Malankara World

Great Lent Today

Day 29 - Fifth Monday of the Great Lent

Opening Prayer:

O God, who renew the world
through mysteries beyond all telling,
grant, we pray,
that your Church may be guided by your eternal design
and not be deprived of your help in this present age.
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)
Isaiah 65:17-21; Psalm 30; John 4:43-54

In His Steps - A Lenten Series

Today: Sea of Galilee: When Christ is in the Boat

Daily Meditation:

You give us new life.
We now begin the second part of Lent.
The Gospel according to John will be our guide.
Before we enter into the controversy and the sense of being in a court room,
we have a wonderful story of a healing.
In this gospel, the acts of power that Jesus works
are the "signs" that help us see who he is.

We are reminded that he is the one who will give us new life.

Lo, I am about to create
new heavens and a new earth.
Isaiah 65:17 The First Reading

Today's Daily Reflection

by Craig Zimmer
Campus Ministry, Creighton University

Today's first reading, from Isaiah, speaks about things being made new the Lord is going to create new heavens and a new earth. We can read this in a literal sense in that the world and the condition of creation is literally going to be thrown away and something completely new and different put in its place. We can also read it in the sense that the world that we live in right now is going to be made new, or perhaps renewed or rejuvenated.

In either case, I think the key question is whether or not we really believe it. Do we really believe that God can make our lives and our world new again? I ask this question because, if we really take an honest look, there are plenty of things all around us that can make us feel hopeless, cynical, and despondent.

Our world is facing threats from climate uncertainty, unequal wealth distribution, and the political unrest that comes with overabundance and overuse at one end of the social spectrum and fearful scarcity and lack of access at the other.

Our country is deeply divided on many issues, from same sex marriage to abortion and contraception; from the national deficit to Medicare and Social Security. Oftentimes, we can't even find a way to talk to each other about these important issues.

Our own lives each contain dark places, whether it's personal habits that are bad for our health and well being, or attitudes that are harmful to our relationships and families.

Yet today's Gospel reminds us of the importance of having faith, faith that things can indeed be made new. Jesus rebukes the royal official in this story for asking that his son be healed. We get the impression that Jesus thinks this man is asking for his son to be healed in order that he might believe. I think the opposite might be true here, though. He didn't demand that his son be healed so that he might have faith. He approached Jesus because he had faith. The cure was not the cause of his faith, but the consequence.

Similarly, we must not wait for the above-mentioned problems and challenges that confront us to disappear before we truly believe that things can be made new. Instead, we are invited to move through our Lenten journey with faith, knowing that there is new life at the end of the tunnel. Faith is the precondition that allows us to embrace the challenges in our lives and in our world, the truly Lenten struggles that we experience each and every day. In fact, approaching the world with the hope and the belief that things can indeed be made new just might be a prerequisite to living a Christian life in our world. This is God's promise to us and the consequence of believing it makes all the difference in how we view the world and the possibility that things can be made new and that God works through us to do just that.

Preface for Meditation:
by Prince Mathew

In the cross of Christ we see the triumph of Jesus over his enemies -- sin, Satan, and death. Christian writers down through the centuries have sung the praises of the Cross of Christ. Paul the Apostle exclaimed, "But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14). "A few drops of blood renew the whole world!"

Hear what Gregory Nazianzen, a 6th century church father, has to say: "Many indeed are the wondrous happenings of that time: God hanging from a cross, the sun made dark and again flaming out; for it was fitting that creation should mourn with its creator. The temple veil rent, blood and water flowing from his side: the one as from a man, the other as from what was above man; the earth shaken, the rocks shattered because of the rock; the dead risen to bear witness to the final and universal resurrection of the dead. The happenings at the sepulcher and after the sepulcher, who can fittingly recount them? Yet no one of them can be compared to the miracle of my salvation. A few drops of blood renew the whole world, joining us and binding us together. The cross of Christ is the door to heaven, the key to paradise, the downfall of the devil, the uplifting of mankind, the consolation of our imprisonment, the prize for our freedom."

The Cross of Christ is the safeguard of our faith, the assurance of our hope, and the throne of love. It is also the sign of God's mercy and the proof of forgiveness. By his cross Jesus has redeemed our sin and atoned for our punishment.

Bible Reading Passages:
Fifth Monday of Great Lent

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

Morning

Gospel Readings:

Luke 4:31-41 (KJV)

And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.

And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.

And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice,

Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.

And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.

And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.

And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.

And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her.

And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.

Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.

And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.

Verse of the Day:

"So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them." - St. Luke 4:39

Intercessions:

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 for 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:

God who created me,
You offer me new life through your Son
and through the gift of your sacraments.
While I see new life all around me,
I don't always recognize the new life you offer me.
Help me to grow this Lent in an awareness
of the gifts you place in my life
and in a greater appreciation for your care.
Give me the courage to ask for help.

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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