rainbow on grass field

Feast of St. Patrick

17 March 2021

John 5:17-30

When reading the Gospel of John, I always feel I am being called to reflect on my life, especially in a spiritual sense. That perhaps my spiritual life is not where it needs to be, and now is the time to get uncomfortable and grow. Well, this is exactly what today’s Gospel reading is requiring each of us to do: read, reflect, get uncomfortable, and act. What better time to do this than in the season of Lent?

When Jesus heals a man on the sabbath and stirs such an uproar causing his adversaries to want to kill him, I want to tiptoe away quietly, unheard and unseen, and hide my head in the sand. Why would Jesus do such a thing? Why not adhere to the laws of the land and come back tomorrow?

Jesus tells us why, “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work” (Jn 5:17). It is unfathomable to think that God has worked unceasingly since creation for the well-being of each of us, but Jesus tells us this is true. Creation is not yet finished, there is still so much work to be done.  God will never abandon us. In the messiness of the world, a messiness that we in fact created ourselves, we have a perfect example of God’s continuous work and mercy in the gift of His only Son.

We are being called to pull our heads out of the sand, to abandon fear, and to be like Christ in today’s gospel. This life on earth is not to be spent doing our own bidding but to do God’s will, as Jesus proclaims, “I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me” (Jn 5:30). 

Amanda Costello


Lord, Sometimes I want to shy away from doing your will. Help me to live out your calling in my life boldly.

Lent Devotional 2021
Download your copy of A Time to Grow: A Daily Devotional for Lenten Pilgrims here.
Advent, Blessed Mother, Gospel, Mass Reflection

The Visitation Gospel Reflection for Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Monday 21 December

Luke 1:39-45

Mary set out in those days and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

As we draw nearer to the birth of our Lord and prepare for his arrival, today’s Gospel perfectly illustrates how we should prepare to receive him.  The forthright love, humility, and pure joy between Mary and Elizabeth proves that when our trust in God is at the center of our lives, perfect love is born.

Before the reunion witnessed in today’s Gospel, our Blessed Mother proclaimed her fiat, “May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).  In doing so, Mary was fully accepting God’s plan for her – to become the mother of our Savior.  She did this without fully knowing what it would entail, giving us the true definition of trust. Additionally, she was told her cousin Elizabeth was with child, so Mary went with haste to see Elizabeth, knowing how she longed for a child her entire life. Elizabeth accepted God’s will. She did not lose faith or hope when her own desires had not become reality in her youth.

Mary and Elizabeth reunite with immense joy, “Elizabeth filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out . . . and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?’” (LK1:41-43). 

The image of these two women, embracing with such warmth, love, and joy, is how we should interact with one another. In receiving your neighbor, you are receiving Christ himself.  As women, let us strive to mirror Mary and Elizabeth’s relationship with the women in our lives.  Let us embrace each other with joy-filled hearts, humble ourselves so we can see Christ in each other, and allow Christ’s perfect love to radiate through our interactions.

Amanda Costello


How are you a good friend to the women in your life?