In Jewish thought the presence of God is connected with a cloud. Moses met God in a cloud. During the exodus the people followed a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. A cloud filled Solomon’s temple. The cloud in today’s story of the Transfiguration indicated the Messiah had come. From the…

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Saturday of the First Week of Lent Gulp!  I just read “love your enemies.” Gulp again! Pray for those who persecute you.” But who are my enemies? Very likely, it’s not a person outside myself. It’s me. (To the English teachers: It’s I.) I’ve got a true self that God created and sees in its…

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Friday of the First Week of Lent Today’s gospel tells us to settle our differences quickly. If we’re on our way to church, stop first to be reconciled. We’re to leave our gifts—our Lenten sacrifices, fasting, almsgiving—and be reconciled. Such advice follows a basic law of psychological and spiritual life; namely, energy follows attention. Wherever…

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Thursday of the First Week of Lent The prophet Isaiah claims that our light will break forth like the dawn when we perform the fasting God requires: “setting free the oppressed…sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless, clothing the naked.” The dawn will break forth in new possibilities when the…

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Wednesday of the First Week of Lent The Ninevites reformed surprisingly quickly at the preaching of Jonah. How quick are we to respond to the preaching of Jesus Christ? Are there any passages in the Bible we tend to overlook? Are there passages that set us out on an inward journey as Jonah set out…

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Tuesday of the First Week of Lent A week ago, amid Mardi Gras you may have put the finishing touches on your Lenten plan. Were you looking at Lent as a time to forego sweets and lose weight, a time for spiritual and physical spring cleaning, a time to impress God with fasting and almsgiving?…

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Monday of the First week of Lent Compassion is the fullness of divine and human perfection. Meister Eckhart says, “Whatever God does, the first outburst is always compassion. Compassion is the highest work that God works.” Compassion is more than a feeling. It’s literally “suffering with,” the deepest empathy. Compassion thrusts us into action. We…

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First Sunday of Lent The First Reading on the First Sunday of Lent this year relates God’s establishment of his covenant with Noah and with us. God assures us of his fidelity through the rainbow. The story of the flood and the covenant sets the tone of Lent as a baptismal season when we pray…

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Today’s gospel passage is the call of Matthew. Did you know tax collectors had to auction for the position? Chosen for the job by Roman authorities, Matthew may have been quite self-satisfied when landing the job. Then he heard a call to another career. Jesus wanted Matthew to be a disciple. What did Matthew think? …

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Almsgiving is an integral part of Lenten practice, but what if we feel we have little to give? At such times we can recall the story of the widow’s mite (Luke 21:1-4). This widow had two “lepta,” equal to 1/20 of a penny. In the Court of the Women there were 13 collection boxes shaped…

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