Matthew 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
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.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."

Today’s Gospel really speaks to me as high school teenager always looking to what is next. Jesus highlights important aspects of our lives on earth in order to live with Him in the kingdom of heaven. He simply lays out our paths to eternal life with Him. Obeying His teachings is our path to salvation. I hear that phrase over and over again, but most of the time, it is exactly what I need to hear. When getting caught up in the chaotic rush of life, it is important to remind yourself what is important. Everything good comes through God and that is something I constantly need to remind myself of. In my prayers, I thank God for what I have and all my gifts, but the best way for me, and all of us, to serve the Lord is through our actions and words.
                        “But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
                        will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
Think about that for a moment. It’s so plain and simple yet we struggle to put God first in our lives. Daily reminders I leave for myself help to keep me in the right place. Developing good habits and not being afraid to exit my comfort zone lead me to a closer relationship with God. Jesus wants us to join Him in the kingdom of heaven, so He gives it to us straight. We must authentically live out our faith and enter God’s commandments fully and wholeheartedly to follow the path Jesus has set for us.
John Harkins
CBHS Class of 2017 


Daniel 3:25, 34-43 

Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud:
"For your name's sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever,
or make void your covenant.
Do not take away your mercy from us,
for the sake of Abraham, your beloved,
Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one,
To whom you promised to multiply their offspring
like the stars of heaven,
or the sand on the shore of the sea.
For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation,
brought low everywhere in the world this day
because of our sins.
We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader,
no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense,
no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you.
But with contrite heart and humble spirit
let us be received;
As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks,
or thousands of fat lambs,
So let our sacrifice be in your presence today
as we follow you unreservedly;
for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame.
And now we follow you with our whole heart,
we fear you and we pray to you.
Do not let us be put to shame,
but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.
Deliver us by your wonders,
and bring glory to your name, O Lord."

I am extremely moved by the powerful message in today's reading.  This passage is one of the earnest, heartfelt pleas to God made by Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego, asking God to deliver them from King Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace.  God did have mercy on them, but God did not spare these three because of some great "prince, prophet, or leader"; nor did God spare them because of some "burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense."  God spared them because of their steadfast faith, and because they offered themselves "with contrite heart and humble spirit." 

During this Lenten season, my prayer is that I can emulate the example set by these three men.  I pray I can acknowledge my own failures, and ask God for His mercy and compassion with a contrite heart, while understanding that His forgiveness is an amazing gift that can only be achieved via a truly repentant heart.  And similarly, I pray for the strength to forgive freely as Jesus has taught us.  I find that it is often times easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to forgive and let go of anger or frustration when I feel I've been wronged.  But if I'm not willing to forgive, then I am not humble in spirit and worthy of God's mercy like these three men.  May we all experience the gift of God's mercy this Lenten season, and also share it with anyone we come in contact with.

Bobby Daush
CBHS Class of 2002 


2 Samuel 7:4-5A, 12-14A, 16

The LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
"Go, tell my servant David,
'When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his kingdom firm.
It is he who shall build a house for my name.
And I will make his royal throne firm forever.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.'"


The first reading today highlights God’s promise to David that the Messiah will come from his lineage. It is because of St. Joseph’s willingness to take a pregnant Mary into his home that that promise was fulfilled. How incredible is the Gospel reading today! At first look we see a simple, hardworking, and righteous man “unwilling to expose Mary to shame” come to terms with marrying her. After more contemplation, though, we understand how important it was for us that Joseph say yes. It is because of St. Joseph that Jesus is from the line of David. Had he not adopted Jesus, God’s promise to David would not have been fulfilled.

I have heard a lecture before that suggested two possible interpretations of St. Joseph’s initial reservations: the first being that he did not want to be married to a woman who was pregnant with a child that was not his; but the second being that he actually believed everything Mary told him, and he did not think himself worthy to be the foster father of God himself. His is a noble lineage, yes, but it is certainly one with some major skeletons.

How often do we turn away the opportunity for closeness to God because we are too ashamed of our history? St. Joseph’s ‘yes’ to God and to Mary shows us an example of humble obedience. We should not be afraid to let Jesus, the Son of God, into our lives, no matter how unworthy we think ourselves to be.

St. Joseph, pray for us!

