Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 25, 2002
Lenten reflections, Scriptural roots
By GLEN ARGAN
This Lent we are reflecting daily on snippets of the Gospels. Little keys that can open large doors. Any one of these brief words of Jesus can be the focus for re-orienting a person's life.
We need to take them seriously and spend at least a little time with them. The brief commentaries I have written are not the point. It is the words of Jesus that count.
For a few moments, sit silently, breathing in God's presence. Then ask the Holy Spirit to come and be with you. Read the line from the Scripture once and then pause. Then read it again, perhaps many times.
Does it touch any feelings in you? Is it calling you to do something different in your life? Or is it calling you to do the same thing, but to do it differently?
Talk silently with Jesus about how the line affects you? Ask him to be with you at all times. Give glory to Jesus, Son of the living God.
Wednesday, February 27
"Anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant." (Matthew 20)
A man wanted to invite Mother Teresa to a speaking engagement. So he phoned her hostel in Calcutta and, expecting to get the usual run-around, began by asking to speak to Mother Teresa. "Speaking," came the reply. Even after winning the Nobel Peace Prize and becoming world famous, Mother Teresa continued daily washing bedpans and doing other ordinary chores . . . like answering the phone.
Thursday, February 28
"Between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to stop anyone, if he wanted to, crossing from our side to yours, and to stop any crossing from your side to ours." (Luke 16)
Lazarus is one man. But today he represents a sick system. A system where the richest 20 per cent of humanity is 80 times richer than the poorest 20 per cent. A system where 24,000 people a day die from malnutrition. There is an unbridgeable gap between heaven and hell. There is an almost uncross-able gulf in our world between rich and poor.
Friday, March 1
"I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit." (Matthew 21)
As I write this, I am sitting in a large shopping centre surrounded by an enormous array of goods - clothes, food, candy, hairstyling products. You name it; it's here. But what about the fruits of our prayers, our preaching, our liturgies? They are not so readily apparent. But are they any less real? I believe that, even today, those fruits are much greater than we can imagine.
Saturday, March 2
"This son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found." (Luke 15)
The deepest pain in my heart is the pain that separates the Church from contemporary society. It pains me to see our society eating pigs' food - its diet of disrespect for life, of violence, of me-first autonomy, of calloused wealth amidst poverty, of religious indifference. This Gospel gives such hope that the barrier will be taken down, that the son will return home to the father's waiting arms.
Sunday, March 3
"Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty." (John 4)
Jesus brings the water of life to the outcast woman. His well is bottomless. But, of all the people he could have chosen to give the first drink, he chose her. A woman of many husbands. A woman not of the Chosen People. A woman. The promise of life in the desert, yet without thirst, is given to her. And to me.
Monday, March 4
"No prophet is accepted in the prophet's hometown." (Luke 4)
It's hard to accept that the one with whom you are so familiar is also so special. It's one thing to say I should listen to the expert from Boston with so many degrees and publications. It's quite something else to say the prophet - the one who speaks the word that will give me life - is the person I've known for 20 years and who has never seemed out of the ordinary.
Tuesday, March 5
"Were you not bound to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?" (Matthew 18)
The challenging term here is "fellow servant." Obviously, the one servant does not see himself in communion with the other. So, he condemns the other servant and, by doing so, condemns himself. The tendency to separation runs deep in the human soul and starts at a young age. "His debt only appears to be a small percentage of what mine was. The situation is not the same." Oh, how we try to turn ourselves into special cases!