls out the evil spirit from the man.

What are our fears in fully committing our lives to Jesus? What parts of ourselves do we wish to stay the same? Where are the flickers of selfishness and pride in our day? With whom do we withhold our generosity? Let’s offer these to the Lord and let him upend and change us. For the better.

—Br. Matt Wooters, SJ, is a social worker at Nativity Jesuit Academy in Milwaukee, WI.

Prayer

Take Lord, receive,
My selfishness, my ego and my pride
These aren’t my best self.
These keep me caged and fearful of others and of You.

Change my heart to be a bit more like Yours:
On fire with Love beyond all telling.

When I screw up today, help me try again.

Mostly, sweet Jesus, help me laugh at myself.
Because with a good sense of humor, a little pluck and with You
All things are possible.

Amen

—Br. Matt Wooters, SJ

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 14, 2019

Mk 1:14-20

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”

And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

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.

What gifts do you bring?

If someone asked you today to give up your daily life and follow them…would you? That’s the question that always draws me in first with this reading.  The request feels overwhelming and impossible to imagine. “Would I leave everything behind for this?”

Another question follows.  “Am I someone who would even be invited?”  

As I reflect on times in my life when I was surprised to have been asked to be a part of something, I realize that other people in my life have seen gifts in me that I don’t always recognize or value.  Jesus saw promise in these fishermen and they were ready to follow him. They were ready to use their gifts in the service of this intriguing mission Jesus had laid out for them.

You have been invited too.  What gifts do you bring?

—Kay Gregg is the Assistant Department Chair of Campus Ministry at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL.

Prayer

Jesus, you called Simon, Andrew, James and John from their daily lives to join you in sharing the faith.  Help me to see where you are calling me today, and give me the strength to leave things behind so that I can more closely follow you.

—Kay Gregg

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Welcome to Pray.JesuitRetreat!

We hope that the Scripture, reflections, and prayers will help you encounter Christ and be transformed as you live your retreat experience in your everyday life.



    Connect
with us
   

JesuitRetreat.org

Submit a Prayer Request

ARCHIVES

SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  12345
20212223242526
2728293031  
       
    123
25262728   
       
   1234
262728    
       
       
       
      1
       

January 23, 2018

Mk 3:1-6

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.”

Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

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.

What does it mean to do good?

Today’s Gospel challenges me. I am invited to do good and to save life, and to do this even when it goes against the authorities – whoever or whatever that might be.

What does it mean to do good to someone who is experiencing homelessness when society, the authority, labels that person lazy, undeserving of a hand up? What does it mean to save the life of the immigrant when our government wants a wall to keep that immigrant out? How do I do good in the face of gender inequality in our society and in our Church? In these and other similar situations, do I speak out or remain passive, hoping things will resolve themselves? Or worse, do I look the other way, hoping that they might just go away?

—Tom Drexler is the Executive Director of the Ignatian Spirituality Project, a ministry providing Ignatian retreats to men and women experiencing homelessness.

Prayer

As you restored the man’s withered hand, help me, Lord, to restore all that I encounter to be breach barriers in my daily life and the world in which I live.

—Tom Drexler

 

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 22, 2019

Heb 6:10-20

For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. And we want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

When God made a promise to Abraham, because he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise. Human beings, of course, swear by someone greater than themselves, and an oath given as confirmation puts an end to all dispute. In the same way, when God desired to show even more clearly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it by an oath, so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God would prove false, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to seize the hope set before us.

We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

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.

Called out of complacency

I work in a primary school and hands down the most dreaded time of year by faculty, staff and students alike is the end of January and beginning of February. It is cold, dark, seemingly endless, far from Christmas break, and even farther from Spring Break. Liturgically speaking, February is the humdrum Ordinary Time of the school year. As we round the second half of January and brace ourselves for February today’s readings remind us that we are called to patience and fidelity in our unglamorous day-to-day work as Christians. We are called out of our “sluggishness” and complacency.

We, like those who originally received this letter, are reminded to stay faithful to the holy ordinary of our daily lives. St. Paul reminds his audience to remember the ways God has been faithful over the years. So too with us. As we pray today we might ask: How, specifically, has God been good to me today? This week? This month? This year?

—Br. Matt Wooters, SJ, is a social worker at Nativity Jesuit Academy in Milwaukee, WI.

