April 4, 2019 – Nathan Cayabyab, Class of 2019
With today's reading and gospel, I am personally reminded of staying true to yourself. Being in a world with billions of other people it can seem like you’re just another number, but you couldn’t be any more mistaken. God created every single one of us and planned out our whole life from the moment of our conception to our death and beyond. Not every moment in our lives’ is going to be amazing, but it’s those bad days that makes the good days so satisfying and worthwhile. So today, if/when you’re faced with adversity, remember that God gave it to you for a reason; so that you could learn and grow from it and become the person he has planned you to be.
March 24, 2019 - Braden Snow, Class of 2022
In today’s readings, we learn about the continuous presence of God in our world. In the first reading from Exodus, God speaks to Moses and tells him that He understands the suffering of the Hebrews. God also tells Moses that He has come to save the Hebrews from this great suffering. This displays how God cares for his people. He cares about their wellbeing, and He cares enough to intervene and save them. In the second reading from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, St. Paul states that God supported the Hebrews during their journey to Israel, yet he would still punish them for their sins. This serves as a reminder to humanity: God is always present, so he sees all good and bad deeds. In the final reading from the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells the people that they must repent, for God gives everyone chances to be good. God does not condemn sinners. He allows all people to redeem themselves. Throughout these readings, we are reminded that God has a major impact on our lives. Whether it be through salvation, protection, punishment, generosity, or forgiveness, God is always present, and He will provide what is necessary for one’s body and soul. These readings call us to be joyful, for we are eternally in God’s presence. However, we should also always be careful and mindful of our actions because we do not want to displease our Lord. God loves humanity, so he wants us to be good for our own sake.
March 21 - Manny Hamer, Class of 2022
Both the reading and the Gospel today outline what we need to do to please God and get to Heaven. The first reading reads, "Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season, But stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth," (JER 17 5-10). Relating to this the Gospel says, "The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames,'" (Luke 16: 19-31).
These relate because the rich man in gospel only trusted in material wealth instead of trusting in God. As a result he was sent to the fires of Hell to be tormented. Ironically, a poor man who trusted in God, Lazarus, who would have gladly ate the scraps from the rich man's table, is welcomed to Abraham's side. This Lent we need to reflect on what we really value in life. Is it our material possessions that we can't take with us, or our relationship with God and others? One of the three major parts of Lent is giving something up. If you answered with some type of material possession to the question above, something that is taking away your relationship with God and other people, I challenge you to give it up for Lent and focus on your relationships. It will make your life much better in the long run.
March 19 – Ben Unnerstall, Class of 2019
Lent is a time that reminds us that we should put our trust in God. We willingly chose to surrender things and fast during lent because we know that God will reward us just as he rewarded Abraham for his good faith. We give up things to make more room in our lives for god who is our light and our salvation. Although we may struggle, we can be reassured that our commitment to God will not go unnoticed. Even though God may not manifest himself to us as he did Peter, John, and James on the mountain he is always omniscient. Lord, give me the strength to always hold high my everlasting love for you even when life is hard. Even on days where nothing is going my way and life may seem pointless show yourself to me and help me realize that having you at the center of my life ensures that the going will get better.
March 17 – Dominic Cyr, Class of 2019
As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my chosen Son; listen to him." After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.
Sometimes we feel like Peter throughout the season of Lent, confused at what is going on and not fully understanding as the Gospel had said “he did not know what he was saying.” This season of Lent we need to try and better understand ourselves through the work of God. At the end of the reading we hear God say form the clouds, “This is my chosen Son: listen to him.” In the busy world we live in today we can find it difficult to truly list to Jesus and what he is calling us to do for Him. One challenge we can have on this Sunday is to not only attend mass but really sit there and listen for what God is calling us to do. Lent is a time of reflection and preparation so on this Sunday let’s really focus in on listening to God and what he is calling us to do.
March 16 – Jack Troll, Class of 2019
“And today the LORD is making this agreement with you: you are to be a people peculiarly his own, as he promised you; and provided you keep all his commandments, he will then raise you high in praise and renown and glory above all other nations he has made, and you will be a people sacred to the LORD, your God, as he promised." (DT 26:16-19)
Today’s reading talks about the agreement that God made with his people. The agreement is that we should always live by the Ten Commandments in the Kingdom of God that we built in communion with him here on Earth. In return God will raise us to the Kingdom of Heaven that he built. As we continue in our own Lentan journeys make sure to be mindful of the Ten Commandments so that we can fulfil the agreement that we made with God.
