Thursday 3rd week of Lent
“Where does our mercy come from?” asked the Pope. Mercy is not one of many realities, “There is no Christianity without mercy. If all our Christianity does not lead us to mercy, we are on the wrong path, because mercy is the only true goal of every spiritual journey. It is one of the most beautiful fruits of charity.”
Pope Francis reminded the faithful following his catechesis that “God's mercy is our liberation and our happiness”, emphasising, “it is the air that we must breathe”.
We are always prone to judgements in our human nature, easily seeing and proclaiming the faults of others, but not so much our own. Quick to anger and slow in mercy is the human way not God's way.
Perhaps we can use our isolation to make a Lenten reflection on Psalm 103:8, one of many verses that show us the right way, God's way:
'Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger, abounding in mercy.'
Wednesday 3rd week of Lent
Adversity reveals character. I've seen the worse of human nature in response to covid-19: hoarding, fighting, price gouging: symptoms of our selfishness. I've also seen the best of human nature. Quarantined communities rising in songs of hope, providing for the needy, a glimpse of agape love.
Masses have been suspended but Jesus is ever present. Let us show the world Christ's is with us.
“See how they love one another”—this is what the pagans observed, to their own amazement, about the early Christians. Let our light shine!
Tuesday 3rd week of Lent
Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. Mt 18:21
Monday 3rd week of Lent
A new week has begun with new anxiety. Everything is closed or closing as we make the effort to encourage 'social distancing' to contain the spread of covid-19. Today is already difficult and who knows what tomorrow will bring?
So I go to the Word for comfort and head straight to Hebrews 13:8
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever"
My friends Jesus loved you yesterday, loves you today and will love you forever! And his love is all we really need.
Sunday 3rd week of Lent
Today's gospel recounted the encounter with Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. It broke all social conventions of the day. Consider who Jesus was speaking to: a person of questionable morals (adultery/fornication) who belonged to an underclass group (women) in a despised society (Samaritan).
Theirs was a deep discussion on her sin, on true thirst, on worship, on the Spirit: Jesus and this marginalized woman. At the end of it, she became an evangelist "come and see". She was no longer outcast as her people listened and came. The life giving water that Jesus offered her renewed and restored her life. Her thirst fully satisfied.
In our thirst we look to quench it with the wrong things. Wealth, power, sex, drugs etc fail to satisfy because it's like drinking from a stagnant pool. Only Jesus offers living water.
This Lent Jesus still waits at the well.
Saturday 2nd week of Lent
I believe the least church going person knows the gospel of the Prodigal Son. It is one of the most human and emotionally touching parables told.
It is the message of Lent. We can go home from anywhere, any state, any condition. No sin need keep us separated from our Father in heaven. All we need is to repent. Our God is waiting.
Friday 2nd week of Lent
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
How far are we from the kingdom of heaven? Are we confident in our devotions, bible verses, devotions and such (these are all good things after all) or are we confident in the power of our love?
Look at the discourse between the scribe and Jesus. It may seem that Jesus gave two answers to one question. He didn't. They are two sides of the same coin really. To love my neighbor is to love God and to love God is to love my neighbor. Neither can be mutually exclusive.
How far are we from the kingdom of God? We can use this Lenten season to find out.
Thursday 2nd week of Lent
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.’
The rich man gave himself away in asking Abraham to send Lazarus to give him relief. He knew his name, was aware of his presence. He simply chose to ignore Lazarus, to deliberately do nothing to give him relief.
Here is a little test: what is our attitude toward the poor, the homeless? Do our windows and noses turn up rather than a dollar, a 'scrap', go out?
Lent challenges me hard today. Do you know Lazarus?
Wednesday 2nd week of Lent
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.”
Another occasion for Jesus to stress the importance of the virtue of humility. It would appear that his disciples wasn't getting the message the first time. In a world of 'I want' and 'gimme' Jesus addresses the call to service, to take care of the needs of others.
Has Lent become challenging for you yet? We continue on.
Tuesday 2nd week of Lent
"The greatest among you must be your servant.Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
When we think of leadership we seldom think about service. In fact, the more common view of great leaders is that they expect others to serve them, just the opposite of what Jesus says. What then is my attitude, do I wish to serve or to rule?
Why do I do the things I do? Is it to elevate myself in the eyes of others? Isn't it natural to like the accolades from others, to see signs of appreciation?
Jesus spoke at length about this. Humility is a Christian virtue.
The Season of Lent is a special time for us to slow down, look inward and make the necessary changes to truly become an Easter people.