Thursday of the First Week of Lent

Intention: That God may bless and protect all those who carry healing and peace to the poor, the abused, and the forgotten people of our world.

Today’s Gospel | Matthew 7:7-12

Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish?  If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.  This is the law and the prophets.”

A Lenten Reflection

It could be argued that in our nation today we are living in especially selfish times.  While it is difficult to know if people are any more inclined to selfishness than in the past, it seems clear that today there is greater opportunity, even encouragement, for unapologetically asserting it.  With so much to have comes greed for more and resentment when you do not get it.  Self-contained lifestyles and technologies head to human isolation and detachment.  We interact and cooperate less and so our knowledge of and appreciation for others atrophies.

Contrast that with the truth that Jesus reveals in today’s Gospel.  Life, it turns out, is neither an entitlement nor a possession.  Life is God’s grace, and it comes to us most powerfully through what we do with and for one another.  In our interdependence as Gods’ children, having allows for giving and lacking allows for receiving.  It is in our common experience of both gift and want, of serving and being served, that we approach the core of what it is to be alive, human, and whole all at the same time.

In his book, Voice of Reason, author Bryant McGill wrote, “The greatest joys in life are found not only in what we do and feel, but also in our quiet hopes and labors for others.”  The spirit of self-sacrifice is rooted in the reality that we all are agents of each another’s enlightenment and partners in one another’s salvation.  Lent is a time for us to escape the trap of living only within and for ourselves and to embrace God’s call to find ourselves by being at one with others.

Prayer

Eternal Father, your son gave himself as an offering for those crying out for deliverance from the pain of sorrow and injustice.  In this time of Lent, we pray that we will have the courage to follow him and to help bring your wholeness to the brokenness in our world.  May we turn away from the sin that hardens our hearts and embrace the compassion that empowers us to care and to serve.  We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts forever.