Each issue carries an
Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Day by Day
Creating a Place
Being a Christian is a challenge. The words of Jesus
unsettle our hearts. He said we must forgive our enemies and do
good to those who hate us. If we forgive terrorists, are we unpatriotic?
If we don—t, are we un-Christian?
Jesus did not issue easy challenges. But when world
leaders condone, plan or perpetrate violence against each other—s
countries, what can we do? When the violence in our movies, video
games and sports arenas influences our children—s values, what can
The large task of peacemaking needs a beginning in
the places we create for peace in our own lives. Let—s make this
Lent a journey in that direction.
Ash Wednesday (Mt 6:1-6, 16-18)
me an instrument of peace—in just 40 days!
When the public cry is for military action, defense,
justice, protecting our economic interests, punishing our enemies—where
is your heart? The Father sees in secret. If you are praying the
words of St. Francis a lot these days: "Lord, make me an instrument
of your peace," Lent is a good time to examine how to become that
Thursday— (Lk 9:22-25)
risk in being a peacemaker—
Suffering, rejection and self-denial are conditions
a disciple of Jesus can expect. A mission of peacemaking will meet
with resistance, misunderstanding and accusations. We know where
Jesus— journey led him. Are we willing to take up a cross when we
Friday (Mt 9:14-15)
Sharing Jesus— urgent mission—
It is important to remember that any journey we
take is in the company of Jesus. When we travel with him on a journey
of peacemaking, the joy will make the fears bearable and the urgency
of the mission will be the stimulus. Love will prepare us for what
Saturday (Lk 5:27-32)
Moved by the power of hope—
If we are hearing Jesus— call to follow him today,
maybe it—s because we are sick. The world is sick. We need Jesus
because we aren—t healthy, and the good news is that the Physician
is here for us. That gives us reason to hope as we walk the peace
Creating a place for peace in our routine
During this first week of Lent, we will focus on
our daily routines to find opportunities for peacemaking. In today—s
Gospel we see that Jesus prepared himself for the upcoming rigors
of daily public ministry by setting aside time in the wilderness.
Though he faced temptation, he was in the company of angels. How
can you prepare peacefully today for the busy week ahead?
Monday (Mt 25:31-46)
Welcome the stranger
Where, in your routine today, might you (or did you)
encounter the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the
ill, the prisoner? What is a fellow worker hungry for? What is a
family member thirsting for? What, in your routine, imprisons you?
Make peace with how you address these needs.
Tuesday (Mt 6:7-15)
When we make a place for prayer in our daily routine,
we will inevitably be led to consider the areas in our life where
forgiveness is needed. Jesus taught his disciples to focus on forgiveness
because there could be no peace in their lives without it. He did
not make it sound easy; just very necessary!
Wednesday (Lk 11:29-32)
We—re hearing a lot today about who is evil, who
should be punished, who deserves judgment. Jonah was sent to a place
he did not want to visit, to preach to people who were his nation—s
enemies. His reluctance came from his not wanting God to care about
these people. Look today for the signs that God is at work through
Thursday (Mt 7:7-12)
Think about all the things you give to others in
the course of a day: time, expertise, meals, a listening ear, car
pool, donations, teaching, etc. You know how to give good gifts,
and God does, too. Lower your stress by taking time to ask.
Friday (Mt 5:20-26)
Anger sometimes creeps into our day catching us unaware.
Perhaps there has been a slow burn under the surface of your emotions
for quite a while. Or maybe anger is a steady, though unwanted,
companion for days on end while you endure a difficult situation.
If anger is eating into your routine, try some healthy negotiation
in the interest of making peace.
Saturday (Mt 5:43-48)
Love your enemies. Ah, there—s the sting! People
didn—t want to hear that from Jesus. Some turned away from him after
he said that. We don—t want to hear it either. Whether it—s enemies
across the ocean or enemies across the street, we know the thought
of loving them is uncomfortable. Start in small ways.
Creating a place for peace in our home
Jesus— transfiguration was so dazzling that Peter
didn—t want the experience to end. He wanted to set up tents and
stay right there on the mountain where everything was beautiful,
clear and peaceful. They couldn—t stay, of course, because life
moves on. But Jesus had given his closest friends a haven away from
the hectic for a while. This week, focus on your home (your "tent")
as a place for peaceful renewal.
Monday (Lk 6:36-38)
Stop judging and condemning and start forgiving!
Jesus had kind of a repetitious theme, didn—t he? Let—s look around
our home today while we ponder these words. The people we love most
are frequently the recipients of our judgments and criticism. How
can we make peace in our home by showing mercy?
Tuesday (Mt 23:1-12)
Help your family—
The challenge to us today is to lead by example.
