Daily Reflection
March 17th, 2008

John P. Schlegel, S.J.

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Looking out the airplane window, reflecting on today’s readings, I found myself thinking forwards and backwards--evaluating my Lenten journey. Today, the Monday in the week we call “holy,” we look forward to the culmination of this season of grace in the sacred triduum and the annual ritual enactment of our salvation--the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord. Heady stuff! Grace abounds!

So how goes your Lent? Take the time to look backwards to a quintet of weeks in review.

I will be no thinner, nor more patient, nor less demanding or critical come Easter; but I have looked into the eyes of the poor as I served them stew. I have prayed a bit longer and better; and I have an even greater appreciation for this website, my guide for this Lenten season.

My Lenten mantra was “Lord, send my roots rain.” I wanted to go vertical this Lent, down as deep as I could go to re-green my fondest held beliefs and review my instincts for the things of God. To become more gentle, patient and compassionate, “Lord, send my roots rain.” To be more forgiving and accepting, “Lord, send my roots rain.” To repent my human weaknesses and embrace renewal, “Lord, send my roots rain.” To repent and re-orient my life, “Lord, send my roots rain.”

Today’s reading from Isaiah (ch. 42) is one of the four servant-of-the-lord oracles, filled with prophecies of a God seeking a better world and a more faithful people. The Christian tradition sees these prophecies fulfilled in Jesus, the Christ.

In today’s reading we find: “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting, or making his voice heard in the street. A bruise reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench…”

On Good Friday another servant song is read:
“See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted…”

Both passages draw us from our Lenten reflections to the rest of the story. Today’s Gospel, too, points us to the triduum:
•     Jesus exhorts Mary to save the fragrant ointment for his burial;
•     Lazarus was raised from the dead; what symbolism!
•    And “The people were turning from their leaders and believing in Jesus…”

All of these human experiences foretold what was about to happen. Just as our Lenten experiences, more modest to be sure, prepare us for what is to come.

So many things fall into place; gradually the past weeks close in on us and the significance of what is opening before us fills us with awe, with grace and with opportunities. Lord during this sacred season, “send my roots rain.”

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