Hosanna! Hosanna!

Jesus, we sing Hosanna and also cry out ‘Crucify’. Take our hearts and bring them close to You in our protest so that we may sing Your praise at all times.

I take a palm frond in my hand. In all the excitement I raise it higher in the air and wave it around, while singing ‘Hosanna! Hosanna!’ Everyone around me does the same; the children jumping, smiling and dancing as we make our way from the back of the church to our seats. There is joyful exuberance here. It is Palm Sunday.

But it doesn’t take too long to create a somber atmosphere as we listen to the Gospel. It’s chilling how quickly we can go from praise to protest, isn’t it? It’s almost like the Gospel is our own lives reflected here – swinging from praising God in all His works to protesting; protesting the harm done to us, or the unfair conditions, or whatever else has overtaken our concern. Peter – even the great rock – also swings from praise to protest as he denies knowing Jesus.

What would it look like, I wonder, if we could swing from praise to praise? The Resurrection gives us the foundation to give praise instead of protest. But it is a difficult walk from Palm Sunday through Cavalry to the Resurrection. We can get stuck on that walk before the Resurrection. Today’s reading reminds us how common it is for us to begin in praise and yet end in protest. We all sing ‘Hosanna’ and also say ‘Crucify him!’

God’s mercy offers us something deeper, though. That something deeper is Jesus. Jesus, the first one to walk from Palm Sunday to the empty tomb. No matter how big our protest is, Jesus has looked at it and faced it already. He’s still offering His unending love. In our anger, frustration, and apathy, Jesus invites us into that love. Let us embrace this invitation and be enveloped in God’s praise.

What protest in my life is Jesus asking me to give over to Him to transform into praise?

Jane Korvemaker loves food, family, wine, and God (perhaps not in that order). She holds a Certificate in Culinary Arts, which pairs perfectly with her Bachelor in Theology. A former Coordinator of Youth Ministry, she writes from the beautiful and cold province of Saskatchewan, Canada. She works from home and takes care of her three very hard-working children. Jane regularly blogs at www.ajk2.ca.

He Showed Up

They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, “What do you think?  That he will not come to the feast?” John 11:56

In today’s Gospel, the people are wondering if Jesus will show up for the Passover Feast. They were, of course, referring to the feast which became the Last Supper; but did anyone suspect that Jesus would become the Passover feast?

There have been times in my life when I too have wondered if Jesus would show up. Times when I have been in destress and worried. The time I was laid off from work, the time a family member was ill, the time my marriage was rocky …the time my son passed away.

At times like this it becomes a time of waiting and a time of faith. Tomorrow marks 15 years from when I had my reconversion to my faith. Fifteen years ago – God reminded me that He did show up. He reminded me that He was there at my baptism, at my confirmation, and walked alongside me all through my life; but until 15 years ago I did not look for Him.

My conversion led me to change my life and know and trust that God loved me. Really loved me. Even with this big conversion, I still doubt sometimes. Maybe you do too.


As we prepare for entering into Holy Week – our own Passover – reflect on how you might trust that Jesus will show up in your life and struggles.


Let us Pray:

Dear Jesus, please show me the ways in which You have showed up in my life.
Help me to trust that You will be with me always.

Sharon Wilson – Wife, Mother, Writer, Catholic Speaker, and a WINE Specialist. Sharon has a degree in education and has worked as a freelance writer, Respect Life Coordinator, a teacher, in advertising, radio, buyer and in youth advocacy – She even rode an elephant in the circus once! Sharon speaks, writes and shares about God’s healing and about the great gift of being Catholic at SharonAgnesWilson.com

How Did I Do?

As we draw nearer to the end of this grace-ladened season of Lent, you and I may be tempted to wonder how we have done. Did I forget my Lenten resolutions one too many times? Did I somehow fail at Lent in the same way I fail at New Years resolutions?

If these words ring true to you, you are in good company. So many people I meet on mission seem to like to know how they stack-up in the spiritual life. But the interesting and even surprising Truth at the center of our lives is constantly bringing us new hope. It is a hope that is not founded upon our abilities and talents and victories, but upon His faithfulness and power to conquer all through the blood of His cross. Although your spiritual journey and my spiritual journey are contingent upon our willingness to follow Him, He is the One who directs our lives.

