Malankara World

Great Lent Today

Day 31 - Fifth Wednesday of the Great Lent

Opening Prayer:

O God, who reward the merits of the just
and offer pardon to sinners who do penance,
have mercy, we pray, on those who call upon you,
that the admission of our guilt
may serve to obtain your pardon for our sins.
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 49:8-15; Psalm 145; John 5:17-30

In His Steps - A Lenten Series

Today: A Solitary Place: Give Them Something to Eat

Daily Meditation:

Grant us your forgiveness.
We know that this whole journey is about our reconciliation.
We know that God wants to forgive us.
We know we are preparing to renew our Baptismal promises,
and "refuse to be mastered by sin."
Today we hear the invitation and ask more earnestly.

In the marvelous discourse that follows his sign of healing,
Jesus says, "I am not seeking my own will but the will of him who sent me."
I am filled with a sense of sorrow and gratitude,
as I see what he did for me.

I tell you for certain that everyone who hears my message
and has faith in the one who sent me has eternal life and will never be condemned.
They have already gone from death to life.
John 5:24

Today's Daily Reflection

by Diane Jorgensen
SPAHP/School of Pharmacy, Creighton University

Today's readings are full of:
hope… for the Lord comforts his people and shows mercy to his afflicted...
provision… he leads them and guides them beside springs of water…
care and sustenance….can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?...
promise…even should she forget, I will never forget you…
judgment….those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation…
and images of a father who is a protective provider, both wise and just, and of an attentive and tender mother.

As I prayed with these readings, I found myself also praying for students that I encounter in my ministry, especially those who describe themselves as "atheist" or "agnostic". Although many students name the religious faith of their upbringing when asked to fill in the blank on a questionnaire, there are many among them who are full of skepticism or even hostility towards organized religion. I can understand this. They were still children, or just coming into their teens on 9/11 and have grown up with terrorism and fear of terrorism. They have seen widespread scandalous behavior of those claiming to be religious. Some had parents who passed on belief and rule without an experience of the living God. After thousands of years, they see a world that is still full of poverty, famine, war, violence, a lack of health care. Where is this God of promise and comfort? Why do so many suffer at the hands of others? I can understand that their growing inquisitive and rational minds reject the images and promises of today's readings in their honest search for meaning and truth.

Our Lenten journey is a time to remember the "desert" times of our lives – the times when we suffered, nothing made sense, and God seemed distant and uncaring. Who were the people that helped you find sustenance? What circumstances forced you to dig deeply into the well of your experience to find the refreshing spring waters of life? When did you start noticing the green shoots of hope in the small deeds of love and care of those around you?

During this Lenten journey, God, help me understand each situation and event of my life from your vantage point; Jesus, help me see you in each person, and Blessed Holy Spirit, may I recognize you in each breath I take, and trust that you are as present and active in our world as ever before, and as you ever will be.

Preface for Meditation:
by Prince Mathew

The way of greatness in God's kingdom is the way of servant hood and humility, putting others first in our care and concern. Jesus willing laid down his life for our sake because he loved us first (John 3:16). He calls us to love as he did, by laying down our lives in sacrificial service for the good of others. An early church father summed up Jesus' teaching with the expression: to serve is to reign with Christ. We share in God's reign by laying down our lives in humble service of one another as Jesus did for our sake.

The passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the hope of glory and a lesson in patience. ..He loved us so much that, sinless himself, he suffered for us sinners the punishment we deserved for our sins. How then can he fail to give us the reward we deserve for our righteousness, for he is the source of righteousness? How can he, whose promises are true, fail to reward the saints when he bore the punishment of sinners, though without sin himself? Let us then fearlessly acknowledge, and even openly proclaim, that Christ was crucified for us; let us confess it, not in fear but in joy, not in shame but in glory. The way to glory and victory for us is through the cross of Jesus Christ. We have to be ready to take up our cross and follow Christ in his way of victory.

Bible Reading Passages:
Fifth Wednesday of Great Lent

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

Evening

Morning

Gospel Readings:

Mark 6:30-46 (KJV)

And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.

And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.

And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him.

And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.

And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed:

Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.

He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?

He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.

And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass.

And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.

And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.

And they did all eat, and were filled.

And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.

And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.

And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.

And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.


Matthew 14:14-23 (KJV)

And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.

But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.

And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.

He said, Bring them hither to me.

And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.

And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.

And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

Bible Verse of the Day:

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. - St. Mark 6:41

Intercessions:

Let us give thanks to God, our Father:
through the power of the Spirit he purifies our heart and strengthens us in love.
Let us humbly ask him:
Lord, give us your Holy Spirit.

Help us to receive good things from your bounty with a deep sense of gratitude;
-and to accept with patience the evil that comes to us.
Teach us to be loving not only in great and exceptional moments,
-but above all in the ordinary events of daily life.
May we abstain from what we do not really need,
-and help our brothers and sisters in distress.
May we bear the wounds of your Son,
-for through his body he gave us life.

Closing Prayer:

Loving and merciful God,
I am so aware of my sins and weaknesses.
But as painfully aware of my faults as I am,
Let me also remember your tender love,
your gentle and limitless forgiveness.
I come before you filled with pain and guilt
but look into your eyes and see the forgiving love
I so long for in my life.
Help me to forgive the same way.
Teach me to love as you love.

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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