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Great Lent Today

Day 33 - Fifth Friday of the Great Lent

Opening Prayer:

O God, who have prepared
fitting helps for us in our weakness,
grant, we pray, that we may receive
their healing effects with joy
and reflect them in a holy way of life.
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)
Wisdom 2:1a, 12-22; Psalm 34; John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

In His Steps - A Lenten Series

Today: On the Road: No Turning Back

Daily Meditation:

May we reach out with joy to grasp your hand.
We keep acknowledging that God is the source of our life.
We realize that we have been seeking other sources of life.
We recognize our weakness and turn to God for help.
Though our hearts are being opened up to their depths,
though we cry out to God for help, we are not discouraged.

The Lord is near to broken hearts.

When the just cry out, the Lord hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The Lord is close to the broken hearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.

Today's Daily Reflection

by Tom Bannantine, S.J.
School of Nursing, Creighton University

All of us experience times when we speak with another person or persons to explain something and no matter how hard we try, they fail to get the point we are trying to make. I can think of times during my youth when I had that experience with my younger siblings. And of course I thought that the problem was theirs. How could they not see what was so clear to me? Our Lord had that kind of a problem with the Pharisees, and today's gospel reading is a good example of it. We hear today from St. John as we do so often during the closing weeks of Lent. I think of St. John as the evangelist of the Judean visits of Jesus during his public life here on earth. He chronicles well the trips that Jesus made to Judea and reveals incidents on those trips that the other evangelists do not.

St. John begins by telling us that Jesus had been spending his time in Galilee and avoiding Judea. He knew from his previous visits there that the Pharisees and some of the leaders of the people were trying to kill him. But now the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was approaching. The feast of Tabernacles was one of the three major feasts of the Jews. Many Jews came from all over the land of Israel and from other countries on pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the feast. So it presented a great opportunity for Jesus to preach to Jews who had not yet heard his message. But there was the difficulty of going to Jerusalem because of the threats against Jesus. Apparently some relatives of Jesus had formed a pilgrimage and asked him to accompany them. Jesus declined, but after they had left, he changed his mind.

He, probably accompanied by the apostles, went up to the feast secretly. The secrecy is easy to understand in light of the threats against Jesus. But what happens next is not so easy to understand. When they arrive in Judea Jesus goes right to the great temple in Jerusalem and begins to teach the large crowd that had gathered there. He does away with secrecy and seems to throw caution to the winds.

How do we explain first the secrecy and then the lack of it? I think that the explanation lies in the fact that our ways are not God's ways. God wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to preach to and teach the large crowd gathered in Jerusalem for the feast. But as we hear at the end of this reading: "no one laid a hand upon him because his hour had not yet come."

Jesus was right to be cautious and avoid going to Jerusalem, but when a great opportunity arose to spread his message to the crowd at the feast, Jesus took it. He avoided harm because according to God's plan he still had more work to do here on earth before his passion and death.

Preface for Meditation:
by Prince Mathew

And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciplesí feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. John 13:3-5

For Jesus to wash his disciples feet was an act of humbling himself in order to provide service. Jesus' example demonstrates his love, but also sets an example for the disciples to follow.

Like the disciples, if we want to follow the path of Jesus, it must be a path of humility, love, and service. The disciples were not to acquire power and lord it over people, but to use their positions of authority and power to serve and love others. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one anotherís feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. John 13:15-17.

The ritual of foot washing is of course about more than feet, it is about living our life as followers of Christ. Being a Christian means loving God and loving one another. Following the example of Jesus, we can best love one another by humbling ourselves and offering generous acts of servant love. Love is an action, an action which requires, at times, for us to get dirty so others might get clean.

Bible Reading Passages:
Fifth Friday of Great Lent

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

Evening

Morning

Gospel Readings:

Mark 5:21-43 (KJV)

And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.

And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,

And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.

And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?

And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.

But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?

As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.

And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.

And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.

And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.

And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.

And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.

And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.

And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.

Matthew 9:18-31 (KJV)

While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.

And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.

And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:

For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,

He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.

But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.

And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.

And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.

And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.

Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.

But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.

Bible Verse of the Day:

He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." St. Mark 5:34

Intercessions:

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.

Closing Prayer:

Loving God of forgiveness,
I come before you humbled and sad
in the face of my own repeated failings.
I hold out my hands as a petitioner would,
asking for mercy.
It is then that I feel you reach out and take my hand
in your loving grasp.
Thank you for the love you pour out on me so lavishly.
Help me to follow more closely
in the path you have set for me,
the path of your Son.

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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