Malankara World

Great Lent Today

Day 13 - Second Saturday of the Great Lent

Opening Prayer:

Turn our hearts to you, eternal Father,
and grant that, seeking always the one thing necessary
and carrying out works of charity,
we may be dedicated to your worship.
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.

The Readings (alternate)

Deuteronomy 26:16-19; Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8; Matthew 5:43-48

In His Steps - A Lenten Series

Today: Gerasa: Go Away, Jesus

Daily Meditation:

Turn our hearts to you.
The Saturdays of Lent have a grateful and uplifting tone to them.
Our lesson today reminds us of the covenant God made long ago:
you be my people
and I will be your God.

In the new covenant, without condition,
God is faithful to us, even if we are not.
Jesus calls us to a new way of being -
loving others as we have been loved -
which includes loving those who do not love us.
We are to be as pure in our love,
as God is pure in loving us.

God loved the world so much,
he gave us his only Son,
that all who believe in him
might have eternal life.
John 3:16

Today's Daily Reflection

by Kevin Kersten, S.J.
Department of Communication Studies, Creighton University

Deuteronomy 26:16-19
Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8
Matthew 5:43-48

Love Your Enemies

Life in our world has many sorts of enmity. Enmities between a husband and wife on the brink of divorce, bullies and their victims, a person betrayed by a friend, or a child abused by a parent. Enmities between nations at war or adversaries in civil war. Between cheaters and cheated, criminals and victims. Among the wealthy and among the poor, and between rich and poor. Whatever the sort, only two options occur to me as possible for those embroiled in enmity. Let it be, or deal with it. There really isn't any "in between."

Letting an enmity be will likely make it worse. Recrimination will increase. Old hurts will get bruised and new ones will be perpetrated. Grudges and resentments will fester. Violence and bloodshed may even happen. And all this will occur for the enemies facing one another from the two sides of a divide.

Dealing with the enmity requires both parties to turn their faces to one another and listen. Each needs to acknowledge to the other their own responsibility for the division, and to forgive the hurt and misunderstanding the other has caused -- more or less in that order. When all this takes root -- on both sides -- genuine reconciliation, which consists of deep down mutual forgiveness, becomes a real possibility. But sometimes it will occur only with the grace of God. If that is the case, then both sides will benefit from praying for the grace to reconcile.

For reconciliation to stick, the process needs to grow towards mutual love – which is more than mutual tolerance. Love, as reconciliation matures, will emerge not only in our words but especially in our deeds: publicly acknowledging (praising) the other's merit and worth, revering the other's dignity and goodness, helping the other to heal, working with the other to reconstruct your damaged relationship, and otherwise serving the other without grudge or resentment.

To come to a point of praising, revering, and serving an enemy one needs to experience the mutual forgiveness and healing which reconciliation makes possible. Then, as reconciliation flourishes, union of hearts and minds becomes a desired goal to work for, and the love that results will abide. When union and love are achieved, they become the doorway to peace, a deep and enduring peace, which is the polar opposite of enmity.

If what I have said here makes sense, then I think responding to these words of Christ from today's gospel will strike at the root of enmity: "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust" (Mt 5:43-48).

This is the love that God wants to give grace for when we are experiencing enmity, the same love Our Lord gave words to from the cross: "Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).

Preface for Meditation
by Prince Mathew

Great Lent is a period of repentance and transformation of our body and spirit to the LORD the creator. Fasting without repentance and changing one’s life becomes useless. Unless the fasting person changes his life during fasting, he will only be hungry and exhausted without gaining anything else. Therefore, the Church constantly reminds us of the importance of repentance during fasting. Before Great Lent, we fast Nineveh Fast and we live the story of Jonah and the Ninevites' repentance.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said, "the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (John 6: 37) Christ "has come to save that which was lost." (Matt. 18:11) God desires that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of truth (1Tim. 2:4). Christ is the True Physician who is needed by those who are ill by sin. He did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Mark 2: 17).

Repentance is a result of divine action; it is the Spirit of God, Who moves the hearts of sinners to repent. God’s pleasure is in the return of a sinner so that he will not die in his sin. When God sees his sinful child returning to Him, He has compassion and goes to him, kissing him, and welcomes his return by saying, "It is right that we should make merry and be glad." (Luke 15: 32) The return of a sinner and his repentance results in joy to God, as well as all those in heaven, because, "there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance." (Luke 15: 7)."

Bible Reading:

Fifty-Day Gospel Planner
(Read all Gospels during the Great Lent)

Before Holy Qurbana

Holy Qurbana

Gospel Readings

Mark 1:21-31 (KJV)

And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,

Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.

And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.

And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.

And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.

But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.

And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.

Bible Verse for the Day

They were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, 'What is this? A new teaching? For with authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him!' St. Mark 1:27

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:

Loving God,
Sometimes my heart
turns in every direction
except towards you.
Please help me
to turn my heart toward you,
to gaze upon you in trust
and to seek your kingdom with all of my heart.
Soften my hardened heart
so that I might love others
as a way to glorify and worship you.
Grant me this
with the ever-present guidance of your spirit.

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

Source: Portions from: Creighton University Praying Lent

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