Malankara World

Great Lent Today

Day 18 - Third Thursday of the Great Lent

Opening Prayer

O God, who delight in innocence and restore it,
direct the hearts of your servants to yourself,
that, caught up in the fire of your Spirit,
we may be found steadfast in faith
and effective in works.
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 17:5-10; Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6; Luke 16:19-31

In His Steps - A Lenten Series

Today: The Temple Courts: Casting the First Stone

Daily Meditation:

Bring us back to you.
The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus is our lesson today.
We beg to be open to the workings of the Spirit,
that we might not settle for the consolations of this life alone.

Jesus then said, "I am the one who raises the dead to life!
Everyone who has faith in me will live, even if they die.
And everyone who lives because of faith in me will never really die.
Do you believe this?"
John 11

Today's Daily Reflection

by Howie Kalb, S.J., Jesuit Community, Creighton University

Jeremiah 17:5-10
Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4+6
Luke 16:19-31.

In the first reading today we have Jeremiah, the prophet, comparing how living without faith would be like living without clean water. He tries to make the people understand that life cannot go on long without one or the other. Along with other similes he explains that substitutes can replace the essentials temporarily but they will never last. Human friendship can perhaps take up God's place: pleasures and plenty will supply for life's disappointments: and youth will make every effort to hold off old age. But eventually friends do move away, become infirm or pass to the next life. Pleasures will succumb to some pains, medications, handicaps and occasionally even needed hospitalizations. But eventually, death overcomes us all.

"Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord."

In the second reading from Luke, Jesus tells his listeners a parable of how this actually takes place. How Dives travelled the road from riches and opulence to the pit of eternal suffering and how Lazarus having suffered through pain and privation, endured his temporal abandonment, but staying close to God, now enjoys eternal rest in Abraham's bosom. To people who no longer put their trust in God, Jesus believes his parable will be a more effective warning than even if he sent Dives back from the dead. Why? Because as Jeremiah tells us…

"More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart, to reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds."

The idiom "more tortuous" is defined by Webster's Dictionary meaning: "marked by twists or turns, devious." Beginning another Lenten Season, I find how well "tortuous" applies to the many devious turns and starts and stops I'll make in my Lenten Resolutions before I get to Easter. May the Good Lord strengthen all of us, who still put our trust in the Lord, to grow more stalwart hearts to offer the Risen Lord on Easter Sunday.

Preface for Meditation
by Prince Mathew

The second call which we will focus on is quite different from the first and concerns a small boy. This second call is found in the opening chapters of the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel. Samuel had been brought to the temple when he was still a child by his mother, Hannah. Hannah had dedicated her son to the Lord and entrusted Samuel to Eli, the priest. One evening, when Samuel was twelve years old, and both he and Eli were sleeping in their rooms, the Lord called out to Samuel by saying, "Samuel! Samuel!" Thinking that Eli, the priest had called him, Samuel ran into Eli's room and said, "Here I am, for you called me." Eli said to Samuel, "I did not call you, lie down again." So Samuel returned and lay down.

The Lord then called again, "Samuel!" Samuel then got up, and went to Eli again and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But Eli said, "I did not call, my son; lie down again." The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. Again, for a third time, Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." When Samuel came for a third time, Eli perceived that it was God who was calling Samuel. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, "Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, 'Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.' " So Samuel went again and lay down in his place. For a fourth time, the Lord returned again and called "Samuel! Samuel!". This time, Samuel responded, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." Samuel responded to God's call and God revealed Himself to Samuel.

Whenever God calling us we are going to some other places and to some other persons, it is the time to listen to him from the place where we are standing right now, and say to God "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening" - St. Luke 13:24

Be ready to hear the "Third call" on next day – God bless us all.

Bible Reading Passages:

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

Evening

Morning

Gospel Readings:

Luke 13:18-30 (KJV)

Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?

It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?

It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.

Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,

Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:

Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.

But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.

There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.

And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

Mark 9:30-42 (KJV)

And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it.

For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.

But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.

And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?

But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.

And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,

Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.

And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.

But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

For he that is not against us is on our part.

For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.

And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

Bible Verse of the Day:

"Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to." St. Luke 13:24

Intercessions:

God has revealed himself in Christ.
Let us praise his goodness, and ask him from our hearts:
Remember us, Lord, for we are your children.

Teach us to enter more deeply into the mystery of the Church,
- that it may be more effective for ourselves and for the world as the sacrament of salvation.
Lover of mankind, inspire us to work for human progress,
- seeking to spread your kingdom in all we do.
May our hearts thirst for Christ,
- the fountain of living water.
Forgive us our sins,
- and direct our steps into the ways of justice and sincerity.

Closing Prayer:

Loving God,
I hear your invitation, "Come back to me"
and I am filled with such a longing to return to you.
Show me the way to return.
Lead me this day in good works I do in your name
and send your Spirit to guide me and strengthen my faith.
I ask only to feel your love in my life today.

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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