Posts Tagged ‘Lenten Podcast Series’

Jesuit Stresses Role of Jesus’ Cross in Our Faith in Lenten Podcast

Jesuit Father Fred Betti, director of campus ministry at Canisius High School, in Buffalo, N.Y., offers a reflection on the themes of triumph and tragedy in the final Lenten podcast from the New England and New York Province Jesuits.

Fr. Betti reminds us that on Good Friday we are encouraged to focus on the most essential part of our faith: the cross of Jesus. He recounts an inspiring story from one of his students that helped Fr. Betti appreciate the place of the cross. The student visited Long Island, N.Y., during Christmas vacation to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. While sorting through the rubble, the student found a beautiful silver crucifix with dried palm branches wrapped around it from the previous year’s Holy Week.

According to Fr. Betti, the student said, “There in the midst of the rubble, I saw the crucified Christ. And it was almost as if Christ was saying, ‘I’m here. I’m here suffering in the midst of all this disaster with all those who also were suffering through the terrible aftermath of that hurricane and how it destroyed so much in people’s lives.’”

Fr. Betti explains that God loves us but does not simply take our suffering away – he suffers with us.

“As we think about what the cross means to us, we realize Jesus, through his cross, made an unbearable burden bearable, because he took that suffering with him, the suffering of all times and all places. He destroyed its fatal power by offering it to God through his voluntary death on the cross for each and every one of us.”

Fr. Betti encourages us to take a moment each day to ask ourselves, “How seriously do I take this story of Jesus’ greatest act of love for me?”

Listen to the full podcast at the New England Province website.

Jesuit’s Lenten Podcast Reflection Focuses on Mercy and Forgiveness

Jesuit Father Edward Durkin, principal of NativityMiguel Middle School in Buffalo, N.Y., discusses the messages of mercy and forgiveness in the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery for the fifth Lenten podcast from the New England and New York Province Jesuits.

Fr. Durkin first calls attention to the beginning of the Gospel passage, where Jesus spends the night in solitude on the Mount of Olives. Fr. Durkin compares this solemn prayer experience with Jesus’ next day, which is spent teaching “all the people,” emphasizing Jesus’s broad appeal.

“Ignatius of Loyola, our [the Society of Jesus’] founder, teaches us that perhaps there should not be a thick line of demarcation between our encounter with God in solitude and our encounter with God our Father in the intensity of the apostolate,” says Fr. Durkin.

The scribes and the Pharisees bring the woman to be stoned to Jesus and ask him what should be done with her, to test him. He saves her life, and according to Fr. Durkin, this is the moment Jesus has been waiting for.

“He has saved her life physically, and now he strives to save her life within,” he says.

With the words “Neither do I condemn you,” Jesus dismisses the woman with mercy. “Let us abide with this scene, and let that same gaze of that same savior come upon us with this same merciful love,” concludes Fr. Durkin.

Listen to the full podcast at the New England Province website.

Jesuit Provincial Explores Parable of the Prodigal Son in Lenten Podcast

Jesuit Father Myles SheehanJesuit Father Myles Sheehan offers his reflections on the parable of the prodigal son in the fourth Lenten podcast from the New England and New York Province Jesuits. He explains that home is a place “where we are fully known, fully accepted and welcomed not for what we’ve done, good or bad, but simply loved as we are.”

Fr. Sheehan, provincial of the New England Province, says the story of the prodigal son and his older brother and father challenges us with “our deepest image of finding a home in Christ and accepting our place.”

During a retreat years ago, Fr. Sheehan was asked to imagine himself in the story of the prodigal son, but he became frustrated when he could not identify with the son’s wild actions and recklessness.

“I was the older brother: hardworking, dutiful and totally resentful that my strict religious behavior was not bringing me the joy and fun that I saw in others who did ‘bad’ things,” he said.

Fr. Sheehan realized that for him, the parable is about the father’s invitation to the older son to come home and receive his father’s acceptance, healing and forgiveness. For Fr. Sheehan, the invitation is a call to open his heart and find his home in God.

“I am called to go to the father’s house – not in fear, not with a tight set of good behaviors, but with an open and loving heart,” Fr. Sheehan says.

Listen to the full podcast at the New England Province website.

Recognize the Holy in Our Midst During Lent, Says Jesuit

Jesuit Father Terry Devino“The season of Lent is a powerful time in all of our lives, for each year we are invited deeper into our relationship with God,” says Jesuit Father Terry Devino in the third Lenten podcast from the New England and New York Province Jesuits. “We hear in the Scriptures on Ash Wednesday, ‘Come back to me with all your heart.’ So we strive to do this by leaning into this invitation.”

Fr. Devino says he sees Lent’s many signs, symbols and invitations all around him on Boston College’s campus, where he serves as vice president and university secretary.

One of those signs included the 120 Boston College students who recently spent their vacation days helping the poor in countries that included Belize, Mexico and El Salvador. Fr. Devino says these students weren’t going to bring God to these places, but allowing God to find them.

“They offer hope — yes to those they visit — but more to those of us left behind at home. They are hope,” says Fr. Devino.

“We are the gardeners, and we’re called to be gardeners of hope. We too must cultivate the ground on which we stand. In my ministry I’m so blessed to be part of the mission of cultivating ground for young men and young women as we assist in forming them to be men and women for others.”

Listen to the full podcast at the New England Province website.

Overcoming Spiritual Darkness Theme of Second Lenten Podcast

Jesuit Father Steve SanfordThe Jesuits of the New England and New York Provinces are offering a weekly Lenten podcast series, and in the second episode, Jesuit Father Steve Sanford talks about experiencing and overcoming darkness in one’s life through God.

“Sometimes in our life, God uses the experience of darkness to speak to us,” Fr. Sanford says.

Fr. Sanford shares a time of darkness from his own life, when he was assigned to go to Jamaica in 1988 for two years. “I was getting more and more anxious as the time drew close,” he recalls. “I was having trouble sleeping. I kept thinking, ‘I’m going to a country where I know nobody.’”

Fr. Sanford says talking to his friends and spiritual director didn’t help, but about two weeks before he was scheduled to leave, he was praying and asked God to help him.

“I heard a voice say to me: ‘Steve, don’t worry, no matter where you go, I will send you people to love.’”

Fr. Sanford says after he heard that in prayer, he relaxed and his fears about serving in Jamaica vanished.

“In that deep darkness of my life, that time of anxieties and fears, God spoke to me,” he says. “It’s a promise he made in 1988 and he keeps making each day.”

As he goes through this Lenten season, Fr. Sanford says he reminds himself that God is always going to send him people to love.

Listen to Fr. Sanford’s podcast at the New England Province website.