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Great Lent Today

Day 19 - Third Friday of the Great Lent

Opening Prayer

Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that, purifying us by the sacred practice of penance,
you may lead us in sincerity of heart
to attain the holy things to come.
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.

Today's Readings (alternate)

Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28; Psalm 105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21; Matthew 21: 33-43, 45-46

In His Steps - A Lenten Series

Today: Samaria: The Place Jesus Must Visit

Daily Meditation:

Help us open our hearts to you.

We hear of the vineyard owner whose tenants killed his servants and then his son.
Let us be called open our hearts and lives
to the challenge of your Gospel.
It is possible to say it every day

"Therefore, I say to you,
the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and be given to a people that will produce its fruit."
Matthew 21

Today's Daily Reflection

by Joan Blandin Howard, Christian Spirituality Program, Creighton University

Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a
Psalm 105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21
Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

My heart breaks yet again, as I witness what goes on. I know the signs of disbelief, of frustration that verges on anger. I know the sadness that can mold his body. There was a time when my words were all that he needed, but no longer. Now when we are together – special times. Tender and loving. We talk; he hears me, he comforts me, he loves me. He is not dismissive, but I know he is listening to another voice – a stronger, deeper, a beckoning inner voice. A loving voice. He says it is "my father's voice".

I am weary with sadness, yet I rejoice in remembering the thrill of his boyish joy and manly heartfelt laughter. As a little boy he delighted in life – his playmates, the Torah, going to temple, his dad's shop with all its intriguing tools, and their treks out into the hills. He skipped and giggled just ahead of me as we made our way to the garden, to the market, and to draw water. He could always make me smile, even when he was naughty. As a man, his belly laugh like no other can be raucous, but always infectious. His eyes blaze with …what? … with life! His mere presence fills a room. Heads and hearts turn toward him.

Now, he with his friends go from one field to the next. With bloodied hands and a bleeding heart he often harvests ragged rocks, boulders even, that can sprout in seemingly well tilled soil. He watches while others reap succulent grapes, fragrant olives even luscious figs. Bountiful harvests – enough for all. Yet, never for all. He labors to free the fields of stones, rocks and boulders. While some labor to fence themselves in; to fence others out.

He is tortured by what he says, fully present and yet also somewhere else.

I know my son, Jesus. Soon, overwhelmed by helplessness, grief and sorrow he will weep from the depths of his love.

Preface for Meditation:
by Prince Mathew

The third call which we will explore today is indeed the calling of all callings. There is no other call in the entire history of the human race as great as this call, and there is no response which impacted the fate of the human race as much as this response. This call is the Annunciation, - the call of the Virgin Mary.

Recorded in the Gospel of St. Luke, the story of the Annunciation tells us how the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth. There, the angel Gabriel was sent to a young girl who was probably in her early teens - to a young virgin whose name was Mary. When the angel appeared to Mary, he said to her "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you...Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David." Yet, unlike Moses, Mary did not try to evade God's call. Unlike Moses, she did not ask the Lord to choose another. Unlike Samuel, she was not confused as to who was calling her. No, on the contrary, Mary responded with the greatest response ever uttered. That response was simply, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word."

Today, we celebrate this day of days, this feast of feasts. For through the call and response of one girl all humanity has the opportunity for salvation. Today, the church commemorates this day to remind us that God has called us as well. These three stories prove God has called you. Make no mistake. God does not care about your age. Are you as old as Moses or as young as Samuel? God has called you. God has called you as he called Moses and Mary. God calls you regardless of your race, regardless of your talents, regardless of your poverty, regardless of your wealth. God calls you regardless of your strengths, regardless of your weaknesses. God has called you because you are His sons and His daughters.

As we saw, the way God calls individuals is varied, yet the call is always personal and the end is the always the same. In very rare occasions, this is done in a dramatic way as it was to Moses. More often than naught, however, God comes as he did to Samuel. Most often, God comes to us in a quiet whisper, for as God Himself said, "be still and know that I am God." Remember, no matter how God reveals himself, the calling is one and the same. God has called you to serve him. God has called you to be a Christian. This calling - to be a Christian - is as great as the call of Moses and as profound as that of Mary's. Therefore, go and respond to God's call. Open up your hearts and allow God to enter and as you leave here today. And every day, remember to pray, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."

This Great Lent is a time for us to listen to our call and to respond to His call like Moses, Samuel and Mother Mary.

Bible Reading Passages:

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



Gospel Readings:

Matthew 6:5-15 (KJV)

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Luke 18:9-17 (KJV)

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

Bible Verse of the Day:

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. St. Matthew 6:6


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.
Lord, have mercy on us.
You were lifted high on the cross and pierced by the soldier's lance,
- heal our wounds.
Lord, have mercy on us.
You made the cross the tree of life,
- give its fruit to those reborn in baptism.
Lord, have mercy on us.
On the cross you forgave the repentant thief,
- through which we are cleansed of our sins.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Closing Prayer:

Loving God, Caring parent,
I am a child who so often turns my back
on your love.
Please accept my small acts of sorrow today
and help to release me from the self-absorption
that closes my heart to you.
As I journey through Lent,
let me remember the feast you have prepared for me
in the resurrection
and let me be filled with thanks to you.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.

Source: Portions from: Creighton University Praying Lent

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