Sunday, February 19, 2012

40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS, by Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 22, and Easter Sunday is on April 8. There are 40 days (and 40 nights) in Lent not counting the Sundays.

Lent is, for us Catholics, a very important period in which we prepare by abstaining from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and on all Fridays of Lent, fasting which is required on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, special prayer and alms giving for the Resurrection of Jesus which we call to mind on Easter.

The name "Lent" is from the Anglo-Saxon word "lencten" meaning spring or the lengthening of the days as they become longer. The Spanish word for Lent is "Cuaresma" which is based on the actual 40 days. So there is a difference in the way that the Anglo-Saxon and the Latin language groups describe this important time of the year.

The number 40 was first noted in the Canons of the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea held in 325 and it was in imitation of Jesus’ 40 days and 40 nights of fast in the desert before his public ministry.

It is important for all Catholics to enter in the spirit of prayer and sacrifice to prepare ourselves for the suffering, death and resurrection of Our Lord. It is a time for Catholics to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (also knows and Confession or Penance). The clergy wears the purple vestments and do not pray the Gloria or Alleluia during the Lenten Masses.

It is also a time in which the Catechumens, those preparing for the Easter Sacraments, go through the Rite of Election in the Cathedral Basilica or another designated Catholic Church. Those to be baptized and those completing their Easter Sacraments spend the Lenten Season in special preparation for the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.

I take the opportunity as archbishop to go to the Metro Detention Center on Ash Wednesday to give the ashes to the inmates and prison staff. Then I return to the Catholic Center to distribute ashes to the staff and then go to the Cathedral Basilica for Mass and ashes. On Good Friday, I lead a walking pilgrimage at 7:00 a.m. from Santa Cruz to Chimayo and pray with the thousands of people along the way. Usually a seminarian prospect goes with me. In the afternoon we go to the State Penitentiary to have the Stations of the Cross – one station in each pod or area of the prison.

Lent is a time when most of us make a Lenten resolution or two and we seek to be more faithful to prayer, almsgiving and good works. It is helpful for good Catholics to make it to daily Mass and to the Stations of the Cross on the Fridays of Lent.

All of our parishes have the Stations of the Cross in which we reflect upon the sufferings of Jesus as he made his way to Calvary. Lent is an appropriate time to be reconciled to someone that you may not have had a good relationship lately. Perhaps it could be a family member, neighbor or someone at work. Draw upon the Holy Season of Lent to be reconciled to someone if there is someone that needs the reconciliation.

It is said that one cannot celebrate Easter and the Resurrection of Jesus very well if they have not walked with the Lord during the Lenten Season. It is hard to have resurrection on Easter without the cross of Good Friday - the Cross of Calvary! I hope that your Lent will be a fruitful one for your spiritual life and will be an occasion to deepen your practice of our Catholic faith.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Isaiah 43:18-19,21-22,24b-25
Psalm 41: "Lord, heal my soul, for I have sinned against you."
2 Corinthians 1:18-22
Mark 2:1-12

Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24b-25

Thus says the Lord: Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In the desert I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers. The people I formed for myself, that they might announce my praise. Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob, for you grew weary of me, O Israel. You burdened me with your sins, and wearied me with your crimes. It is I, I, who wipe out, for my own sake, your offenses; your sins I remember no more.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 41:2-3, 4-5, 13-14
R. Lord, heal my soul, for I have sinned against you.

Blessed is the one who has regard for the lowly and the poor;
in the day of misfortune the Lord will deliver him.
The Lord will keep and preserve him;
and make him blessed on earth,
and not give him over to the will of his enemies.
R. Lord, heal my soul, for I have sinned against you.

The Lord will help him on his sickbed,
he will take away all his ailment when he is ill.
Once I said, "O Lord, have pity on me;
heal me, though I have sinned against you."
R. Lord, heal my soul, for I have sinned against you.

But because of my integrity you sustain me
and let me stand before you forever.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from all eternity. Amen. Amen.
R. Lord, heal my soul, for I have sinned against you.

2 Corinthians 1:18-22

Brothers and sisters: As God is faithful, our word to you is not "yes" and "no." For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us, Silvanus and Timothy and me, was not "yes" and "no," but "yes" has been in him. For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him; therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory. But the one who gives us security with you in Christ and who anointed us is God; he has also put his seal upon us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.

Mark 2:1-12

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Child, your sins are forgiven." Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?" Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, "Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, pick up your mat and walk?' But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth" —he said to the paralytic, "I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home." He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this."

Saturday, February 11, 2012

February 10, St. Scholastica

The information available concerning the sister of St. Benedict comes from the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great. These were written in Rome in 593-4, some forty years after Benedict died, and Gregory claimed to have derived his information from abbots of Monte Cassino and from other abbots who had known Benedict.

Book 2, chapters 33 and 34, of the Dialogues gives a famous and delightful account of their last meeting. Scholastica, with a foreboding that she was shortly to die, begged her brother to stay the night so that they might prolong their spiritual dialogue. He refused saying that his Rule obliged him to return to the monastery. Scholastica bowed her head in prayer, whereupon such a violent thunderstorm broke out that Benedict and his companions were prevented from leaving the house. He accused her of provoking this, to which she replied: "I asked a favour from you and you refused it. I asked it of God, and he has granted it." They spent the night discoursing on the joys of heaven, to which she was called three days later.