If we take a moment to expand our vision of Lent 2018 beyond our resolutions, what do you and I find? Perhaps we see mistakes, but probably we see many opportunities to stretch and grow in love than we ever would have been able to plan into our little programs for Lent. So perhaps we find ourselves at a moment in which we can offer to the Lord something that scripture says is most pleasing to God: a humble and contrite heart. That is a heart completely surrendered to His ways. And I am willing to guess that if we look back with these eyes, we will see that our Lenten projects were much more rich and varied than we could have imagined. He is the one who causes the fruit. Let us offer everything to Him.

He doesn’t dwell on our imperfections so long as we are able to surrender them to Him.

God is always saying today is the day of salvation. Will we choose to allow Him to save us even of our need for the knowledge that we’ve succeeded at Lent? I think allowing Him the space might actually be the key to ending Lent well.

Sr. Maria Kim-Ngân Bùi  is a Daughter of St. Paul, women religious dedicated to evangelization in and through the media. She has a degree from Boston College and the Augustine Institute. She has offered workshops, presentations, and retreats around the country. She currently serves as the head of marketing and sales at Pauline and one of the guides of Spiritual Accompaniment—the gemstone of the My Sisters online faith community.

The Truth Will Set You Free

We all want to be free, don’t we? Today’s Gospel is all about freedom. As a child, I wanted to be free of rules and regulations. As a young adult, I want to be free of college debt. I am sure in a few years I will have new things that I want to be freed from. None of us enjoys being enslaved. I’m reminded of one of my favorite musicals, Les Miserables.

For those who have not seen it, the play begins with the main character, Jean Valjean, being released from prison. He has his entire life ahead of him and has finally been freed. He has a choice to make, he can choose to try and make an honest life for himself or he can go back to his previous life of theft. A Bishop takes him in for the night, giving him a meal and a bed. But when the Bishop retires, Jean Valjean makes his choice. He chooses enslavement, steals the Bishop’s silver and runs. Of course he is caught, but when the police bring him to the Bishop to confirm the theft, the Bishop claims he gave the silver to Jean Valjean. These are the words of the Bishop to the man:


But remember this, my brother,

See in this some higher plan.

You must use this precious silver

To become an honest man.

By the witness of the martyrs,

By the passion and the blood,

God has raised you out of darkness:

I have saved your soul for God.


In today’s culture, we see freedom as doing whatever we want whenever we want with whomever we want. This kind of mentality was really pioneered by the sexual revolution in the 60’s and 70’s. But we have to ask ourselves what is true freedom? Is true freedom really doing whatever we want? I did what I wanted in my youth and I was not happy due to several years of addiction to pornography. It wasn’t until I realized that true freedom must begin with truth, that my life started to change and I started to experience real peace.

But what is truth? That question rang through the walls of a Roman palace over 2,000 years ago on Good Friday. What is truth? Thankfully Jesus answers this question in saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” So if Jesus is the truth and we were created by God, then John Paul II was correct in saying that, “Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” It is living in the way that God has commanded us, not because God is an authority figure who loves control but because He made us and knows our hearts and knows how we will ultimately be happy.

We don’t think of freedom in this way anymore. Instead, we would rather exercise our “freedom” and become more enslaved to our precarious choices. Paul acknowledges this when he says in scripture, “I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate.” It is in trusting that God knows what is best for us and has created us in a certain way, that we can start to live by that truth in freedom.

Similarly, Jean Valjean in Les Miserables listens to the advice of the Bishop. He realizes his dignity as a son of God and realizes that because of this dignity, he is to live a certain way. He goes on to serve those less fortunate in his community and enjoys true freedom.

We all have a choice. Free will does not give us the right to work against our Creator, but it does give us the option. We can either follow the ways of the world and become enslaved to money, power, greed, or lust or we can start to live by the truth, and that truth will truly set us free.

