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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Second Sunday of Lent

In this second Sunday in Lent, we have some rather awesome scenes upon which to reflect – Abraham’s sacrifice of his only son, Isaac, and the dazzling transfiguration of Jesus in the presence of his three closest friends. The first image is extremely unsettling because we are left wondering why God would demand that Abraham, who was always faithfully responsive to God’s wishes, sacrifice his cherished son. Even though one’s heart may shudder at the thought, it also seems imprudent for Abraham to kill his true son when the very act would nix God’s promise of numerous descendents. It seems that obeying God’s will can be very costly. How ironic it is for us that when we let go of something that we really treasure God gives it back as a gift. Because of Abraham’s remarkable fidelity, God was able to bless Isaac, Jacob and all their descendents.

The blessing of God’s own son is described in the transfiguration scene of the Gospel when a voice is heard coming from a cloud saying, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” We see that fidelity to God’s will is crucial in our salvation story. While in the end Abraham did not have to sacrifice Isaac, Jesus will become the ultimate sacrifice for us. Jesus was faithfulness par excellence. It is the fidelity of Jesus to God’s will that brings us salvation.

St. Paul places great emphasis on fidelity in the reading to the Romans. Paul urges us to be faithful to the Spirit of Christ because the Risen Lord himself will be faithful to us. Jesus Christ will always be our advocate while God will be our Judge. God knows that we are guilty of many things, but God will always acquit us. The strength of God’s love is so powerful that not even death or any of the powers of this world can stand against it. Paul’s words are so encouraging:

Brothers and sisters: If God is for us, who can be against us?He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?Who will bring a charge against God's chosen ones?It is God who acquits us, who will condemn?Christ Jesus it is who died—or, rather, was raised— who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.

It is in this spirit that we can trustingly listen to and follow Jesus because God’s faithfulness becomes our own. Thanks be to God.


Twenty-eight seniors and two juniors from Cheverus completed their four-day KAIROS retreat that is modeled on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Thanks for your prayers because this was a very powerful experience of prayer and healing.

The Jewish Feast of Purim

On Tuesday, let us pray with our Jewish brothers and sisters on the feast of Purim (or lots.) This holiday commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people from the ancient Persian Empire from Haman’s plot to annihilate them by drawing lots. This is recorded in the Book of Esther, which is contained in our Christian Scriptures. Let us always pray for the sanctity of all life and respect for all peoples.

Ignatian Teach in for Justice: Immigration

From Friday, March 13th to Monday, March 16th, representatives from many Jesuit High Schools and universities from around the nation will gather in Washington, D.C. to discuss our response to the complex issue of immigration within our country and the worldwide community. Our documents from the 35th General Congregation instruct us to learn more about the challenges of incorporating refugees, displaced persons, and immigrants into the family of nations. Please pray for the success of the gathering as we wrestle with the multi-faceted complexities of how to appropriately respond to this national crisis.

Our New Provincial

Fr. General Adolfo Nicholas, S.J. has appointed Fr. Myles Sheehan, S.J. as the new provincial of the New England Province beginning on July 31, 2009. Fr. Sheehan joined the New England Province in 1985 after he completed his undergraduate degree and doctorate in medicine at Dartmouth College. He studied philosophy at Loyola University in Chicago and did two years of post-doctoral studies in Gerontology at Harvard Medical School. He earned his M.Div. from the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge and was ordained to the priesthood on June 18, 1994. On April 22, 2005, he professed solemn vows. Since 1995, Myles has served as a Professor of Medicine at Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine. In 2000, he added the administrative duties of Senior Associate Dean to his teaching and research responsibilities. Please pray for Fr. Sheehan and for the New England province as we transition into this new leadership this summer.

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