Scholastica is the patron saint of Benedictine nuns.

Friday, February 10, 2012

GIVE THE GIFT OF LIVE, ORGAN TRANSPLANTS, by Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan

Recently the New Mexico Donor Services has asked me to support to their efforts to increase awareness of lifesaving organ donations and transplants. Many New Mexicans are faced with having to make a donation decision for themselves when obtaining a drivers license or for a loved one at the time of death. Sadly, numerous families decline the opportunity to save the lives of others because they do not know that our Catholic faith views very positively the concept of lifesaving organ donations and transplants.

Maria Sanders, who is the Director for New Mexico Donor Services and a member of John XXIII Catholic Community has asked me to let the people of the Archdiocese know that the Church looks at organ donations and transplants as something charitable and good. No one is required to do it but certainly it is important for all Catholics to know that the Church views this favorably.

I am told that there are over 700 New Mexicans awaiting a lifesaving transplant right now; one-third are Hispanic, one-third are Native Americans and one-third are Caucasian. More than 100,000 men, women and children are on the national waiting list in the United States.

Archdioceses throughout the United States have been very supportive to the organ donation education efforts including the Archdioceses of Chicago, Austin, Denver, Los Angeles and many more. I certainly support this effort to educate our people about the worthwhile values of donating their own organs at the time of death so that others can be helped. It is indeed a form of charity and it is to be commended. Again, please note that no one is required to do such a thing but Catholics must know that it is very much in keeping with the teachings of our Church.

Life is the greatest gift of all and today it is a gift that can be shared through organ and tissue donations, people have the potential to reach out and do good in this world. They can save the lives of those who would die without help. They can give new hope to their families. They can transform and improve lives like restoring sight, health and wholeness.

It is one of the greatest opportunities today for those who seek to give good, pass along life and help their fellow human beings. There are a number of our priests who have placed an emblem on their driver’s licenses making it clear that they are organ donors. Please pass the word to those whom you know that it is morally and ethically acceptable to the Vatican and to the Bishops of our Country.

This Christmas Season, if you wish, give the gift of life and remember to sign up as an organ donor when you renew your license!

Source: People of God, December 2011


Leviticus 13:1-2,44-46
Psalm 32: "I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation."
1 Corinthians 10:31–11:1
Mark 1:40-45

Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "If someone has on his skin a scab or pustule or blotch which appears to be the sore of leprosy, he shall be brought to Aaron, the priest, or to one of the priests among his descendants. If the man is leprous and unclean, the priest shall declare him unclean by reason of the sore on his head. "The one who bears the sore of leprosy shall keep his garments rent and his head bare, and shall muffle his beard; he shall cry out, 'Unclean, unclean!' As long as the sore is on him he shall declare himself unclean, since he is in fact unclean. He shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp."

Responsorial Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 11
R. I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.

Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the Lord imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.
R. I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, "I confess my faults to the Lord,"
and you took away the guilt of my sin.
R. I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.

Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you just;
exult, all you upright of heart.
R. I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.

1 Cor 10:31-11:1

Brothers and sisters, Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Avoid giving offense, whether to the Jews or Greeks or the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in every way, not seeking my own benefit but that of the many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Mark 1:40-45

A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, "If you wish, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, "I do will it. Be made clean." The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. He said to him, "See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them." The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Job 7:1-4,6-7
Psalm 147: "Praise the Lord who heals the brokenhearted."
1 Corinthians 9:16-19,22-23
Mark 1:29-39
Job 7:1-4, 6-7

Job spoke, saying: Is not man's life on earth a drudgery? Are not his days those of hirelings? He is a slave who longs for the shade, a hireling who waits for his wages. So I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been allotted to me. If in bed I say, "When shall I arise?" then the night drags on; I am filled with restlessness until the dawn. My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle; they come to an end without hope. Remember that my life is like the wind; I shall not see happiness again.

Psalm 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
R. Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.

Praise the Lord, for he is good;
sing praise to our God, for he is gracious;
it is fitting to praise him.
The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem;
the dispersed of Israel he gathers.
R. Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He tells the number of the stars;
he calls each by name.
R. Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.

Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
to his wisdom there is no limit.
The Lord sustains the lowly;
the wicked he casts to the ground.
R. Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.

1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23

Brothers and sisters: If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it! If I do so willingly, I have a recompense, but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my recompense? That, when I preach, I offer the gospel free of charge so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.

Mark 1:29-39

On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, "Everyone is looking for you." He told them, "Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come." So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Malachi 3:1-4
Psalm 24: "Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!"
Hebrews 2:14-18
Luke 2:22-40

Malachi 3:1-4

Thus says the Lord God: Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; And suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek, And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. Yes, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like the refiner's fire, or like the fuller's lye. He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, Refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord. Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem will please the Lord, as in the days of old, as in years gone by.

Responsorial Psalm 24:7, 8, 9, 10
R.Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!

Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!

Who is this king of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!

Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!

Who is this king of glory?
The Lord of hosts; he is the king of glory.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!

Hebrews 2:14-18

Since the children share in blood and flesh, Jesus likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the Devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Luke 2:22-40

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel." The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.