March 5, 2018
by Eileen Wirth
Creighton University's Department of Journalism, Media and Computing, Retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 237

2 Kings 5:1-15ab
Psalms 42:2, 3; 43:3, 4
Luke 4:24-30

Praying Lent

Lent Prayer for Today

The Third Week of Lent - 20 min. - Text Transcript

Looking at Marriage in Lent

Choosing Lent / Acting Lent

In today’s gospel from Mark, Jesus is once again in trouble with his neighbors in Nazareth. Today not only is he a prophet is without honor in his own native place but his homily about how God doesn’t necessarily favor people like them so angers synagogue-goers that they try to murder him.

WOW! That’s some reaction!  The most extreme response to a homily that I ever saw was a standing ovation for a pastor who said something risky.

I draw two important takeaways from this short but powerful gospel and the first reading from Kings that Jesus alludes to:

  • God is universal and loves all of his people regardless of their creed or nationality. Therefore, we can’t  assume that we own God.

  • Following Jesus means taking risks and even facing persecution to proclaim this universal love.

This may sound obvious but it’s not. Growing up, I unconsciously assumed that God was a lot like all the male adult authority figures I knew: white, respectable and law-abiding. If Jesus hadn’t been born in Israel 2,000 years ago, he would have been a good Midwestern Republican Catholic, just like us.

But Jesus wasn’t like that. He proclaimed radical ideas about justice, charity and peace without caring how civil and religious authorities reacted. He risked death a number of times before his crucifixion. He wouldn’t have fit in at the chamber of commerce

Lent is the perfect time to examine our consciences about how well we are following this risk-taking Jesus. Are we doing anything to foster the universal brotherhood/sisterhood of all people including refugees, immigrants, the homeless and other social outcasts? Are we living in solidarity for and with the poor as Ignatian spirituality commands?

We can make progress in baby steps this Lent just by things like y volunteering at a homeless shelter or advocating for the least of our brothers and sisters. I’ll guarantee that Lent will be far richer than if we just give up chocolate or wine for the next month. Heck you might feel so virtuous that you allow yourself a mint Dove bar or a glass of Merlot.

Happy Lent!

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