Lenten Reflections

List of 19 items.

  • March 23 - By Fr. Bill Parham '67

    Jeremiah 7:23-28
    Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
    but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
    "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."
    So to them Jesus addressed this parable.
    "A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
    'Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.'
    So the father divided the property between them.
    After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
    and set off to a distant country
    where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
    When he had freely spent everything,
    a severe famine struck that country,
    and he found himself in dire need.
    So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
    who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
    And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
    but nobody gave him any.
    Coming to his senses he thought,
    'How many of my father's hired workers
    have more than enough food to eat,
    but here am I, dying from hunger.
    I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
    "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
    I no longer deserve to be called your son;
    treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers."'
    So he got up and went back to his father.
    While he was still a long way off,
    his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
    He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
    His son said to him,
    'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
    I no longer deserve to be called your son.'
    But his father ordered his servants,
    'Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him;
    put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
    Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
    Then let us celebrate with a feast,
    because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
    he was lost, and has been found.'
    Then the celebration began.
    Now the older son had been out in the field
    and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
    he heard the sound of music and dancing.
    He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
    The servant said to him,
    'Your brother has returned
    and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
    because he has him back safe and sound.'
    He became angry,
    and when he refused to enter the house,
    his father came out and pleaded with him.
    He said to his father in reply,
    'Look, all these years I served you
    and not once did I disobey your orders;
    yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
    But when your son returns
    who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
    for him you slaughter the fattened calf.'
    He said to him,
    'My son, you are here with me always;
    everything I have is yours.
    But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
    because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
    he was lost and has been found.'"
    It is often a shock for people to realize what is the most important one word in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. The word is “RETURN” and other verbal forms and derivatives of “TURN.” It appears at least 1003 times (by my count) and LOVE appears 410 times. This tells us a lot. In Hebrew the word for “return” is “Teshuva” —תשובה. (Please don’t panic when you see some Hebrew words and scholarship). In fact, the ancient Rabbis maintained that the second thing God created after His “Word” (The Torah תורה—which is also the “Covenant relationship) was “Return.”

    The next word that is closely related to it is “RESTORE/REPAIR.” The Hebrew word for that is “Tikkun”—תיקון. The whole plan of God is to return home to us and restore/repair a broken universe and humanity to its original wonder and love. The Hebrew expression in the Old Testament to “restore/repair the universe/humanity is “Tikkun ha Olam”—תיקון ה עולם. This famous parable of Jesus in Luke 15 is a powerful example. First of all, Jesus never gave a parable called the “Prodigal Son.” That is an artificial editor’s note above passages so you can find it. He gave a parable about a man who had two sons, and the one who stayed home was a pain in the neck (but that is for another exposition in the interpretation of Scripture). The whole dynamic of revealing the emotions of God is about a father who waits for someone to “return” and one who realized that his real life is found in “return.” Notice that the Father “restores” him. In the second part, another son will not “return” because he is afraid of music and celebration. The Father “turns” to him to beg him to “return” and rejoice in the gift of “restoration.” As Christians, we believe that in the Incarnation that God “returned” to us and made His home among. God just didn’t “turn” to us. He “turned” INTO one of us. Have you ever noticed that most crucifixes show the head of Christ turned to His right (our left)? It is because he was talking to someone before He died in the Gospel of Luke and He responded to a broken, crucified man who said “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus “turns” and “restores” the most broken example among us. He was not afraid to turn to us. We need not be afraid to turn to Him.

    In His Peace, 
    Very Rev. Dm. William J. Parham, KCHS
    CBHS Class of 1967
  • March 22 - By Will Zoccola '77

    Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13A, 17B-28A

    Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons,
    for he was the child of his old age;
    and he had made him a long tunic.
    When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons,
    they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.

    One day, when his brothers had gone
    to pasture their father's flocks at Shechem,
    Israel said to Joseph,
    "Your brothers, you know, are tending our flocks at Shechem.
    Get ready; I will send you to them."

    So Joseph went after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan.
    They noticed him from a distance,
    and before he came up to them, they plotted to kill him.
    They said to one another: "Here comes that master dreamer!
    Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here;
    we could say that a wild beast devoured him.
    We shall then see what comes of his dreams."

    When Reuben heard this,
    he tried to save him from their hands, saying,
    "We must not take his life.
    Instead of shedding blood," he continued,
    "just throw him into that cistern there in the desert;
    but do not kill him outright."
    His purpose was to rescue him from their hands
    and return him to his father.
    So when Joseph came up to them,
    they stripped him of the long tunic he had on;
    then they took him and threw him into the cistern,
    which was empty and dry.