Mary Delgado
CBHS Faculty



In those days, in their thirst for water,
the people grumbled against Moses,
saying, "Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?
Was it just to have us die here of thirst 
with our children and our livestock?"
So Moses cried out to the LORD, 
"What shall I do with this people?
a little more and they will stone me!"
The LORD answered Moses,
"Go over there in front of the people, 
along with some of the elders of Israel, 
holding in your hand, as you go, 
the staff with which you struck the river.
I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb.
Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it 
for the people to drink."
This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel.
The place was called Massah and Meribah, 
because the Israelites quarreled there
and tested the LORD, saying,
"Is the LORD in our midst or not?"

Who among us in the past few years has not uttered the sentiments in the last line of this reading?  “Is the Lord in our midst or not?”  Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.  As the world’s values stray away from what we know to be the truth, the evil one would have us quarrel and test God as the Israelites did.

I too complain and grumble when things don’t “go my way” or follow the path that I see as best.  In doing this, I block the unconditional love and grace God gives me to surrender to His plan!  God’s plan for life, including the crosses to bear, will always lead me towards Him, never away.  The kicker is my willingness to follow His path for me no matter where it leads.  Even if it means 40 years in the desert, trusting in His will and praying for and following His guidance will lead, even me, to the promise land.

God’s love is not earned; I cannot and need not try.  I simply must love Him back enough to follow.  Opening myself up to that love allows me to feel His plan leading me along, and even see Him, in the eyes of my family, friends, co-workers, the teller at the bank, checkout person in the store and the strangers I encounter every day.  He is standing right before me, just as he stood on the rock in Horeb, near Moses. 

So the answer to the question is a resounding, yes!
Deacon David Dierkes 
CBHS Class of 1974 


Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
"This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."
So to them Jesus addressed this parable.
"A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
'Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.'
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
'How many of my father's hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
"Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers."'
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.'
But his father ordered his servants,
'Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.'
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
'Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.'
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
'Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.'
He said to him,
'My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.'"
In the Gospel reading today we hear one of the most popular parables of Jesus, The Prodigal Son.  This parable is so well-known because it holds a message of love and forgiveness; two things we all need more of these days.  This parable is relatively simple to understand; however, it has a deep meaning that allows us to contemplate our relationship with God and others.  God is always waiting for us to come back to him.  I was reading a book recently called "Have a Little Faith" by Mitch Albom.  In this book, Albom states, “Adam hid in the Garden of Eden. Moses tried to substitute his brother. Jonah jumped a boat and was swallowed by a whale...Man likes to run from God. It's a tradition.”  We try to run from God.  Maybe we think he cannot forgive us or maybe that even though he can, we don’t deserve it.  Jesus tells us in this Gospel that these thoughts are not true.  In fact, Jesus challenges us to forgive as perfectly as He does.  Not only is this Gospel about God being able to forgive us, but it is also about us learning to forgive one another.  Through forgiveness there can be love, and through love there can be peace.  In the end, peace and love are what all of us need.  These things: peace, comfort, forgiveness, and especially love are the things that make us truly happy, and that’s what we must learn to strive for.  

Sam Nieman
CBHS Class of 2017


Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: 

"Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them,
thinking, 'They will respect my son.'
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
'This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.'
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?"
They answered him,
"He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times."
Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?
Therefore, I say to you,
the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit."
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables,
they knew that he was speaking about them.
And although they were attempting to arrest him,
they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.


I remember when I first heard this parable as a child, it made no sense to me.  Albert Einstein is credited with saying "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."  The vineyard owner's actions in this parable would certainly fit this definition of insanity.  Even though the tenants had already proven themselves murderers and thieves, the landowner "doubled down" on his bet and sent increasingly important representatives in the hope that the tenants would have a change of heart and respect his authority.  The vineyard owner finally sent his own son and the entirely predictable outcome occurred.

I soon realized the parable was referring to God, the prophets, and Jesus.  However, that narrative was even more illogical to me.  Why would an all-powerful God sacrifice his only Son for a human race that had constantly rejected His will at every turn? I would have destroyed the human race and started over, or mercilessly punished humanity until it conformed to my will. Thank God I am not God!

This parable serves to remind me that God's ways are not our own. His plan for our salvation through Jesus is so much more beautiful, merciful, poetic, and even illogical than anything humans could come up with.  I pray that I may be open to God's will in my life, especially when it seems to make no sense to my feeble human brain.  His mercy and love endures forever through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus! 

