Inspired by his love, guided by his example.

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

This week is filled with drama.  We continue to prepare ourselves to be open to God's graces.  We continue to try to choose Lent, to act Lent, in very concrete ways.  We are examining our patterns and realigning our priorities.  Our hearts are being renewed, as we experience God's reconciling love and beg for the gift of healing.

All this is wonderfully supported by the drama of the daily liturgies.  We begin with the raising of Lazarus (and we may celebrate the Scrutinies). During the week, we have powerful stories about the accusation against Susanna, a healing image lifted up in the desert, the three faithful witnesses who survive the fiery furnace, the account of God's covenant with Abram, Jeremiah's fearful trust in the midst of the plot against him, and Ezekiel's incredible vision of restoration of the nation - that God will make a new and everlasting covenant.

Each of these readings is matched with a gospel from John.  We hear about witnesses and testimony and judgment, about his being lifted up (on the cross and in glory), about the freedom/liberation he has come to bring, about himself as the fulfillment of God's covenant, the new and everlasting covenant.  And, we can feel the opposition rising against him.  And we grow in devotion, and grace, as we realize that it is all “for me.”

By your help, we beseech you, Lord our God,
may we walk eagerly in that same charity
with which, out of love for the world,
your Son handed himself over to death.

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: 

Inspired by his love, guided by his example, 
change our selfishness into self-giving. 

Today we celebrate the Third Scrutiny, 
as we journey to the font with those preparing for Baptism.
 
We are in our last week before Holy Week.

It seems that there is so much left to do, to ask for, to be open to, to surrender, to change. 
Jesus assures us that he is the “resurrection and the life,”
 
that if we place our faith in him, we will “never die.”
 
    “I am troubled now. Yet what should I say?
 
     'Father, save me from this hour'?
 
     But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.
 
     Father, glorify your name.”

Today we beg for the graces we need and desire this week. 
We ask for courage in the journey ahead.

Intercessions: 

Let us praise our loving Redeemer, who gained for us this season of grace, 
and pray to him, saying: 
   Lord, create a new spirit in us. 

Christ, our life, through baptism we were buried with you and rose to life with you, 
 - may we walk today in newness of life. 

Lord, you have brought blessings to all mankind, 
 - bring us to share your concern for the good of all.

May we work together to build up the earthly city, 
 - with our eyes fixed on the city that lasts for ever. 

Healer of body and soul, cure the sickness of our spirit, 
 - so that we may grow in holiness through your constant care.

Closing Prayer: 

Father, 
it's so hard to love the world sometimes 
and to love it the way Jesus did seems impossible. 
Help me to be inspired by his love and 
guided by his example. 
Most of all, I want to accept that I can't do it alone, 
and that trying is an arrogance of self-centeredness. 
I need you, dear God, to give me support in this journey. 
Show me how to unlock my heart 
so that I am less selfish. 
Let me be less fearful of the pain and darkness 
that will be transformed by you into Easter joy.

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

There is something about starting over. A new page. A new year. A new week. That feeling that the past is the past. I like to think that  people who have messed up in some way get a second chance, and that they learn from their mistakes.

That concept of starting over flows through today’s readings. In the first reading from Isaiah, we hear “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new.”  And in the second reading, “Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.”

We have that second and third and infinite number of chances when we seek God’s love. We stray off the path, but we can always find it again. That is so powerful and, I think, difficult for us to grasp. We feel we have to do something to earn love or that by our mistakes; we have made ourselves unworthy.  We find it hard to let go of the past, our resentments and grudges. We feel unworthy because we are human and make mistakes; we give in to the temptations that surround us. When we turn to God, we can become that clean slate. We can ask forgiveness and be forgiven.

The parable in John’s gospel is one of my own favorites. I wish I could have been there to see the scribes and the Pharisees who thought they had a “gotcha” moment.  “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her,”Jesus tells them, as this poor woman stands there. Jesus goes back to tracing patterns in the dirt as the Pharisees and scribes melt away. Jesus does not condemn the woman either as he tells her to go and sin no more.

In my own world, when I feel judgmental of others, I need to remember that powerful phrase. I can strive to start over, to know that God will welcome me as I am. I can try to live that way in my own life. I can remember the verse before the Gospel where God says: “Return to me with your whole heart, for I am gracious and merciful.” I pray that I return to God every day, every hour with a whole heart. 

by Carol Zuegner
Creighton University's Journalism, Media, and Computing 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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