    They then sat down to their meal.
    Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead,
    their camels laden with gum, balm and resin
    to be taken down to Egypt.
    Judah said to his brothers:
    "What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood?
    Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites,
    instead of doing away with him ourselves.
    After all, he is our brother, our own flesh."
    His brothers agreed.
    They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.
    Envy. Jealousy. Greed. These are the words that come to mind in today’s Reading. Joseph’s brothers envied the special affection their father had for their brother. They were jealous of his place among the siblings. They were consumed with taking from Joseph for themselves.
    If one thinks about today’s society, these three vices unfortunately are too often prevalent. Whether it be conveyed through social media, in politics or even in old fashioned newspapers, the conversational tone is depressing. It is prevalent in all generations, young and old, Baby Boomers, Millennials, Generation X, and Generation Z. I think it can all be summed up with the statement, “It’s all about me.”
    God clearly calls us to live our life for others. Our spirit soars when we are not envious of what others have but thankful for what we do have. We are better off not being jealous of others but grateful for our own success. Life is more satisfying when we strive to be our best and not compare ourselves with others.
    Let us be thankful to God for the riches He has bestowed upon us and on others.
    Will Zoccola ‘77
    CBHS Hall of Fame President
  • March 21 - By Steve Marking '93

    Jeremiah 17:5-10
    Thus says the LORD:
    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.
    Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
    whose hope is the LORD.
    He is like a tree planted beside the waters
    that stretches out its roots to the stream:
    It fears not the heat when it comes,
    its leaves stay green;
    In the year of drought it shows no distress,
    but still bears fruit.
    More tortuous than all else is the human heart,
    beyond remedy; who can understand it?
    I, the LORD, alone probe the mind
    and test the heart,
    To reward everyone according to his ways,
    according to the merit of his deeds.
    As a history teacher, I like to study the events going on which influenced the various books of the Old Testament. Jeremiah lived in the 600's B.C. at a time where the Kingdom of Judah was collapsing. According to Jeremiah, the Jewish people had fallen away from God’s teachings and this was leading Judah down a dark road. Jeremiah predicts devastating consequences, many of which came true such as the Babylonian Captivity and the destruction of the Temple.

    In the reading, Jeremiah instructs the people of Judah, and us today, to trust and to place our hope in the Lord. He reminds us that if we focus on human beings and human interests life will be miserable. What are these human interests that can destroy who we are? How do we keep those in check in a time of increased greed and status as seen on so many social media sites? How do we relax and trust in God daily and fill our cups of for the inevitable trouble that is coming our way? We all have to figure out how we individually trust God and fill our cups. And when we do, blessings will abound.

    Stephen Marking ‘93
    CBHS Faculty and Parent
  • March 20 - By Brad Luckett '08

    Matthew 20:17-28
    As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem,
    he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves,
    and said to them on the way,
    "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem,
    and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests
    and the scribes,
    and they will condemn him to death,
    and hand him over to the Gentiles
    to be mocked and scourged and crucified,
    and he will be raised on the third day."

    Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
    and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
    He said to her, "What do you wish?"
    She answered him,
    "Command that these two sons of mine sit,
    one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom."
    Jesus said in reply,
    "You do not know what you are asking.
    Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?"
    They said to him, "We can."
    He replied,
    "My chalice you will indeed drink,
    but to sit at my right and at my left,
    this is not mine to give
    but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."
    When the ten heard this,
    they became indignant at the two brothers.
    But Jesus summoned them and said,
    "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
    and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
    But it shall not be so among you.
    Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
    whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
    Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
    and to give his life as a ransom for many."
    Reading this passage reminds me that God will often invert our expectations for our good. Many times, we simply can’t fathom how something could be “good” or work out in our favor, only seeing the benefits played out in hindsight (or perhaps eternity).

    The Israelites were expecting a Messiah in the form of a warrior king, one to literally break shackles, a “superhuman” type being that could slay their enemies and rule the land with perfect sovereignty. Instead, Jesus subverts the need for honor and glory and teaches Servant Leadership. He was not the type of Messiah people were expecting, but the type we needed; not here to break physical shackles so much as the metaphorical shackles binding us to sin.

    Servant Leadership is synonymous with our Lasallian charism here at CBHS. Through their Religion/Ethics courses, roles in various organizations, clubs, sports, and the completion of Service Hours, our boys are required to learn and experience the idea of Servant Leadership first hand. Hopefully, they learn that being a great leader is not about how many people serve you (or work for you), but how well you serve others. Just as it was in Jesus’s time, this type of leader (a servant leader) is contrary to what society often tells us a good leader is, and how often is the right thing contrary to what society tells us? Probably too often.