Marcello Donato

CBHS Class of 1994 



Jesus said to the Pharisees:
"There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man's table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
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.'
Abraham replied, 'My child,
remember that you received what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing
who might wish to go from our side to yours
or from your side to ours.'
He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him
to my father's house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.'
But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.'
He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
Then Abraham said,
'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.'"

This Gospel passage perfectly describes how we will be judged once in the Kingdom of God at the end of time. Some people with many rich gifts and blessings may prosper on earth while others without many possessions may struggle on earth. At the end of time, we will not be judged on the amount of belongings we have, but by how we spent our time and effort helping our fellow brothers. In this parable, Lazarus suffered temporary pain, but he was rewarded with the amazing gift of everlasting life with God. The rich man’s life on earth seemed to be fulfilling to him, but his selfishness doomed his chances of reaching Heaven.

As a senior at Christian Brothers High School, I am blessed with plentiful opportunities to serve the less fortunate through mission collections and performing service hours. In my four years at CBHS, I have learned the importance of respect and service which will help me for the rest of my life. 
Because all humans are made in the image and likeness of God, we should help and respect each other as we all try to reach the final goal, eternal life. 

Nick Morris
CBHS Class of 2017


Matthew 20:17-28

As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem,
he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves,
and said to them on the way,
"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem,
and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests
and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death,
and hand him over to the Gentiles
to be mocked and scourged and crucified,
and he will be raised on the third day."

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her, "What do you wish?"
She answered him,
"Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom."
Jesus said in reply,
"You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?"
They said to him, "We can."
He replied,
"My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left,
this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Who are the best of the Twelve Apostles? If one would ask Salome, the mother of James and John, I believe she would think her sons were in the way that she sought to secure special favors with the Lord.
Was she willing to offer up her two sons to become martyrs as the Lord was predicting? Or was she just trying to fulfill selfish requests of power, might, and prestige for them in the afterlife. She was thinking of life in heaven in ways that one thinks of life on earth.
In telling her that only the Father can grant the request, our Lord is trying to explain that the kingdom of heaven is different. Riches in heaven will be granted to those who deserve them, namely those who follow Jesus. And, yet, we think often think ourselves as better than others. But, we must learn that true liberation and true freedom comes through following the Son of Man.
True greatness, true freedom is not acquired through special treatment or promises but with a complete emptying of ourselves in front of God. We must trust in the Lord - in all that we do. At work. With our colleagues. At home. With our spouse. With our parents. With our children. And even with our enemies. God honors service over power. Raising one’s children, doing one’s duty, toiling through labor, and remaining faithful throughout honors God.
This is often difficult to follow. But, we must. Through his suffering, death, and Resurrection, Jesus has atoned for our sins. Therefore, to be truly free, we must follow Him and we can only achieve true greatness by serving others, not ourselves. Let us all strive during the season of Lent to prepare ourselves spiritually to meet the Risen Christ.

John Morris
CBHS Faculty


Matthew 23:1-12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,

"The scribes and the Pharisees

have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.

Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,

but do not follow their example.

For they preach but they do not practice.

They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry

and lay them on people's shoulders,

but they will not lift a finger to move them.

All their works are performed to be seen.

They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.

They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,

greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi.'

As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi.'

You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.

Call no one on earth your father;

you have but one Father in heaven.

Do not be called 'Master';

you have but one master, the Christ.

The greatest among you must be your servant.

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;

but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."



In today’s Gospel, Jesus brings two themes front and center; practice what you preach and don’t toot your own horn.  Every time I hear or read this particular passage from Matthew it reminds me of my father, Joe Costa.

My father would be considered to be a successful man, yet he was a very humble man.  Through hard work and perseverance, he built a successful business. Despite his success, he never forgot his simple childhood.  Joseph Gregory Costa was first generation Italian-American born to immigrant parents in Philadelphia, PA.  He put himself through Catholic high school, St. Joe’s Prep in Philadelphia, and then worked his way through Drexel University.  He attained more and achieved more than he ever imagined.  He truly believed that God had blessed him, and he never hesitated to share his good fortune with others.  

In today’s Gospel, Jesus said, "For they preach, but they do not practice."  Unlike that line, my father lived his faith with his deeds, not his words.

