Lent is a time to deepen your faith. Use weekly resources from Marquette University to enhance your observance and celebration of Lent.

You can start with exploring "The beauty of Lent" and "Eight ideas for your best Lent at Marquette" or you can jump right into the weekly homilies and reflections.

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6

Week 1

Called into the desert

By Rev. Jim Voiss, S.J., vice president for Mission and Ministry
March 1, 2020

Read a recap of the video.

I'd like to ask you a question. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you had to make a choice? On the one hand, you have an option that is enjoyable, appealing, relaxing, and fun. For example, binge watching your favorite show on Netflix. On the other hand, you have an option that is perhaps less enjoyable, but will help you to grow and develop your capacities so that you become the person that you most like to be. For example, working on a term paper that is due in two days which you haven’t done all the preparatory work. When we know that the better of the two options is writing the term paper, but we are still being pulled toward Netflix, we refer to that as a temptation.

The first Sunday of Lent, we hear that Jesus had to confront temptations. As Jesus left his baptism at the river Jordan, he was led by the spirit out into the desert to be tempted. When we reflect on this experience in Jesus’s life, we typically turn our attention to the temptations he may have faced. But this time, I find myself drawn to the place of the temptation. Jesus was drawn out into the desert. He was drawn into a place, separated from the noise, confusion and distractions of day to day life. No longer in the midst of the hubbub, no longer involved or engaged in the events of the city in Jerusalem, Jesus was able to listen and sift through the pulls on his heart, to make sure that he was directed on the right course. We was better able to prepare for his public ministry and to be led in the direction that his father was calling him. 

As we enter Lent, the church invites us to step into the desert, to step apart from our normal routines, and to allow ourselves time and space to stop, think and listen to the movements that are taking place within our own hearts. Then we can ask which of those movements lead us more closely into the direction of God, and which of those movements, like temptations, might lead us in a direction that hurts our relationship with God.  

This Lenten season I invite you to consider how you might want to create time to step into the desert and engage in the process of reflection. Here are three resources to help guide you.

  1. Pray the Examen - This is a daily examination of the movements that take place in our heart.
  2. Talk to a trusted advisor or mentor - Consider talking with a trusted adviser, mentor, or someone who's own life experience can help you illuminate what's going on in your own life.
  3. Check out Campus Resources – Follow @MUMissionandMinistry@MUCampusMin, and @mupeacemaking on Facebook and Instagram for daily videos, reflections, and more. Lenten programing includes Campus Ministry for Marquette students, the Faber Center for Ignatian Spirituality for faculty and staff, and University Advancement for Alumni.  All these areas offer us days of reflection, scripture study, and other opportunities to get together and think more deeply about what it means to live our Christian vocation particularly in this season of Lent.

Whichever way you choose to enter this Lent, I hope the coming season will be for you a time of renewal, restoration and invigoration for your relationship with the Lord. Finally, I asked that we can all pray for one another in this time that this might be a rich season of renewal. God bless you.

Retreat Questions

  1. What is one temptation that you may experience this week and what will you do to resist the temptation? 
  2. Jesus was called into the quiet of the desert where he can better hear the calling of his father.  Where is a quiet place that you can go in order to better listen to your heart?


Week 2

A season of transformation

By Rev. Fred Zagone, S.J., university chaplain

Read a recap of the video.

In the years that I have been at Marquette we have seen a series of mass shootings in the Milwaukee area. A church service in Brookfield, the Seek Temple in Oak Creek, a spa in Brookfield. Sadly, there was another shooting on Ash Wednesday at the Molson-Coors facility.

The fact is, we live in a crazy world and we need to spend some time in prayer asking God to help us bring an end to the violence and dangers that confront us in this world, in our cities, even here on our own campus. It is time for a change.

Just look at the change that took place in this week’s gospel. We heard the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus. But I believe the more important change that takes place is the transfiguration, or transformation that takes place in the disciples. They come to the realization that Jesus is really the Son of God.

We must be transformed as we journey through Lent. We are called to walk, maybe run, away and leave our sinfulness behind. Our sinfulness. The sinfulness of our world. Each step we take is an opportunity for transformation in our lives. And it is only by starting with the transformation of our own life that we can even begin to change and face the problems in the world around us. Think about the words when we received ashes on Ash Wednesday. Turn away from sin.

Lent is a reminder for us to prepare for what is coming. Whether we choose to give up something for Lent, or to give something for Lent, we are reminding ourselves of our sinfulness and our need for forgiveness. We are preparing ourselves to walk these days with Jesus. It is our Exodus from sinfulness. It is our Passover to a new life. It is our Way of the Cross with Jesus. This journey not only takes us to Holy Week to share in the death of Jesus, but by God’s promise, we share in Jesus’ resurrection.

As spring approaches let this new season be a time of transformation. Of transfiguration. Of blossoming. Let this be a time when we reevaluate who we are and what we are about. What is important to us? What do we value? What would we be willing to die for? This is what defines us as Christians.

As the sunshine gets a little higher in the sky and the days get longer, let us allow ourselves to see the dazzling light of Christ that shines on us. See it reflected in the faces of the people around you in your classes, in your residence halls, in your home, at your workplace.

Most important, feel that warmth and light in your hearts and know that the Son of God is present in us, and with us.

Retreat Questions

  1. What is most important to you? What are your values?
  2. What transformations have you seen that shows that Spring is near?