    It’s important to remember in this Lenten Season that God is in the business of inverting expectations – we don’t always get exactly what we want, but often, it’s exactly what we need.

    Brad Luckett ‘08
    CBHS Faculty
  • March 19 - By Gerry Taulman

    Romans 4:13, 16-18, 22
    Brothers and sisters:
    It was not through the law
    that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants
    that he would inherit the world,
    but through the righteousness that comes from faith.
    For this reason, it depends on faith,
    so that it may be a gift,
    and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants,
    not to those who only adhere to the law
    but to those who follow the faith of Abraham,
    who is the father of all of us, as it is written,
    I have made you father of many nations.
    He is our father in the sight of God,
    in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead
    and calls into being what does not exist.
    He believed, hoping against hope,
    that he would become the father of many nations,
    according to what was said, Thus shall your descendants be.
    That is why it was credited to him as righteousness.
    I attended a Catholic grade school when I was a child. The Sisters told us that God our Father was loving, kind, always present in our lives and would never abandon us. I truly wanted to believe this, but it was not my experience. I felt that the only father I knew didn’t love us, didn’t care about us and had most certainly abandoned us, my twin sister and me, when we were only six days old. Mother was left to raise us on her own.

    I struggled with this image of God as Father as I grew up. I prayed to Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but I avoided praying to the Father. My Junior year in college was especially difficult. I found myself in the hospital on Christmas Eve. I was lonely and depressed. I remember telling God that I could really use His help and I was finally open to His presence. Almost immediately I was filled with an overwhelming sense of love, warmth and caring. I was in the presence of God my Father and He had never abandoned me but had kept a careful watch over me. The word “Father” lost its negative connotation.

    St. Paul reminds us that Abraham is our “Father in the sight of God,” and that he would inherit the world (with his descendants) through the righteousness that comes from faith. Lent provides us with the opportunity to explore the foundations of our own faith. How are we being faithful? When God our Father looks at our faith, does He see righteousness leading to goodness, virtue, integrity, honesty, purity or piety? Or does He see the struggle, loneliness, hopelessness and despair that we sometimes create for ourselves? As a loving Father He sees all of it, both the good and the messy. Abraham believed, hoping against hope. Perhaps, we too, in our belief, can hope against hope, that God our Father sees and hears us, his children, and tenderly encourages us to rest in His loving presence.
    Gerry Taulman
    CBHS Faculty
  • March 18 - By J. Vincent Robinson, Sr. '71

    Luke 6:36-38
    Jesus said to his disciples:
    "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

    "Stop judging and you will not be judged.
    Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
    Forgive and you will be forgiven.
    Give and gifts will be given to you;
    a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
    will be poured into your lap.
    For the measure with which you measure
    will in return be measured out to you."
    The Gospels of Luke are as appropriate a teaching aid today as they were during the Hellenistic period. During this period political unrest was rampant as empires were being split and the Roman empire was expanding rapidly. It was a period of government centralization and writings about Christianity could be considered revolutionary by those in power.

    Luke, educated as a physician, was respected as someone whose writings were viewed as reliable. Just think albeit fake news, Jesus was executed as someone who was a criminal and alleged to have caused the destruction of Jerusalem. Imagine what an uphill battle Luke had convincing people that Jesus was compassionate, and His teachings of Christian beliefs and actions were compatible with being good citizens.

    Today in our society the term fake news is used more times than someone saying, “thank you”. Our country and really the world are crippled by “TMI” a/k/a too much information. The digital age has crowded our smart devices and we immediately form opinions and are quick to judge. I’m guilty as anyone just ask our former President, Brother Chris, who has followed my FB page and my political views.

    Further if I had to guess, Brother Chris influenced the administration to request that I reflect on this Gospel. Quoting Gary Cooper in the movie Sargent York, “the Lord sure do move in mysterious ways”.

