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Great Lent Today

Day 15 - Third Monday of the Great Lent

Opening Prayer

Oh God, who have taught us
to chasten our bodies
for the healing of our souls,
enable us, we pray,
to abstain from all sins,
and strengthen our hearts
to carry out your loving commands.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

The Readings (alternate)

Daniel 9:4-10, Psalm 79:8, 9, 11, 13, Luke 6:36-38

In His Steps - A Lenten Series

Today: The Temple Courts: Jesus Makes a Ruckus

Daily Meditation:

Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.
Today's lesson is about mercy -
God's mercy for us first, and our mercy toward others.
We renew our penance -
all the ways we are trying
to change the patterns of our life that need healing.

Lord, do not deal with us as our sins deserve.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
Lord, do not deal with us as our sins deserve.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name's sake.
Lord, do not deal with us as our sins deserve.
Psalm 79

Today's Daily Reflection

by Tom Shanahan, S.J.
University Relations and Theology, Creighton University

Daniel 9:4b-10
Psalm 79:8, 9, 11+13
Luke 6:36-38

Today's gospel is from St. Luke's "sermon on the plain" a parallel to St. Matthew's Sermon on the Mount. In these sermons, or collections of Jesus' sayings, the Lord summarizes how he wants his followers to live their lives. The beatitudes contained in both these collections of sayings set the standard for discipleship, service of God, and love of the neighbor.

Our scriptural reading today is the end of that sermon on the plain and it effectively concludes these important words of Jesus as to how the disciple or we put into practice the spirit of Jesus in our dealings with one another and, ultimately, how we deal with God.

"Be merciful as your Father is merciful," captures the essence of our relationship with others and with God. The "measuring stick" of our mercy is how we treat each other. This is a bold statement that characterizes the way that I exercise mercy, forgiveness and compassion to others is a faint image of how God showers me with mercy and forgiveness.

The measuring here is squarely within the setting of our daily living in which we are opened by God's love to love one another Ė in this case to be an instrument of mercy, forgiveness and compassion. The way we treat others is going to be the way that God treats us. And to be clear this does not mean that the priority in these interactions is ours; no, the measuring stick here is the way that God deals with us. Consider it for a moment Ė God's love is always prior to, and a source of, our actions and that love provides us the invitation to love others the way God loves us; God's love for us, then, is the very foundation of how we deal with one another.

The "good measure" Jesus speaks of here is a basket of grain which is tamped down and shaken so that more grain can be put into the basket. Even then the grain overflows the measuring basket and "is poured into your lap" as Jesus says. What a spectacular image that is. It assures us that God's love is not stingy Ė even towards me who recognizes how I fail and how I miss the mark in relationship to others and to The Other. There's an abundance in God's love, mercy, forgiveness and compassion, and it keeps overflowing and covering me with its blessedness.

In so many ways that image of overflowing is the centerpiece of our Lenten season: the invitation in Lent is to continually discover the God who blesses over-flowingly, a Jesus who gives himself for our rescue, and the Holy Spirit who continues to inspire us with ways that help us to be "merciful as your Father is merciful."

Preface for Meditation
by Prince Mathew

In the Old Testament Godís Greatest act of Deliverance was at the Exodus when Godís people were rescued from the confinement of slavery in Egypt and they were brought into the wide expanse of freedom of the Promised Land. That Exodus event had many insights and connections to another historical saving event Ė the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All of Godís saving acts, even from famine and hardship; point to Godís final and full saving act in Christ and the Cross of Salvation. The whole New Testament was written to proclaim that Jesus is our Savior. The Old Testament points to the Savior to come.

At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert, "Save yourself!", but Jesus did not come to save himself. He came to save us. At the end of his ministry, Jesus was hanging on the cross. His enemies came to taunt him, "He saved others. Why canít he save himself?" Once again we get the message that he came to save us.

The cross is a symbol of Christís humility, but it is also the place where he showed his strength, defeating Satan, overcoming our sin and engaging Death at its worst. The Resurrection of Jesus tells us that Jesus has won, so that his strength becomes ours.

Bible Reading Passages:

Fifty-Day Gospel Planner
(Read all Gospels during the Great Lent)


Gospel Readings:

Mark 2:13-22 (KJV)

And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them.

And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.

And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.

And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?

When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?

And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.

But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.

No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.

And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.

Bible Verse for the Day:

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." St. Mark 2:17


Blessed be God the Father for his gift of this sacrifice of praise.
In the spirit of this Lenten season, let us pray:
Instruct us, Lord, in the ways of your kingdom.

God of power and mercy, give us the spirit of prayer and repentance,
-with burning love for you and all mankind.
Help us to work with you in making all things new in Christ,
-and in spreading justice and peace throughout the world.
Teach us the meaning and value of creation,
-so that we may join its voice to ours as we sing your praise.
Forgive us for failing to see Christ in the poor, the distressed and the troublesome,
-and for our failure to reverence your Son in their persons.

Closing Prayer:

your commandment of love is so simple
and so challenging.
Help me to let go of my pride,
to be humble in my penance.
I want only to live the way you ask me to love,
to love the way you ask me to live.
I ask this through your son, Jesus,
who stands at my side
today and always.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.

Source: Portions from: Creighton University Praying Lent

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