Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 11, 2002
Lenten reflections, Scriptural roots
By GLEN ARGAN
The words of Jesus are precious. If we take them seriously, we could meditate on them for a long time.
But St. Benedict warns that "Our prayer ought to be short and pure, unless it happens to be prolonged by an inspiration of divine grace." So aim for purity in your devotion, not length of time.
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, March 13
"Those who did good will rise again to life; and those who did evil to condemnation." (John 5)
The carrot and the stick. Jesus knows us well. To think of heaven should spur us on to fill the world with goodness. But sometimes we are not so energized. We need to be told to get with it, to stop living idle, useless lives where sin may creep in at any time. There are dire consequences to being a lay-about.
Thursday, March 14
"As for human approval, this means nothing to me." (John 5)
How can I live without human approval? To do my best in some endeavour and to not receive any support or even acknowledgement would be a form of torture. I need the positive feedback from others. But Jesus says it is truth and life that we should seek, not human approval. To me, it feels very difficult to be so uncompromising.
Friday, March 15
"There is one who sent me and I really come from him." (John 7)
One can hear Jesus' pleading voice. This is no hoax - Jesus is the Messiah. Our salvation depends on our believing that. It depends on our believing that Jesus is God and that what he says is true. He is right to implore. It is for our own good.
Saturday, March 16
"Go into the matter, and see for yourself: Prophets do not come out of Galilee." (John 7)
These are not Jesus' words, but the words of his opponents. And if you want to be gloomy, you can find something bad to say about anybody. It doesn't take much imagination. But criticizing and complaining are the bane of our existence. They drag us down to hell. We need to rip them out of our lives root and branch. And do it daily.
Sunday, March 17
"Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live." (John 11)
Oh yes, Jesus, I believe in you. Absolutely! But the things you ask of me often seem so demanding. To strive to be a servant, not a master; to care nothing for human approval; to love my enemies; to leave behind everything that is not of God - all of these are heavy demands. Oh yes, Jesus, I love you. But should I be serious about all that you ask?
Monday, March 18
"Neither do I condemn you. Go away and don't sin anymore." (John 8)
The voice of mercy is a welcome one, indeed. This poor woman expected to receive a harsh justice. But instead Jesus calmly pointed out that if justice was meted out fairly to all sinners, none would remain standing. This is our hope, our only hope - the God who forgives sins. And what a great God he is!
Tuesday, March 19
"She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1)
Joseph was the faithful follower of God whose life was constantly interrupted by dreams, angels and unusual happenings. He bore it all patiently. He stuck with it and he loved his wife and his son. Joseph gets so little attention in the Bible and yet he sets such a high standard of fidelity.