Prayer

Help me.
Help me be a fire today.
Help me light the ways for others who feel overwhelmed by the dark.
Help me celebrate the holy ordinary.
Help me notice You.
Help me.

—Br. Matt Wooters, SJ

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 21, 2019

1 Cor 1: 26-31

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.

He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast 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.

Boast in the Lord

‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’ The last line of this Scripture reading echoes St. Ignatius’ words in a letter he wrote to Sr. Teresa Rejadell in June 1536.  Ignatius tell her that if she speaks of how God works in her life “you would be giving praise to the same Lord because you are making known His gift, and you glory in Him, not in yourself.”

It’s not often part of our culture to talk about how God’s goodness has shown up in our daily life.  I thank God in prayer, but rarely share that experience with other people. I am challenged by today’s reading to share with others my experiences of God.  Can you take a few minutes to reach out to someone you trust and tell them about one way you feel God’s presence in your life?

—Kay Gregg is the Assistant Department Chair of Campus Ministry at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL.

Prayer

God,
Help me to find time in my day to speak about you.
Help me to use opportunities to share with others how you are present in my life.
Let this be my mantra for today:
“When I boast, let me boast in the Lord.”

Amen.

—Kay Gregg

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 20, 2019

Jn 2:1-11

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

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.

Generous mercy

From our earliest moments, we learn to navigate challenges in life. We discover that being good earns a reward. Painfully, doors can pinch and pots on the stove can burn. If someone else gets a bigger piece of cake, I get a smaller piece.

In John’s Gospel today, the reference to Mary as “Woman” hints of the Genesis account of Adam and Eve stealing from God’s gifts in the Garden of Eden. Jesus has come to repair the damage of original sin by showing mercy for us who are wounded by life’s hard lessons. Jesus’ gift is not just sufficient in the moment, but generous to an excess.

Twice this Sunday I can take time to sift through my moods and choices, asking in this New Year whether I am trusting God’s grace to exceed my expectation – or maneuvering on my own to come out ahead.

—Fr. Paul Deutsch, SJ, belongs to the Central and Southern Province of the Jesuits and is Sophomore Counselor at Jesuit High School in Tampa, FL.

Prayer

Dear Jesus:
May I know thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
and follow thee more nearly, day by day.
Amen.

—St. Richard of Chichester

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 19, 2019

Mk 2:13-17

Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples—for there were many who followed him.

When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

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.

Invitation to walk with Jesus

There is a famous Caravaggio painting that depicts the call of Levi which we read about in today’s Gospel. The painting is an incredible study in light and darkness. Bright light through a window behind Jesus shines directly on Levi’s face. This same light catches Jesus’ outstretched hand as he interrupts the counting of money and gestures towards Levi. You can almost hear Levi’s response—“What? You want me?”

This encounter, frozen in time and space, echoes one of those moments described in today’s passage from Hebrews when God’s word is described as “living and effective, dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow…it judges the reflections and thoughts of the heart.”

It is good for each of us to pay attention to God’s movements within our own hearts. Perhaps Jesus isn’t as direct with us as with Levi. Yet Jesus invites each person to walk with him more closely. Jesus invites me to understand anew just how he is truly my way, my truth, my life…here and now, this week, this month. How do I respond?

—The Jesuit Prayer team

Prayer

Why, then, do I fear?
God is here, deep within, forever:
Life grandly vibrant,
Love scandalously flagrant,
yet  heart quietly homing
and lord wisely lording.
But, then—why do I fear?

—Excerpted of “The Inmost Fear” by David Hassel, SJ, published in Hearts on Fire: Praying with the Jesuits

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 18, 2018

Mk 2:1-12

When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven. ”Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,“ Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’?

But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

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.

Supported by friends in faith

There are many things to be learned from this Gospel passage, but one of my favorites is the importance of supporting each other in our faith. It is the faith of the friends of the paralytic that moved Jesus to act. When we pray for others, or ask others to pray for us, we are helping or enlisting help in the same way as the people in this story. There have been times in my life when I haven’t been able or known how to pray for what I needed. Or I didn’t know just what it was that I really needed. At these times others have prayed for me and have supported my faith with theirs. And I have returned the favor when others have asked me to pray for them. This is just one of the many beautiful aspects of being connected to a larger community of faith. Who needs your prayers today?

