Second Week of Lent: Feb. 17 - 23, 2008

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Luke 6
The Second Week of Lent|The Second Sunday of Lent offers us Matthew's Gospel of the Transfiguration. When the stammering disciples are overwhelmed at the reality of who Jesus really is they "were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and do not be afraid.'"|Wednesday is the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary|Each day the first reading is chosen to prepare for the gospel and the theme of both readings is complementary.|The second week begins with Jesus telling us: "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. .. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you." All week we will be taught by Jesus about the simple lessons of being his followers. "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Jesus predicts his passion again. Again, they misunderstand, and so he says, "whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant." Jesus tells the Pharisees a parable about a poor man and a rich man. The rich man asks Abraham to warn his brothers about the consequences of this behavior. Abraham answers: "If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead." While tax collectors and sinners are being drawn to Jesus the Pharisees complain, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." So Jesus tells them the wonderful parable of the Prodigal Son.|For the Third Sunday of Lent we read of the Samaritan woman who encounters Jesus at the well. He offers her lifegiving waters and then shows her how intimately he understands her. She runs back to town to spread her news: "Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! Could he be the Messiah?"
Daily Prayer This Week|During this second week of Lent we continue to try to make use of more reflective time each day. We are using all the resources available to us to practice new habits and patterns. We are still in the beginning stages of that process, so we shouldn't be discouraged if it takes more practice.| It is good to begin by being reminded that God is rich in mercy to us and that we should therefore be merciful to others. It is great to remember that exalting ourselves is dangerous and that there will be consequences for our mistreatment of the poor. We are like tenants of our Father's gifts to us. We can ask ourselves if we use them gratefully and return the fruits that our Lord desires, or do we reject the prophetic words that come to us? Do we reject Jesus himself? Are we like the Pharisees or the older son who resents the Father's prodigal love for all sinners?|This can all be part of the background of our busy, daily life. Each morning, when our feet hit the floor, if only for a few moments, we can ask for a simple grace. At first, it might only be, "Dear Lord, help me today." As we brush our teeth, shower and get dressed we might specify our prayer more: "Dear Lord, give me the grace to recognize my impatience, anger and judgment today. Help to soften my heart to hear your love. I need your healing, Lord." Or we might get even more concrete, "Lord, Mary Beth is such a struggle for me. Help me to remember how much you love me when I see her today. And, when I'm tempted to be impatient or angry with her, just help me pause and give that over to you, in gratitude for your love."|Each of us will be able to grow in our ability to have brief conversations with our Lord. Whether driving or shopping, doing laundry or paying bills, working in our office or walking down the hall to the bathroom, we can use brief "background" moments to connect with our Lord. These moments of "contemplation in action" will give a character and shape to our day. Lent becomes a living reality for us when our days are spent with the Lord, listening to his love for us, calling us to gratitude and freedom.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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