    Suffice it to say Lent couldn’t have arrived soon enough. I will work on not judging, not condemning and hopefully being more forgiving. Let’s just say I am a work in progress this season of Lent.
    J. Vincent Robinson, Sr.
    CBHS Class of 1971
  • March 17 - By Lindsey Neuman

    Luke 9:28B-36
    Jesus took Peter, John, and James
    and went up the mountain to pray.
    While he was praying his face changed in appearance
    and his clothing became dazzling white.
    And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah,
    who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus
    that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.
    Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep,
    but becoming fully awake,
    they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
    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.
    When reading today’s Gospel, these lines stood out to me: “Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw [Christ’s] glory and the two men standing with him.” As a mother of two young children and working full time, many days I find myself rushing from one task to another struggling to keep up at work and home with all the many to-do lists. After work, I’m consumed with household chores, and it isn’t until I’m rocking one of my babies to sleep that I finally pause to take in the beauty of the day. As I soak up the precious moments I have with my little ones, I, like Peter, James, and John, see the transfigured Christ—I see how Christ has worked through my day and my life to bring love and joy into every aspect of it. However, also like Peter and his companions, I’m not always fully awake to see Jesus in His glory all the time. This Lenten season I hope to pause more often to see Jesus dazzling all around me in my daily routine. I hope to stop in the busyness of life to listen to Him—to allow myself to be transfigured by Christ’s presence daily. I hope this Lenten season is an opportunity for us to witness more of Christ’s love in our lives.
    Lindsey Neuman
    CBHS Director of Mission and Ministry
  • March 16 - By Msgr. Peter Buchignani '58

    Matthew 5:43-48
    Jesus said to his disciples:
    "You have heard that it was said,
    You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
    But I say to you, love your enemies,
    and pray for those who persecute you,
    that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
    for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
    and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
    For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
    Do not the tax collectors do the same?
    And if you greet your brothers and sisters only,
    what is unusual about that?
    Do not the pagans do the same?
    So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."
    I would like to believe that the word LOVE is the most important word in any human language. Jesus had more to say about love than any other subject. Love is something we all desire. Yet do we comprehend what the word LOVE truly means. When Jesus says, “you have heard that it was said…’, He is saying: “You have been taught … but what I tell you is” and then He expands the meaning and scope of love. He expands the meaning of neighbor. He basically teaches that love cannot be limited to just a few persons. We are to love all people without exception even our enemies. While love can cause certain feelings within us, genuine love is not determined by how we feel but rather by how we see and act toward others even those who hurt us or those we do not like.
    People often confuse LOVE and LIKE. We do not have to like certain individuals but have to love them. Isn’t that what Jesus showed us when hanging on the cross in tremendous pain? He prayed, “Father, forgive them, they are not aware of what they are doing”. Even though we may not like some people, we can still love them as Christ commands. What then is scriptural love? It consists in this: You do not wish anyone evil. You truly desire that all be saved. And lastly, you are willing to help anyone in genuine need such as lacking the essential goods of life: food, clothing, etc. A good way to measure whether or not I love someone as Jesus teaches is if I am willing to pray for that person. If I refuse to pray for a particular person for any reason whatever, then I do not love as Jesus commanded. If I say I hate someone yet sincerely pray for that person, then I am not hating but rather expressing dislike. I am loving that person in spite of my negative feelings. We are to try and see all people as God see them. When I look upon the crucifix, I must remind myself that Jesus died not only to save me but to save all people even those I do not like or think unworthy of salvation. Jesus’ teaching on LOVE: so easy to understand… yet so hard to live.
    Msgr. Peter Buchignani
    CBHS Class of 1958
  • March 15 - By Fr. Bill Burke '67

    Matthew 5:20-26
    Jesus said to his disciples:
    "I tell you,
    unless your righteousness surpasses that
    of the scribes and Pharisees,
    you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

    "You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
    You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
    But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
    will be liable to judgment,
    and whoever says to his brother, Raqa,
    will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
    and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
    Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
    and there recall that your brother
    has anything against you,
    leave your gift there at the altar,
    go first and be reconciled with your brother,
    and then come and offer your gift.
    Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
    Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
    and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
    and you will be thrown into prison.
    Amen, I say to you,
    you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."
    Some of Jesus’ most difficult teachings are found in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7). I find it particularly difficult to put our passage today into practice: “if you bring your gift to the altar and there recall your sister/brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your sister/brother and then come and offer your gift”.

    Reconciliation – Forgiveness – Humility

    All three are necessary to do what Jesus asks. Remember it is not that you have something against someone but that your sister/brother has something against you. I find this to be more difficult!

    Jesus could not be clearer: angry and hateful words, if left unchecked, have a devastating and sometimes deadly effect on others. Words can harm others and God will not judge us kindly. Sometimes we think too much about what is wrong with them and how they must change. This is a form of hate.

    We all need to take Jesus’ warning about anger seriously. We can bind people in darkness when we let our anger harden into bitterness and resentment. The only way out is to forgive. Can we take a step back? Pause and say something nice and kind. Redirect our anger and be reconciled. Build a world that cares for one another with sisterly/brotherly love that benefits the Kingdom of God.