I had the good fortune of working for my dad in our family business, so I spent many days with him and observed him in many different circumstances.  During those 20+ years, I learned many lessons. One afternoon as we arrived at our favorite restaurant for lunch, a disheveled, down on his luck man stopped us in the parking lot.  He told us that his car had broken down, and that he needed to get his family to Nashville.  The man promised that if he could borrow twenty dollars, once he got to Nashville he would immediately mail the money back to my father.  Not missing a beat, dad reached into his pocket and gave the man the money.  The man thanked him and quickly moved on. 

With more than a little sarcasm, I said, “Dad you know that was a con job, that guy was lying to you.”  My father looked at me and said, “What if he wasn’t lying?”

It has been more than a dozen years since that day, and I still remember almost every word of his interaction with the man headed to Nashville, who forgot to get my father’s address.  Nevertheless, that day cemented my appreciation of my father’s relationship with God and the Church.  He was always willing to give his time, talent and treasure.  He didn’t do it for the awards, the praise or the gratitude.  He did it because that is what he believed.  As in Luke 6:38, “Give and it will be given to you”, my father always practiced what he preached.

In the last line of today’s Gospel, Jesus said, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."  To my knowledge, my father never told anyone about that day with the traveler to Nashville.  You see my Dad didn’t like tooting his own horn; he knew only God needed to know.

Greg Costa

CBHS Class of 1977


Luke 6:36-38

Jesus said to his disciples:

"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

"Stop judging and you will not be judged.

Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.

Forgive and you will be forgiven.

Give and gifts will be given to you;

a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,

will be poured into your lap.

For the measure with which you measure

will in return be measured out to you."



It is always amazing to me that the teachings of Christ over 2000 years ago are still prevalent in today's culture.  

In reading this passage from Luke it makes me remember what my mother always told me,"Treat everyone the way you want to be treated" and what my wife has always reminded me, "Give to give and expect nothing in return." God is so gracious with His unconditional love for us and has given to us in abundance even though we are all broken.  

In reflecting on this passage I ask myself, "Am I a net giver or a net taker?  Do I pour into others in order to see them flourish?  Am I humble in my daily life by letting others shine and myself fall into the background? Do I pick others up when they are down or the butt of the joke or do I just join along?"

Life is not easy but faith in God is free.  He gives us this to use and to follow his way and not ours. He does not judge us so we are not to judge others.  To whom much is given much is expected, and in authentically giving  our hearts, service and treasures, we are able to receive His grace. 

Jonathan Lyons

CBHS Class of 1993 


Sunday, March 12
Matthew  17:1-9

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, 
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them; 
his face shone like the sun 
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, 
"Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here, 
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, 
then from the cloud came a voice that said, 
"This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him."
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
"Rise, and do not be afraid."
And when the disciples raised their eyes, 
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.
As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
"Do not tell the vision to anyone 
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."
Sr. Teresa of Calcutta once said, “Just show up and things will happen.”
Jesus showed up at Mount Tabor and look what happened.  Peter, John, and James also showed up.  These three members of Jesus’ inner circle went on to make things happen.  Peter- the first pope of the Catholic Church.  John- at the foot of the cross during the crucifixion of Jesus and made the guardian of Mary.  James- the first apostle to die for Jesus.
Jesus showed up and was transfigured.  Moses and Elijah showed up as well.  They were conversing with Jesus in preparation for his departure and destiny, namely, his crucifixion and resurrection.  Elijah is considered the boldest of God’s prophets.  Moses is the most important prophet of Judaism as well as being an important prophet in Christianity and Islam.  Elijah and Moses were still making things happen because they showed up when God asked them to.
The last to show up was God Himself.  He says to the disciples, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." Because He showed up, He identified Jesus as His son. 
Because Peter, James, and John showed up, they not only witnessed the transfiguration of Christ and the appearance of Elijah and Moses; they also heard the voice of God.
Because they showed up, they were told by Jesus of His death and resurrection.  I’m pretty sure they did not fully understand but would sooner than later.
Next time we have the chance to be a part of something good or have the opportunity to help someone, maybe we should show up and make things happen.

Didier Aur 
CBHS Class of 1979


Saturday, March 11
Deuteronomy 26: 16-19
Moses spoke to the people, saying:
"This day the LORD, your God,
commands you to observe these statutes and decrees.
Be careful, then,
to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.
Today you are making this agreement with the LORD:
he is to be your God and you are to walk in his ways
and observe his statutes, commandments and decrees,
and to hearken to his voice.
And today the LORD is making this agreement with you:
you are to be a people peculiarly his own, as he promised you;
and provided you keep all his commandments,
he will then raise you high in praise and renown and glory
above all other nations he has made,
and you will be a people sacred to the LORD, your God,
as he promised."

