Lent / Easter 2017

Daily Reflection Questions For Pondering During Lent / Easter 2017.
March 1 - April 16, 2017

3/1 (Ash Wednesday) “Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God” – Joel 2:13     During Lent, we are called to repentance through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  Can I change my heart and not just my habits?

3/2“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23     There are many things in my life that upset me. Can I carry my crosses without complaint?

3/3“My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn.” – Ps. 51:19     Am I truly “humble of heart”? Can I sacrifice my anger and frustration with the world and seek God’s will?

3/4Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.” – Luke 5:31     What are the “sicknesses” that keep me from embracing and living my faith?

3/5 (1st Sunday of Lent)Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. – Mt. 4:1     What are the biggest temptations I face? What can I do to strengthen myself to face them?

“When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?” – Matt. 25:39     During Lent, we are called to repentance through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  Can I change my heart and not just my habits?

3/7“But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” – Matt. 6:15     Who do I need to forgive in my life?  Who do I need to seek forgiveness from?

3/8“The people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.” – Jonah 3:5     What am I willing to do to show God that I believe in Him and that I am sorry for my sins?

3/9Queen Esther (said) “Help me, who am alone and have no help but you, for I am taking my life in my hand.” – Esther 43:14-15     When I feel completely alone and afraid, do I trust that God is there with me no matter what happens?  Do I pray when things are going well, too?

3/10“But if the wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed … he shall surely live. He shall not die.”  – Ezekiel 18:21     Do I believe that God loves me?  Do I accept that I can be forgiven for my sins, no matter how bad, if I am truly sorry and turn away from them?

3/11“But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” – Matt. 5:44     How do I overcome the fear and anger that I feel for those I consider enemies? Can I pray that God will enter their hearts with healing and forgiveness too?

3/12 (2nd Sunday of Lent) “So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord … but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.” – 2 Timothy 1:8     Do I stand up for my faith to those who put it down, even if it is friends or family?  Do I live my faith open for all to see, or do I hide it?

3/13“Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” – Luke 6:37     When I pick up a paper or turn on the news, am I judging others on what I see?  Do I wish them harm instead of forgiving them?

3/14“Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?" – Psalm. 50:16-17     Am I Catholic in name only?  What teachings of the Church do I ignore or reject? Why?

3/15“You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” – Matt. 20:22     Am I willing to pay the price demanded of me to follow Jesus?  Am I willing to pay the price if I don’t?

3/16“And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’” – Luke 16:24     When I am faced with trials or suffering, do I take advantage of others to ease my own discomfort, mindless to the suffering they face?

3/17“When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his brothers, they hated him so much that they could not say a kind word to him.” – Genesis 37:4     Who am I jealous of?  Do I wish harm or bad luck on family members, former friends or co-workers because of perceived preferential treatment they have received?

3/18“His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’” – Luke 15:21     Am I estranged from family, former friends or co-workers because of my personal actions or sins?  Am I afraid of admitting I was wrong, of asking them for forgiveness?

3/19 (3rd Sunday of Lent):  “…and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.” John 4:42     Do I listen to others when they talk of Christ?  Do I speak of Christ to others in a way that leads them to Him?  Do I believe that He can save the world today?

3/20 (Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse)“But they did not understand what he said to them.” – Luke 2:50)     Do I frequently misunderstand the words or actions of others?  Can I accept that there are things that my children or those that I love do that hurt me that are not sins?

3/21 “…for those who trust in You cannot be put to shame.” – Daniel 3:40     Am I embarrassed to practice my faith in front of others?  Do I allow my trust in God to give me courage when I am facing challenges in my life?

3/22“Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:19     Do my actions honor God’s laws, or do they show a disregard for them?  Have I led others astray by my actions?

3/23“This is the nation which does not listen to the voice of the LORD, its God, or take correction.” – Jeremiah 7:28     Do I live in a God-fearing nation?  Am I willing to defend the laws of God, such as the those that demand respect for all life, even when they conflict with those of the nation?

3/24“And when Jesus saw that [he] answered with understanding, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’” – Mark 12:34     Do I really understand what it means to “love God and love my neighbor”?  What keeps me from loving God or my neighbor?