    Let us thank God that we have Jesus whose love and mercy has the power to melt our hearts so that we can forgive. Genuine, heartfelt forgiveness may not happen all at once. However, God’s mercy always prevails. If we continue to pray for the grace to forgive, eventually forgiveness will win. Then we can “be reconciled with others and come offer our gift to God at the altar”.
    Fr. Bill Burke
    CBHS Class of 1967
  • March 14 - By William Mangin '20

    Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25
    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."
    We all center our lives around our wants because they make us happier. It is human nature to desire money, love, or even Memphis Grizzlies tickets. Esther was a woman, however, that desired more than just her own well-being. In the scriptures, she was more worried about her people being murdered by the evil Haman than her own life.

    Selflessness is a great characteristic to have because it humbles us and brings us closer to God. In this Lenten season, we reflect every day about the sacrifices that God made for us. Now, we will probably never be in the danger of being murdered in Persia anytime soon, but the idea that we should always help others is the foundation of our faith.

    But we can never do this alone. At Mass every week, we recite our petitions to God because we know that he can accomplish more than us. Esther gave her petitions to God, and because of continuous prayer, her people were saved. With God, anything is possible, and if society can learn to rely on God rather than others, we will be satisfied.

    William Mangin
    CBHS Class of 2020
  • March 13 - By Lauren Volpe

    Luke 11:29-32
    While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
    "This generation is an evil generation;
    it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
    except the sign of Jonah.
    Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
    so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
    At the judgment
    the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
    and she will condemn them,
    because she came from the ends of the earth
    to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
    and there is something greater than Solomon here.
    At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
    and condemn it,
    because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
    and there is something greater than Jonah here."
    The first sentences that Jesus spoke in this passage from Luke immediately made me think of the times we are living in now, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.” There is so much evil surrounding us, especially in our own country right now. Everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with immorality in society and are made to feel that we have no right to battle these injustices. But we must remember to look to Jesus as our sign of who has come to save our generation and others who have come before and after us. With Jesus’ help, we have the strength to stand up to the evil we see in society. With God on our side, we will always overcome.

    Lauren Volpe
    CBHS Director of Admissions
  • March 12 - By Gene Podesta '75

    Matthew 6:7 -15
    Jesus said to his disciples:
    "In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
    who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
    Do not be like them.
    Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

    "This is how you are to pray:

    Our Father who art in heaven,
    hallowed be thy name,
    thy Kingdom come,
    thy will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread;
    and forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive those who trespass against us;
    and lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.

    "If you forgive men their transgressions,
    your heavenly Father will forgive you.
    But if you do not forgive men,
    neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."
    Today’s Gospel reading is one of two places in the New Testament where Jesus gives us the Lord’s Prayer, the other being from St. Luke’s Gospel (Lk. 11:1). All of us know this prayer by heart, and this familiarity often breeds contempt. How many times have I recited these words, engrained in me since early childhood, without pausing to reflect on their divine authorship and profound beauty?
    One reason for this familiarity is that, as Catholics, we recite this prayer every Sunday at Mass. Before we do, the priest says, “At the Savior’s command informed by divine teaching, we dare to say ....” Why do we “dare” to repeat the words that Jesus taught us? I think the answer lies in the first two words of the prayer, “Our Father.” We “dare” to address the all-powerful Creator of the universe as “Our Father.” Yet we do so with confidence because we know, through the blood of Jesus Christ, that God’s love for us is both limitless and unconditional. It is because of this divine love, revealed to us most fully through Christ’s life, death and resurrection, that we know God as our loving Father and we are his beloved children. As the Apostle John wrote, “See what love the Father has given us that we should be called the children of God; and so we are.” (1 Jn. 3:1).

    Gene Podesta
    CBHS Class of 1975
  • March 11 - By Thomas McDaniel

    Monday, March 11
    Leviticus 19:1-2; 11-18
    The LORD said to Moses,
    "Speak to the whole assembly of the children of Israel and tell them:
    Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.

    "You shall not steal.
    You shall not lie or speak falsely to one another.
    You shall not swear falsely by my name,
    thus profaning the name of your God.
    I am the LORD.

    "You shall not defraud or rob your neighbor.
    You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your day laborer.
    You shall not curse the deaf,
    or put a stumbling block in front of the blind,
    but you shall fear your God.
    I am the LORD.

    "You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment.
    Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty,
    but judge your fellow men justly.
    You shall not go about spreading slander among your kin;
    nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor's life is at stake. 
    I am the LORD.

