Help us open our hearts to you.

“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”

Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that, purifying us by the sacred practice of penance,
you may lead us in sincerity of heart
to attain the holy things to come.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. 

Today's Reading

Daily Meditation: 

Help us open our hearts to you.

W e hear of the vineyard owner whose tenants killed his servants and then his son.   
Let us be called open our hearts and lives
to the challenge of your Gospel.  
It is possible to say it every day 

"Therefore, I say to you,
the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and be given to a people that will produce its fruit." 

-- Matthew 21



Let us pray to Christ our Savior, who redeemed us by his death and resurrection::
  Lord, have mercy on us.

You went up to Jerusalem to suffer and so enter into your glory,
 - bring your Church to the Passover feast of heaven.

  Lord, have mercy on us.
You were lifted high on the cross and pierced by the soldier's lance,
 - heal our wounds. 

  Lord, have mercy on us. 
You made the cross the tree of life, 
 - give its fruit to those reborn in baptism.

  Lord, have mercy on us.
On the cross you forgave the repentant thief,
 - through which we are cleansed of our sins.
  Lord, have mercy on us.


Closing Prayer: 

Loving God, Caring parent, 
I am a child who so often turns my back 
on your love. 
Please accept my small acts of sorrow today 
and help to release me from the self-absorption 
that closes my heart to you. 
As I journey through Lent, 
let me remember the feast you have prepared for me 
in the resurrection 
and let me be filled with thanks to you.

May the Lord bless us, 
protect us from all evil 
and bring us to everlasting life. 

Daily Reflection
Of Creighton University's Online Ministries

The rejected one becomes the savior. Believe it or not, today’s readings present not just two stories that mirror each other—the story of Joseph rejected by his brothers (who will emerge to becomes their savior)  and the story of Jesus rejected by the leaders of his day (only to become the savior of his people—but really four stories that all have this same plot. Let me explain.

When Jesus begins to realize that the religious leadership, together with their Roman oppressors, are planning to have him killed, he reaches back to a parable that Isaiah told some seven centuries earlier—Isaiah 5:1-7, the parable of the vineyard that produced wild grapes and is therefore rejected by the Lord God; which parable Isaiah explains as standing for the people of Israel, led by wealthy leaders who have been self-indulgent and violent, and forgetful of God’s ownership of the vineyard of Israel (Isa 5:8-12). Jesus updates that parable and applies it to what the religious and imperial power-holders are doing in his own day—thinking of themselves first and using violence (like killing him!) to implement their selfish desires to control events for their own purposes.

The Lectionary tradition that joins this reading to the Genesis story of Joseph’s brothers “removing” him to implement their violent jealousy because they (i.e. the designers of the Lectionary) discern a similar pattern: the rejected one will become the savior.  So far, we have three stories—the Joseph story, the parable of Isaiah and the passion and resurrection of Jesus exhibiting this divine plot.

There is yet another expression of the same phenomenon—the quotation of a verse from Psalm 118 that comes toward the end of Jesus’ speech:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes

The early church found in those words of an ancient psalm the perfect summary of the Paschal mystery. While the original psalmist seems to be speaking about the eventual thriving of tyrannized Israel, those words are now wonderfully fulfilled in the life death and resurrection of Jesus. The “builders” (the religious and imperial authorities of Jesus’ day) reject Jesus (like quarrymen rejecting a block of limestone as not worthy of their building plans) by killing him; but Jesus is raised from the dead and becomes the foundation stone of the New Temple that is the renewed people of God, the Church.  And so, already this early in Lent, we are given a glimpse of what will happen in the death and resurrection of Jesus that we celebrate during Passion Week, Easter, and Pentecost.

by Dennis Hamm, S.J.
Creighton University's Theology Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
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