Malankara World

Great Lent Today

Day 32 - Fifth Thursday of the Great Lent

Opening Prayer:

We invoke your mercy in humble prayer, O Lord,
that you may cause us, your servants,
corrected by penance and schooled by good works,
to preserve sincerely in your commands
and come safely to the paschal festivities.
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)
Exodus 32:7-14; Psalm 106; John 5:31-47

In His Steps - A Lenten Series

Today: In the Villages: The Harvest is Plentiful

Daily Meditation:

Lead us to the joy of Easter.
We are still aware of our patterns.
We still are realigning our priorities.
We are still trying to simplify and trying to eat in solidarity with others.
Most of all, we are still asking for a change of heart.

Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord.
Seek the Lord and his strength,
seek always the face of the Lord.
Psalm 104:3-4

Today's Daily Reflection

by George Butterfield
School of Law, Creighton University

Today's Exodus reading is certainly appropriate for this season of the year. Lent is a time for introspection, penance, spiritual growth, "slimming down" in regard to our basic spiritual practices, and, above all, a time to focus on what is really important. Lent is comparable to Jesus' forty days in the wilderness where he was tempted by Satan. Tried in the furnace, Jesus came through it all pure and true to the Father and himself.

The Exodus reading is so thoroughly Lenten because in it Moses is himself tried in the furnace and comes through the fire purified. First, I love the back and forth between God and Moses. The people have sinned against God. He has saved them and now they stab him in the back by worshipping a clump of gold made in the form of a calf. God tells Moses "Go down at once to YOUR people whom YOU brought out of the land of Egypt." Then he suggests that the best course of action is that he destroy the people and make a great nation after starting all over again with Moses. Moses responds to God that the Israelites are "YOUR own people, whom YOU brought out of the land of Egypt." God: they are YOUR people. Moses: Noooo, they are YOUR people. It is hilarious. Then, if this were not enough, Moses suggests that God be careful in what he does. People could get the idea that he is a devious God: you brought the Israelites out of Egypt because you really wanted to kill them somewhere else! By the way, God, you also made some promises way back there and you do not want to get a reputation as someone who welches on his promises.

Question: Is the Exodus passage really about Moses shaming God into calming down, growing up, and taking responsibility for his actions? Or, is the passage about God testing Moses to see what type of leader he will be? God gives Moses the chance to pull the plug on the Israelites. They have given Moses nothing but grief. Hey, Moses, I can kill them and start over. Are you sick of them enough yet? By the way, I can really make a name for you. I will create a whole new nation out of you. Moses, though, shows himself to be a father to the nation. He loves them in spite of their sins. If Moses sounds more like God in the passage than God does, it is only because God gives him the chance to grow and to be the type of leader Israel truly needs. The psalmist says that Moses stood in the breach between the people and God's destructive wrath. He is tried in the crucible and purified. God gives him every chance to take the easy road and he refuses.

The Gospel reading has numerous themes in it and deserves its own reflection but there is one section that relates to the Old Testament reading and the psalm. Jesus talks to the leaders of his day about the problem of leading because of the desire for human praise instead of the praise that comes from God. Moses met the standard set forth by Jesus. If he wanted to make a name for himself and receive the praise of men, he would have made different choices. But, because he loved the people of God and cared only for the praise that comes from God, even today we remember him as a great leader, a great servant of Almighty God.

Preface for Meditation:
by Prince Mathew

There was much proclaimed by the prophets about the mystery of the Passover: that mystery is Christ, and to him be glory for ever and ever. For the sake of suffering humanity he came down from heaven to earth, clothed himself in that humanity in the Virgin's womb, and was born a man. Having then a body capable of suffering, he took the pain of fallen man upon himself; he triumphed over the diseases of soul and body that were its cause, and by his Spirit, which was incapable of dying, he dealt man's destroyer, death, a fatal blow.

He was led forth like a lamb; he was slaughtered like a sheep. He ransomed us from our servitude to the world, as he had ransomed Israel from the hand of Egypt; he freed us from our slavery to the devil, as he had freed Israel from the hand of Pharaoh. He sealed our souls with his own Spirit, and the members of our body with his own blood.

He is the One who covered death with shame and cast the devil into mourning, as Moses cast Pharaoh into mourning . He is the One that smote sin and robbed iniquity of offspring, as Moses robbed the Egyptians of their offspring. He is the One who brought us out of slavery into freedom, out of darkness into light, out of death into life, out of tyranny into an eternal kingdom; who made us a new priesthood, a people chosen to be his own for ever. He is the Passover that is our salvation.

It is he who endured every kind of suffering in all those who foreshadowed him. In Abel he was slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob exiled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die. He was sacrificed in the Passover lamb, persecuted in David, dishonored in the prophets.

It is he who was made man of the Virgin, he who was hung on the tree; it is he who was buried in the earth, raised from the dead, and taken up to the heights of heaven. He is the mute lamb, the slain lamb born of Mary, the fair ewe. He was seized from the flock, dragged off to be slaughtered, sacrificed in the evening, and buried at night. On the tree no bone of his was broken; in the earth his body knew no decay. He is the One who rose from the dead, and who raised man from the depths of the tomb.

Bible Reading Passages:
Fifth Thursday of Great Lent

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

Luke 23-24

Evening

Morning

Gospel Readings:

Matthew 14:23-36 (KJV)

And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.

And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.

And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.

But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.

And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased;

And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.


Mark 6:47-56 (KJV)

And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.

And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.

But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:

For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.

And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.

For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.

And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him,

And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was.

And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.

Bible Verse of the Day:

Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." - St. Matthew 14:33

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:

Merciful Father, Loving Mother,
I know that the tiny sacrifices I make this Lent
can never serve as a real penance in my life.
But help me to make my whole life
one of following your Son.
I am filled with your love.
Let your love shine out from within me
and guide my life in this sacred journey
toward the Easter joy you offer 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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