—Mandy Dillon is a Retreat Coordinator at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, IL.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, today we pray for all those who have asked for our prayers, and for those for whom we have promised to pray. We thank you for the gift of others to pray for us and for the gift of our faith. Amen.

—Mandy Dillon

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 17, 2019

St. Anthony, abbot

Mk 1:40-45

A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!”Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.

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.

Getting past unnecessary prohibitions

Nobody’s doing what they’re supposed to be doing in this story. Jewish law at the time would have required anyone with a skin disease like leprosy to isolate themselves from others. This man defies the law when he approaches Jesus and asks for healing. Jesus proceeds to ignore legal prohibitions as well when he touches the man – a touch which makes Jesus ritually unclean. And finally, the man disregards Jesus’ instruction not to say anything and tells everyone!

The interaction between this man and Jesus invites me to reflect on the unnecessary prohibitions, the “shoulds” in my life that keep me from God and others.

What gets in the way of my approaching God for what I need?

What keeps me from imitating Christ’s love for the outcast?

How can I let my joy and gratitude to God impel me to share the Good News?

—Catherine Heinhold is the Pastoral Assistant for Ignatian Programming at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. where she facilitates prayer programs and the Young Adult Community.

Prayer

God, I ask you to give me the courage to overcome any “shoulds” (my own or others’) which may keep me from asking for help or from assisting those need. Amen.

—Catherine Heinhold

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 16, 2019

Mk 1:29-39

As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

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.

Building in time for prayer

“In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.”

I am reminded in today’s Gospel of the need for prayer in my life. Jesus was working overtime; everyone the disciples brought to him was cured. The next day was going to be more of the same so he carved out some time before the day began and prayed.

I wish I could do the same with more consistency. All too often when the day and evening is full, I can let go of that which I need the most. During the hectic days, I need the centering power of prayer to be able to recognize Christ amidst the busyness and pick up on whatever he may be inviting me to that day.

What might I do to build time for prayer into my busy day?

—Tom Drexler is the Executive Director of the Ignatian Spirituality Project, a ministry providing Ignatian retreats to men and women experiencing homelessness.

Prayer

Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples. Amen.

—Tom Drexler

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 15, 2019

Mk 1:21-28

They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”

But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

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.

Holding back from change

“Have you come to destroy us?” We humans aren’t great with change. It is January, the season of New Year’s resolutions, so maybe you are feeling the challenge of changing a routine or outlook on life. I know I am. There is something jarring and upending about the idea of changing our ways of acting and being and I hear that reflected in today’s Gospel. The man possessed calls Jesus by name and asks if he is here to destroy us. As we see, Jesus calls out the evil spirit from the man.

What are our fears in fully committing our lives to Jesus? What parts of ourselves do we wish to stay the same? Where are the flickers of selfishness and pride in our day? With whom do we withhold our generosity? Let’s offer these to the Lord and let him upend and change us. For the better.

—Br. Matt Wooters, SJ, is a social worker at Nativity Jesuit Academy in Milwaukee, WI.

Prayer

Take Lord, receive,
My selfishness, my ego and my pride
These aren’t my best self.
These keep me caged and fearful of others and of You.

Change my heart to be a bit more like Yours:
On fire with Love beyond all telling.

When I screw up today, help me try again.

Mostly, sweet Jesus, help me laugh at myself.
Because with a good sense of humor, a little pluck and with You
All things are possible.

Amen

—Br. Matt Wooters, SJ

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

January 14, 2019

Mk 1:14-20

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”

And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

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.

What gifts do you bring?

If someone asked you today to give up your daily life and follow them…would you? That’s the question that always draws me in first with this reading.  The request feels overwhelming and impossible to imagine. “Would I leave everything behind for this?”

Another question follows.  “Am I someone who would even be invited?”  

As I reflect on times in my life when I was surprised to have been asked to be a part of something, I realize that other people in my life have seen gifts in me that I don’t always recognize or value.  Jesus saw promise in these fishermen and they were ready to follow him. They were ready to use their gifts in the service of this intriguing mission Jesus had laid out for them.

You have been invited too.  What gifts do you bring?

—Kay Gregg is the Assistant Department Chair of Campus Ministry at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL.

Prayer

Jesus, you called Simon, Andrew, James and John from their daily lives to join you in sharing the faith.  Help me to see where you are calling me today, and give me the strength to leave things behind so that I can more closely follow you.

—Kay Gregg

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!