By Mario Martinez

Mario Martinez For most, Easter Sunday is a social day when we look forward to sharing the company of others. Some will visit a loved one’s home, while others will open the doors of their home to host family and friends. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, hospitality is “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.” For some, this reception of others creates absolute delight, while for others utter dismay. Wherever we may find ourselves on the scale between delight and dismay, we can all agree that hospitality has very profound implications. More than opening our home, being friendly, or generous with others, reception is about opening our hearts to others and becoming a self-gift.

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By Maria Covarrubias

 At the beginning of our Lenten journey, the Lord, through the prophet Joel, was asking us: “Return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment. ” [Joel 2, 11-13]

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By Maria Covarrubias

 The Gospel of John begins by narrating, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1, 6-9). 

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By Ray Almanza

 This year we have the opportunity to celebrate Ash Wednesday on Valentine’s Day,  a day in which eros or romantic love and friendship is popularly celebrated. 

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By Teresa Rocha

 Have you given thanks to God today? The month of November is a month of Thanksgiving, especially on November 23, when all the country will come together and recognize the blessings it has received. There are many reasons why a person might choose to live life with an attitude of gratefulness. This means to be present at every moment of life and appreciate the beauty in every moment. We are meant to love God abundantly and with a grateful heart. In the Gospel of Luke (17:11) ten persons with leprosy met Jesus and said, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” and once they were healed only one came back to him and thanked him. When one forgets each blessing the day has, one can live life like the nine that were healed, but instead of returning to Jesus to thank him they moved on with their lives, enjoying what they had received, and forgetting how those blessings were given. 

 Another reason to live life with a grateful heart is to see life as a miracle because every part of our body works in a miraculous way, and every life has its individual space that can be entered by God. There are so many mysteries in life that humans cannot explain. So if one sees life as a miracle, one can transform daily activities into thanksgiving opportunities, and routine jobs into joyful events, and change ordinary events into daily blessings.

 Many times people spend their energy in life thinking of all the things they wish to have or all the things they have to do to achieve impossible feats. In doing this, they may miss out on the opportunity to appreciate family, work, health and even the fact that one is alive. No one thinks that life is perfect, but the energy spent recognizing the good things in life can make the difference when challenges come. It has been proven by many people who have lived a thankful life that one will not be the same person. The lives of our Catholic saints testify to their surrender to the magnificent love of God, in gratitude they gave their lives to serving others.

 Finally, as Pope Francis reminds us in the Joy of the Gospel, “The Lord does not disappoint those who take a risk” (EG, 3). Take the risk of being aware of the great healings you have received and of the miracle you are. Reflect on these ways to begin living with a grateful attitude. Do you say grace before meals? Do you say grace before you open a book to read? We bless you O Lord of infinite grace, give us the Spirt of a grateful heart. Amen.

 Teresa Rocha is the Low Desert and Hemet Vicariate Coordinator in the Diocesan Office of Catechetical Ministry.

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