This week we began the second part of Lent. All the gospels are from The Gospel according to John. We get the sense and feel of the approaching rejection Jesus will face in Jerusalem. Even as we enter into the story, we all know the rest of the story. It all leads to the "Good News." The death and resurrection of Jesus for us and the gift of the Holy Spirit who allows us to celebrate and live this Good News.
The opportunity given to us during Lent is to pray more reflectively about our everyday life journey as disciples of Jesus. We are offered the opportunity to discover what needs changing in our life, if we are to be more open to God's graces. We learn again the power of fasting - to experience hunger and a greater alertness to reflecting and insight in to what is really important. Finally, Lent is a time for Almsgiving - the opportunity to experience generosity and solidarity with those in need. It is an opportunity to grow in the practice that Jesus tells us our salvation will depend upon: "When I was hungry, you gave me to eat ..." (Matthew 25)
Jeremiah knows they are plotting to kill him. All he did was to deliver the Word of God to the people. It is the same with Jesus. We can be harsh on those we read about who persecuted Jesus. They seem so arrogant and proud and so blind. They cleverly come to the conclusion that Jesus can't be the Promised One because he comes from Nazareth. John knows the irony, as we do. Jesus came from Bethlehem.
You and I need to be purified of this tendency to think we know it all and to rush to terrible judgments about people, and even about our Lord. We can keep Jesus in a box. We too often seem to assume what he is interested in from us. Sometimes our relationship with Jesus hasn't matured beyond what we developed in grade school.
Now is the time to listen, to let the story penetrate our hearts. These are the days to beg for freedom and openness. This is a tremendous gift - time to talk with Jesus, friend to friend. Time to ask to be liberated from the habits and patterns that can define my life and get in the way of my loving more completely, more mercifully, more gratefully. This is a unique invitation to practice sacrifice - which is the heart of the ability to love. Without sacrifice, love is words without deeds.
Dear Lord, in the days ahead, help us not be part of the crowd that rejects you by what I do and what I fail today. Give me a spirit of honesty and humility to examine myself accurately. Give me a spirit of repentance and the gift of reconciliation so that I might know the joy of your mercy. Help me choose to take advantage of this Lenten season so that I might celebrate the upcoming holy week that it might draw my heart to yours in love and discipleship, for your glory and the service of others. Thank you. Thank you.
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