Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Lent III

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Today’s first reading speaks of an encounter in the life of Moses.  God comes to Moses in the fire saying;  “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers, so I know well that they are suffering.Exodus 3:  

Last week we heard of an encounter between God and Abram (Abraham).  God says, “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can.  Just so”  (God added) “shall your descendants be”. Genesis  

Next week we will hear of the Lord speaking to Joshua.  Joshua is the successor to Moses, the person who ultimately leads the Israelites into the Promised Land.

What do you make of these stories?

I see two things:

1. God who wants to be in relationship with humanity.
2. A God who is present; providing, protecting and holding His people in relationship with each other.

As I reflected on these stories I thought of my mom and dad.  They provided for me before I was born i.e. before I even knew I was being provided for.  At an early age I came to know this and even figured out how to hasten the process.  

It took a long time, however for me to realize what I have received and taken for granted has been both unmerited and done out of love.   Can’t the same be said about our heavenly father?  

These reflections caused me to change my original music selections and repeat “God of Mercy” (#508) at communion.    Take a look and see what about this song speaks to you.

For our prelude I am introducing a new song by Ben Walther and Sarah Hart titled “Jesus, Meek and Humble” (#132).  Below is the entire third verse.  The third and forth line took my breath away.

Jesus, meek and humble, mercy born of pain
On the cross we fashioned from of sin and shame,
God Himself providing Lamb and sacrifice.
Jesus, meek and humble, in this death is life.

Blessed to be in ministry at St. Mary’s,


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Lent II

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The gospel for the 2nd Sunday in lent is the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration.  The literal meaning of transfiguration is to change appearance.  Here is a brief explanation from the Catechism.

“The mysterious event in which Jesus, speaking with Moses and Elijah on the mountain, was transformed in appearance – in the sight of Peter, James, and John – as a moment of disclosure of His divine glory” (CCC, Glossary, pp. 901-902; 554).

Today’s offertory song; “Transfigure Us, O Lord,” (#500) underscores the gospel message.  Bob Hurd’s text highlights the call to conversion; an integral part of lent.       The first verse speaks of the events in the gospel.  The second two verses speak of Jesus’ role as Redeemer and Savior.  The final verse points to what is to come:  Jesus’ road to Jerusalem and crucifixion.

The message of today’s communion song is the “flipside” of the call to conversion – God’s abundant mercy.  In “God of Mercy” (#508) Bob Hurd teams up with Fr. Ricky Manalo to write a beautiful account of God’s merciful love.

Take a moment to consider this line from the refrain:

You (i.e. God) have pitched your tent among us

In today’s first reading we hear of Abraham’s covenant with God.   The Israelites were a nomadic people who set up camp by pitching tents.  In an earlier story of Abraham and Sarah’s hospitality “the Lord appeared to Abraham…as he sat in the entrance of his tent.”    Pitching a tent is more than a brief outing; it has to do with a lifelong relationship.

In today’s gospel we hear of the close relationship between Jesus, the chosen Son and God whose voice is heard coming from the clouds.   In Jesus, God pitches his tent among us because God wants to be in relationship with us.


I’ve chosen 2 songs to honor St. Patrick whose feast day is displaced by the second Sunday in ordinary time.  (Not that there hasn’t been and won’t bee a wee bit of celebrating.)

St. Patrick’s Breastplate (words found in the bulletin) uses the image of spiritual armor in resistance to the devil’s temptation.   This is similar to St. Paul’s words in his letter to the Ephesians. 

“Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. 
Ephesians 6:11

We will conclude today’s liturgy and be sent out with Bob Fabing’s setting of the Irish Blessing (#391).

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from this once (or twice) a year Irishman with the “O” at the end of his name.

Blessed to be in ministry at St. Mary’s,

Bruce Mauro

You will hear more Irish songs at Sunday evening's novena. 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Lent I

Today is the first Sunday of Lent.  While the liturgy remains the same certain nuances signal change of liturgical seasons. 

·      The liturgical color has changed from green to purple 
       (or violet)
·      The entrance antiphon found on page 91 will be chanted.  
·      The procession will be accompanied by instrumental music
·      The Kyrie will be sung
·      The Gloria and the word Alleluia are omitted
·      The petitions and/or response will be sung.
·      The parts will be the Mass of Christ the Savior

The gospel for each of the 3 years in the lectionary cycle is the story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert.   We begin a season of fasting, prayer and abstinence in preparation for Easter just as Jesus did in today’s reading.  Today’s music selections flow from this gospel. 

Our prelude, “Gracious God” (#118) begins “Lead Us, Lord into the desert; lead us through the wilderness.”  The refrain touches on another theme of lent; God’s mercy and Jesus’ redeeming love. 

I’ve placed “Led By the Spirit” (#125) at offertory because it combines the call from Joel 2 heard on Ash Wednesday with Jesus being led by the spirit in the wilderness.

The primary source of our communion song, On Eagles Wings (#436) is psalm 91.  It is what Satan quotes in his second temptation of Jesus.

“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”
Psalm 91:11-12.

Today’s liturgy uses 2 verses from psalm 91 that are not mentioned in the song.   They are the entrance antiphon that will be chanted by the cantor.

When he calls on me I will answer him;
I will deliver him and give him glory,
I will grant him length of days
PS 91:15-16

The USCB commentary describes these verses as an “oracle of salvation promising salvation to those who trust in God.”  An oracle is a message from God.  There are three types of oracles: oracles of judgment, warnings and admonitions, and salvation. 

Our final song “Lead Me, Guide Me”  (#393) speaks similarly to our need to trust in God’s guidance and protection.  It was written by Doris Akers; a famous African- American, composer, arranger, pianist and choir director.

Wishing you a blessed Lent,


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

“Today’s actions are tomorrow’s habits.”

Today we hear the third part of Jesus’ Sermon on the plain taken from the 6th chapter of Luke’s gospel.

Two weeks ago we heard the “Blessed ares” and the “Woe To’s.” (You can find this on page 72).

Last weekend Jesus told us to “love our enemies” and “stop judging and condemning.” (You can find this on page 75).

Today’s passage begins with another familiar teaching. Jesus reminds us to remove the wooden beam from our own eye before attempting to take the splinter out of the eye of someone else.

The next line however, is the one that caught and captured my attention.

“A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, 
nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.”
                                                                                   Luke 6:43

This verse has caused me to consider the fruit of my life’s actions. Some of this fruit is good. Then again, some is not. (Yes Lord, some has been rotten.) 

What does this say about me?  More importantly; “How do I respond to Jesus’ challenge?” 

Two things come to mind.  The first was the line from today’s offertory song: “We till the earth, we tend the ground.”   Unlike trees, you and I have some control over the fruit we produce.  The second was a fortune that I recently obtained with my lunch special #14 .  You’ll find it at the very top of this article.

Perhaps this is a good reminder with the Lenten season beginning this Wednesday.  Here is a portion of what the United States Council of Bishops “Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence.”  You can find it at

(14) For all other weekdays of Lent, we strongly recommend participation in daily Mass and a self-imposed observance of fasting. In the light of grave human needs which weigh on the Christian conscience in all seasons, we urge, particularly during Lent, generosity to local, national, and world programs of sharing of all things needed to translate our duty to penance into a means of implementing the right of the poor to their part in our abundance. We also recommend spiritual studies, beginning with the Scriptures as well as the traditional Lenten Devotions (sermons, Stations of the Cross, and the rosary), and all the self-denial summed up in the Christian concept of "mortification."

Blessed to be in ministry at St. Mary’s,


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