March 15 – Alex Ramirez, Class of 2021
During Lent, we face a time to become closer to God. Lent is an opportunity to unite our suffering with Christ on the cross, but in reality, it is very difficult to do this. In today’s reading, Matthew 5:20-26, Jesus renews the Old Law, “you shall not kill,” by saying that even if you are angry at someone you will be liable to judgement. In my own life, I have been angry many times. After not doing well on a test or quiz, after disappointing someone you know, and after a really hard day, it has been very difficult for me to not be angry. Very recently, I have been very mad. This past week, my dog, Spy, passed away. He was alone on his bed and slept away till his death. It has been extremely difficult for me and my mom to handle this pain. It is just unbearable. I love Spy so much. He has been a friend in those difficult days in my life, and he always brought a feeling of joy in my heart. On the day of his passing, I got very angry. Mostly, angry at myself. I wish I was there for my dog more often. I wish I could take care of him more often. The day after his death was a very solemn morning and I could not stop thinking about Spy. Surprisingly, in school, I had a pretty good day. I got a 100% on a math test and I scored my first Water Polo goal. I feel like God wanted me to know that even though this anger and grief of losing Spy is something I will experience in the future, he also wanted to tell me that life is beautiful and fragile. And I feel like today’s Gospel really resembles that. Jesus wants us to love one another, and to rid ourselves of anger. To me, it is very important to love one another especially after experiencing my dog’s death because now I know what my dog taught me, and I hope to spread his love and joy to the world. Even though, I was very angry, my dog taught me to start to become a better person by uniting my suffering with Christ so that I may help others reach heaven and help myself enter into His Kingdom.
What was a time you felt angry?
What did you do about it?
How did God enter into your life after your anger?
March 14 – Drew Hammett, Class of 2022
Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, had recourse to the LORD. She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids, from morning until evening, and said: "God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you, for I am taking my life in my hand. As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you. Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O LORD, my God. "And now, come to help me, an orphan. Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy, so that he and those who are in league with him may perish. Save us from the hand of our enemies; turn our mourning into gladness and our sorrows into wholeness."
Esther ch.12, 14-16, 23-25
Everyone strives to be happy in life and there is a guarantee way to be happy that everyone has heard of, however so few choose to truly pursue this eternal happiness. As humans, we always want to do what everyone else is doing. This is a human trait that is hard wired into our brains which means when other people do not follow God, it makes us rethink our faith and question what we believe as Christians. It is important that during this time of challenge in our faith, that we have a good role model to follow to show us what we can do to grow closer to God in these hard situations. Queen Ester in this reading is a perfect example of what we need to do when our faith is questioned because she turned to God for answers that she could not find herself. Her faith was strong as a child but she then fell into a life of sin but even then, she saw God and eventually gave her life to him and by doing this, she defeated the devil and is now living a life of eternal happiness. So the next time your faith is challenged, take a second to think about how Queen Ester turned to God in her struggles and how we can do the same if we truly want eternal happiness.
March 13 – David Fitzgerald, Class of 2019
In the first reading for today, Jonah speaks to us about God condemning Nineveh. All the people in the city fasted and wore sackcloth as a form of repentance for the evil they have done. God saw how they repented for their sins and decided not to destroy the city. How can we transfer this into our lives? What are the evils in our life that we need to get rid of to be saved just as the people of Nineveh did?
March 12 – Nick Klein, Class of 2019
“Thus says the LORD: Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down And do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, Giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11
This scripture is a parable explaining the admiration of one starting life-anew, and what allows our lives to prosper. In the reading it points to how the rain and the snow water the earth and allows it to become fertile and able to prosper. Similarly, God’s word also allows us to prosper and to achieve content. This passage can be helpful for those stricken with grief and despair in their lives, this reassurance can provide relief to can allow them to continue. This Parable talks about the watered earth its’ respective dependence. Collectively we are dependent on material goods, but more importantly, we are dependent on God’s word. With the reassurance of His word we can strengthen our faith and continue to strive for better society for others.
March 11 – Mitchell Kinnunen, Class of 2019
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:31-46
Everyone knows them: the homeless, the poor, the sick, sitting on a sidewalk, begging for money, food, or even sometimes a job. Some people help them, handing them a dollar here or there, but other than those select few, no one helps out. These people are discarded as trash, as a waste of space, yet they remain happy and hopeful, and show so much gratitude for even that single dollar you give them. People in today's society are so busy with their own lives, they don't stop and think, think that the person they're ignoring is a child of God, and by ignoring them, they are ignoring Him. People take for granted what they have, and how much they have, while there are people with nothing,
This Lenten season, slow down. Take a break from your busy life, and realize that there are people out right at this moment, starving, begging, and homeless. And before you do anything, thank God for what you have. Ask God to help those less fortunate than yourself. Then, the next time you see a homeless person, take just a second to think about them, to know that they have people that love them, and that they are child a God. Then, if it is possible, give them any amount of money, food, or assistance. Anything that you do will help them, and they will be grateful for what you have done.
March 10 – Corey Edward, Class of 2019
Reading about how Jesus was tempted means a lot to me because everyone gets tempted by the devil in some kind of way. And you either choose to listen to the devil or ignore him. The devil doesn’t care about you even though it may seem like he does. All he is trying to do is get you to do his dirty works. Even if you experience evil God is always with us. Follow and trust in God and you will resist the temptations by the devil. As high school students we face a lot of obstacles. As we live life we can choose either the right way or wrong way. Say if you badly wanted a Nike hoodie but you can’t wait to save the money for it. The devil will come to tempt you in some way to get you to steal from the store or from somebody you know that has it. And in the Ten Commandments the Eighth one says, “You shall not steal.” There is no need to steal anything from someone or from a store because you are just doing the dirty works of the devil. But if you trust and follow God you will not need to steal something that you want so badly. It will always come later. Or for example, when Jesus was so hungry the devil tried to tempt him into turning stone into bread. Even though Jesus was so hungry he would not do the dirty works of the devil. We can be so hungry at times we would like to start stealing food and there is no reason for that because if you believe in God, he will feed you in some type of way. Help us God, from the temptations from the devil.
