Bring us to the full joy of Easter.

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

 
Rejoicing in this annual celebration
of our Lenten observance,
we pray, O Lord,
that, with our hearts set on the paschal mysteries,
we may be gladdened by their full effects.

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: 

Bring us to the full joy of Easter.

This is the last day of the first part of Lent. 
Our lesson is a powerful one. 
The one person praying in the temple is proud of his spiritual accomplishments. 
The other person is deeply humble before God, 
and goes home having really named the graces desired.

Through our daily practices, we are placed with Jesus in suffering, 
in growing surrender to the deaths of our life, 
and in anticipation of the full joy of Easter

Keep me from any deadly sin. 
Only you can save me! 
Then I will shout and sing about your power to save. 

Psalm 51:14

 

Intercessions: 

To make us his new creation, Christ the Lord gave us the waters of rebirth 
and spread the table of his body and his word.  Let us call upon him and say: 
   Lord, renew us in your grace.

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, clothe us with compassion, kindness and humility, 
  - make us want to be patient with everyone.

Teach us to be true neighbors to all in trouble and distress, 
  - and so imitate you, the Good Samaritan. 

May the Blessed Virgin, your Mother, pray for all those vowed to a life of virginity, 
  - that they may deepen their dedication to you and to the Church. 

Grant us the gift of your mercy, 
  - forgive our sins and remit their punishment.

Closing Prayer: 

God of Mercy and Understanding,
I know that with help
I can open my heart more fully
to the mysteries of the suffering and death
of your son.
Help me to be humble in this journey
and remember that any mercy and compassion I feel
is a gift from you.
I await the joy of Easter with new longing and patience.

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

Before Lent began this year, my wife and I discussed possible Lenten sacrifices. I rattled off the usual dietary suspects of sweets, coffee and alcohol. She reminded me that our children's school was asking kids to give up vices like whining and to cultivate virtues like gratitude. She then requested that I give up complaining for Lent. I immediately complained about this potential distraction from my real Lenten sacrifice! 

Like this anecdote, there is an undeniable humor to today's gospel reading. One can imagine Jesus adding dramatic effect as he parodies the Pharisee's self-righteousness. "O GOD, I thank you that I am NOT like the REST OF HUMANITY – SOGreedy…SO Dishonest…SO…(pause)…Adulterous." Humorous undertones to the side, Luke is reiterating one of the central themes of the Jewish and Christian scriptures: we are sinners who depend on God's mercy. When asked in a magazine interview last year to introduce "Jorge Mario Bergoglio," Pope Francis answered simply, "I am a sinner."

This is a crucial message for us to consider during the Lenten season. It is so easy to get caught up in our own personal sacrifices – to treat Lent like a delayed opportunity to complete our New Year's resolutions. "No more chocolate, no more beer, no more Facebook…" But in one of the most famous lines from the Book of Hosea, the prophet reminds us that God's call has more to do with how we live than what we give up. "It is love I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than holocausts."

In our secularizing Western context, it can be easy for the Christian to react against the culture by seeking religiosity for its own sake. But religion doesn't save us – God does. Over and over, the prophets and the gospels remind us that the true human problem is not so much "no religion" as "false religion." When my religious devotion becomes more about me than God, I am modeling false religion. When my religious devotion separates me from the needs of my brothers and sisters in the world, I have fallen into false religion. When my religious devotion puffs me up, I am far from the Kingdom of God.

The famous "Jesus prayer" from the Eastern Orthodox tradition echoes the tax collector in Luke 18:13. "Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a poor sinner." May these words be on our lips as we enter into the final weeks of our Lenten journey.

by Tom Quinn
Creighton University's Medical School Admissions
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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