Season of Lent

Season of Lent. (B)
Sunday 11th March: Third Sunday of Lent. (B) The first reading today, from the Book of Exodus, presents us with the Ten Commandments. They are to be a map of life for the people who enjoyed a special relationship with God. They were to be seen as a gift and not as a burden.
St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, stresses that the Christian message is a paradox. Christ crucified is our focus. He is the one who draws us together beyond our factions. To someone without faith, the Crucifixion of Jesus seems unintelligible. To the believing person it is the wisdom and the power of God.
Jesus action in clearing the Temple was a protest against the commercialisation and desecration of the Temple. Jesus goes further however and declares himself to be the new temple wherein God dwells. By his action and his words he is teaching that the long awaited age of the Messiah has begun.

Monday 12th March: Monday in the third week of Lent.
Today’s liturgy makes us think especially of those converts who are being prepared for Baptism at the Easter Vigil. Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that the Church is missionary, evangelising. People ask why be concerned about unknown distant peoples, far less those who are close to us. Elisha cures the pagan officer from Damascus in Syria and the man found faith and healing. Jesus warns the people that salvation will be offered to all, even non-Jews, pagans. It doesn’t mean that the missionary will be always understood or even welcome.

Tuesday 13th March: Tuesday in the third week of Lent.
Maybe we don’t like to acknowledge it but each one of us has been forgiven a lot. Perhaps not ‘big sins’ in the scale of things but scandalous in the sense of being totally unacceptable on the part of people who profess to be the sign of the Church, of Jesus or of God himself. Where is our forgiving others as God has forgiven us as we pray the Lord’s prayer.

Wednesday 14th March: Wednesday in the third week of Lent
What is the meaning of the commandments to us? To the People of Israel, they were the total expression of faithfulness to God and to the whole people as part of the Covenant. They were the road to freedom from all slavery. They were signs of belonging to God and trying to live lives that showed that.
In Jesus, all this is fulfilled and he takes it further. The commandments remain but they become the basic step not to salvation but to a right relationship with God and our neighbour, a relationship which is built on and motivated by love.

Thursday 15th March: Thursday in the third week of Lent.
‘Listen to my voice’ says God through his prophet Jeremiah and then he complains that God’s people fails to listen. They go their own ways and do not speak the language of God or live a live that shows his presence.
In the Gospel, Jesus heals the man who was mute. Worse than anyone who is blind or deaf or mute are those who do not want to see or hear or to speak with sincerity. They do not follow Jesus. Their hearts are blind and divided.

Friday 16th March: Friday in the third week of Lent.
Many human endeavours fail because God is left out of the picture. Israel wanted to go her own way, rely on her own resources and alliances with the mighty of the day. We cannot be saved without God
Salvation lies in the love of God and is expressed in the love of our neighbour. The rule of the Christian should be ‘Love God with your whole being and your neighbour as yourself.’ See God in your neighbour and see also a bit of yourself in your neighbour.

Saturday 17th March: Feast of St. Patrick. The Apostle of Ireland, as he is sometimes called, was born in Britain (either Wales or Scotland) around the year 385. At the age of sixteen, he was captured by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland where he was assigned as a shepherd to care for the flock. He became a catholic and later escaped to spend some time in France as a disciple of St. Germain of Auxerre. He was ordained a priest, then a Bishop and sent back to Ireland arriving there in 432. He preached and brought many of the tribal chiefs to Catholicism and was successful in adapting the Gospel to Irish culture. He convoked a Synod and handed over government of the church to other Bishops It is believed he died on this date in 461 and was buried in Stanford Lough where he had built his first church. Although venerated in Ireland from an early date it was only in 1632 he was listed in the Roman calendar.

O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness
And we feel our weakness and helplessness
Give us Your presence,
Your love and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
In Your protecting love
And strengthening power
So that nothing may frighten or worry us
For, living close to You, we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.
(St. Ignatius)