Malankara World

Great Lent Today

Day 26 - Fourth Friday of the Great Lent

Opening Prayer:

Pour your grace into our hearts, we pray, O Lord,
that we may be constantly drawn away from unruly desires
and obey by your own gift the heavenly teaching you give us.
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
Hosea 14:2-10; Psalm 81:6-8, 8-9, 10-11, 14, 17; Mark 12:28-34

In His Steps - A Lenten Series

Today: Down from the Mountain: Suspend Disbelief

Daily Meditation:

Fill our hearts with your love.

Our lesson today reminds us again of God's love and Jesus' desire
that we love one another as we are loved.
On this journey, we are learning why this is a challenge for us.
We are experiencing our human weaknesses and practicing ways to be freer,
to open our hearts more fully to God's love
and to give ourselves in fidelity, every day.

You ask us to express our thanks by self-denial.
We are to master our sinfulness
and conquer our pride.
We are to show to those in need
your goodness to ourselves.
Preface for Lent III

Today's Daily Reflection

by Eileen Wirth,
Department of Journalism, Media & Computing, Creighton University

I will heal their defection, says the Lord, I will love them freely; for my wrath is turned away from them. Hosea

My mother is a brilliant, quiet, wise woman who just turned 90. No matter what one of her six kids has done, she never yells or lectures, let alone threatens to cut us off. There's not an ounce of martyrdom in her, just steadfast love and support. "You'll never regret standing by your kids," she wrote me one time.

Anyone lucky enough to have a parent like Mother should resonate to Hosea'sdescription of God's love for us. "I will heal their defection, says the Lord, I will love them freely; for my wrath is turned away from them."

Like a great parent, God knows we will fail but He doesn't give up on us. We sin again and again and He still takes us back. He heals us just as a parent helps an errant child heal.

I'm writing this on Ash Wednesday, beginning my annual attempt to repent and improve. Spiritually, I'm a lot like what we gym rats call the "resolution people" who show up in January and disappear by February. I'll make a good faith attempt but by the time you read this, I'll likely have resumed my chocolate chip habit and failed to visit St. John's Church daily. My favorite sins won't have changed.

That said, when I think of God as loving us like my Mom loves us, the First Great Commandment cited in Mark's gospel passage today becomes a lot more accessible. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with your mind, and with all your strength." I can love a God who loves me in spite of my failings including backsliding during Lent!

I hope you are having a great Lent and you've still got a couple weeks to make good on all those resolutions!

Preface for Meditation:
by Prince Mathew

How marvelous the power of the cross; how great beyond all telling the glory of the passion. Here is the judgment-seat of the Lord, the condemnation of the world, the supremacy of Christ crucified. Through the cross the faithful receive strength from weakness, glory from dishonor, life from death.

The different sacrifices of animals are no more: the one offering of your body and blood is the fulfillment of all the different sacrificial offerings, for you are the true Lamb of God: you take away the sins of the world. In yourself you bring to perfection all mysteries, so that, as there is one sacrifice in place of all other sacrificial offerings, there is also one kingdom gathered from all peoples.

Let us acknowledge what Saint Paul, acknowledged so exultantly: This is a saying worthy of trust, worthy of complete acceptance: Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners.

God's compassion for us is all the more wonderful because Christ died, not for the righteous or the holy but for the wicked and the sinful, and, though the divine nature could not be touched by the sting of death, he took to himself, through his birth as one of us, something he could offer on our behalf.

The power of his death once confronted our death. In the words of Hosea the prophet: Death, I shall be your death; grave, I shall swallow you up. By dying he submitted to the laws of the underworld; by rising again he destroyed them. He did away with the everlasting character of death so as to make death a thing of time, not of eternity. As all die in Adam, so all will be brought to life in Christ.

Bible Reading Passages:
Fourth Friday of Great Lent

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

Evening:

Morning:

Gospel Readings:

Luke 16:19-31 (KJV)

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:

For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Luke 17:1-10 (KJV)

Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?

And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?

Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Bible Verse of the Day:

"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "
St. Luke 16:31

Intercessions:

Thanks be to Christ the Lord, who brought us life by his death on the cross.
With our whole heart let us ask him:
By your death raise us to life.

Teacher and Savior, you have shown us your fidelity and made us a new creation by your passion,
- keep us from falling again into sin.
Help us to deny ourselves today,
- and not deny those in need.
May we receive this day of penance as your gift,
- and give it back to you through works of mercy.
Master our rebellious hearts,
- and teach us generosity.

Closing Prayer:

God of Mercy,
I feel my heart overflowing with your tenderness.
I sense your loving touch deep within my soul.
I ask for your help in my weakness
that I might be faithful to your word
and I am so grateful
that your mercy for my failings
is as strong as your unbounded love for me.

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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