Daily Gospel Reflection for January 21, 2014



Today’s Gospel: Mark 2:23-28

You know the hero in any action movie? He finds himself in impossible situations where he is exhausted, he has been shot, and things seem bleak, but he keeps fighting and clawing his way to victory. A priest once told me that is what it should be like on Sundays when we are trying to get to Mass. Very little should stand in our way. And I think that is important and true.


But we need to forgive ourselves for the times when life calls us in another direction. Kids will get sick. WE will get sick. Snow will fall. Cars will break down. And in those times, it is easy to let guilt take over. But we don’t go to Mass out of guilt; we go out of love.

So, in those trying times where Mass doesn’t happen, remember you tried your hardest. Remember what the Lord said: “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”


When have you failed recently, whether in Mass attendance or in some other area of your life? How can you turn that failure over to God?


Lord, help me to forgive myself. Show me how to walk more closely with you and love myself the way you do. Hold me in my failures.

Copyright 2014 Jenna Hines


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  1. Hi Jenna and thanks for your reflection. While I agree with you that we can’t feel guilty when we are prohibited from going to Mass by health issues or weather, I fear that many of us find other ways to justify missing too often. Studies show that less than 25% of Catholics make it Mass every Sunday. I love this reflection from Fr. Greg Friedman for today at http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/ that emphasizes the reason for our Sabbath rest. In a busy, weeklong all-day work environment, I often feel guilty taking time off on Sunday to recharge my spiritual batteries, but it’s so greatly needed. I love your prayer for today and am making it my own. Thank you for a lovely reflection!

    • Yes! That is a very important point. And, I had never heard that stat before. It is pretty astonishing. But, when I think about it, when I think about Christmas and Easter, when I think about many of the Catholics I know, it makes sense. Now, finding something to do about it!

  2. Lauren Hill, in her book Mudhouse Sabbath, writes too about observing the Sabbath. She converted from Judaism and said she missed the Shabbat the most which was all the ritual observances of the Sabbath. It definitely made me think of how I observe the Sabbath!

    I had to miss a holy day of obligation because our Commission, which was holding our biennial women’s conference the next day, was hosting a dinner for the speakers. I tried and tried to find a vigil service for the night before at other churches and couldn’t find one. It was impossible for me to make the 7am service at our parish. I felt very guilty about it and was going to deny myself communion until I got to confession but during the mass as I listened to the priest I realized I had done all I could to get to mass but as Chairperson of the Commission, I had to there at the dinner. I realized just now as I write this that we could have all have gone to mass together and gone to dinner afterwards. Missed opportunity!

    • We had a moment like that a few weeks back. Darn polar vortex and all of its misery! But, I know we are given dispensation for such events when our heart truly wants to be there but our body cannot be 🙂

  3. As a homeschooling mom, I have taught my children the 3rd Commandment and the laws of the Church, and we have put them into practice. This winter, however, has seen snowfall in MD twice on Sunday mornings. The first time, we tried to make it to church, but the big blue van just wouldn’t get up the big hill on the way to church. Ours and other cars were slipping, so we turned around. When snow fell the second time, I didn’t even try. My children were surprised! They wanted to know why it wasn’t a sin to not even try. I guess I have to beware of not teaching in such a way that scruples develop in my children. That would be quite a different problem than the parish priest usually encounters!

  4. Thanks for this reflection! I know a few weeks ago, there was what was going to be a horrible ice storm one Sunday. On our way to a Christmas party on Saturday, my husband and I attempted to go to Mass at a different parish (on the way there). Unfortunately, I didn’t look at the parish website (I looked at Mass Times), and the vigil Mass had been moved from 5:30 to 4 PM! We got there at 5:15 only to find everyone leaving.

    The next morning, we looked at the weather forecasts for the next 2 hours and were told there would be significant ice buildup that would make traveling home from Mass dangerous. It wasn’t until 2 hours later that we realized it hadn’t materialized, and that was the end of our chances to make it to Mass for the day. 🙁

    I had to remind myself that we did try, and we were legitimately concerned for our safety on Sunday. (Even the weather forecasters were flummoxed at the way the ice storm seemed to dissipate over our town!)

    • Yes! Safety first, of course! This has been a particularly chilly and snowy winter; I think people aren’t used to missing Mass for weather! So, it is easy to feel guilty, but when our heart is true, God knows!

  5. The Sabbath is a pure gift from God and we need to make better use of this gift. I am guilty of the sporting stuff that takes place on Sunday’s, we do go to Mass each week, but then sometimes are rushing about to these events. While I feel we should be in HIS presence for the day and do things that are family orientated, I think sport can still happen, but it must be geared around the concept of playing in thanksgiving for all he has given us and not in a mindless way. As parents it is up to us to make sure this takes place, we can compartmenalize GOD to an hour on Sunday, he must be with us at all times…

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