Lenten Reflection #1: Joel 2:12

Listen here: https://anchor.fm/simplediakonia/episodes/Lenten-Reflection-1-Joel-212-eqhjf0

“Return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning” (Joel 2:12).


Lent is a four-legged stool of spirituality:

• The season for repairing our relationship with our Creator through prayer

• An opportunity to grow in perseverance and patience by embracing fasting

• A moment to share with profound gratitude from our well of blessings

• A chance to be born anew in the waters of consolation and conversion

Lent is the spiritual return home of the prodigal child to the warm-forgiving embrace of merciful love.

Today’s Intention:

O Lord, thanks for the gift of Lent, a time of spiritual renewal. We humbly pray for joy, courage, and strength during the journey ahead.

Peace and Goodness

Good Friday

“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” ~ Luke 23:46

Today is Good Friday. On this day, we commemorate the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As I reflect on the significance of this day, my mind is drawn to St. Stephen. It may be hard at times for us to imagine how we, imperfect beings, can become Jesus, who was perfect. How we, sinners, can live like Jesus, who never sinned. Well, we can’t. However, through faith and works we can become His imitators and servants; that’s easily within our reach in every breath with take; and that’s why my mind is drawn to St. Stephen this Friday morning.

St. Stephen was just like us: imperfect and sinful; however, St. Stephen did not let his humanity stop him from becoming an imitator and servant of Jesus, which let to his martyrdom and sainthood. In St. Stephen and all the Saints, Lord gave us examples of how to relate to His passion on this Good Friday.

Let’s pray to the Holy Spirit that like St. Stephen we have the courage to say “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” and to live our lives striving to be imitators and servants of Jesus Christ.

© hectorortiz 2013. All rights reserved.

Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday is such a wonderful spiritual and sacramental day for Christians. There are many gifts to worship today.

  • Today marks the beginning of the Sacred Paschal Triduum: This is the time when we remember the passion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The next four days present a magnificent opportunity to strengthen or reignite our faith with prayer, reconciliation, Mass, Eucharist, and fasting.
  • Today we also celebrate the Chrism Mass. During this Mass, local Bishops bless the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of the Catechumens and consecrate the Chrism. In addition, during this Mass, Bishops urge the Priests to be faithful in their office and call on them to renew publicly their priestly promises.
  • Finally, today we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. This occasion is important in two fronts. First, it institutes the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. As Catholics, we believe that when we eat the bread and drink the wine, Christ is presence on them: “the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood.’ ’’ Today is also important because it is when Jesus washes the feet of his disciples. By doing so He gave us the example of what do for each other. “So when he had washed their feet, he said to them, ‘Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.’ ” What is it that our Lord wants us to do for each other? “To love one another as I have loved you.”

May you have a wonderful Holy Thursday honoring our Lord Jesus Christ.

© hectorortiz 2013. All rights reserved.

Holy Wednesday

“The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced.” ~Isaiah 50:7

This Holy Wednesday, I think about the times I have failed to act in God because of my fear of being disgraced; to lose face. I failed to recognize that God is always with me, especially in times of trouble.

Today, I am inspired by Jesus’ example as he prepared to give his life for us; imagine how our world would be if reputation was a concern to Him.

This Holy Wednesday, I pray to the Holy Spirit never to forget our Lord’s omnipresence, particularly during times of distress that put my faith to test in front of others; to remember St. Theresa of Jesus’ words: “Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. All things are passing away. God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.”