As a Solutions Evangelist for Diocesan, Tommy is committed to showing parish and diocesan staffs how to use our communication tools to their best advantage. He has worked for years in various, youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. As an expert on Catholic communication, Tommy uses his parish and diocesan experiences to help you make your ministry effective. To bring Tommy to your parish or for general inquiry, contact him at tshultz@diocesan.com or find him online at www.rodzinkaministry.com.

Excessive, Extravagant, Reckless

Prodigal: Adjective

Excessive, Extravagant, Reckless.

“He ran”. (Luke 15:20)

Recently in my 6th grade class, we studied the parable of the Lost Son. Before reading the story, I asked the class what they remember about the scripture story. There were points of the son wanting his father’s inheritance, using all his money, eating with pigs, and then wanting to go back to his father. After recalling all the details of the story, I showed the class a video of a man’s perspective of the parable through slam poetry. Slam poetry is a type of poetry that expresses a person’s personal story or struggle in an intensely emotional style. It is very powerful, sincere, and moving. There were three videos with three different slam poetry perspectives: The Lost Son, The Older Son, and The Father.

In the video of The Lost Son, the son articulates passionately his experience. His words were intense as he describes his thought process of being lost, broken, and dirty. At one particular moment, he sees his Father in the distance. He sees that he is running to him. He shouts, “Dad Dad, why are you running?! Like you never run!” At this comment my class began to laugh. He goes on to say, “And how do you still recognize me? I’m dirty, I’m stained.”

Throughout the rest of my work day, the rest of my week, and possibly, the rest of my lent- my heart keeps repeating the words “He ran”. My track coach in high school used to make us run at a certain rate during practices. He would give us percentages to run at. We were told “This sprint is only 75% effort, 50% effort, 100% effort”. We had to learn to gage our running and the amount of effort we put into each sprint for training.

This parable is a reality of the Father’s love for us. Time and time again, the Father gives a 100% sprint to meet us. Every time there is even a mere glimpse of our hearts turning back to Him, he sprints. This doesn’t mean God just sprints to us once or twice or ten times, but constantly. Over and over again I fall and miss the mark. Over and over again, He sees me turn even the slightest bit and is in a full on sprint to greet me. He doesn’t give 75% effort because this is the thousandth time I’ve turned back. He doesn’t even give 99% effort because He knows I may leave again soon. He is only capable of choosing to give 100% in his sprint to meet us. His love for us is excessive. His love for us is extravagant. His love for us is reckless. Through hills and valleys, miles and miles apart, he sees us turn around and he runs to us.

For the rest of Lent, I challenge you to know this truth. I challenge you to know that He runs to you every time you return your heart to Him. I pray that He gives you the grace to experience the love of this action.  I hope you envision Him sprinting towards you from miles away. May each step of His sprint make you feel truly wanted, pursued, and cherished. Our Father’s love for us a reckless love- and he does not grow weary.

Briana CiancibelloBriana is a Catholic Doctrine teacher at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel school in Cleveland, OH. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Catechetics from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH and is excited to use these skills to bring her students closer to Christ and His Church. “My soul has been refined and I can raise my head like a flower after a storm.” -St. Therese

So Much Childishness!

“I don’t want to! I don’t want it! No!” I hear my three-year-old repeat over and over again, as we try to get him to eat healthy, use the bathroom, play nicely with his brothers, get his shoes and coat on to leave the house, or to do pretty much anything. As parents it can get very frustrating, especially if we are in a hurry, haven’t slept well or are just plain cranky. As he goes through this stage of exploring his independence, it seems that he only obeys when a consequence is enforced or it is something that he really likes to do.

When I read through today’s first reading, it sounded all too familiar. “We’re hungry! We’re thirsty! This food is gross!” (Ref Numbers 21:5) God gives them food and drink and just like my three-year-old, they exclaim, “I don’t want it!” Only when they get bit by serpents do they realize their waywardness and repent.  It all sounds so childish. But, perhaps it is meant to…

As soon as the Israelites confessed their sins and begged God for mercy, he alleviated their suffering almost instantly. But, why? Because they were His children, His beloved, His chosen ones. Just as Jesus says in the Gospel “The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone…” (John 8:29) so He also says to us “I am with you, I will not leave you alone.”  

