We are glad that you found us, the DEACON-5! Here, we will be posting daily Gospel reflections, Mondays through Fridays, each day written by a different permanent deacon in our group. We pray that you find inspiration and a touch of God’s love for sharing some time with us. Please feel free to leave a comment or a prayer request for us!
Blessings to you all! Deacon Ray Gallego, Deacon Steve Hillmann, Deacon Paul Machuca, Deacon George Mora and Deacon Chuck McDaniels
Jesus answered the Jews, “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.” For this reason, the Jews tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but he also called God his father, making himself equal to God. Jesus answered and said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, a son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his Father doing; for what he does, his son will do also. For the Father loves his Son and shows him everything that he does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes. Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to his Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation but has passed from death to life. Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so also, he gave to his Son the possession of life in himself. And he gave him the power to exercise judgment because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation. “I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.”
Reflection: I was raised by a single parent, my Mom. She had the task of being both father and mother to me and my older sister. Our father visited us randomly on the weekends and lived in another county. Today I was focused on the line “Amen, Amen, I say to you, a son cannot do any thing on his own, but only what he sees his Father doing, for what he does, his son will also do.” I was blessed to have relationships with 2 uncles as I was growing up that helped guide me in my formative years, Uncle Bill, my mother’s brother and Uncle Jack, my father’s brother.
Each one had lived a unique life, were skilled craftsmen in their respective trades and taught me lessons in life and how to treat other people that they would share with me from time to time. I didn’t realize this at that young age but they both inspired me to be the man that I am today. I don’t recall how strong their faith was in God, but as I grew older and they passed away, I realized that they had their own special relationship with God.
The relationship between Jesus and His Father is one of total respect and love. It wasn’t marred by the breakdown so frequently and tragically experienced in our modern families. The relationship here, so powerfully paved a pathway, for me in my relationship with my uncles, to follow. Not only is this a special gift for Fathers to hand down to their children, but also serves as the perfect example for all of our brothers and sisters and everyone that we encounter every single day.
Action of the Day: When was the last time that you spoke to an old friend? This week may a concerned effort to call an old friend or even a relative that you have not spoken to in a long time. Tell them that you miss them and that you love them. Be the Example that Jesus has taught us today.
There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.
Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” He answered them, “The man who made me well told me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.'” They asked him, “Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” The man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there. After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him, “Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went and told the Jews that Jesus was the one who had made him well. Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a sabbath.
The Lenten season is that part of the church year when we each take stock of our own position before our Lord. Like those who the Gospel records as laying near the pool of Bethesda (the blind, ill, lame and crippled), we, too, are called to see what keeps us from following Jesus as He wishes us to, and be open to being healed.
A couple of thoughts on this wonderful story of healing: first, notice that John records that Jesus knew about the man He was to heal – He knew that the man had been ill for a long time – 38 years! We never are told the man’s name, but clearly, Jesus had seen him, perhaps on earlier visits to Jerusalem, but the time for his healing hadn’t come yet, until this particular day. Jesus sees each of us, every day, and knows of the things that we need healing from. But, are we open to that healing?
That brings me to the second point – notice the man’s response to Jesus’ direction to “rise”: he immediately gets up and walks. Such faith is demonstrated in that simple act. The man could have questioned whether or not he could be healed, but he did not. He accepted the healing and acted right away. No matter what may be keeping us from living out our lives as Jesus’ disciples, He longs to heal us, too. And, no matter what may separate us from Him, when we claim that healing, we should act right away to thank Him for that gift, and then go and shine His light.
I would submit that we should also seek that same healing between each other. If we have wronged another, let us be the first one to say “I’m sorry”. If we are the one who was wronged, let us be the first one to say “I forgive you”. That’s a very powerful way of showing that Jesus’ love is truly alive in our hearts. Let each of us “rise” and carry Jesus’ love into the world today and every day.
Action for the Day:
Take time today to ponder on anything you need healing from, and ask Jesus to help you to seek that healing from Him. Make plans to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Lent, and to shine Jesus’ light all the brighter when we come to the glory of Easter!
The Holy Gospel according to Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24a
Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.
Now, this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph. Often Joseph does not get much press in the Church, until recently. Mary and Jesus are the ones in the forefront of the Gospels. However, today’s feast is the celebration of a man who had a depth of faith and trust in God that most of us may never have. In the Gospel reading for today’s feast, Joseph had just learned that Mary was pregnant. Joseph clearly knew that he was not the father of this child. Take a moment and imagine the conversation Mary had with Joseph. How horrible it must have been for both of them! Mary realized that the tale of how she became pregnant must have sounded completely outlandish! She must have anticipated that she would be cast aside by Joseph. It would only be natural. Despite her deep faith and love in God, she must have been overwhelmed and frightened by this situation. She still was trying to absorb it all.