    "You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. 
    Though you may have to reprove him,
    do not incur sin because of him. 
    Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen.
    You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
    I am the LORD."
    When reading the passage, the introductory command from God to Moses (and all of us) seems incredibly simple, but overwhelmingly powerful. Many times, life and the daily challenges each of us face can consume our mind filling it with negativity, despair, and encompassing sin. However, God merely reminds us to be holy. To keep it simple, model his walk in the best of your abilities and respect the rules that he has given us while following these appropriately.
    In the verses that follow, we are instructed on a variety of common duties which many are inclined to. Conversely, keep good spirit and exhibit kindness. In addition, one should challenge a “neighbor” that has offended with compassion. Unfortunately, the act of remonstrating with the offender is an act that cannot be seen regularly. Helping your neighbor in a time of struggle can be difficult and uncomfortable; however, if we truly love him/her, there are situations where it is necessary. The path of indifference is easy to follow. Be willing to challenge and support someone in moments of weakness. Have the strength and courage to be holy. Show love to everyone you encounter. God provided us the rules, but we must be willing to follow.

    Thomas McDaniel
    CBHS Faculty
  • March 10 - Br. Mark Engelmeyer, FSC

    Luke 4:1 -13

    Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan
    and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days,
    to be tempted by the devil.
    He ate nothing during those days,
    and when they were over he was hungry.
    The devil said to him,
    "If you are the Son of God,
    command this stone to become bread."
    Jesus answered him,
    "It is written, One does not live on bread alone."
    Then he took him up and showed him
    all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant.
    The devil said to him,
    "I shall give to you all this power and glory;
    for it has been handed over to me,
    and I may give it to whomever I wish.
    All this will be yours, if you worship me."
    Jesus said to him in reply,
    "It is written:
    You shall worship the Lord, your God,
    and him alone shall you serve."

    Then he led him to Jerusalem,
    made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him,
    "If you are the Son of God,
    throw yourself down from here, for it is written:
    He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,
    With their hands they will support you,
    lest you dash your foot against a stone."

    Jesus said to him in reply,
    "It also says,
    You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test."
    When the devil had finished every temptation,
    he departed from him for a time.
    Can the devil really be that foolish? What makes the devil think that he can tempt Jesus into sin? Our Lord resisted the temptations, and Lent is our opportunity to participate in Jesus’ life during these 40 days of trial and temptation. During Lent, we are especially called to embrace prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. These three pillars of Lent are not only the remedy to the three temptations that Our Lord encountered, but they are also our strength when we face temptation.

    We are called to deny ourselves through fasting, and we look to Jesus who did not turn stones into bread. Our Lord loves us, and while we abstain from “bread” that perishes, He calls us to desire and receive the Eucharist, for he who eats the Bread of Life will not hunger.

    Jesus is offered all the kingdoms of the world, and the devil’s price was that Our Lord worship him. Our Lord does not need all the kingdoms of the earth because He has a kingdom, the Church, and He invites us to pray and worship Him in His kingdom.

    Jesus does not throw Himself from the Temple, but He throws Himself upon us in the Sacraments. We follow Our Lord’s example with almsgiving where we give ourselves in time, treasure, and talent.

    Looking at the three temptations and the Lenten pillars, it is seen that Our Lord is inviting us to participate more frequently at Mass. At Mass, we worship Our Lord and receive Him in the Eucharist, and after receiving Him in this Sacrament, we are truly able to give of ourselves to those in need. Jesus shows us that the Mass is our remedy for when we are facing temptations and trials.

    Br. Mark Engelmeyer, FSC
    CBHS Faculty

  • March 9 - By John Morris

    Isaiah 58:9B-14
    Thus says the LORD:
    If you remove from your midst oppression,
    false accusation and malicious speech;
    If you bestow your bread on the hungry
    and satisfy the afflicted;
    Then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
    and the gloom shall become for you like midday;
    Then the LORD will guide you always
    and give you plenty even on the parched land.
    He will renew your strength,
    and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring whose water never fails.
    The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake,
    and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;
    "Repairer of the breach," they shall call you,
    "Restorer of ruined homesteads."

