Great Lent Today
DAY 5 - First Friday of Great Lent
Daily Lent Prayer
"Lord, open my
and my mouth shall declare your praise."
Almighty ever-living God,
look with compassion on our weakness
and ensure us your protection
by stretching forth the right hand of your majesty.
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.
Isaiah 58: 1-9a; Psalm 51: 3-4, 5-6ab, 18-19; Matthew 9: 14-15
In His Steps - A Lenten Series
Today: Egypt: Jesus' Temporary Home
A Friday of Lent
and an introduction to "True Fasting."
We are still in the first four days of Lent.
Today and tomorrow we read the 58th Chapter
of the book of the prophet Isaiah.
These powerful words have such a contemporary message.
True fasting will lead us to act justly and caring
for those who are most in need.
On every Friday of Lent we abstain from meat
as a sign of our common penance.
It represents our efforts to abstain from
- do without - so many other patterns
that get in the way of our happiness and wholeness.
by Andy Alexander, S.J.
Creighton University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
This is the first of the Friday's of Lent. Today we reflect upon the powerful
Lenten theme of fasting. During this first part of Lent, the first reading is
the key reading and the gospel is chosen to match that reading. Isaiah, chapter
58 is our guide for this weekend - today, and in the moving second half of the
chapter tomorrow. Reading this chapter, slowly, carefully, can be a wonderful
help to begin Lent.
In Isaiah's preaching to the people, we have a contemporary message for our
hearts. God wants the prophet to deliver this message to the people, to point
out some powerful issues for their conversion.
It begins with tough irony. God says that the people ask God "to declare what is
“Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?”
The contemporary version of this is that we, too, often blame God for the
troubles we get ourselves in. And, we want to make a request of God to make our
lives happier, or to relieve some distress, and expect God to jump to our
Isaiah really challenges the people for their lack of sincerity and integrity.
The answer to their question is simple: the reason they don't have access to
their God is that their supposed "days of fasting" are actually days of
injustice - pseudo-religious activity which covers over the way they treat
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
Then Isaiah sets them - and us - straight about true fasting:
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
In one of the most beautiful lines in scripture, Isaiah delivers God's message:
When we act justly - when these are the sacrifices we make in love for those in
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!
This reading - and its second half tomorrow - are a great reflection on how we
might decide to fast during these six weeks of Lent. Of course, we will also
want to fast from food on the Fridays of Lent. In addition to that, we can ask
ourselves, Are there concrete acts of compassion and justice which can become a
part of my Lenten journey? After all, aren't these the changes in our hearts
which will lead us to deeper conversion? The fasting from food can become the
preparation - our experience of surrender of "our own pursuits" and can heighten
our awareness and prepare for our change of heart regarding those in need around
Sometimes, the change in our attitude, in our compassion and love, begins close
to home - loving our family members better. Today and every Friday of Lent could
be special days of practicing special care for those we need to love with more
appreciation and sensitive, thoughtful care. That love and compassion can then
spread out, allowing us to examine our consciences about how we can act more
justly in our hearts, in our choices, in our generosity.
This Lent can become a time in which our hearts are drawn closer to our Lord's
own heart - and the blessing he promises us: if we die to ourselves we will find
Source: Creighton University's Online Ministries
Preface for Meditation
by Prince Mathew
Lent is the period of time for self-examination by the believer; of putting on
the spiritual armor of the Church; of applying the riches of prayers and
almsgiving; of adopting deeply the meaning of repentance; of atonement and
reconciliation with God Almighty.
During the period of the Great Lent the awakening of the spirit of man comes
about through inspiration from the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ. It is a
time of self-examination and preparation, and of taking an inventory of one's
inner life. He and Christ know his exact condition. At this time one sees
himself in the mirror of the Gospel - how he looks. One finds the means and ways
to correct and improve himself.
