Malankara World

Great Lent Today

Day 21 - Fourth Sunday of the Great Lent

 

Knanaitho/ Canaanite Woman Sunday

Opening Prayer:

O God, author of every mercy and of all goodness,
who in fasting, prayer and almsgiving
have shown us a remedy for sin,
look graciously on this confession of our lowliness,
that we, who are bowed down by our conscience,
may always be lifted up by your mercy.
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
Exodus 3: 1-8a, 13-15; Psalm 103: 1-11; 1 Corinthians 10: 1-6, 10-12; Luke 13: 1-9

In His Steps - A Lenten Series

Today: In the Villages: How Many Will Be Saved?

Daily Meditation:

Form a new heart within.
This Sunday brings us closer to the font of renewing our baptismal commitment.
It is also the first of three Scrutinies for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

We are deeply aware that there is a struggle going on in us.
We turn to God, that we might not become discouraged.
We rely on God's compassion and love for us.
We acknowledge who we are
- sinners who experience the consequences of our selfishness -
but we know we are loved and we desire to be filled with hope.

We go into this week renewed in our desire to continue our
prayer, fasting and generosity toward others.

Today's Daily Reflection

by Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality, Creighton University

Words have great histories. Etymology is the study of such wordistry. Procrastinate comes from the Latin, of course, pro means for or on behalf of, craz means tomorrow and teneo means to hold. See, we hold for tomorrow what is being held out for us to do today. For fun, look up the root meaning of prestige or candidate.

In the Jewish scriptures we read of the names for people and the why or history of their names. Jacob's name was changed to Israel, because he wrestled with God. Simon's name was changed to Peter in the Gospel, because he was to be the Rock.

What's in a name? Jesus' name is a form of Joshua whose name would mean, "He Who Saves His People". You, with your name, live his name as well. We prepare to celebrate the liturgy where we hear the Word and remember his saving us his people. He knows our names and the histories of those names as well.

REFLECTION

We have in our First Reading for this liturgy an account of God's first of many conversations with Moses. God speaks to Moses from a burning bush which does not consume the bush. Many experts have commented on the symbolism of that. Moses is asked to take off his shoes as he approaches the holiness of God. The Voice tells Moses that God has a good idea. Israel is in slavery over in Egypt and Moses is to go and manage their release.

The Voice identifies Itself as the God of Moses' religious tradition. God is the same God who called Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So God has presented proper credentials and then presents Moses with his mission. He is to go and talk to the powerful leader of Egypt. Moses responds stating a rather ironical, "Who am I to do such a thing?" So he asks God about what credentials can he present for this conversation with Pharoe. God says that Moses should say that I Am Who Am sent you. So we have the naming of partners. I Who Am I is being missioned by I am Who. Moses has a second mission as well and that is to inform the people of Israel that the God of their tradition has released them from slavery and desires that this be a cause for their remembering the "Who Am" who will always be with them.

A number of years ago, in Central America, emails were being sent around the world that the United States, for future military advantages, had caused the earthquakes in Haiti. A few years ago various Christian preachers were saying that the devastating hurricane which caused so much hardship and loss of life in New Orleans was a divine punishment for homosexuality. This is not a recent interpretation of events.

In today's Gospel two historic events, at least historic to the readers of Luke's Gospel, are presented as a backdrop for the use of a parable by Jesus. The people tell Jesus about some who were killed by a falling tower and that others suffered by Pilate's mixing blood with their sacrifices. Jesus reminds them that physical suffering is not cause by sin necessarily, which was the common religious thought at the time. Jesus bends their news back on them. Those others suffered and some died, but those in front of Jesus will certainly suffer unless they repent. To show them that they have time to experience the compassion of God, he relates a picturesque parable.

God had been patient with Israel and brought them slowly to be the fruitful people of the Covenant by bringing them out of slavery and into a fruitful land.

There is a people who have withered as mature produce of God's fidelity. Jesus will minister that love in his incarnate presence within Israel. His time will be their time for repenting from unfruitful, un-incarnate lives themselves.

