2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23; Ephesians 2:4-10; John 3:14-21
We don’t know much about Nicodemus, but we’re told one tasty detail that gives a clue as to how Nicodemus may have felt when he went on his own spiritual quest. He went looking for Jesus at night. This suggests that he went in secret; he went knowing that there was some level of risk, knowing that there would likely be consequences to this encounter. I imagine he could literally feel his heart pounding in anticipation and dread as he went looking for Jesus that night.
Hosea 6:1-6; Luke 18:9-14
Today’s readings talk about asking for forgiveness and mercy, and of redemption. David begs for forgiveness; Hosea discusses incredible generosity and grace for forgiveness; the Gospel refers to sin and cleansing. We have the theme here of repentance and knowledge, and of grace given.
What a tremendous feeling it is to know forgiveness and release. Who among us has not breathed an enormous sigh of relief when a problem, perhaps of our own creation, has gone away, been solved (by us, perhaps, or by another), and we realize that the burden on out hearts and minds has been lifted; we see the clarity of what was, what should have been, but we also feel new, relieved beyond description, happy as a child, a new person. We feel new, cleaner, better.
Hosea 14:2-10; Mark 12:28-34
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
With all your soul,
With all your mind,
And with all your strength.”
In my busy multi-tasking life, how frequently do I do the above?
Do I let other worldly concerns prioritize my energy?
Jeremiah 7:23-28; Luke 11:14-23
They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts and turned their backs, not their faces, to me. Jer7
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Ps. 95
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. Lk 11
It is about the midpoint of Lent. We are half way through the time we have to take advantage of this great season of grace. It seems appropriate to reflect upon this gospel today.
Jesus is again in an encounter of liberation. Jesus frees something from within this man and he is able to speak. The people are amazed. But some of the people cry "foul." They throw up arguments, deflecting accusations. They caricature Jesus, and so create doubts and divisions.
Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9; Matthew 5:17-19
"However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children's children."
What is Moses saying here (through the words of the Deuteronomist)? What have we seen? What are we to remember? What are we to teach to our children's children? We are to recall how this great God came down to bring our forebears out of slavery in Egypt. We are to recall the God who "made us his own" when we were nobodies. We are to recall God's victory over the slave masters who went down to defeat. God has won the day! God will win the day! We will remember that day at the Easter Vigil this year.
Daniel 3:25, 34-43; Matthew 18:21-35
Today’s gospel brings to mind the Jesuit value of a faith that does justice. This value refers to a justice that is borne out of one’s faith in God. It is usually thought of in terms of social justice, but it seems applicable in the justice of forgiveness. It is a conviction about God’s love and mercy for us that compels us to love and forgive others.
2 Kings 5:1-15; Luke 4:24-30
Exotic things, things that are “out of the ordinary” almost always have an appeal for us. By the very fact that they are unfamiliar, they catch our eye and draw our interest. By contrast, the “ordinary” often passes by unnoticed; everyday things fail to attract.
This truth of our human nature has a great impact when it comes to discovering God at work in our lives and in our world. We know that God can be present in some extraordinary events and circumstances; but what we often fail to acknowledge is that God habitually chooses the ordinary as the place of his activity.
On March 1st, the Pallotti Institute in Rome began a new formation year. On the occasion of the 200th Anniversary of the priestly ordination of St. Vincent Pallotti, a cycle of conferences addresses various aspects of his priesthood. The inaugural lecture under the theme: "Saint Vincent Pallotti - spiritual director of Sisters" was delivered by Sr. Anna Małdrzykowska, SAC, General Councilor and a member of the Pallotti Institute.
Micah 7:14-15, 18-20; Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, And will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our guilt? You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins…
Each of the characters in the gospel story look at life so differently, don’t they? The younger son wants something, something he’s not getting at home. So, his desires drive him into the big world to a life of dissipation. Somehow he figured that he could buy friendship and meaning and contentment by “squandering his inheritance.” His experience of emptiness drove him to “look for love in all the wrong places,” costing him his life.
Exodus 20:1-17; 1 Corinthians 1:22-25; John 2:13-15
Lord, you have the words of everlasting life. (John 6:68c)
Jesus knew Chapter 58 of the book of the Prophet, Isaiah, which we read on the Friday and Saturday after Ash Wednesday. He knew that it was not sacrifices themselves that win God's favor. Now, in the temple, in the beginning of the Fourth Gospel, Jesus overturns the business of offering sacrifices to God. In this gospel, we will meet Jesus who is himself the one and only sacrifice of the new and everlasting covenant. Salvation is a gift. We do not earn it at all.