Lent is a period of time when one delves into himself with the light of the Holy
Spirit in order to rid himself of the impediments which hold him back. It is a
period when one strengthens his faith by more prayer and devotional life. During
the period of fasting one makes a special attempt to evaluate his calling as a
Christian; to listen to the voice of the Gospel and heed its commandments; to
accept the constant invitation to enter Christ's Kingdom.
Fifty-Day Gospel Planner
(Read all Gospels during the Great Lent)
Think not that I am
come to destroy the law, or
the prophets: I am not come
to destroy, but to fulfill.
18For verily I say
unto you, Till heaven and
earth pass, one jot or one
tittle shall in no wise pass
from the law, till all be
shall break one of these
least commandments, and
shall teach men so, he shall
be called the least in the
kingdom of heaven: but
whosoever shall do and teach
them, the same shall be
called great in the kingdom
20For I say unto you,
That except your
righteousness shall exceed
the righteousness of the
scribes and Pharisees, ye
shall in no case enter into
the kingdom of heaven.
21Ye have heard that
it was said of them of old
time, Thou shalt not kill;
and whosoever shall kill
shall be in danger of the
22But I say unto you,
That whosoever is angry with
his brother without a cause
shall be in danger of the
judgment: and whosoever
shall say to his brother,
Raca, shall be in danger of
the council: but whosoever
shall say, Thou fool, shall
be in danger of hell fire.
23Therefore if thou
bring thy gift to the altar,
and there rememberest that
thy brother hath ought
24Leave there thy gift
before the altar, and go thy
way; first be reconciled to
thy brother, and then come
and offer thy gift.
25Agree with thine
adversary quickly, whiles
thou art in the way with
him; lest at any time the
adversary deliver thee to
the judge, and the judge
deliver thee to the officer,
and thou be cast into
26Verily I say unto
thee, Thou shalt by no means
come out thence, till thou
hast paid the uttermost
27Ye have heard that
it was said by them of old
time, Thou shalt not commit
28But I say unto you,
That whosoever looketh on a
woman to lust after her hath
committed adultery with her
already in his heart.
29And if thy right eye
offend thee, pluck it out,
and cast it from thee: for
it is profitable for thee
that one of thy members
should perish, and not that
thy whole body should be
cast into hell.
30And if thy right
hand offend thee, cut it
off, and cast it from thee:
for it is profitable for
thee that one of thy members
should perish, and not that
thy whole body should be
cast into hell.
31It hath been said,
Whosoever shall put away his
wife, let him give her a
writing of divorcement:
32But I say unto you,
That whosoever shall put
away his wife, saving for
the cause of fornication,
causeth her to commit
adultery: and whosoever
shall marry her that is
33Again, ye have heard
that it hath been said by
them of old time, Thou shalt
not forswear thyself, but
shalt perform unto the Lord
34But I say unto you,
Swear not at all; neither by
heaven; for it is God's
35Nor by the earth;
for it is his footstool:
neither by Jerusalem; for it
is the city of the great
36Neither shalt thou
swear by thy head, because
thou canst not make one hair
white or black.
37But let your
communication be, Yea, yea;
Nay, nay: for whatsoever is
more than these cometh of
Verse for the Day:
St. Matthew 5:19 "Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and
teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven,
but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the
kingdom of heaven".
Source: Malankara World
Let us pray to Christ our Savior, who redeemed us by his death and resurrection:
Lord, have mercy on us.
You went up to Jerusalem to suffer and so enter into your glory,
- bring your Church to the Passover feast of heaven.
You were lifted high on the cross and pierced by the soldier's lance,
- heal our wounds.
You made the cross the tree of life,
- give its fruit to those reborn in baptism.
On the cross you forgave the repentant thief,
- forgive us our sins.
I know how much you love me.
It’s hard for me to feel it sometimes,
but I know your love is always with me.
Help me to use your love as a way
to persevere in my Lenten intentions.
I am weak, but I know with your help,
I can use these small sacrifices in my life to draw closer to you.
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Source: Creighton University Online Ministries
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