Daily Mass Reflection

JCA senior theology students are attending daily mass in the Mary, Our Sister Chapel each morning before school during the 2019-2020 school year. Students are also providing us with their own daily reflection on the readings and Gospel.

Today’s reflection comes from JCA senior Zachary Bernhard.

James 1: 12-18

The reading yesterday morning talked about temptation. Something that we must know is that God does not tempt us to do bad things. The devil is the one that tempts us to do bad things. We are all tempted when we are enticed by our desires. Some of my desires, for example, may be to do good in a class that I am struggling with. I am tempted to cheat, but I must not. I need to understand that the devil is tempting me to do bad things that God would not like. Sometimes am able to resist the temptation, but other times, I give in. When we give in to temptation, we are bringing forth sin. Sin makes us farther away from God, just as the devil wants it. The farther away we are from God, the closer we are to spiritual death. 

The reading says we should not be deceived. God will give us the graces we need to resist ALL temptations from the devil because God wants us to be with Him. All we need to do is ask for the graces, and we will be stronger in resisting temptation and ultimately be saved. Jesus says in the first line of the reading Blessed is he who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proven he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him.” Jesus says that when temptation is resisted, we will be rewarded with the crown of Life, meaning Heaven. Heaven in everlasting life with Jesus, and hell is everlasting death with the devil. We are all called to be with God in Heaven, and we are all called to resist temptation. Temptation is everywhere in the world we live in. The devil is ALWAYS tricking people into thinking what is true is wrong, and what is wrong is true. When this happens, the devil wins. We must not let the devil win. 

The last line of the reading says, “He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. This means that Jesus gave us life by giving us truth. In order to know truth, we must know Jesus because Jesus is truth. With knowing truth, we will be in the kingdom of Heaven. 


Today’s reflection is from JCA senior Kirsten Kalebich.

Mark 7:1-13

          My reflection is about how going to church shouldn’t be the starting and ending point of worshipping God. Everyone should be living as the perfect image of God. Not just by attending church and praying but by also through one’s actions. When the Pharisees criticized Jesus and his disciples for not following tradition by cleaning their hands before a meal, Jesus himself criticized them for disregarding God, but holding onto human tradition. There are traditions each of us hold onto based on our heritage, family background, or upbringing, but we all worship God as the Creator of the world. When we recognize that God is the one true God we also learn to try and become his perfect image. But going to church isn’t the starting or ending point of worshipping God. We, as his followers, must also continue his teachings outside of the church by treating one another as our neighbor. Our actions speak louder than our words.

          In the Gospel Jesus tells the Pharisees, “this people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.” There are people in this world who attend church and pray regularly, but who do not uphold God’s word through their actions. People may lie, cheat, or even be cruel to one another yet claim they are being God’s perfect image. Trying to act like you’re in God’s perfect image when you aren’t is not the same as trying to live your life like God. God knows whose intentions are true and those who’s aren’t. When we worship God as the Creator of the world and continue his teachings through our actions and words, we are living in God’s image. God will not judge for upholding our traditions and being true to him.


Today’s reflection is from JCA senior Isabella Ray.

1 Samuel, Chapter 1

Upon reflecting on today’s reading, two themes come to mind: hypocrisy and loyalty.  As you will hear in a few minutes, the man in the reading expects his wife to be completely loyal to him despite the fact that he has a second wife.  She is upset because she is barren, and she wants children to keep her company because her husband splits his time between her and another woman.  When he discovers that she is distraught he asks her if he is not enough for her.  This brings about hypocrisy.  He expects that he is enough for his wife when she is not enough for him. 

            These themes can be applied to our faith.  There are too many people in the world who claim to be Christian but fail to fulfill the necessary obligations and fail to reflect their faith to those around them.  These people are considered religious hypocrites because they adhere to the faith only when it is convenient to them.  They expect God to stand by them when they don’t stand by Him.  What if God was only there for us when it was convenient to Him?  No one would survive this world full of hate without at least a glimmer of hope that something good would come of it eventually.  Real Christianity means always acting in your faith and never ignoring it to make things easier for you.  Just as a husband must love his wife always, not just when it is convenient.

            In terms of loyalty, God is 100% loyal to His people, but His people are not always 100% loyal to Him.  We must not expect His loyalty because we do not deserve His loyalty.  It is a gift, and we must reciprocate this gift by showing Him the same loyalty.  The husband expected his wife’s loyalty even though he was not loyal to her.  Hypocrisy and disloyalty are two of the greatest downfalls of Christians.  We must fight to be loyal and true to our God each day of our lives.


