Malankara World

Great Lent Today

Day 36 - Monday before Hosanna

Opening Prayer:

O God, by whose wondrous grace
we are enriched with every blessing,
grant us so to pass from former ways to newness of life,
that we may be made ready for the glory of the heavenly Kingdom.
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.

Readings (alternate)
Daniel 13; Psalm 23; John 8:1-11

In His Steps - A Lenten Series

Today: Bartimaeus: A Blind Beggar Meets Jesus

Daily Meditation:

Help us to pass from our old life of sin
to our new life of grace.
This week we let the powerful light of God's love
shine into the deepest, darkest corners of our soul,
revealing the most un-loving parts of our hearts,
and we ask for forgiveness and healing.
Perhaps we might make the Stations of the Cross
to stir our hearts more deeply with the sense of his love for us.

Though I walk in the valley of darkness,
I fear no evil,
for you are with me.
Psalm 23

Today's Daily Reflection

by Maryanne Rouse
College of Business, Creighton University

The story of "Susanna and the Judgment of Daniel," today's Old Testament Reading Is one frequently illustrated in books about Scripture: Susanna, portrayed as a young women "of great beauty," somewhat curvaceous, with a fearful look, eyes cast upward, pleading for God's help while skulking in the background two elderly men whose painted demeanors betrayed evil thoughts.

Susanna was condemned to death by the false story of two community "elders" who accused her of "having lain" with a young man who conveniently gotten away. In truth, the two men lusted after her, and when she refused them, they concocted the young man and her actions with him. She was then found guilty and condemned to death. Susanna cried out to God for rescue, proclaiming her innocence and fidelity to God and God's Law.

Enter Daniel, at this writing a young man, in whom "the holy spirit of him" was stirred up. Daniel set a trap for the two liars: he questioned them singly, asking, "Under what kind of tree did Susanna and the young man lay?" When they each gave a different response, they were caught! Their wickedness was revealed. They were killed. Susanna was saved; and "From that day onwards, Daniel's reputation stood high with the people." Dan 13: 64.

Today's Gospel begins with Jesus' proclamation that "I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the light of life." Not surprisingly, the Pharisees took issue with Jesus' claim for Himself. It comes at a point where Jesus is embarking on the kind of self-description that eventually gets him killed, and subsequently separates those who believe in Him and those who do not.

Daniel in his rescue of Susanna, blessed her as someone who believes in God; in the Gospel, Jesus is describing one aspect of belief in him as God, that of bringing light to the world, to those who will no longer walk in darkness.

These are the days leading up to the arrest and death of Jesus; in themselves, these are serious days. If in addition, we are experiencing our own days of suffering: wrongful accusations, unresolved relationships, feelings of disappointments, fears of economic peril, questions arise:
How do I receive these situations? Am I able to trust in God's ultimate care and continue to call on his mercy? And even further: Am I willing to choose to be a "light of the world," assuring that those who walk with me are in the "light" at least as much as I can control that?

I think of the saying: "Christianity is not for wimps!" No kidding."

Preface for Meditation:
by Prince Mathew

While it is certainly true that Jesus offers "good news" to Zacchaeus by proclaiming "today salvation has come to this house," there is more to this story than meets the eye. Tax collectors in Jesusí time where considered liars and cheats, and were a branch of the Roman Empire. Zacchaeus is said to be the "chief tax collector" and as a Jewish man collecting taxes for the Romans from his fellow Jews, he was public enemy number one. This is why the crowd was so shocked and disturbed when Jesus calls him down and goes to Zacchaeusí house. It wasnít that Zacchaeus was just a sinner, he was actively exploiting and cheating his own people. Jesus however comes to each of us with a radical gift of grace. Grace is given to all people and is a gift none of us deserve. The story of Zacchaeus demonstrates that Jesusí love extends to all people and that no one is forgotten or written off. God does not give up on people and neither should we.

We can take this story even deeper when we think of how Jesus offered grace to Zacchaeus. When Zacchaeus saw Jesus coming he went up in a Sycamore tree, presumably to get a better look. Zacchaeus certainly could see more from his tree but he also was a safe distance away. Perhaps Zacchaeus knew in his heart that Jesus was coming to change his life, perhaps he knew he wasnít worthy of being loved, perhaps he was not wanting to personally engage his faith.

This story has a lot to do with evangelism and how we can be Godís agents of grace. Jesus consistently went to the people in society who were considered lesser and offers grace. He consistently seeks out the lost and invites them to experience Godís love. We find when Jesus actually went to Zacchaeusí house to be significant in this story. Jesus goes to where people are to offer grace. Jesus doesnít wait for us to come to him, he comes to us. By coming to Zacchaeus' he also forms a relationship of trust.

To GO! for God we have to find ways to demonstrate God's love in our actions and form relationships that are built on trust and mutuality. As agents of Godís grace we are called to meet people where they are and invite them to experience Godís love, mercy, and grace. So get out there, meet people where they are, and maybe invite yourself over for dinner!

Bible Reading Passages:
Monday before Hosanna

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

John 4-5

Morning

Gospel Readings:

Luke 19:1-10 (KJV)

And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.

And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.

And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.

And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.

And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.

And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.

And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Bible Verse of the Day:

Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.
St. Luke 19:9

Intercessions:

Praise to Jesus, our Savior; by his death he has opened for us the way of salvation.
Let us ask him:
Lord, guide your people to walk in your ways.

God of mercy, you gave us new life through baptism,
- make us grow day by day in your likeness.
May our generosity today bring joy to those in need,
- in helping them may we find you.
Help us to do what is good, right and true in your sight,
- and to seek you always with undivided hearts.
Forgive our sins against the unity of your family,
- make us one in heart and spirit.

Closing Prayer:

God of love,
I know that you are the source of all
that is good and graced in my life.
Help me to move from the life of sin
to which I so often cling,
into the new life of grace you offer me.
You know what I need to prepare for your kingdom.
Bless me with those gifts.

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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