Malankara World

Great Lent Today

Day 9 - Second Tuesday of Great Lent

Opening Prayer:

Look upon your family, Lord,
that, through the chastening effects of bodily discipline,
our minds may be radiant in your presence
with the strength of our yearning for you.
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)

Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19; Matthew 6:7-15

In His Steps - A Lenten Series

Today: At the Temple: About His Father's Business

Daily Meditation:

Help us grow in our desire for you.
We are learning the intimate connection
between the "discipline" we choose these days,
and the growth of our desire.
If our desire for our Lord is weak,
if it has to compete with so many other desires that choke it out,
then we need to re-form our desiring.
We want to be disciples -
those who love Jesus, are with Jesus in our desires,
and choose to follow Jesus.

In today's lesson we learn the Lord's Prayer again.
As children, we turn to our Loving Father in prayer.

Today's Daily Reflection

by Robert P. Heaney
John A. Creighton University Chair

Isaiah 55:10-11
Psalm 34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19
Matthew 6:7-15

. . . hallowed be Your name . . .

When I was a young man, still in school, and at a time when – although I didn't realize it at the time – Catholics didn't do much Bible reading, I set myself to plowing through the Bible from cover to cover – Genesis to Revelation. It's not an approach I would recommend now, but I remember to this day, when I finished the Old Testament, the strong and surprising impression I got from the fact that the Israelites seemed constantly to be urging God to act on their behalf. That's not surprising in itself, but their reason always seemed to be so that God could salvage His (God's) reputation! "What will the nations say?" "What kind of God do you Israelites have, who seems so powerless to get you out of the mess you've gotten yourselves into?"

Reputation is critically important in the cultures of the Middle East – then as well as now. It merges into values we call "face" and "honor". It seemed that the Israelites thought they could talk God into acting on their behalf by appealing to His ego! His honor! Over and over again! Moreover, it seemed to work both ways: in the Hebrew view God Himself actually was concerned about His good name. The prophet Ezekiel relates a dialog with God (Ezek 36:23–28) in which God complains that the Hebrews have profaned His/Her name among the nations – that, by their behavior, they have made God look bad! And then God says, I will rescue you anyway. I'll honor (i.e., "hallow") my name by the way I save you despite your infidelities.

This background is helpful as we bump into the very first of the petitions of the Lord's Prayer: "Hallowed be Your name." Perhaps we tend to take that as a kind of throwaway line – a polite way of opening a prayer to God. It's helpful to recognize that the expression is in the passive voice – what's called the divine passive. Perhaps we think of that as a pious hope that people would revere the divine name. On the contrary, the Jews of Jesus' time would have understood that God is the one who has been asked to do the hallowing: "God, vindicate your name", "Show everyone what kind of God you are!"

How was God to do that? In this case, by inaugurating God's reign on earth. "Thy Kingdom come", the very next petition in the Lord's Prayer, is another divine passive – not a hope that God's reign will "happen" somehow, but a prayer that God would directly and actively bring it about – and not some day in the hereafter but soon, and here on earth (as in heaven).

The Lord's Prayer is such a central part of the Christian liturgy that it is recited three times a day, every day – at morning and evening prayer and at Mass. But it's so familiar that perhaps we go on autopilot when we start to recite those words – those daring words. And when we think of hallowing God's name, perhaps we should ask ourselves whether, by our actions as Christians, we, like the Israelites, have tarnished God's reputation . . 

Preface for Meditation
by Prince Mathew

The purpose of Great Lent is to prepare the faithful to not only commemorate, but to enter into the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus. The totality of the Orthodox life centers around the Resurrection. Great Lent is intended to be a "workshop" where the character of the believer is spiritually uplifted and strengthened; where his life is rededicated to the principles and ideals of the Gospel; where fasting and prayer culminate in deep conviction of life; where apathy and disinterest turn into vigorous activities of faith and good works.

Lent is not for the sake of Lent itself, as fasting is not for the sake of fasting. Rather, these are means by which and for which the individual believer prepares himself to reach for, accept and attain the calling of his Savior. The purpose of fasting is to remind us of the Scriptural teaching, “Man does not live by bread alone.” The needs of the body are nothing compared to the needs of the soul. Above all else, we need God, Who provides everything for both the body and the soul.

Fasting teaches us to depend on God more fully. The first sin of our parents, Adam and Eve, was eating from the forbidden tree (Genesis 3:1-19).We fast from food, food items, as a reminder that we are to fast from sin­ning and doing evil. There are several benefits of fasting. Fasting helps us pray more easily. Our spirit is lighter when we are not weighed down by too much food or food that is too rich. Through fasting, we also learn to feel compassion for the poor and hungry and to save our own resources so that we can help those in need.

Bible Reading:

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

Evening

Morning

Gospel Readings:

Luke 6:37-49 (KJV)

37Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

38Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

39And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?

40The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

41And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

42Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.

43For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

44For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.

45A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

46And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

47Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:

48He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

49But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

Mark 4:21-34 (KJV)

21And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?

22For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.

23If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

24And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.

25For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.

26And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;

27And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.

28For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.

29But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

30And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?

31It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:

32But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.

33And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.

34But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.

Bible Verse for the Day:

"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" - St. Luke 6: 46

Intercessions:

Praise to Christ, who has given us himself as the bread from heaven.
Let us pray to him, saying:
Jesus, you feed and heal our souls; come to strengthen us.

Lord, feed us at the banquet of the Eucharist,
- with all the gifts of your paschal sacrifice.
Give us a perfect heart to receive your word,
- that we may bring forth fruit in patience.
Make us eager to work with you in building a better world,
- so that it may listen to your Church and its gospel of peace.
We confess, Lord, that we have sinned,
- wash us clean by your gift of salvation.

Closing Prayer:

Father of my soul,
Mother of my heart,
I know your love for me is limitless beyond imagining.
You care for me as a loving parent.
Through my smallest Lenten sacrifices,
help me to become less selfish
and more aware of your ways.
Fan the flame of my desire
to draw ever closer to you.
Guide me to seek your love.

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

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