10/31 Gospel Reflection from JCA senior Emma Tacchia.

Luke 10:25-37

Today’s Gospel reading is one of the more well-known stories told in the Bible: The Parable of the Good Samaritan. The phase “Good Samaritan” describes someone who goes out of their way to help other people. But this parable says more than just helping people in need. It is about holding ourselves accountable for our actions. When Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as our self, he does not literally mean our neighbor. He is talking about anyone we encounter in the world. In the parable, the priest proves that this idea may be hard for some people to follow. The priest represents the religious-acting people who say they are Christians but rarely do anything to live out their Christian faith. When the priest saw the beaten man, he went out of his way to avoid him. He claims to be a priest but did not want to make himself unclean by helping someone who may have blood on them. This relates to Christians in our world today. People claim that they are Christians, but they go through motions of living out their faith. I am guilty of this, as well. They attend Mass, say some prayers every now and then, and maybe donate a few times throughout the year. Now, these are all good things, but there is so much more that we can do. We can volunteer our time at a shelter, build the community through prayer groups and bible studies, and strive to respond to our call to love and care for everyone. This is what Jesus means when he calls us to love our neighbor.

So, who really is the neighbor in this parable? It is the Good Samaritan, who Jesus instructs us to live by. When Jesus tells us to love our neighbor, He does not mean the person who lives next to us. It could be a stranger we lend a helping hand to, a person we encourage when they are feeling down, or saying a special prayer for someone, even our enemies. The truth is that we can all be good Samaritans, or we can be someone who never goes out of their way to help others. The decision is up to us. But if we put our hearts and minds into it, we all have the power to become good Samaritans and live like Jesus instructed us to.


9/25 Relflection from JCA senior Enzo Fasano

Ruth 1:1, 3-6, 14B-16, 22

In my reading of Ruth, we heard about the family of Ruth, herself. We can see that she has lost many loved ones in her life. So much of her family had died, that she was left living with only Naomi, her mother-in-law, and Orpah, her sister-in-law. Through this short passage, we can see how much grief and sorrow Naomi and her daughters-in-law had to deal with, but still they stayed strong and kept on going.

When word reached her and her family that Jesus was to be at Moab, Orpah saw that as a chance to see Him in person. She decided for herself that she wanted to go to Jesus, and her mother-in-law allowed her. While Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, Ruth stayed with Naomi. We see that Naomi tried to tell Ruth to just go with Orpah and leave her, but Ruth told her not to try to convince her to leave because she was staying. So, her and her mother-in-law returned to Bethlehem together.

In the beginning of the passage, we have a clear view of incredible sorrows people go through, specifically deaths of loved ones. We can look at these deaths as a representation of any sorrow, big or small. No one in life is immune to sadness; sooner or later we all get emotional and down. That being said, just because we are down doesn’t mean it is the end of the world. As I previously said, everyone has some form of sadness in their life. We see that Naomi’s family learned to move on after all those deaths, just like we should move on from our struggles. I am not saying to be emotionless, that would not be healthy. But we should not dwell on any pain we have experienced, especially if the pain has already passed. We need to show our strength in everything.

Nearing the end of the passage, we see Ruth’s loyalty to her mother-in-law by staying with her. Ruth showed loyalty even when she was being pushed away. Her mother-in-law tried to make her leave with Orpah, but she refused and stayed with her mother-in-law. This example takes loyalty to a new level. Sure, it may be easy to be loyal to someone when they want you, but if that same person pushes us away, we as a people tend to leave the side of the person. This reminds me of Chris Tomlin’s song, “I Will Follow,” that says, “Where You go, I’ll go. Where You stay, I’ll stay. When You move, I’ll move. I will follow.” These lyrics tell how loyal we should be to ourselves, to others, and to God. Naomi didn’t push Ruth away because she didn’t want her, and in the same way, we sometimes push people away when we still want them to stay. We need to be both open to be helped and willing to help in the hardest times. And in anything, if we are trying to be pushed away from a certain goal we want to achieve, whether by pain or temptation or peer pressure or enjoyment, we need to stay on the just path that we know is true.