“Today you are making this agreement with the Lord... And today the Lord is making this agreement with you.”  The word “agreement” jumped out at me after reading this passage given to us by Moses.  In my world, the word “agreement” is usually contractual, often arranged after deliberation, negotiation and careful consideration between two parties. 
However, when I looked “agreement” up in the dictionary, the first narrative used to define the word is “harmony of opinion.”  Replace the word “agreement” in the passage above with the phrase “harmony of opinion”.  “Today you are making this harmony of opinion with the LORD and today the LORD is making this harmony of opinion with you.”  Harmony, to me, inspires feelings of peace, connectivity and meaning. 

In this “harmony of opinion”, our relationship with God promises that we will be rewarded for listening to His voice, following His laws and harkening to the teachings of the prophets.  It is often said that what you put out into the universe will return to you.  If you are kind, you will be rewarded with kindness, if you are generous, you will be blessed with riches, if you love, you will be loved.  How much more freedom, peace and meaning would we find if we made a stronger effort to have the discipline and courage needed to make our daily decisions based on the teachings of the Old and New Testament?  How much more would be returned to us if we tried harder to listen to the Voice that speaks not just to our minds, but through our hearts?

Peace, health and happiness to you and your families this Easter season.
Ken Kimble
CBHS Class of 1992


Matthew 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples: 
"I tell you, 
unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

"You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, 
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny." 



This passage is from the Sermon on the Mount and discusses the importance of repentance and the assurance of God’s forgiveness.  Jesus teaches us that observing the law like the scribes and Pharisees is not enough.  If we have anger in our hearts and hold grudges against others, either outwardly or in thought alone, we must genuinely make peace with ourselves, with God, and with the people we have mistreated before approaching the altar.  In the end, it’s all about relationships.

This is reminiscent of when we pray the Our Father during mass and say, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us...”  Admittedly, many times I have said these words without thinking about what they really mean.  Among the constant distractions by which we’re surrounded, how many of you can say the same?  Following the Our Father, we share a sign of peace with our families and other members of the congregation around us.  This gesture is also often done in an automatic and mechanical way, but it’s designed to be a meaningful symbol of harmony and reconciliation with one another before we receive the Eucharist together.  I believe this is the essence of Jesus’ message in this Gospel reading.

Going forward - and especially this Lenten season - I am going to be intentionally conscious of the words I pray and truly take them to heart.  I hope you’ll join me.

Clay Tidwell, Jr.

CBHS Class of 1996


Matthew 7:7-12

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 
Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things
to those who ask him.
"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. 
This is the law and the prophets."


I am a chocoholic and my primary addiction is to M & M’s.  Years ago, I was a member of a religious community who lived poverty in a radical way.  We depended on God’s providence for all our needs.   We relied on the generosity of others for our sustenance. We did not always get what we wanted, but our basic needs were always met.  

On one occasion I was having a craving for M & M’s.  In a very brief communication with God I mentioned to Him that some M & M’s sure would taste great about now.  A few minutes later the doorbell rang.  When I answered the door, I was surprised to see a man I had never met standing there holding a three-pound bag of M & M’s.  Before I could even introduce myself, he said, “I just thought I would bring some sweets to the sweet Sisters,” and he handed me the bag, turned, and was gone!  

I never did find out who he was, but I know he was sent by God to a sister who had offered up a very simple request.  God heard and He answered.  It was nothing earth shattering, but that is how God works.   He hears our simplest wants and responds.   God always answers our prayers.  Sometimes the answer is “no”, “not yet”, "I have something better in mind for you” or “yes.” “ much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.”

Then a real miracle happened . . .I shared the M & M’s with the other Sisters!
Gerry Taulman

CBHS Faculty

Wednesday, March 8

Luke 11:29-32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
"This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah. 
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment 
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation 
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here. 
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here."

