March 13, 2019
by Nancy Shirley
Creighton University's School of Nursing
click here for photo and information about the writer

Wendesday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 226

John 3:1-10
Psalms 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-99
Luke 11:29-32

Praying Lent Home

Lent for the Older Brother/Sister
of the Prodigal Son/Daughter

Helping Little Children with Lent

As we complete this first week of Lent, we are reminded in our readings about the significance of 40 days of fasting and reflecting.  Certainly we have no expectation of putting on sackcloth and sitting in ashes, yet these 40 days of Lent provide an encouragement to reflect on our life and choices.  It is amazing to me that when Jonah walked through Nineveh that the people listened and actually wanted to repent.  But even more amazing is the fact that the king listened and directed all his people to repent and turn from their evil ways and violence.  He recognized the need for them to honestly be sorry for their actions and ask for mercy and forgiveness.  There was no guarantee but he proposed,

Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath,
so that we shall not perish.

The reading tells us that when God saw that by their actions how they turned from their evil way, He was merciful and did not destroy the city after all.  It is important to note that it was not just words but real actions that testified to their turning from evil.  It really made me think about the times I say I will do something differently, that I will be less judgmental or that I will be kinder to those who are not so nice to me.  Yet, are my actions in line with my words?

The responsorial psalm continues to remind us that our God is merciful – that when our hearts are contrite and humble, we are forgiven.  This forgiveness thing is still so difficult for me.  Not the part about wanting forgiveness.  It’s the part of really forgiving others that seems to be a huge challenge for me.  How can I possibly expect more than I am willing to give?  Perhaps, that is what my next 40 days (or what’s left of them) need to focus upon.  Not the words of it but the real actions.  I want to take the view of forgetting them and kicking the sand off my shoes rather than actual forgiveness for their hurtful actions to those I love.  I will need much fortification to be able to accomplish it – my heart hardens rather than forgives when I see others hurting those most precious to me.  It will take deliberate action to melt my heart and open it to forgiveness.  But . . . I can take comfort in knowing a heart contrite and humbled. O God, will not be spurned. I am always loved and want to feel worthy of that love.

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart
for I am gracious and merciful.

Of course, a tune for us to think about during Lent of how much we are loved.

Reckless Love

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