It is a mystery to me how God does not get frustrated with us. In the case of the Israelites, he was leading them out of slavery toward the Promised Land and provided them with food and water, and they STILL complained. Did they not see all that He was doing for them? In our case, he leads us out of a life of sin toward Eternal Life and provides for our daily needs and yet we STILL complain. What gives? What else could possibly make us happy?

As our Lenten journey slowly comes to close, I would invite you to shift your focus. May we follow the example of our Lord, and seek not what makes us happy, but in always doing what is pleasing to the Father. (ref John 21:30)

Tami Urcia spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, while simultaneously studying Theology and Philosophy in Spanish. She has worked in Family Life Ministry at both the diocesan and parish levels. She currently works for Diocesan, is a freelance translator and blogger. She and her Peruvian husband are raising their children bilingual and love sharing reflections of life, love and everything in between. Find out more about her here: https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com

Go to Joseph!

Today we interrupt Lent to celebrate St. Joseph. Among saints, he’s in a category all of his own, right up there after the Blessed Mother. When God the Father sent his Son into the world, he entrusted him to Joseph. That’s all we need to know, and maybe that’s why the Gospels say so little about him. If Joseph was the Father’s choice pick, we should consider making Joseph one of our top saintly friends.

We can learn more about Joseph from the story of Joseph of Egypt found in the Book of Genesis (ch. 17 to 50). This Joseph is like a foreshadowing of our great saint. Recently in reading his story, I was struck by how capable Joseph of Egypt was. First, his brothers sold him into slavery, but once in Egypt, he became the trusted servant of a high-ranking official. When Joseph was thrown into prison on false charges, the chief jailer put him in charge of the other inmates. Later, Joseph’s talents helped him rise to a high position in Pharaoh’s service, and he became the mastermind who stockpiled an adequate food supply before the famine hit the land. “Joseph stored up grain in such abundance—like the sand of the sea—it was beyond measure” (Gen 41:49). Whatever Joseph did prospered because the Lord was with him.

That’s the background for St. Joseph, the saint of divine Providence, and the saint who cared for the Son of God. Joseph was a man of deeds, not words. Whatever he did, prospered. Jesus must have been thinking of Joseph when he said, “Who then is the faithful and prudent manager whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time?” (Lk 12:42). Doesn’t that sound like a saint you want to have working for you?

And Joseph wants to “work” for us when we ask him to intercede for our needs. He’s the patron of workers, of finding employment, of providing for all needs. St. Teresa of Avila said, “I cannot recall that I have ever asked him for anything he has not granted.” Joseph is also the special patrons of fathers, and of obtaining a holy death.

Popular devotions for this feast include the Italian custom of the St. Joseph table. This involves a simple shrine set up in one’s home or shop, with a table spread with food for anyone who happens to come by. This is a beautiful reminder that we not only invoke St. Joseph for our own needs, but also follow his example by helping others.

St. Joseph, pray for us!

Sr. Marianne Lorraine Trouve’ has been a member of the Daughters of Saint Paul since 1976. She has an MA in theology from the University of Dayton and has served on the editorial staff of Pauline Books & Media for over 20 years. She is the author of several books, including Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Mary: Help in Hard Times. When she’s not writing, editing, or working on logic puzzles, she can be found blogging at www.thomasfortoday.blogspot.com.

Preoccupation or presence?

I love to daydream.

and text

and go on Facebook

and Instagram

and my bank app

and my email

and my photos

and read that random new story


All things that take me away from where I am.

I don’t think my imagination or my phone are intrinsically evil… but at the wrong time, they can rob me of giving the most important gift I have to give to another: myself.

Much of my time at work is spent as a one-to-one support, just the other and myself sharing ordinary moments. When I first started, the whole experience was interesting to my intellect and fulfilling to my heart. But after you do the same thing every week for a year, the initial allure is lost and it can be easy to get bored.