Joseph, however, was not a run-of-the-mill human being. He was a man who had walked with God all of his life. Joseph deeply trusted both God and he also trusted Mary. As fantastic as her story sounded, Joseph was a man of deep and lively faith, and Joseph had a fantastic story of his own to tell Mary. He also had been visited by an angel! This angel had told him what was ahead for both him and for Mary. Did Joseph wonder if he was losing his mind? Joseph had never had a vision before but he had walked with God throughout his life and he truly believed that God would guide and grace him, even though this path was far beyond human understanding. God had been the one who had brought Joseph to this moment and Joseph trusted God to be with him and Mary on their journey. Very few people would have trusted and accepted such a strange and wonderful situation! Both Mary and Joseph journeyed on together, always trusting in the love and strength of their God!
We all have times when we struggle, when we are angry, confused, or saddened. When these times come, may we call upon Mary and Joseph and ask them to give us a share of their love, faith and trust in our God who loves us so deeply. While we may not understand what God is doing in our lives, may we deeply believe that God is with us!
Action of the Day
Here are some simple ways to show your love and devotion to St. Joseph:
Consecrate yourself to St. Joseph. Fr. Donald Calloway wrote a wonderful book (Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father) to help you understand who St. Joseph is and a powerful consecration to this humble saint.
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore.Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.
Reflection: Today, we get a break from the Lenten weekday Gospel. Today is the Memorial for St. Patrick, Bishop. The Gospel is from the readings for the Optional Memorial of St. Patrick. A little about St. Patrick. Patrick was born in Britain of a Romanized family. At age 16 he was taken by Irish raiders from the villa of his father and carried into slavery in Ireland. He was a slave for 6 years, during which time he returned with fervor to his faith. After escaping slavery in Ireland, Patrick spent the next 20 years acquiring education and practical skills so he could return to Ireland as a missionary witness to God. During this time he became a cleric. He eventually returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary and began to spread the Word of God. In a real way, St. Patrick lived this Gospel for today. He “put out into deep water and lowered his nets for a catch.” Patrick took Jesus’ words “do not be afraid” to heart. He returned to the land of the people that had enslaved him. As they say, the rest is history as many came to know Jesus Christ through his witness. This Gospel also speaks to us today. We also have to get out of our comfort zones, in other words, put out into deep water, and evangelize others. We cannot be afraid to be witnesses for Jesus. As followers of Jesus, this is our calling. With God’s grace, we can imitate St. Patrick and bring others to know the love of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Action for the Day: I encourage you to look up and pray St. Patrick’s Breastplate: the prayer of Ireland’s patron saint. This prayer has come down through the centuries and remains popular today. Oh, and as you pray, have a pint of Guiness.
Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute, and when the demon had gone out, the mute person spoke and the crowds were amazed. Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. But he knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebub that I drive out demons. If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
Reflection: There are many ways we can take today’s gospel from Luke. The division that causes house to fall against house could refer to all of humanity, our western culture, our local community, or our own home. I would like to take this one step further and focus on the division that exists in our hearts. Do we feel conflicted going back and forth between sin and redemption, between following our own will or the will of God? Often this division will be the reason for a fall that is very difficult to recover from. But have faith because the Kingdom of God is upon us.
Imagine how frustrated and tired Jesus felt on a regular basis because he kept encountering resistance to his mission and his message. We humans are so fickle and dense. Like those who accused Jesus of involvement with the devil, who asked for more signs, or contradicted him on many occasions, we too fall into the evil trap of sin. When we do not receive what we pray for, or life becomes difficult we tend to look elsewhere for solutions or relief. We turn to people and places that may provide temporary relief but fall far short of what we really need.
The last thing we hear in today’s gospel is Jesus’ very blunt statement where in essence he says, “either you are with me or not”. This is very direct and to the point. But before we take this as an ultimatum let us consider God’s mercy and love. We know how sin separates us from our loved ones and God. God hears the prayer of a contrite and sincere heart. And Jesus knows his sheep. Our struggle is not who we are, it is simply part of our life. We are sons and daughters of God. Brothers and sisters of Jesus. The Good Sheppard leaves the ninety-nine to go look for the one. If we persist in our life of prayer, avail ourselves of the precious Sacraments, most especially Holy Eucharist, then we will stand on the solid foundation with Jesus as our corner stone. What greater assurance can we ask for. When we fall, get up and repeat this as many times as necessary, all the way home.
Action of the day: Make no mistake, we are in the midst of spiritual battle and there are plenty of causalties. Seek and you shall find, ask and it will be given to you. Pray for a specific struggle you and/or someone you know is expereincing. Trust that your prayer will reach the heavens and God will provide what we need to overcome.