3/25 (Solemnity of the Annunciation)“May it be done to me according to your word.” – Luke 1:38     Am I ready and willing to accept whatever it is that God has planned for me?  Can I accept the bad with the good?

3/26 (3rd Sunday of Lent):  “… God does not see as a mortal, who sees the appearance. The LORD looks into the heart.” – 1 Samuel 7     Do I judge others by appearance?  How can I look beyond the surface and into another’s heart?

3/27“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” – John 4:48     What part of the Gospel message do I have trouble believing?  What “proof” do I seek from God to overcome my unbelief?

3/28“Every month they will bear fresh fruit because the waters of the river flow out from the sanctuary.” – Ezekiel 47:12     Am I replenished with the water of faith that I receive each Sunday? Am I bearing fruit for God’s Kingdom as a result?

3/29“…and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.” – John 5:30     Do I seek my will or God’s will for me?  Do I understand what God’s will is for me?  If not, what am I doing to discover it?

3/30“You search the scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf.” – John 5:39     Do I take time to read the Bible?  How do I deal with those things in the Bible that I find hard to understand or accept?

3/31 “But we know where he is from.” – John 7:27     How often do I judge others because of what I think I know about them?  Does where a person comes from affect my opinion of them?

4/1“Never before has anyone spoken like this one.” – John 7:46     Do I “hear” Jesus speaking to me, personally?  What is he saying to me that is different than what the world says to me?

4/2 (5th Sunday of Lent)“Let us also go to die with him.” – John 11:16     It is easier to face trials when we don’t face them alone.  Do I have friends who will be with me through the trials I face?  Am I a friend enough to others to be with them through theirs?  Are we Christian enough to stand together against those who would persecute our faith?

4/3“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” – John 8:7     Am I quick to condemn others when they have done something wrong?  Do I justify myself by thinking my sins are less serious than theirs?

4/4“He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” – John 8:29     Do I think God has left me alone when something bad happens to me?  Do I think I need to please Him to earn His love?  Can I accept that He loves me even when I’ve done something wrong?

4/5“Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.” – John 8:34     Am I enslaved by my sins?  What are my “habitual” sins?  hat demands do they place on me?  How can I break free of them?

4/6“For your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.” – Genesis 17:9     If Jesus came to establish a new Covenant, what must I do to keep his Covenant?  Am I doing it?

4/7:  “LORD of hosts, you test the just, you see mind and heart” – Jeremiah 20:12     Do I believe that God knows what is in my mind and heart?  Am I honest with myself?  Do I see the trials I face as an opportunity to build character and prepare me for greater challenges?

4/8“What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs.” – John 11:47     Do I believe in the many signs performed by Jesus as recorded in the Gospels?  Do I see the signs he’s performing today?  What am I going to do?

4/9 (Palm Sunday):  “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” – Matthew 26:21     How many times have I betrayed Jesus through my actions or inactions?  Have I taken the time to ask for his forgiveness?

4/10“You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” – John 12:8     Do I use Jesus’ words as an excuse to neglect the poor?  Do I use the poor as an excuse to neglect God?

4/11“Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, Yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God.” – Isaiah 49:11     Do I feel frustrated when my good efforts seem to be ignored or unappreciated?  Are my efforts focused on following God’s will, or for my own satisfaction?

4/12“Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” – Matthew 26:22     How often have I betrayed God’s trust in me?  Have I betrayed the trust others have placed in me?

4/13 (Holy Thursday) “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” – John 13:15     Do I follow the example of Jesus in my everyday life?  Am I willing to sacrifice myself in service to others?

4/14 (Good Friday):  “Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?” – John 18:11     Do I accept that the trials in my life have meaning, even if I don’t understand what they are?  Do I ask God for strength to face them?

4/15 (Easter Vigil):  “Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as [being] dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 6:11     Am I dead to sin?  Am I living for God in Christ Jesus, or am I still living for earthly pleasures and rewards?  How can I bring them into balance?

4/16 (Easter Sunday):  “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad!” – Psalm 118:24     Jesus Lives!  Does the fact that Jesus lives make a difference in my life today?  Am I ready to rejoice because Christ is in my life?

Thank you for journeying with me through Lent.
May your Easter Season be one of joy and  heavenly blessings!

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