The parable ends with their being cut away, because of their lack of personal response to Jesus' mission, teaching and his very life. Jesus is the grounds keeper and his time is ours as well. His three years is our whole life's time.

We have these days of Lent for our repenting from the non-life things. We are preparing to renew our own baptisms as well as preparing as a community to welcome into our communities those preparing for entrance during these days as well.

We are invited to repent from those attitudes which are not resulting in blessings, in enlivening, in deepening those around us. I would hope that we in the community would not be a disappointment to those entering our numbers during the Easter Vigil. I ponder of what I would be ashamed at their discovering about me at the liturgy, at my office, at home. For "shame" we put our hands in front of our faces. For authentic Christian life, Jesus takes away our hands from covery, and in merciful re-covery he urges us to "face" up "face" life, because he has faced us from the Eucharistic Table. We do not advance toward the Altar with hands blocking our countenances, but extend those hands to receive and then extend them as Eucharistic gestures in our lives.

"I will prove my holiness through you, I will gather you from the ends of the earth. I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins. I will give you a new spirit within you, says the Lord." Ez. 36, 23-26

Preface for Meditation:

by Prince Mathew

Later on, Jesus went out and looked straight at a tax collector called Levi, as he sat at his office desk. "Follow me," he said to him. And he got to his feet at once, left everything behind and followed him. St. Luke 5: 27-28

Jesus never demands or commands any to follow him; instead he extends an invitation to each person. We do not hear God speaking in judgmental tones like claps of thunder; instead we experience the soul-searching voice of a friend. It matters not where we are, or in what task we are engrossed, Jesus chooses the time. We choose to accept or reject his invitation. In fact, throughout our walk with Jesus, no matter how often or for what reason we pause, Jesus never bullies or threatens us. It is always his loving voice that reaches out and enmeshes our hearts.

The invitation to follow in Jesus’ footsteps opens our lives to adventures we had never contemplated. It is the only soul satisfying adventure that we can undertake. Full of challenges and opportunities, with the chance to know God intimately, this is our choice that will resound throughout eternity. Follow Jesus? There are not many choices in life for which one would be prepared to die, but walking with Jesus every step of the way is definitely one.

Jesus said to Levi "follow Me", Levi immediately got up, left all his work and followed Jesus. During this Great Lent let us accept His invitation and walk with Him.

Bible Reading Passages:
Fourth Sunday of Great Lent (Canaanite woman)

Evening

Morning

Before Holy Qurbana

Holy Qurbana

Gospel Readings:

Mark 7:24-37 (KJV)

And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.

For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:

The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.

But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.

And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.

And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.

And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.

And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.

And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.

And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;

And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.

And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.

And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it;

And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Luke 7:1-10 (KJV)

Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.

And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.

And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.

And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this:

For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.

Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:

Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.

For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.

Matthew 15:21-31 KJV)

Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.

And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there.

And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them:

Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.

Bible Verse of the day:

People were overwhelmed with amazement. "He has done everything well," they said. "He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak." St. Mark 7:37

Intercessions:

Let us praise our loving Redeemer, who gained for us this season of grace,
and pray to him, saying:
Lord, create a new spirit in us.

Christ, our life, through baptism we were buried with you and rose to life with you,
- may we walk today in newness of life.
Lord, you have brought blessings to all mankind,
- bring us to share your concern for the good of all.
May we work together to build up the earthly city,
- with our eyes fixed on the city that lasts for ever.
Healer of body and soul, cure the sickness of our spirit,
- so that we may grow in holiness through your constant care.

Closing Prayer:

Loving Father,
So many times I turn away from you
and always you welcome me back.
Your mercy and love gives me confidence
Thank you for the invitation to share, fast and pray
so that you can form a new heart within me.
Your powerful compassion for my weaknesses
leads me to ask for mercy
and await with great hope the Easter joy you share with us.

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

Source: Portions from: Creighton University Praying Lent

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