Season of Lent (b)

Season of Lent (b)
Sunday 18th March: Fourth Sunday of Lent. (B)
In the first reading, from the second Book of Chronicles, we are reminded that, even when he punishes his people for their infidelity, God cannot but be faithful. He uses even those who are pagans to lead his people back to the Promised Land.
The second reading is from the Letter to the Ephesians. By his grace, God had saved his people from exile. By God’s grace again, his Son, Jesus, saves us from the death of sin. In God’s plan, everything is a free gift of grace.
In the Gospel, from St. John, we are reminded that Jesus had to die on the cross to save us and give us the opportunity of eternal life. Christ came not to condemn us but to save us.

Monday 19th March: Solemnity of St. Joseph.
The feast of St. Joseph did not become widespread until the fourteenth or fifteenth century, the first Mass in his honour being celebrated in Rome in 1505. The genealogy of St. Joseph is found in St. Matthew’s Gospel and in St. Luke’s. We also know form the Gospels that he was a carpenter and that it was very likely that Jesus learned the trade from him. Joseph and Mary were poor, as evidenced by the fact that, at Mary’s purification in the Temple, they offered a pair of turtledoves. The tribute paid to him in Scripture is that he was a just man. On several crucial occasions, such as Our Lady’s pregnancy, the flight into Egypt, the return to Palestine, Joseph was instructed by an angel. Pope Pius IX proclaimed St. Joseph patron of the universal Church.

Tuesday 20th March: Tuesday in the fourth week of Lent.
Water flows from the temple and turns the land into a fertile paradise bringing health and life we hear in the first reading from the Prophet Ezekiel. This living temple is Christ, says John in the Gospel. Encountering him brings forgiveness health and life.

Wednesday 21st March: Wednesday in the fourth week of Lent.
When Jesus is questioned and attacked for curing a paralyzed man on the Sabbath, he uses the opportunity to remind the people that the work of redemption on which he is embarked with the Father, is ongoing, even on the Sabbath. He is the sign of God’s love for his people and wants us to live in that love. With Jesus, we have to seek the Father’s will for own lives.

Thursday 22nd March: Thursday in the fourth week of Lent.
From today’s readings until those of Holy Week, the opposition between the Jewish leaders and Jesus grows. As the Hebrews had Moses as a mediator, we now have Jesus himself to act as our mediator who pleads our case with the Father. He is the one who opts for his people, who defends us, who is involved with us in spite of our failures.

Friday 23rd March: Friday in the fourth week of Lent.
People who claim to know God a bit and to live consistently as his sons and daughters are seen as bothersome or eccentric to unbelievers as well as to those who take their religion as a set of duties or religious rites to be observed. Their way of life disturbs and challenges the established and comfortable ways of society. The unbeliever wants to test the faith of such people. The person who voices his concerns about this in the Book of Wisdom is one such person. Jesus was another. Where do we fit in?

Saturday 24th March: Saturday in the fourth week of Lent.
It is hard for someone who as Jeremiah says ‘ has been seduced by God’ to feel rejected by the very community to which they have dedicated their life and work. Such a person is seen as a source of division. This is how some saw Jesus. Are we prepared to pay the cost of discipleship to follow him even if that cost involves ridicule, contradiction even suffering.