    If you hold back your foot on the sabbath
    from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
    If you call the sabbath a delight,
    and the LORD's holy day honorable;
    If you honor it by not following your ways,
    seeking your own interests, or speaking with malice.
    Then you shall delight in the LORD,
    and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
    I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father,
    for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
    Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, in his classic, Life of Christ, spoke of the ceaseless working of the Father in the spiritual realm following the six days of creation and the Son’s work in engaging in works of mercy as being equal to the Father. The Sabbath isn’t just a day that follows the previous six; it has a profound purpose, both physically and spiritually. It is necessary for man to rest and sanctify because work tires. Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

    Growing up, my brothers and sisters and I often looked forward to Sunday, the Sabbath, for “selfish” reasons. We attended school all week long. And then my mother made us clean the inside of the house on Friday afternoons, after a week of school. Then my father would wake us early on Saturday, telling us that we were working for him outside. Thus, we were always working in the yard, or cleaning the garage, or one of dozens of other chores to keep us busy.

    However, on Sundays following morning Mass, we would never have to an ounce of servile work. We would read, or play outside, or play sports and other games. It was a wonderful feeling of relief that we could enjoy rest and relaxation. (We weren’t exempt from doing our school homework, however!) My siblings and I would half-jokingly say that even if my father ordered us to do work, we would have to refuse because the Lord’s Commandments took precedence over my dad’s.

    As I grew older and hopefully wiser, I began to understand the spiritual reasons for resting on the Sabbath. Thus, when Isaiah calls the Sabbath “a delight”, and when he speaks of renewal, water, repairs, and restoration, he foretells of the work of Jesus and his works of mercy, which helps right the ship, reorients the mind, and redirects the heart towards God.

    And my children appreciate not having to do any work on Sunday, too!
    John Morris
    CBHS Director of Communications
  • March 8 - By Anne Pratt

    Isaiah 58:1 - 9A
    Thus says the Lord GOD:
    Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
    lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
    Tell my people their wickedness,
    and the house of Jacob their sins.
    They seek me day after day,
    and desire to know my ways,
    Like a nation that has done what is just
    and not abandoned the law of their God;
    They ask me to declare what is due them,
    pleased to gain access to God.
    "Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
    afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?"

    Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
    and drive all your laborers.
    Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
    striking with wicked claw.
    Would that today you might fast
    so as to make your voice heard on high!
    Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
    of keeping a day of penance:
    That a man bow his head like a reed
    and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
    Do you call this a fast,
    a day acceptable to the LORD?
    This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
    releasing those bound unjustly,
    untying the thongs of the yoke;
    Setting free the oppressed,
    breaking every yoke;
    Sharing your bread with the hungry,
    sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
    Clothing the naked when you see them,
    and not turning your back on your own.
    Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
    and your wound shall quickly be healed;
    Your vindication shall go before you,
    and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
    Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
    you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!
    Jesus was asked why he was not pleased with his people for doing what they thought was just and following what they believed was His law. "Why do we fast, and you do not see it? Afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?" He answers simply that on the day you fast, you still go about your daily pursuits and still disregard those around you who are struggling every day. What we would call a day of penance, is another man's daily life. Will our one day of penance and fasting change that daily burden for them?
    Jesus then instructs us that his idea of fasting is rather to give TO than to give UP-- share our blessings, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort those in need. In other words, give of yourself. That is the purest and greatest gift we have to share. It is the definition of love. By putting yourself aside, you are in a sense fasting of your own needs and recognizing the needs of another. God gave his only son to humanity to show His love, but also to let us know that sacrifice for others is what helps us find our way to him.
    During our Lenten journey we are called upon to contemplate how giving something of ourselves-some of our blessings-- can actually give one of our fellow humans a blessing they need in their life. God loves a cheerful giver and He does not ask us to make sacrifices "that make a man lie in sackcloth and ashes". Rather, He asks us to take positive steps to make another man's life a little brighter. By giving to another, "your light will break thru like the dawn". Where that light shines, the glory of the Lord will follow.
    Anne Pratt
    Widow of the late George Pratt ‘65
    Read More
  • March 7 - By Jonathan Lyons '93

    Luke 9:22 -25
    Jesus said to his disciples:
    "The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected
    by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
    and be killed and on the third day be raised."

    Then he said to all,
    "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
    and take up his cross daily and follow me.
    For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
    but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
    What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
    yet lose or forfeit himself?"
    In the Gospel reading today, Jesus tells the disciples that he will suffer greatly and not be accepted by the world in which they live. He also goes as far as to say that he will be killed because of it. He then asks them to drop the things of this world and to follow Him daily in “the spirit”... to not live “in the world “ but to live “in the spirit.”

    We live in a world of instant gratification ...always wanting to be accepted by others (As the world views acceptance). One would say that most of the time we live “in the world”.

