Malankara World

Great Lent Today

DAY 8 - Second Monday of Great Lent

Opening Prayer:

Convert us, O God our Savior,
and instruct or minds by heavenly teaching,
that we may benefit from the works of Lent.
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)

Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18; Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 15; Matthew 25:31-46

In His Steps - A Lenten Series

Today: Nazareth: Growing Up a Carpenter's Son

Daily Meditation:

Bring us back to you.
We repeat our desire that God bring us home from our wandering.
We know that in the confusion that surrounds us and can fill us,
we need the gift of Wisdom.

It is fitting that our very first "lesson" in our faith,
is the last judgment scene that Jesus paints for us.
We will be judged on whether we:
fed the hungry
welcomed the stranger
clothed the naked
comforted the sick
visited the imprisoned.
It is powerful to re-learn this wisdom -
Jesus identifies with each of these "least" cared for.

Who might we feed, welcome, clothe, comfort or visit this week?
As my heart might "resist" this mission,
I might beg to be brought back, with all my heart.

Today's Daily Reflection

by Marty Kalkowski, School of Pharmacy, Creighton University

Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18
Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 15
Matthew 25:31-46

When I reflect on the words, "be holy" as a call to be like God, because God is holy, part of me wants to run far away. I want to say that I canít do this, that I canít be holy like God because Iím NOT God Ė end of story! However, in the reading from Leviticus, we are told that part of being holy is doing justice to others. We are to treat others with respect and fairness, whether they are seeking wages, whether they are deaf or blind, or whether they are someone who is difficult to deal with. We are to love our neighbors, and the text doesnít seem to give us the choice to pick and choose whom we will love. Godís measuring stick, even though I oftentimes donít want to use it and donít want to be measured by it, is a challenge for most of us.

Hereís an example what I mean about struggling with loving my neighbor and being holy. I sometimes have an easy time loving my children, as things seem to be going well, they are behaving in reasonable ways, and there are no crises. However, there are also times when my teenage children push boundaries, question what I consider to be basic beliefs, and behave in ways that frustrate me. Itís at these times, when I feel pushed as a parent, that I find out about my true character, my ability to do justice and love my teenage children. I can sometimes step back and take the long view, and invite my children to keep growing as they experience lifeís ups and downs. There are other times when I react or overreact to something theyíve said or done. I find that when I reflect on my behavior that thereís often something I can learn about parenting and about Godís love. I can offer an apology when appropriate, if I was out of line. I can also ask for what I need from them, and be clear about my expectations. My wife, Teresa, is a real blessing as a partner, as she strives for consistency in teaching and consequences. I also have the opportunity to pray in thanksgiving for my wife as a partner in parenting, as well as for grace and guidance from the Holy Spirit.

There may be an opportunity for each of us in our day, to look at how we are doing justice today, to all our neighbors. We may also be able to ask "how am I sharing Godís love today?" This focus may help us to love God more deeply and follow Godís ways more closely. May we seek Christ today in all our encounters and love Christ as we find the Presence there.

Preface for Meditation
by Prince Mathew

Fasting is the advocate of repentance. Adam and Eve disobeyed God; they refused to fast from the forbidden fruit. They became slaves of their own desires. But now through fasting, through obedience to the rules of the Church regarding the use of spiritual and material goods, we may return to the life in Paradise, a life of communion with God. Thus, fasting is a means of salvation, this salvation being a life we live in accordance with the Divine will, in communion with God. Because of the liberating effect of fasting, both material and spiritual, the Church has connected fasting with the celebration of the major feasts of our tradition.

Easter is the "feast of feasts." It is the feast of our liberation from the bondage of sin, from corrupted nature, from death. For on that day, through His Resurrection from the dead, Christ has raised us "from death to life, and from earth to heaven", Christ, "our new Passover," has taken us away from the land of slavery, sin and death, to the promised land of freedom, bliss and glory; from our sinful condition to resurrected life.

"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace." (Romans 8: 5-6) We need to live in accordance with our spirit and not our natural desires if we want to overcome temptation. Also God gave us His Holy Spirit. With His power we can overcome the devil.

Bible Reading:

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

Morning

Gospel Readings:

Luke 6:27-36 (KJV)

27But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

28Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

29And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.

30Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.

31And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

32For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.

33And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.

34And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

35But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

36Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Verse for the Day:

"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" - St. Luke 6:36

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:

Loving God,
you call us back to you with all of our hearts.
I feel your call for me deep in my heart
and I know you want me back
as much as I want to return.
Please, Lord,
give me the wisdom to know how to return.
Make my journey back to you this Lent
one of grace, forgiveness and gentle love.

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

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