We cannot be saved without you. 

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

 
May your unfailing compassion, O Lord,
cleanse and protect your Church,
and, since without you she cannot stand secure,
may she be always governed by your grace.

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: 

We cannot be saved without you. 

Today we are reminded of the terrible irony: a prophet is not well received at home. 
Jesus was not accepted by those who saw him as all too human. 
And, he was unable to act with power in their lives.

Is this Lenten season getting us out of our comfortable complacency, 
and helping us see the prophetic one in our midst? 
Is it helping us listen better, reach out with deeper longing, 
find a greater intimacy with the only one who can save us?.

My soul is thirsting for the living God: 
when shall I see God face to face?

Psalm 42

 

Intercessions: 

Praise to Jesus, our Savior; by his death he has opened for us the way of salvation.
Let us ask him: 
   Lord, guide your people to walk in your ways. 

God of mercy, you gave us new life through baptism, 
 - make us grow day by day in your likeness.

May our generosity today bring joy to those in need, 
 - in helping them may we find you. 

Help us to do what is good, right and true in your sight, 
 - and to seek you always with undivided hearts. 

Forgive our sins against the unity of your family, 
 - make us one in heart and spirit.

Closing Prayer: 

Merciful God, 
Free your Church from the sins of this world 
and protect us from evil we see 
and the evil we prefer to ignore. 
We need your guidance, Lord 
for we cannot do this alone. 
Only with your help can we be saved. 
Thank you for your desire to save us and love us. 

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

Daily Reflection
Of Creighton University's Online Ministries

How do you get yourself nearly lynched by your own neighbors?

This is the question that confronts us in today’s gospel from Luke. How does Jesus spark such animosity in a synagogue crowd that had just “spoken highly of him” and was “amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth” (Luke 4:22)? Within seven verses, this very same home crowd was not only booing Jesus…they were “filled with fury,” “drove him out of the town,” and intended to “hurl him down headlong” from the top of the town’s hill (4:28-29). Jesus doesn’t just encounter indifference or skepticism…he is nearly the victim of a popular lynching. Why?    

For me, the question comes down to identity. The townspeople of Nazareth were surely happy to welcome home the local-boy-made-good, drawing praise across the synagogues of Galilee (Luke 4:14-15). It seems that Jesus made a good initial impression in his Sabbath address. No one protested his fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies to “bring glad tidings to the poor,” “proclaim liberty to the captives,” “let the oppressed go free,” or announce a jubilee year (4:18-21). But they still can’t get the image of “local boy Jesus” out of their head, and some seem skeptical that this average Joe (or, better yet, “son of Joe”) is claiming such an exalted mission.

After questions arise about his own identity, Jesus “crosses the Rubicon” (or better yet, the Jordan), challenging his audience’s sense of entitlement and privilege. Not only does he refuse to deliver any prophetic pork barrel benefits to his native place, but he reminds them that God appears to have a “preferential option for the other”…namely Gentiles like the widow of Zarephath or Naaman the Syrian.

It is easy to betray a kind of smug condescension toward Jesus’s townspeople (and the Pharisees, Sadducees, and anyone else in the gospel who seems “intolerant”). Perhaps a better approach is to ask ourselves, “which identities are sacralized in our own cultures today?” Which identities cut to the core of us…to the point that a perceived threat produces deep wellsprings of anger, resentment, and hatred? For example, if we substituted the word “America” for “Israel” in Luke 4:25 and 4:27, how would most local USA congregations react? What about the American presidential candidates who purport to love Jesus?

As Naaman the Syrian demonstrates in today’s first reading, it is not easy to overcome ethnic and national prejudice, even if this is in our direct self-interest. In fact, the classification of “insider and outsider” is one of the fundamental tensions that cuts through the Scriptures. This Lent, may we reflect on the “outsiders” in our lives and in our countries, remembering that our outsiders are often God’s insiders. 

by Jay Carney
Creighton University's Theology Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
Bible Story illustrations by publishing.com 

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