Jeremiah 18: 18-20 “…Heed me, O LORD, and listen to what my adversaries say. Must good be repaid with evil that they should dig a pit to take my life? Remember that I stood before you to speak in their behalf, to turn away your wrath from them.”
Psalm 31: 5-6, 14,25-26 “Save me, O Lord, in your kindness...”
Matthew 20: 17-28 “…the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Saint Louise de Marillac – died in 1660. Louise was born near Meux France, but lost both her parents at an early age. Even though she wanted to become a nun, she was encouraged to marry instead, which she did and the couple had one son. When eventually her husband fell ill and died, Louise began working with the poor. She received limited time in counsel with St. Francis de Sales, and eventually worked with St. Vincent de Paul. One day Vincent asked Louise to join his work with the poor, after he realized that he needed women who were peasants themselves who could get closer to the poor. Louise started with four other women, but eventually her following grew and she later wrote the “rule-of-life” orders for her new community, the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. Before they became an official order, they dressed as peasant women. Saint Louise is known as the patron saint of Social Workers.
I caught a glimpse of Jesus today from the first reading in the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah. The image was of Jesus hanging from the cross calling out to God the Father asking for His forgiveness for those who persecute Him for they know not what they do. In today’s reading, Jeremiah is aware that his adversaries are plotting against him. Like Christ, Jeremiah has stood up pleading to the LORD to spare them (those who would like to kill him) His wrath. Oh how confusing it must be to have a person or persons turn on you, when you have stood in support of them in the past. During our Lenten season it is fitting to be reading from Jeremiah, whose name in Hebrew means “The LORD raises up”. The first sentence in the Reading Guide section of The Catholic Study Bible says “More than anyone else Jeremiah steps out of the pages of the Old Testament, a type and model of Jesus Christ.” (The Catholic Study Bible; RG304)
From the Gospel in Matthew, we are led further into our Lenten journey when Jesus tells His disciples that “the Son of Man” will be handed over to be crucified, but He will be raised up on the third day. How could anyone comprehend this kind of talk? By now the disciples have been with Jesus through many ups and downs, but none have been so threatening as to claim his life. Surely they didn’t know what to think. The next part of our reading shows how little they have grasped His teachings up to this point. The mother of James and John approaches Jesus asking if Jesus will place her sons at His right and left hand in His kingdom. Of course this causes a few of the others to become indignant with these two men. But Jesus, always patient and always the teacher, says what is important. “…whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28) We are to understand greatness in a new way; to be great is to serve.
If we decide to follow Jesus this Lenten season, as the disciples did that day, we too will be asked to do great things, we will be asked to serve. How is Jesus asking us to serve in our world today? Let us pray and ask St. Louise de Marillac, who answered God’s call to serve the poor and abandoned in France, to help us know God’s will for our lives this day.
“Into your hands I commend my spirit: you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.” (Psalms 31:6)
TWENTY FIVE Year Memoriam: The Creighton community pauses today to remember Philip Greteman, David Hoover, Edward Reznicek and Daniel Ross. These sophomore students were returning home from a spring break trip when their lives were cut short about a mile from campus in a tragic vehicular accident 25 years ago today. We join their families in prayer; may their souls rest in peace.
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