    Our daily lives are filled with us trying to control our daily outcomes. Our daily lives are filled with us trying to control those around us to accept us. Because of this, we tend to follow the crowd, take the easy way out, work constantly to get the big deal, worry over simple things that in the end are out of our control. Jesus is asking us as people and as parents not to quit working or loving, or enjoying our lives, but to do these things in his name ... “in the spirit”. To drop our worries, to give our daily lives and all of the ups and downs that come along with them (the cross) to him and to relinquish our control.

    Maybe the result of living in the spirit is that we aren’t the coolest or most popular parents or people. Maybe we have to change our habits and get uncomfortable. Maybe this means that we accept others and are inclusive to all. Maybe this means that we have to truly humble ourselves daily before God and follow Him in all things and the result will be that we will be with Him when the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Maybe in the world’s eyes we won’t be seen as the most popular, but in the eyes of the one that matters most we will be seen as the true winners or profiteers. Our job on this earth is to follow God and to get ourselves and others to heaven. 
    Jonathan Lyons ‘93
    CBHS Alumni Board President
  • March 6 (Ash Wednesday) - By Brother Joel William McGraw, FSC, '63

    Ash Wednesday, March 6
    Corinthians 5:20 - 6:2
    Brothers and sisters:
    We are ambassadors for Christ,
    as if God were appealing through us.
    We implore you on behalf of Christ,
    be reconciled to God.
    For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, 
    so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

    Working together, then,
    we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
    For he says:

    In an acceptable time I heard you,
    and on the day of salvation I helped you.

    Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
    behold, now is the day of salvation.
    CBHS graduates from the Parkway all remember Franciscan Father Francis Habig, OFM..."Father Frankie".  He celebrated Mass for the Brothers at 6:00 in the morning and on school mornings, got some breakfast afterwards and returned to the chapel sacristy, north side, and parked himself on a chair with a confessional screen next to it and he would hear the confessions of collegians and high schoolers until 8:30 when the first period began.  
    His universal penance of five Our Fathers, five Hail Marys and five Glory be's..."a special penance from the Pope"... was doled out to all penitents, regardless of the enormity or simplicity of the sins confessed.  His pastoral approach to the Sacrament of Reconciliation might have been challenged by theologians and liturgists, but his being an ambassador of the loving and forgiving Christ to countless teenage boys could not be challenged.  He took the fear of Confession away from the boys and delivered to them somewhat painlessly the mercy and love and forgiveness of Christ.  He helped us be reconciled with ourselves, with God and with our neighbors...the three persons from whom we become estranged when we sin.  The priest in Reconciliation is not a judge, is not an arbiter, is not a scolder, not a perfectly sinless man.  The priest represents Christ and all people and listens to us, gives us encouragement and direction, and hands over freely to us the absolution of our sins.  We are thus reconciled with God, with our neighbors and with ourselves.  And when we stumble again...the Father Frankies in our lives are there once again to help us be reconciled, if we but ask.   That's quite a good deal!
    Loving and forgiving Christ, bestow Your grace, Your life, on us this Lent to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and confess our sins, do penance and start again our journey to You in heaven alongside our brothers and sisters.  Thank You, loving and forgiving Jesus, for this wonderful free gift.  Amen!
    Br. Joel William McGraw, FSC
    CBHS Class of 1963
    Read More
  • March 4 (Introduction) - By Principal Chris Fay

    Let us remember, that we are in the holy presence of God.
    On behalf of our faculty, staff, students, and the Brothers, I invite you to join us on this Lenten journey of reflection and wisdom.  I am especially grateful to the many people who accepted our invitation to contribute to our Lenten reflection series. It is my prayer that this series is a formative experience for all who participate over the next 40 days.
    While we are accustomed to fasting, prayer and abstinence during the Lenten season, I invite you to really let “it” go over the next 40 days.  We all have “its” in our lives that we desperately hold tightly with clenched fists, such as a child clinging to his or her favorite toy.  We can let go of guilt, anxieties, fears, jealousy, envy of others and all that we try to control in our lives.  Join me in having a deeper trust in God’s holy presence and allow Him to work through us this Lent.  I share the prayer below with you and I wish you a holy Lenten season.  May we all open our hearts and hands to serve others.
    Dear God, 

    I am so afraid to open my clenched fists! 
    Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to? 
    Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands? 
    Please help me to gradually open my hands
    and to discover that I am not what I own, 
    but what you want to give me. 
    And what you want to give me is love—
    unconditional, everlasting love.   (From Henri Nouwen)

    Live, Jesus, in our hearts, forever!
    Chris Fay
    CBHS Principal

Lenten Reflections