When I read this scripture two thoughts come to mind.  First, this reminds me of how evil the world feels today with the increased terrorism, discrimination, hatred, and total disregard for human life.  This scripture reminds us that God will bring his wrath and judgment on the people that chose evil over love.  Evil WILL NOT triumph.  God and His people will. 
Second, this makes me wonder what God would say about our generations of today.  Many people debate which generation is worse or better than the other.  The last season of survivor, “Millennials vs Gen X”, was solely dedicated to this argument.  It seems to me though every generation has its own set of complicated issues to face and evil ways they have turned to.  However, the root of each generation’s issues stemming from Adam and Eve is turning away from God’s directions.  Somewhere along the way we decided to stop listening or even stop communicating to Him, and followed our own path.  This could range from abruptly turning away from God because of an event in our life to a slow turning away from God caused by not keeping Him first in our life.  In either situation, we are not following God’s direction for our life.  This can be a lonely and destructive path, and we miss out on so many of God’s wonderful blessings.  If we continue, consequences will ensue. 

But how great is our God who will show mercy and forgiveness, if we repent.  No matter how far you have turned from Him you have the choice to make things right.  In these times of increasing distractions, worries, and fears to lead us astray, think about what ways great and small you turn from God each day.  For me it is not always spending daily time with Him.  Whatever it is for you take this time to recommit to Him, and seek his guidance in every step of your daily life. 
Cindy McRae
CBHS Faculty

Tuesday, March 7

 Isaiah 55:10-11

Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Matthew 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
"In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

"This is how you are to pray:
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

"If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."

In the first reading Jesus sends from heaven the rain and snow to water the earth making it fertile and fruitful. I see this as Jesus sending from heaven the corner stones of LOVE -- kindness, mercy, patience and forgiveness to each of us to nourish, make fertile and fruitful our ability to LOVE one another. As Mark Twain wrote, " Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heal that just crushed it. " 

As we mirror and reflect the gift of LOVE that Jesus gave each of us by his death on the cross, that is beautifully expressed in the way Jesus wants us to pray. The Our Father is a prayer of LOVE and forgiveness and it reminds me of my beloved mother, Mary Arnette Canale Tagg, who taught us about LOVE and forgiveness. She used to say the  hardest and toughest LOVE GOD sent us is to " LOVE your enemies". I used to argue with her (I should have known better), "Mother what you are asking is impossible, nobody can LOVE their enemies." I remember vividly her response, "If you have a truthful relationship with Jesus and ask Him to help you, you will get there." Forgiveness is one of the corner stones of LOVE. The only thing God can judge us on is LOVE. As Saint John of the Cross wrote " When the evening of this life comes, we will be judged on LOVE ." 
  William T. Tagg
  CBHS Class of 1964

Monday, March 6

Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18

The LORD said to Moses,
"Speak to the whole assembly of the children of Israel and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.
You shall not steal.
You shall not lie or speak falsely to one another.
You shall not swear falsely by my name,
thus profaning the name of your God.
I am the LORD.
You shall not defraud or rob your neighbor.
You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your day laborer.
You shall not curse the deaf,
or put a stumbling block in front of the blind,
but you shall fear your God.
I am the LORD.
You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment.
Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty,
but judge your fellow men justly.
You shall not go about spreading slander among your kin;
nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor's life is at stake. 
I am the LORD.
You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. 
Though you may have to reprove him,
do not incur sin because of him. 
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD."


To summarize the passage: Don't . . .  Don't . . .  Don't . . . 
Do - "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Can you count how many times you have heard that statement?  Can you remember the first time you heard it?  If I had to pick the first thing I remember being told, I would have say it was to be nice to others -- a toddler version of love your neighbor as yourself.
My mother says one of the first things I learned was that neat red glow on the stove top is painful to touch.  But I honestly don't remember that.  She claims it was painful for her to let me learn that on my own, but that she could only try to protect me so many times.  I don't know if I ever really touched it, or she was just saying I'm stubborn.
Lent.  The season to reflect on my faith.  How well am I living my life?  How well am I following the rules God set forth?  Those 10 Commandments, I'd put myself at doing a pretty good job on those.   The don'ts in the passage, I need to work on those.  Plenty of options for sacrifices to choose from for this season.  How about the greatest commandment?  And the second that is like it?
As preparation for Easter, I think of how many of God's teachings have I been exposed to and how well am I living them?   What have I done to deserve the greatest gift I've ever been given?  That makes me think of the shortcomings.  Many of these can be traced back to the failure to love my neighbor.  And that is one of the earliest teachings I can remember. 
Lord, I pray now asking you to help me learn to love my neighbor as myself.  Help me do this more often so that I may do a better job of loving you with all my heart and soul.  Help me to recognize where and when I can make these sacrifices that will lead me to love myself more, and feel more deserving of joining in the celebration of your great sacrifice.  Amen
David Herig
CBHS Faculty


SUNDAY - 3/5/2017

Sunday, March 5

Romans 5:12-19

Brothers and sisters:
Through one man sin entered the world,
and through sin, death, 
and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned.