Week 3

Be reconciled to God

By Rev. Vincent Nchimunya, S.J., research assistant for Diederich College of Communication

Read a recap of the video.

Have you ever wondered why the past is so important to our daily life. In life there is always a moment when we have to stop and look back. Different companies have moments to evaluate their activities. Families sit to share good and bad moments, If you are an employee, your employers have time to evaluate you. Our means of transport like cars have moments when we have to take them for service.  Students have time to evaluate their professors. Professors have time to evaluate their students.

From this we can say that an un-reflected life is not worthy leaving. In the same way, Lenten season is an opportunity for us to stop and reflect about our life.

In the gospel this week, we hear of Jesus talking to a woman who had a past that was not attractive. However, upon hearing the message of God, she does not keep it to herself. She goes out to the whole society to share the good news with others. Human beings are created to share love. It is in sharing love that our humanity is actualized.

Like the woman who turned to be a sharer of the gospel, we are encouraged during lent to be sharers of the gospel. Where there is hatred let us share the good news of Christ so that the world can experience reconciliation. It is an opportunity for us experience a wonderful journey, a journey of Passover to new life.

Currently the world is so divided. We have a lot of people who do not have enough to eat, we have people who have ideologies that are dividing people in society bleeding hate that leads to violence. To such people we say come back to God, carry his cross and be the gospel sharers to the end of the world. Second Corinthians good message for us.

“We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20)

Retreat Quesitons

  1. What is something in your life right now that needs deeper evaluation in order to make a change?
  2. What is one way that you can spread love this Lenten season?


Week 4

Come and see

By Rev. Michael Maher, S.J., adjunct assistant professor of History

Retreat Questions

  1. Staying socially distant can be challenging, especially from those you love most. What are other ways that you can show love and care to those you love?
  2. The hymn, Amazing Grace, comes to mind when we think of this week’s Gospel message. What graces have you received this Lent?


Week 5

The resurrection and the life

By Rev. Philip Sutherland, S.J., graduate assistant, Philosophy

Read a recap of the video.

The question that the Gospel presents to us is who is Jesus? He says in the Gospel that “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” But this seems odd because of course we die. Death and dying is something a lot of us are thinking about in this time. We are scared for ourselves, for our loved ones, for our friends and family. We are scared for our country. Perhaps some of us have lost jobs or wages because of the economic hit that this virus has taken. And here is Jesus saying “I am the resurrection and the life.” Where is our hope today? What does this identity of Jesus mean for us today?

I don’t know why God allows suffering to occur. So much of life seems random, unexplainable. But I do know that God is with us and that we have victory over death through Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. That victory is played out in the Gospel story today when Jesus raises Lazarus. Lazarus is a dear friend of Jesus, and indeed we read that Jesus wept. This is one of the rare times we get a glimpse into Jesus’ emotions. He is very moved by the death of Lazarus and by the mourning of his friends Martha and Mary and the others gathered around the home. Jesus understands grief and is moved by our grief. So we are not alone in our fear and our mourning. Jesus has been there too and is with us now.

He also assures us as well that “whoever believes in him will live and never die.” But of course, we do die. He must mean something else than that we won’t die in our mortal bodies. He means that our communion with God is eternal, that even the death of our bodies cannot overcome it. Our communion with God and with each other as the Body of Christ is eternal, its bonds are everlasting. Perhaps it is here where we can find some hope in the midst of darkness. Even though it can seem that the world is chaotic and spinning out of control, Jesus remains our center.

I bet you can find times in your life when you were in despair and eventually found your way out; there were times when you were fearful, uncertain and desolate, and yet in the end, you found life. We have all had little and big moments of resurrection. Those times when we thought we would fail and it turns out we did better than expected, or those times when we did fail but it wasn’t the end of the world. It is often times of suffering that make us more compassionate and more open to God’s mercy and the mercy of others. We are not strangers to resurrection in our everyday lives.

So let us live in that hope now even in times of darkness and confusion. God who is love is stronger than death and remains with us now and always. Even now God is working something new in our lives and in our world.

Retreat Questions

  1. Who is Jesus to you?
  2. What is a little resurrection that you have experienced in your life? A hardship that you faced that in the end, you came out stronger?

Week 6

Palm Sunday

By Rev. Aaron Pidel, S.J., assistant professor of Theology

Read a recap of the video.

In a climate of social distancing, certain aspects of Jesus' own experience during the week before his death stand out, aspects that we might have otherwise overlooked. For me, the aspect that comes most to the fore is Jesus' solitude. This might seem ironic, given the fact that on Palm Sunday­ when liturgies aren't corona-canceled-we play the festal crowds that throng the streets of Jerusalem, waving palms and acclaiming Jesus: "'Hosanna to the Son of David." Judging from the way these same crowds would later turn on Jesus, however, we know they did not understand that Jesus would not be a conquering king like David. Jesus entered Jerusalem enveloped in the solitude of incomprehension. Yet, having a fully human nature, He longed for that comprehension. He would allow Mary, the sister of Lazarus, to anoint him in Bethany like a man already dead. Her comprehension of his destiny was a balm to his human soul. The liturgy of Holy Week invites us to take Mary's good part; to use our social distance as an opportunity to come closer to Christ in his solitude. I know why you have entered Jerusalem, Lord. I'm grateful. I believe.


Easter Sunday Virtual Mass

Join the Marquette community for virtual Mass live on Easter Sunday, April 12 at 9 a.m. CST.

Easter Sunday virtual Mass