the tax collector stood off at a distance
Third Week of Lent: Feb. 24 - March 1, 2008
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Third Week of Lent
challenges the people in his hometown of Nazareth to look at him in
a new way - "No prophet is accepted in his own native place."
In a fury, they drive him out of the temple. Peter asks Jesus the
limits of forgiveness. Jesus say that we must forgive again and again.
He tells the parable about the servant, who though forgiven himself,
does not forgive his fellow servants. Jesus has come to fulfill the
law and the words of the prophets, not abolish them. Jesus heals a
demon that wouldn't let a man talk. When someone claimed that Jesus
must be using Satan's power to heal. Jesus responds with words that
have a double meaning: there is only one source of grace; it is from
God and it resists evil; there is only one source of evil; it is from
Satan and it resists God's grace. When asked to name the "greatest"
commandment, Jesus names two, thus putting together the necessity
of loving God with our entire being and loving our neighbor as our
very selves. The week ends as Jesus tells a powerful story of the
Pharisee and the tax collector praying in the temple. I tell you,
the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts
himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Prayer This Week
This is a week about God's love for us and our call to love others the same way. It is a time blessed by our gratitude for the fidelity of Joseph and Mary, who responded to God's fidelity to them. It is a week to keep our daily focus on naming a desire each morning. The day ahead will shape what we ask for as our feet hit the floor in the morning. Pausing to thank the Lord for this day and to ask for the grace to let our mind and heart be renewed in the concrete circumstances, relationships and obligations of our day. Throughout the day, we can then return to those desires in background of our awareness. Our request for the Lord's help is always there and our consciousness of it, will help us make the choice we desire to make, to let go of what we need to let go of, to add what we need to add. This will take us deeper and deeper into self-awareness and a sense of our need for a Savior, who is right there to embrace us and give us the graces we ask for.
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