Question, reflect, and renew our minds Print
Sunday scripture column

Kevin Perrotta

Sunday, March 31

Third Sunday of Lent

Ex 20:1-17
Psalm 19:8-11
1 Cor 1:22-25
Jn 2:13-25

Here is a question appropriate for Lent: "Who am I living for?"

The answer can be approached via other questions: "Whose happiness matters to me?" "Who am I trying to please?" "If I achieved my goals and got everything I want to have, who would benefit most?"

For most of us, the honest answer would be "me."

You might respond, of course, each of us finds ourselves to be the person of primary importance. Each of us inescapably seeks happiness.

Granted. So let me refine the question: "Do I dedicate my (certainly important) self to anyone else's welfare?" "Where do other people fit into my (innate) search for happiness?"

"Given the direction in which my life is headed, when I get to the end, for whom will I have lived?"

Reflection on these questions may lead to uncomfortable conclusions.

If we recognize selfishness in ourselves and want to change, other questions follow: "Do I have the resources within me to pivot outward to others?" "If I'm a selfish person, how can I become anything different?"

While recognizing our natural tendencies to care for others, the Christian diagnosis is that our deep-rooted tendency to make ourselves the center of our lives is not something we can leverage ourselves out of.

This brings us to the second reading. Before the section we read, St. Paul has said that Jesus "died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised" (2 Cor 5:15).

Jesus has dealt with our tendency to live for ourselves rather than for God and other people.

By his death, he enables us to make a break with the self-centered person we have been, opening up the possibility of directing our energies toward the good of the people in our lives.

Then St. Paul declares: "Whoever is in Christ is a new creation . . . old things have passed away; behold, new things have come" (1 Cor 5:17).

God, who called the universe into existence, wishes to create in us a turning outward to other people.

He wishes to place in us the power to put others' interests ahead of our own and find our happiness in loving them -- as he does.

This, then, is the starting point for becoming a person of love: to put our faith in this action of God in us.

Kevin Perrotta is the editor and an author of the Six Weeks with the Bible series (Loyola Press), teaches part-time at Siena Heights University, and leads Holy Land pilgrimages. He lives in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Pope's March Prayer Intention Print
In 2019, the Pope will present one prepared prayer intention per month, rather than two.
Pope's March Prayer Intention

Recognition of the Right of Christian Communities
That Christian communities, especially those who are persecuted, feel that they are close to Christ and have their rights respected.

Daily Scripture Readings Print
Sunday, Sep. 01, 2013 -- 10:21 AM
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Scripture readings from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
Holy Days of Obligation Print

The following are Holy Days of Obligation for 2019.

Holy Days of Obligation Description
Tuesday, Jan. 1
Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God
Thursday, May 30
Ascension Thursday
Thursday, Aug. 15
Solemnity of the Assumption
Friday, Nov. 1
All Saints Day
Monday, Dec. 9
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Wednesday, Dec. 25
Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
Prayer to St. Raphael Print

photo of Pilgrim Icon of St. Raphael

Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.

We beg you, assist us in all our needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the "medicine of God" we humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of our souls and the ills that afflict our bodies.

We especially ask your guidance of our diocese as we journey toward the rebuilding of a cathedral bearing your name, and the great grace of purity to prepare us to be temples of the Holy Spirit. As our intercessor, beg the Blessed Trinity to prosper the work of our hands and, above all, to bring us, face-to-face, into their Holy presence.


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