For if, by the transgression of the one, 
death came to reign through that one, 
how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace
and of the gift of justification 
come to reign in life through the one Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, just as through one transgression 
condemnation came upon all, 
so, through one righteous act,
acquittal and life came to all.
For just as through the disobedience of the one man
the many were made sinners, 
so, through the obedience of the one,
the many will be made righteous.



On this first Sunday of Lent, Jesus is obedient and does not sin when tempted in sharp contrast to Adam and Eve. In our passage from Romans, St. Paul contrasts the bequests of Adam to mankind of transgression, condemnation and death with Jesus's superabundant gifts of righteousness, acquittal and new life.  We need the Season of Lent to keep us faithful to Jesus's path of obedient trust in God's providential core and service to others.

In our reading from Romans, St. Paul writes that Jesus is in fact "the new Adam" the only one who could undo Adam's sin of disobedience through His perfect sacrifice.  Original sin, Paul reminds us, brought condemnation and death to humanity.  Consequently, only through the Blood of Christ and His perfect sacrifice to the will of God, the Father could atonement, forgiveness and eternal life be available to us. 

God does not leave us in our sin.  He never abandons those whom He loves.  Today, St. Paul reminds us that the Father sent His Son to save us.  Jesus's perfect sacrifice on the cross allowed the sin of Adam and Eve to be reversed.  Because of Jesus, we now have the opportunity to know our great dignity as God's beloved sons and daughters.  Baptism permits us to be "plunged into the Paschal Mystery of Christ" that we may inherit the promise of resurrection and eternal life.

During this Lent, 2017, we are tempted not just to keep our Lenten resolutions but to become more willing to follow God and Jesus.  There are so many obstacles in this world - addictions, anger, judgment, suffering, abandonment, sickness and loneliness - which prohibit us from seeing God and follow His Son, Jesus, wherever He leads us?  Have a great Lent!

Father Bill Burke
 CBHS Class of 1967

St. John Baptist de la Salle, pray for us
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever

SATURDAY - 3/4/2017

Saturday March 4
Luke 5:27-32

Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, "Follow me."
And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.
Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house,
and a large crowd of tax collectors
and others were at table with them.
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying,
"Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"
Jesus said to them in reply,
"Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners."


Jesus states, "I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners." These words are so reassuring to me especially during the season of Lent. As we spend these forty days examining our lives and preparing ourselves for Jesus's death and resurrection, I always find myself lacking and not worthy of Jesus's sacrifice. Then the words of this Gospel remind me that Jesus came for people like me-imperfect sinners. He came to bring his love and compassion to us and show us that we are worthy of his love. He will forgive our sins and help us become more righteous if we only ask and follow him. This is the greatest news-to know that Jesus loves us unconditionally even though we have faults-He sees the good in us and wants to lead us to righteousness with Him. 

Lindsey Haaga Neuman
CBHS Faculty

FRIDAY - 3/3/2017

Friday, March 3
Isaiah 58:1-9A

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast; 
Tell my people their wickedness,
and the house of Jacob their sins. 
They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
pleased to gain access to God.
"Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?"
Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!


Isaiah's prophetic words in today's Old Testament reading are a rich blessing to us as we begin our Lenten journey.  We learn the purpose of our fasting from God's perspective which should offer us great encouragement and an even deeper purpose in how we approach fasting.  Clearly, the end-game of fasting is not simply about self-denial or a demonstration of piety.  Rather, God speaks through Isaiah to stress that He intends for our fasting and sacrifice to result in a disposition of deep, intentional care for others - extending mercy, showing compassion, offering forgiveness, and providing for others' needs.  

Those types of actions are so important to our Christian mission and communion with God that the Church has formally defined them (Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy) and calls us to make them a hallmark of our spiritual journey.  While we would all agree with the importance of these charitable acts, it can often be difficult to change longstanding habits or interrupt the demands of our daily lives to put this into action.  This is where the purpose of self-denial and fasting becomes so powerful.  It enables us to intentionally create the space in our lives to recalibrate our passions and desires toward how we treat others and direct our actions. 

