Today

Reading 1 EST C:12, 14-16, 23-25

Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish,
had recourse to the LORD.
She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids,
from morning until evening, and said:
“God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you.
Help me, who am alone and have no help but you,
for I am taking my life in my hand.
As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers
that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you.
Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you,
O LORD, my God.

“And now, come to help me, an orphan.
Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion
and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy,
so that he and those who are in league with him may perish.
Save us from the hand of our enemies;
turn our mourning into gladness
and our sorrows into wholeness.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 138:1-2AB, 2CDE-3, 7C-8

R. (3a) Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
and give thanks to your name.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Because of your kindness and your truth;
for you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.

Verse Before The Gospel PS 51:12A, 14A

A clean heart create for me, God;
give me back the joy of your salvation.

Gospel MT 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.”

Via USCCB

 

Dark Days Ahead

The Lenten readings are growing darker as Jesus approaches His hour

In Wisdom 2, we read:

The wicked said among themselves,
thinking not aright…
“Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the LORD.

The Gospel of John, too, sounds an ominous note:

“Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near…But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.” John 7:1,10

Why did things have to go this way.  Why the rejection?  Why the Cross?  And while we’re questioning; why do they sour for us?

Today, Fr. Michael, faced with these questions, asked one of his own (I’m paraphrasing.) Who made us judge and jury?  Who confirmed us in our righteousness; which is, if honest, our self-righteousness?”

The Gospel of Light treads a path through every darkness and Darkness, itself.  Without the stuff of darkness, weakness, war, tragedy and desperate dilemma, we  go unchallenged, self-satisfied.  We pursue our dreams and go willy-nilly, perhaps, even, to our own dissolution, seeing only the darkness around us, and none within.  What we don’t like of Gospel or Church, we ignore or eliminate from our daily lives. “Let us condemn him to a shameful death.”

Until the unthinkable forces itself upon us and our decisions, we are content not to think but to ride the fence. The problems remain out there with “them.”  If we do take a stand and speak the Gospel truth, we find what Jesus found: rejection and betrayal, even from within our families, the cruelest blow.  It might not be explicit.  It may be that no one has time to visit.  Perhaps, the grand-kids are withheld and holidays less joyful.  How doesn’t matter so much as that it happens. We are left on our Cross.

What to do?  Look first to yourself.  Question your ways and your motives.  Repent, is the Gospel word for it.  Then pray and wait.  Wait upon God; first of all with praise and adoration, thanksgiving, and finally with petition.  Place all the rest, loves ones and world, in the Tabernacle with the Lamb who was Slain and still lives.  Then go on; “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.” This is the Way until the end of the world and the coming of the Day.

From the Office of Readings – for Friday of fourth week of Lent from Easter Letter of Athanasias:

How fine a thing it is to move from festival to festival, from prayer to prayer, from holy day to holy day. The time is now at hand when we enter on a new beginning: the proclamation of the blessed Passover, in which the Lord was sacrificed.

Lenten Plan – Day 2

iconpieta-lioness3Day2 Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan 2/26/09

Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus:1-6


Day 2 Lite Version

Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus: 7-12

Compilation of Lenten readings

Printer-Friendly Version of Outline: Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan PDF