March 9 – Mason Merris, Class of 2019
I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord, But rather in his conversion, that he may live. Ezekiel 33:11
Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, "Follow me." And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, And a large crowd of tax collectors And others were at table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" Jesus said to them in reply, "Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners." Luke 5:27-32
The gospel for today challenges us not to worry about our appearance but to actually be healthy spiritually and to truly repentant. It’s like going excessively to the doctor and getting irritated that is taking so long to get seen when the doctor is actually seeing to a patient that is in real need of medical attention. Try to think of a time where you were faced with a problem or situation similar to that of today’s Gospel. Who were you? What did you do? Were you in the place of the Pharisees or scribes? Or were you in the place of the apostles? How about the sinners? Or were you Jesus? If you were the Pharisee or scribe why did you act the way you did? If you were the apostle how did you react? If you were the sinner how were you sinful? If you were Jesus how did you feel treating the sinners and trying to spiritually heal them? Now going back to the doctor’s office parallel Jesus is the Doctor the sinner is the sick man or woman the apostle is the receptionist or another patient and the Pharisees and scribes are the obnoxious patients only there for a checkup and not in any danger who are rudely asking why they haven’t been seen yet when their appointment was a while ago. We are often so caught up in what WE are doing and only focus on ourselves and often forget about the thousands of other people with problems and instead of being part of the problem be part of the solution. Show kindness to those you normally wouldn’t, take the time to say hello how are you doing? Do that and you will start moving from wherever you were towards Jesus and if you are already acting as Jesus would continue to do so no matter how hard it gets. For “the attitude we take in unavoidable suffering” is how we find meaning and purpose in life. Today’s gospel shows us how we must act when faced with suffering, whether or not it is hidden. Kindness and caring are how we must face suffering, demonstrate compassion to those who suffer and you will be one step closer to finding your meaning. For when faced with suffering whether or not it is our own we will find our purpose in life. And in the spirit of lent by sacrificing our time for others especially those who are suffering and in need we will become closer to God and finding our meaning and purpose he has given to us.
March 8 – Zach Stehr, Class of 2019
Today is the first Friday in Lent. This means that no meat will be served in the cafeteria and we should refrain from eating meat today. You might ask, why can’t we eat meat? The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops gives us a great little explanation. “Catholic peoples from time immemorial have set apart Friday for special penitential observance by which they gladly suffer with Christ that they may one day be glorified with Him. This is the heart of the tradition of abstinence from meat on Friday where that tradition has been observed in the holy Catholic Church.” We believe that Friday is day that Jesus was crucified and died for our sins. The season of Lent is also a time of preparation and contemplation for Christs rising on Easter Sunday and to unite our suffering with Christ in his 40-day retreat in the desert and his passion, agony, and death. Christians since the early times have recognized these things and set aside Fridays as days of penance and abstinence from meat. But why meat in particular? Since the early times, meat has always been a delicacy and was mainly eaten during times of celebration. Fridays are days of penance and so it didn’t seem very appropriate to eat meat on these days. Nowadays meat isn’t really a delicacy but rather something that we eat every day. This still makes for a good penance, to give up something we are so accustomed to eating every day. The purpose of doing this is to offer up an oblation to God and to unite our sufferings to the sufferings of Jesus. Giving up meat on Fridays can also remind us of the sacrifices we need to make in our own lives. It can remind that maybe we need to sacrifice our own selfishness and be more patient to those who annoy or us, or maybe to sacrifice our time and spend some more time with our family. Doing these things can also be our sacrifice of the day, along with the abstinence of meat. God has given us so many great gifts in our lives and so many things we take for granted each day. Abstaining from meat one day a week is one small thing we can do to show our love for God, who has given us all that we have.
Faze Thomas, Class of 2019
In the first reading for is from DT 30:15-20. “Moses said to the people: "Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving him, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees, you will live and grow numerous, and the LORD, your God, will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy.”
This reading explains the events after God has set his people free and Moses is giving them a speech. His general summary is that God has given them free will. God gave them life, prosperity, death, and doom. If they follow God’s ways and obey his commandments, then God will take the people to the promised land. God does not force the people to obey his commandments yet God wants to bring many people to the promised land. But he wants us to choose to follow him and his ways of teaching.
March 6 – Charlie Seitz, Class of 2019
Rend your hearts, not your garments, And return to the LORD, your God. Joel 2:13
Jewish people would tear off a piece of one’s clothing to show a sign of deep emotion. The Lord wants people to show deep remorse over sin. He doesn't simply want to see an outward display of tearing clothes, but a genuine sorrow over their sin.
Ash Wednesday is about leaving sin behind, so if one has committed a sin such as cheating or bullying they should ask the Lord to forgive them and help them repent on their mistakes that they have made.