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Great Lent Today

Day 34 - Fifth Saturday of the Great Lent

Opening Prayer:

May the working of your mercy, O Lord, we pray,
direct our hearts aright,
for without your grace
we cannot find favor in your sight.
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)
Jeremiah 11:18-20; Psalm 7; John 7:40-53

In His Steps - A Lenten Series

Today: Jericho: A Little Man with a Big Problem

Daily Meditation:

Apart from you we can do nothing.
The conflict around Jesus grows.
And all the while, we are turning to God for mercy.
What Jesus went through is for me,
that I might have mercy and the gift of everlasting life.

We call upon the Lord for help, for strength, for trust.

The snares of death overtook me,
the ropes of hell tightened around me;
and in my distress I called upon the Lord,
and he heard my voice.
Psalm 17

Today's Daily Reflection

by Susan Tinley
School of Nursing, Creighton University

As I write this reflection, it is the first week of Lent. At Mass this morning, I found myself frustrated with my wimpy start to the Lenten season. Each year I have such wonderful intentions of utilizing this time of preparation to increase my awareness of and gratitude for God's loving presence and the selfless actions of his son on behalf of us all. These are the most remarkable gifts. They are true gifts. Nothing we have done, or ever will do, will be enough to earn them. Yet they are gifts freely offered to each of us. I find myself wondering why it is so difficult to acknowledge the primacy of these gifts.

Like the distrusting members of the crowd in the gospel reading for today, I spend much of my time ignoring the presence of "the Christ." The rationalization for the crowd's mistrust of Jesus was his humble origin in Galilee rather than Bethlehem. My rationalization is often in the form of being too busy with things that really do not matter. As much as I do not want to compare myself with them, my overinflated sense of self-importance is much like that of the Pharisees.

Some in the crowd recognized Jesus as "the Christ." Even the guards, when questioned by the Pharisees and the authorities about not arresting Jesus, replied, "Never before has anyone spoken like this man." My prayer at this time in the first week of Lent is that by the fourth week of Lent when this is to be read, I will be more like those who recognize the Christ; and I will have grown in my awareness of and gratitude for God's loving presence and the selfless actions of his son. May I allow myself the many opportunities and the privilege to savor and be grateful for God's gifts of his loving presence and redemption by his Son not just in this Season of Lent, but throughout my life.

Preface for Meditation:
by Prince Mathew

After Jesus is arrested and brought to the high priest, Peter follows and waits in the nearby courtyard. Peter is then asked by a woman if he is a disciple of Jesus:

Then the maid who kept the door said to Peter, "Are you also one of this man's disciples?" He said, "I am not." Now the servants and the officers were standing there, having made a fire of coals, for it was cold. They were warming themselves. Peter was with them, standing and warming himself. John 18:17-18

Peter denies being a disciple of Jesus out of fear, as he is worried that he too might be arrested. Yet Peter also wants to remain close to Jesus and the action, presumably to witness what takes place. Peter denies knowing Jesus and then warms himself next to the charcoal fire.

Peter warms himself with the charcoal fire after denying Jesus. He is in the dark, and receiving warmth from a charcoal fire which produces very little light. Peter is in the dark, yet he has enough warmth and light to be comfortable. Contrast this with the light of Christ:

"The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light." John 12:35-36

While Peter warms himself in the darkness with a false light, Jesus light shines. Peter's denial is perilous because he is in danger of being overtaken by darkness. What is subtle and seductive, is that Peter hardly notices the absence of light, the true light of Christ. Good Friday poses for Peter, and ultimately for us, the question of light and darkness. We will walk in the light of Christ or be consumed, little by little, by the forces of darkness?

Bible Reading Passages:
Fifth Saturday of Great Lent

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

Before Holy Qurbana

Holy Qurbana

Gospel Readings:

Luke 6:1-11 (KJV)

And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.

And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?

And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him;

How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?

And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered.

And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.

But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth.

Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?

And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.

Bible Verse of the Day:

Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?"
St. Luke 6:9

Intercessions:

Let us always and everywhere give thanks to Christ our Savior, and ask him with confidence:
Lord, help us with your grace.

May we keep our bodies pure,
- as temples of the Holy Spirit.
May we offer ourselves this day to the service of others,
- and do your will in all things throughout the day.
Teach us to seek the bread of everlasting life,
- the bread that is your gift.
May your Mother, the refuge of sinners, pray for us,
- and gain for us your loving forgiveness.

Closing Prayer:

Lord,
what you ask of my life seems so right.
It is how I want to live,
following your Son, Jesus, so closely.
And yet I fail so often to stay on that path.
I cannot do it alone, loving Lord.
I need your help and guidance.
I need to remember your love for me
and I want to remember
how very much I need you in my life.

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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