These comments on Scripture and on events of our time
flow from the prayerful reflection and rich experience
of our Sisters, Associates and colleagues. We are happy
to offer them to you,
and pray that these words will open your heart
to the living Word of God.
Lenten Readings Shed Light on Life's Journeys
Throughout all the phases of our lives we continually look for the creation of a life that is wonderful, joyous and meaningful, while recognizing that each phase of life has its challenges, its perplexities and its beauty. Lent provides us with an opportunity to reflect back on the challenges and blessings of our lives, as well as imagine a new life as we journey into the future….
The liturgical readings for Lent focus on God's journey with humanity and Jesus' particular journey which continues to inspire us. Many think of Lent as a time for penance and reconciliation. However, when we look at the readings in Cycle A, we see an emphasis on the mercy and goodness of God and the blessings which God sends our way, even when we have not been our best selves. The readings are full of hope and God's grace. God's loving presence despite our sinfulness is abundant.
In the First Sunday of Lent we walk with Jesus and realize that we are tempted much like he was to be less than who we are. We too are tempted by the hollowness of the world's call to embrace values which are not of God. The Second Sunday calls us as Abraham and Sarah were called to abandon our "comfort zones" and know like they knew, that even with the assurance of God's blessings, this was not easy. As we ponder the same call from God that they experienced, we too, at times, are called to leave our comfort zones and experience the unknown….
The Third Sunday of Lent presents grumbling people, but a God who continues to bestow blessings in abundance. On the Fourth Sunday of Lent we hear the surprise call and anointing of David reflecting God's continual presence and intimate relationship with the chosen people. The second reading that Sunday reinforces the unconditional love God has for us as shown through the salvific actions of Christ. The readings for the Fifth Sunday, Palm Sunday and Easter remind us that God continually bestows new life on us and new hope that from death, life will blossom forth.
The Lenten Gospels unfold for us aspects of the personality of Jesus. He was tempted to take the easy way out yet confronted his tempter and showed the courage needed to remain faithful to who God had called him to be. The possibility of transformation is made real in the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent. The story of the Samaritan Woman's encounter with Jesus, the blind man, the raising of Lazarus all point to how sensitive Jesus was to the needs of others as well as his vocation to help people see the bigger picture – of God's walking with humanity on its journey – bringing meaning and energy to the journey all of us are taking….
The liturgical readings for Lent provide the opportunity for us to reflect on the journey of our lives and interconnect them with Jesus and other heroes and heroines from Scripture. The connection challenges us to look deeper for meaning and purpose in our lives and be transformed by the presence of the risen Christ.
|— Adapted from Our Lenten
Journey, Maureen Gallagher and John Reid, reflection booklet prepared for
Sisters of Charity and Associates, 2014
|In Living the Days of Lent 2014, sixteen Sisters and Associates from the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth of New Jersey and the Sisters of Charity of New York share their reflections on the Scripture readings of each day in Lent. We are happy to offer excerpts. The book may be purchased from www.paulistpress.com
Today as we begin the season of Lent, we receive an invitation from our God. For each of us the invitation is unique, as is our response. Yet we make the Lenten journey together as Church.
In the days ahead God beckons us to look more deeply at our lives and our relationships in them. Are there areas in need of healing? Are there places where we are held captive? Are there roads we are called to explore?....
Let us peel open the envelope today and begin to discover the invitation it contains. May we respond with open and eager hearts to the God who calls us forth!
ASH WEDNESDAY, March 5
Now Is the Day of Salvation!
"See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!" (2 Corinthians 6:2)
In writing to the Church in Corinth Saint Paul refers to the interval between Christ's resurrection and his return at the end of time. The early Christians believed that Jesus' return was imminent, but two millennia have lulled us into a state of complacency, believing we have all the time in the world to accept salvation. Do I hear the urgency in Paul's words? Can I move beyond denial and acknowledge the brevity of my own life? Will I shed the illusion that I am in control? Will I turn toward God and undergo an conversion of heart during this Lenten season?
Today I will live as if it were my last day. I will turn toward God,
seeking reconciliation and conversion.
I rejoice that today is the day of my salvation!
Readings: Joel 2:12-18; Psalm 51; 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT, March 9
"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted…." (Matthew 4:1)
Jesus is alone; his task: to turn his vision into reality. Jesus must choose a plan. Satan attacks the mind and emotions of Jesus, offering him his own strategy.
This is the moment of Jesus' temptation, and his response to Satan is quite clear: "Away with you, Satan!" (Matt 4:10). Jesus chooses God's strategy – the cross!
What temptations do you meet in your life as you try to discern God's plan and put it into action? Sit with Jesus and experience, as Jesus did, God's power.
Feel, believe, and trust in that power at work in you and see what you will do!
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory…forever and ever. (Eph 3:20-21)
Readings: Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7; Psalm 51; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11
Excerpts from Living the Days of Lent 2014, edited by Ellen Dauwer, SC and Mary McCormick, SC. Copyright © 2014 by Paulist Press, Inc., Mahwah, NJ. Reprinted by permission of Paulist Press, Inc. www.paulistpress.com
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