I am tempted to “mentally” be elsewhere when we are cooking tacos for the billionth time, and I often give in… but it is exactly in those ordinary moments that I have an opportunity to love the person with whom I am sharing that moment of life.

Be present.

Give yourself to others.

During the week, Matt is a mentor for individuals who have developmental and intellectual disabilities. On the weekends, he is a drummer for Full Armor Band.
You can find more content by Matt and his band at www.fullarmorband.com


Ever Patient God

My son, Mason, started middle school in September. As you would expect, he started copping an attitude at the same time. It’s gotten to the point where looking at him sideways puts him in a mood. He also can’t seem to focus on a task and follow it through from beginning to end.

After picking him up from an overnight at a friend’s, I asked him to unpack his bag and put everything away before he moved on to the next thing. Two seconds into the task, he was doing nothing but standing still and sulking. I assumed he was mad because I was forcing him to unpack. I lost my patience.

When I finished lecturing him, he said, “No. It’s not that. I just realized I forgot my slippers back at my friend’s house.”

Mason LOVES his slippers! They are these huge, furry, bear paws with claws that light up when he walks. He’d only gotten them a few days before. I felt his pain; and I felt like a heel. Despite knowing the old adage “Never assume…,” I had done just that.

In John 7, the chief priests and Pharisees want Jesus arrested for what they assume He’s saying and doing. Nicodemus challenges them by pointing out that they’re condemning Jesus without first asking clarifying questions, and then hearing Him out. They ignore Nicodemus’ challenge; but I can’t.

If I truly want to be a good mother to my children, I have to stop assuming anything. I need to ask them clarifying questions always, and then take the time to hear them out before I react.

Ever-patient God, please help me to suspend my reactions until I have learned all I need to know, in any given situation.

CatholicMom.com was started by Lisa Hendey in 2000 to create a community for Catholic parents to share insights on living their faith with their family. The website has grown substantially over the years to become a rich resource for all Catholicsseeking spiritual enrichment for their families.  It continues to provide fresh perspectives from the enriching columnists and contributors with daily articles and reflections as well as book and tech recommendations.

Into the Depths of Christ’s Heart

Lately my husband and I have been battling with our preschooler’s changing attitudes. One of his classmates has had a negative impact on him and he has learned bad words and violent play by observing him. Since we are new to the whole “being parents of a kid in school” thing, our first reaction is one of protection and anger.

It seems as if Wisdom 2:12 is playing out before our very eyes and this classmate is saying to himself “Let us beset the just one! ARRG!” (cue the evil pirate look) Of course upon further reflection we realize that this child most likely doesn’t have the best home life, or hasn’t been taught, or God-forbid, is being neglected and acts out to get attention in any way possible.

But the whole scenario is really a metaphor for our lives. How often the bullies of this life (whether they be people or situations) seem to cry out “let us put him to the test, that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience” (Wis 2:19). We can either get angry and put on a protective shell or run to Jesus and confront it.


The Psalm Response promises:

“When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,

and from all their distress he rescues them.” Ps 34:7

“Many are the troubles of the just man,

but out of them all the LORD delivers him.” Ps 34: 20


Do we know Jesus enough to trust that these promises are true?

In the Gospel some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem claimed that Jesus couldn’t be the Christ because they knew him. (ref Jn 7:27) This passage both infuriates and poses a challenge. How can you claim you know Him if you are doubting Him? How deeply do you really know Him if you don’t believe He is the Christ? Obviously not very well. And then it hits me. I ask myself the same questions and come up sorely lacking. How often do I doubt Him? How deeply do I believe?  Do I trust that he will rescue and deliver me, that He will hear my every word?

On this Lenten Friday, I resolve to go deeper. To dive into the depths of Christ’s heart to know and trust him more, and I invite you to embark on this venture with me.

Tami Urcia spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, while simultaneously studying Theology and Philosophy in Spanish. She has worked in Family Life Ministry at both the diocesan and parish levels. She currently works for Diocesan, is a freelance translator and blogger. She and her Peruvian husband are raising their children bilingual and love sharing reflections of life, love and everything in between. Find out more about her here: https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com