If you are someone who has been putting heavy burdens on others
in your family, lend a helping hand. If you have been seeking a
place of honor among your relatives, try humble service instead.
Lead your family members in calling upon our Father in heaven to
bless your home life.
Wednesday (Lk 2:41-51)
St. Joseph, patron of families—
Today we reflect on the role of St. Joseph as creator
of a peaceful home life centered on God. While the Gospel passage
shows us his anxiety over Jesus— burst of independence at age 12,
it also shows us that he must have instilled confidence in the child
he was raising. What have you helped to nurture in the members of
Thursday (Lk 16:19-31)
It—s annoying when charity solicitors come to our
door, isn—t it! They want to earn money for a meal or a school trip;
they want to collect clothes and furniture for the poor. Some days
we can give and some days we can—t, but do we send them on their
way feeling peaceful about their encounter with us?
Friday (Mt 21:33-43, 45-46)
What are we in danger of losing because we haven—t
done with the gift what God wanted us to do? Have we alienated a
family member, lost touch with a relative, spoiled the landscape
of our homes and our hearts? Look at the vine in the vineyard as
your family tree. How have you tended it?
Saturday (Lk 15:1-3, 11-32)
Today—s Gospel story of the prodigal son gives us
such a beautiful model for making a place of peace in our homes.
As God is always ready to welcome us home after our mistakes, let
us open our homes to the prodigal people who want to lavish their
renewed good intentions on us.
Creating a place for peace in our heart
Jesus didn—t like the idea of the Temple being used
for a marketplace and, as is typical of John—s Gospel, there—s a
lot of symbolism in the story. As we begin this third week of our
Lenten peacemaking journey, let us look into our hearts, the temple
where God dwells, and see if there is any distracting clutter there.
During this week, let us make our hearts a place for God—s peace.
Monday (Lk 4:24-30)
It hurts to not be accepted, especially if we have
tried very hard to say or do something that we think will be helpful
to another. That rejection of our best intentions sits heavy on
our heart. Today spend some quiet time with Jesus, who was rejected
in his own hometown. Ask him how he made peace in his heart with
Tuesday (Lk 1:26-38)
Annunciation (2003 only)—
Imagine Mary—s troubled heart when the angel appeared!
A mystery, both frightening and exhilarating, had invaded her life.
The consequences of her assent to that mystery would reach beyond
her to everyone she loved and would come to love. In your quiet
time with today—s story, learn from Mary to ponder the mysteries
in your own heart and to grow in trust.
Wednesday (Mt 5:17-19)
In today—s Gospel, Jesus extols keeping every part
of the law, yet criticizes the religious leaders who followed the
letter of the law too strictly. He must have come to a place of
peace in his own heart to understand the value of law and the abuse
of it. Which laws and rules are most helpful in your life?
Thursday (Lk 11:14-23)
We are invited today to take a stand for Jesus. He
wants us to trust his words and his actions, to believe that he
comes from a place of goodness when he teaches and heals. As we
continue through Lent, let us prepare our hearts to see that goodness
itself might be hated, but it can—t be destroyed.
Friday (Mk 12:28b-34)
for the heart—
Love the Lord with all your heart! From this place
of peace, your heart, where love resides, grow all the outward manifestations
of love that you extend to other people. How do you love God? How
does that spill over into the way you love your neighbor?
Saturday (Lk 18:9-14)
God reads hearts, today—s parable of the Pharisee
and the tax collector so clearly teaches. We find ourselves cheering
for the poor, humble, sinful tax collector when Jesus praises that
man—s prayer. What does God see in your heart today as you come
to the end of peacemaking?
Creating a place for peace in our plans
Go with the flow!— God had a wonderful plan! He gave
his Son so people would have life. Some people tried to mess with
that plan, but God prevailed. We make plans too and sometimes things
don—t go the way we want them to. What do we do when someone messes
with our plans? This week, let us ask God to help us find peace
when our plans are disrupted.
Monday (Jn 4:43-54)
A Capernaum official with great plans for his son
finds his son near death. Faith steps in where panic threatens.
The man is able to weather the storm of sorrow and find peace in
believing, even before the healing of his son is confirmed. Perhaps
a deep faith must accompany all our plans, so we can be at peace
with whatever happens.
Tuesday (Jn 5:1-16)
When Jesus asks, "Do you want to be well?" maybe
we should answer the question. Instead we often offer all the reasons
we aren—t well because things haven—t happened according to our
plan! Just saying yes might open the way for God to act in God—s
own way, bringing a peace that was eluding us.
Wednesday (Jn 5:17-30)
We can—t do anything on our own. Jesus recognized
that and credited the Father with all the good works Jesus found
himself able to do. Finding a place for peace in our own plans happens
when we include God in those plans. Remember to recognize the hand
of God in the work that you do.
