Day 75 – March 16

Today’s Readings:

Deuteronomy 9-10
Mark 14:54-72
Psalm 75

Up until that moment, when Peter opened his mouth in the courtyard of the High Priest, he had kept his word to Jesus. He showed valiant courage that night. First, in the garden when he drew his sword and cut off the ear of the High Priest’s servant. And then, the audacity to show himself in the courtyard of that same High Priest. He was fulfilling his word to Jesus spoken at the Last Supper, “Even though all should have their faith shaken, mine will not be…Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.”

And then, in the courtyard, he opened his mouth and his courage unraveled. He denied Christ the first time, yet he tried to remain steadfast in his promise to stay with Jesus. He resisted the fear rising in his heart. Not once, but twice. Most people would have recognized the danger they were in and would have disappeared at once, upon being recognized. But Peter stayed.

Peter was indeed a courageous man, with a heart for his Lord. It could be, he would have stayed there still if not for the cockcrow, to remind him of Jesus’ words, “before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.” It was only when his heart was rent in this reminder that he lost courage and fled.

The characters of Peter and Judas are often compared, but in truth, there is no comparison. Peter lived the rest of his life very aware of that one defining moment. All of us face a moment in our lives that we are not proud of; a moment where we fall in weakness. But it is in just these moments we are defined, not so much by the act as to what we do afterwards.

Peter gives us a great example as one who, took his weakest point, and made it an opportunity to portray God’s mercy. We will hear him confess his weakness; it will become part of his testimony of God’s glory. How despite his failing, God has forgiven him.

We all will face a defining moment, like Peter. Let our failing not be what defines us, where we are tempted to hide in shame like Judas. No, let it be the moment we turn back to God, find His mercy, and tell others of the Divine goodness of God.

May God Bless you.



Day 74 – March 15

Today’s Readings:

Deuteronomy 7-8
Mark 14:27-53
Psalm 74

“Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.” – Mark 14:36

It is difficult to imagine what must have been going on through Jesus’ mind as he prayed these words. He knew what the Father asked of him. He didn’t want to die and it must have taken every ounce of strength to steal himself from running from the fear in himself, and pain he knew would come. Would no one share this agony with him? His closest disciples were nearby, but unable to keep their eyes open. Those that could have comforted him in his agony were caught in the arms of sleep.

What it is like to face a struggle and feel there is no one who is sharing in your burden. Jesus understands all too well our own feelings of isolation; of feeling alone. How he dealt with is own struggle gives us hope. He turns to prayer to sustain him when his friends cannot. It is there, in Gethsemane, on his knees he finds strength for the battle that lies ahead. It is where we too can be strengthened when all human resources fail us.

May God Bless you.


Day 73 – March 14

Today’s Readings:

Deuteronomy 5-6
Mark 14:1-26
Psalm 73

“…a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head…”She has done a good thing for me.”” – Mark 13:36-37

The act of extravagance portrayed in this chapter of Mark’s gospel displays one of the finest acts of love in the sacred scriptures. We heard today in Deuteronomy 6:4-19, the Shema prayer, the very one we heard Jesus quote three days ago in our readings:

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength…”

The woman has indeed expressed her love for the Lord. She goes way beyond what is expected of her, generous beyond description. It was the custom that when a guest arrived at a house to pour a few drops of perfume on them. This woman not only used the best oil she could find, but she lavishes her guest, Jesus, with the oil; she broke the flask and used its whole contents!

The breaking of the flask follows a custom when a distinguished guest dined with you, the cup they drank from would not be washed, but would be broken, so it would not be used by a lesser person. There is another custom that when a body is anointed for burial, the flask would be broken and laid alongside the body.

The costly oil, poured out in such extravagant love, an uncalculating love that goes beyond what is necessary; it is a little reckless in not counting the cost. Nothing is too much.

Many times we may have an inspiration to act with extravagance, to act only because it would be a lovely thing to do. Not necessary, but lovely. Perhaps we hesitate in these moments because we feel awkward, afraid we would be misunderstood – like the woman was. Perhaps our second thoughts hold us at bay from acting on a winsome idea. Perhaps an impulse to send a letter to someone of thanks, or expressing our love; the impulse to give a gift to someone with no reason, or to speak a special word.

Our impulses to love without cost are strangled before they are born in action. What would our world be like if more of us acted with such an impulse of love like the woman. Why did she do it? Perhaps she knew that if she did not act now, she would never do it at all. And what a difference her extravagance made to Jesus.

May God Bless you.


Day 72 – March 13

Today’s Readings:

Deuteronomy 3-4
Mark 13:21-37
Psalm 72

“May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’.” – Mark 13:36-37

A question was posed yesterday by the deacon at Mass; during his homily he asked, “If the angel came blowing his trumpet announcing that the end was here, how many of you would be ready?” The silence in the church was deafening. Are we ready? Or are we sleeping, going through our day with our eyes and hearts fixed upon those things that have immediate impact on our lives.

Eternity seems too far off for us to give it our attention. To reflect on it is inconvenient, for it suggests that we need to change our habits and dedicate our precious time on things we may never see fruit of our labor. It demands that we align our lives and relationships with the eternal reality. It is too easy to just put it off, saying tomorrow I’ll start going to Mass, tomorrow I’ll start praying more, tomorrow I’ll start making right my relationships.

But what if we don’t have a tomorrow? What if our eternity depends on today? Are we ready if we are summoned home to God? Let us align ourselves today with our heavenly home, and take courage by the words of two saints:

“God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.” – St Augustine

“Most of the problems in life are because of two reasons: we act without thinking or we think without acting.” – St Faustina Kowalska

May God Bless you.


Day 71 – March 12

Today’s Readings:

Deuteronomy 1-2
Mark 13:1-20
Psalm 71

“You will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.” – Mark 13:13

There is a story told of a prisoner during Hitler’s Germany, who was arrested because he stood for freedom. He was imprisoned and faced torture without complaining, and with great fortitude. Finally, he was released, with his spirit intact. He came to know that the informant that sent him to prison was in fact his own son. After which, he committed suicide. The betrayal of his own family was the worst torture, and he could not endure that (Barclay, Mark, p.313).

Jesus’ speaking of children rising up against parents, and parents turning in their children was nothing new to his listener; Old Testament texts tell of it. And, as individuals in the first century chose to become part of The Way, believing in Jesus as the Messiah, they knew full well that their choice would often oppose their family’s wishes. The tension of following Jesus was a reality that we can only hear of in stories. They knew that their choice to become a Christian was a choosing to take up a hard way of life. They knew they would be hated by some who just the day before were their friends and family.

It is in this context Saint Paul writes about needing endurance to run the race. To choose Christ, to live for Christ, is not a quick race; it is a marathon that takes place over the whole course of our lives. This may not be a race of outright hatred known to the early Christians; it is more likely to be opposition that is more subtle. But one, when we live for Him alone, we will feel the pinch. It is the willingness to take up our Cross daily and follow after Jesus.

Our Cross? Each of us bear the burden in different ways. For some, it is waking each morning and picking up the cross of depression and choosing life when it is all too easy to desire to ‘end it all’. Perhaps it is the cross of watching a family member self-destruct because of addiction, and loving that person is a daily sacrifice united with Jesus on the Altar at Mass. Is the cross unemployment? Chronic illness? Wayward children? Or, as for one young woman I know, who courageously fights for the unborn and has her heart broken by the coldness of the legislature to not even acknowledge the need for children born alive from failed abortions, left without care to die of cold and starvation.

We must pick up our Cross and carry it daily, uniting it with our Lord, because of love, which “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

May God Bless you.