Christ's forty-day fast in the desert immediately preceded the inception of His public ministry to prepare Him for the selflessness that would be required to instruct His disciples, tirelessly preach and heal, and face an unfathomable Passion.  Similarly, making sacrifices enable us to form a holy disposition of heart and mind that directs how we approach others' needs.  What does this look like?  Maybe it's skipping a round of golf to help a neighbor with a home repair, taking a co-worker to lunch who is struggling with a project, or passing on happy-hour to go to adoration and pray for someone while in the midst of Christ's real presence.   Perhaps these are some things we could do a little more often this Lent.  In doing so, we unite ourselves to Christ's mission and "Light will break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed."
Aaron Ranson
 CBHS Class of 1997

THURSDAY - 3/2/2017

Thursday March 2
Luke 9:22-25

Jesus said to his disciples:
"The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected
by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised."

Then he said to all,
"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?"

In the fall of 1969, I had the great good fortune to be placed in the sophomore religion class of one of the newest members of the CBHS faculty, one Br. Joel McGraw. I remember, like it was just yesterday, these words of Br. Joel's: "Gentleman, dare to be different".  Not a day has passed since then that those words don't echo in my mind and spirit.

In today's Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples of his impending sufferings and death.  In our modern world, those are not the words that we want to hear from our spiritual leader.  We would like a more positive spin.  But Jesus is not of this world and he dares to be different. Rather than always seeking the easy way out and immediate pleasure in this world now, He tells us that we must suffer in the here and now and look forward to our true reward in heaven later.  That does not mean we must go around down-trodden and wearing ashes all the time, but it does mean that we must be open to sufferings now that will transform us with the hope of eternal rewards later.  In our modern world, this is truly counter cultural. So for today, let us accept our sufferings and "losses" as Jesus did, knowing as C.S. Lewis said, "There are far better things ahead than what we leave behind".

Bill Callahan 
CBHS Class of 1972

ASH WEDNESDAY - 3/1/2017

Ash Wednesday, March 1
 Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 17

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
"Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight."
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.



The Responsorial Psalm for Mass on Ash Wednesday is Psalm 51 with its famous line, "Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned."  It is a perfect mantra for the first day of the Lenten season wherein we reflect on the countless ways we have put ourselves first and God and others way down the list, if not last, of our concerns.  And that putting ourselves first and others and God last is the core of every sin...the ultimate lie, the ultimate falsehood.  Our "original sin" is that lie, that falsehood...that we are the center of the universe, the center of concern.  It is the polar opposite of love which puts God and others first.  And by putting God and others first...we find love and we find joy and fulfillment in life.  Each of the forty days of Lent we have the opportunity to accept the mercy of God, the love of God, to turn from ourselves and turn to others...and ultimately to God.
Prayer:  God of mercy, God of love, God of forgiveness, bless us this holy Lent of forty days with the grace of knowing the ways we are selfish.  And one by one may we turn from them and turn to love, turn to others, turn to You, Your Son Jesus Who died and rose for us, and to Your Holy Spirit that binds us all as brothers and sisters of one another. 
Br. Joel William McGraw, FSC
CBHS Class of 1963



Lenten Reflection Series Introduction


"I have a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person's life. God is in everyone's life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else - God is in this person's life. You can -- you must -- try to seek God in every human life."

                                          - Pope Francis

"Each vocation arises from the mystery of the unique encounter between God and the person who is called."

                                        - St. John Baptist De LaSalle

Like many other large cities around the world, Memphis has its share of panhandlers. Madison Ave. and I-240, Highland and Sam Cooper, certain gas stations, stores and a slew of other locations are regular "hangouts" for them. The public is discouraged from giving them money and we are encouraged to make donations to charitable organizations who work with the homeless.


Yet, I've been taught to see Christ in everyone and that passage from the gospel of Matthew "haunts" me each time I encounter someone asking for money:

Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

St. John Baptist De LaSalle never claimed to hear voices from heaven but rather searched for God's will by examining his experiences and the needs of the people. His spiritual life was an ongoing journey and, like each of us, he occasionally struggled to discern God's will.

Over the next 40 days, we will follow the journeys of alumni, faculty, students and friends. Their struggles, insights, and faith can be sources of support and inspiration as we examine our own lives in preparation for Easter Sunday.

Br. Chris Englert, FSC
President, Christian Brothers High School