9/17 Reflection from JCA senior Claire Dow

Matthew 25: 1-13 

“Preparation”

As I read the Gospel for today’s Mass, the one word I kept thinking of was preparation.  Though the word itself is never mentioned, Jesus’s message to us is pretty clear.  Prepare yourselves, “for you know neither the day nor the hour.”  Now, to someone who has grown up in the Catholic Church my entire life, this message seemed a bit, for lack of a better word, obvious.  Of course we should prepare ourselves for the second coming, of course we should prepare ourselves for Heaven.  I mean, isn’t that kind of the whole point?  The truth is, this attitude is exactly what Jesus was warning against in the Gospel today.  You see, the common view of the Church these days essentially asks: what is the bare minimum I can do to ensure that I go to Heaven?  If I go to Mass on Sundays, if I go to Confession, if I give up something for Lent, am I prepared 

Now I’m not saying that these measures are pointless.  I understand that they have been put in place to guide us on our spiritual journey.  I’m just saying that they become pointless if they lack intent.  Do we go to Church because we are stuck in routine, or do we go because we genuinely want to prepare?  Faith is not a simple checking of boxes.  Rather, it is a continual call from God, and a continual response of “yes” from us.  I’m not asking that we all make some profound change in our lives.  All I’m asking is that we change the intent with which we do the same things we always have.  Fr. Ryan over at St. Ray’s said something during a sermon once that has stuck with me for a long time, and that is not to do the right thing.  Instead do the NEXT right thing.  Do not focus on the wrong you have committed, but rather the possibility that there is still more good left for you to do.  Every thought, every action, every word, every day, we have the opportunity to express our values.  To say, “look at me world, I’m not perfect, but I mean what I say, and I do the right thing.”  Through the gift of free will, God has given us a choice: be like the foolish virgins, who forget oil for their lamps, or be like the wise virgins, who bring oil for their lamps, even though they are unsure if they need it.  It is those who have prepared, though they know neither the day nor the hour, that will be ready when their time comes.  I mean, if the whole point of this life is to prepare ourselves for what is to come after, what are we waiting for?  Prepare today, prepare tomorrow, prepare right now with your “next right thing.”   

I want to end this little reflection with something my mom said to me, just the other day,  “the world may not be in your hands, but your actions are.”  Thank you. 


9/16 Reflection from JCA senior Madison Mikuska.

Lk 7:1-10

In today’s reading from the Gospel of Luke, we hear about one of Jesus’ miracles. But the miracle was not the center of the reading. We are supposed to take away so much more than just Jesus’ power to heal. Jesus healed the servant today, because of the love and sincere faith that was shown. This lesson applies to our lives every day. We are often caught up asking Jesus for things when we pray, but we rarely focus on thanking him for everything he has given us and has done for us. For example, I often find myself during prayer constantly talking and not spending enough time listening and being grateful. I will ask for good grades, help on a test, for good luck at a game, for a relative or pet to feel better, and other related things. I need to spend more time being grateful for all God has given us. Not only does he protect us and provide for us on this earth, but he gave us the greatest gift of all: His son. He sent Jesus down from Heaven for us to fulfill the greatest thing for us. Jesus sacrificed His life for us on Earth, so that He could open the gates of Heaven. God has given us the greatest gift of all, and that is eternal life. So instead of constantly asking God for lists of things, instead we should be grateful for all the gifts he has given us. Then if we need something, God will be there for us if we are showing love, faith, and extreme gratitude. That is the main message of the Gospel today. If we show love, faith, and thanks on Earth, we will be rewarded and protected by God.


9/13 Reflection from JCA senior Kelsey Kempes.

Mass Reflection 
Reading 1 TM 1:1-2, 12-14
Gospel LK 6:39-42

As I reflected over what God is trying to teach us through today’s Readings, I focused on His underlying message of forgiveness. Just as Jesus forgives and saves us from our sins, we must never forget to forgive others. Forgiveness is always a choice that we can make, but we should never hesitate on it. No person lives a life without sin, so it is so important that we each are compassionate toward each other and learn to understand that we are all one under God. When we learn to forgive and let go of personal grievances, we clear a space for the love of God to enter. It is impossible to feel truly at peace in the presence of the Lord if we continue to dwell on negatives that occurred in the past rather than focusing on the love, hope, and peace that has been waiting for us one step ahead all along.

Not only must we forgive, but it is also important to look at ourselves, our own actions, our own attitudes, and our own thinking. Just as it says in today’s Gospel, “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own.” We are often too quick to judge others on their own faults, mistakes, and poor judgments. However, it is often more important to begin with ourselves. How can we expect others to act out of pure love and holiness if we are not fully letting God into our own hearts? When we are able to fully open our hearts up to the love of God, freeing ourselves of hatred and grievances, only then can we begin to guide others onto their right path under the guidance of God’s individual plan for each of us.

Jesus teaches us that it is our responsibility to allow God into our hearts, so it is important that we each focus on accepting His love and then work on spreading it to everyone we meet through our words and actions.


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