Thursday (Jn 5:31-47)
Jesus said, "I do not accept human praise." That
probably freed him to do what he knew he had to do. When our plans
are formed around what we think others might like or not like, rather
than around what God might be asking of us, a place of peace in
us will be disrupted.
Friday (Jn 7:1-2, 10, 25-30)
Jesus changed his plans. Like prophets before him,
he hesitated to go into a place of personal danger. But then he
went anyway and spoke openly because he knew that was what his Father
wanted him to do. Recall a time when you experienced peace after
doing something difficult but necessary.
Saturday (Jn 7:40-53)
The Messiah wasn—t expected to be from Galilee. Surprise!
Have your expectations ever prevented you from seeing the truth
or appreciating a gift? Being flexible in our expectations can keep
us open to the surprising things God does with our plans. Being
flexible prevents the shattering of our peace.
Creating a place for peace in our memories
If we are going to be a people of peace, it is very
important that we be at peace with ourselves. That includes making
peace with our past and healing our memories. Begin this week—s
theme by considering the good fruit that has emerged from the things
in your life that you have allowed to die. What seeds have "fallen
into the ground," only to be transformed in ways that became new
Monday (Jn 8:1-11)
Have you ever faced judgment for a mistake? Do you
still carry the shame? In your prayer today, come confidently to
Jesus who shows compassion, welcome and wisdom when dealing with
people—s mistakes. Remember that Jesus spent time alone to prepare
for compassionate encounters.
Tuesday (Jn 8:21-30)
When Jesus says, "You belong to this world," he
seems to be chiding his disciples for not being able to see his
connection with the Father, with his mission, with a higher purpose.
When you review your past today, recognize the choices that kept
you more with the values of the world than with those of Jesus.
Then consider what happens when you focus on "what is above."
Wednesday (Jn 8:31-42)
Jesus has a memory of his origins. He came from God.
How does the memory of your origins—ancestors, cultural influences,
faith heritage—affirm who you are? What are your strengths because
of your origins?
Thursday (Jn 8:51-59)
Forgive the past—
Some of the most difficult memories to make peace
with are those associated with the hurtful things we said or did
to loved ones who are no longer with us. Death is such a final divide—or
seems to be. Our faith reassures us that those we love are in God—s
presence. From their perspective, all is forgiven. It—s time to
Friday (Jn 10:31-42)
Remember when your good intentions were misinterpreted?
The choices from those experiences are: self-pity, giving up, or
trusting yourself. Spend time today with misunderstood Jesus to
receive his affirmation.
Saturday (Jn 11:45-56)
We are about to enter the week of remembering what
was done to Jesus. We will touch the collective memory of people—s
inhumanity toward the Son of Man. It is a disturbing memory, redeemed
only by the power of resurrection. Prepare for it today by expressing
gentle concern to all.
Creating a place for peace in our relationships
Passion Sunday (Mk 14:1—15:47)
The Passion drama includes so many players. It—s
a plot laced with power struggle, misguided intent, fear and the
death of innocence. Looking at the state of our world drama today,
we know that the peace of the world depends on right relationships.
Let—s do well with ours.
Monday (Jn 12:1-11)
Lord, let us see
Judas shows us today that righteous behavior is annoying
at best. Judas didn—t see Jesus for who he really was. Let us pray
for clear vision and unselfish sharing as we find Jesus in our relationships
Tuesday (Jn 13:21-33, 36-38)
Make us strong—
St. Peter wanted to believe everything he heard.
But his bravado could only shelter his vulnerability for so long.
Let us pray today for the strength to believe in and stand by the
people who need us to be there for them.
Wednesday (Mt 26:14-25)
Give us honesty—
The chief priests used the misguided Judas. When
we exploit another—s fears, the relationship of trust falls apart.
Let us pray to be open, honest communicators.
Holy Thursday (Jn 13:1-15)
Keep us humble
Peter, without intending to, shows us how to allow
another to serve us. He didn—t want Jesus to wash his feet. But
it is only in humility that we can allow others to be all they want
to be for us.
Good Friday (Jn 18:1—19:42)
Deliver us from evil
Pilate asks a lot of questions because he honestly
doesn—t know what to do. But he allows his focus to shift from the
man whose innocence he believes in to his own political insecurity.
Let us pray that we will not jeopardize relationships in the interest
Easter Vigil (Mk 16:1-7)
The tomb is empty. Jesus has already gone on to Galilee.
The journey continues. Having examined, with prayerful perspective,
our daily routines and home life, our hearts and the plans we make,
our memories and relationships, we are renewed by the risen Jesus
who walks with us, encouraging us to keep being peacemakers in a
Next: The Examen of Consciousness (by Phyllis