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Lenten Reflection for the Week of March 18, 2012

READINGS: 2 Chronicles 36:14-16,  19-23,19-23  ~  Psalm 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6. Ephesians 2:4-10  ~  John 3:14-21

 Reflection by Sr. Margaret John Kelly, DC
Spiritual Moderator, Ladies of Charity, St. John’s University

40 days of LentToday’s readings invite us to raise our consciousness of God’s presence and to keep our minds and heart alert to God’s messengers calling us to Jerusalem. There with Jesus we must be “raised up” in suffering and “ rise up” to eternal life. First, Chronicles reminds us that “early and often the Lord sent his messengers” but the people ignored or rejected them, continuing in their sin. Psalm 37 cautions that in addition to attentive listening we also need to keep our memories active and rich with stories of God’s goodness and fidelity. Indeed, “if I forget Jerusalem, let my tongue be silenced and may my right hand be forgotten” because my word and work will have no meaning. Paul in his “Letter to the Ephesians” insists on great attention to the fact that just as a temple is raised up so was Jesus raised up. In that action which was pure gift from God, we have received our salvation. To round out this theme of being alert to God’s presence and having an active remembrance of Jesus going up to Jerusalem to die for us, the Gospel of Johnreaches back into history describing how Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert” to heal his people and prefigured Jesus as Savior. “So must the Son of Man be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” John stirs our memory that in Jesus’ time, as in the early history of the Jewish people, “the light came into the world but people preferred darkness to light.” Sadly, they did not remember and they did not hear.What questions “rise up” for our consideration and prayer as we direct our own journey to Jerusalem? We have already seen and experienced how “rich in mercy” God has been to us. Let us now consider the following in our prayer:

  1. What can we do to stay alert so that we hear clearly those messages and messengers God sends to us in our regular rhythms of life? How can we quiet the other messengers that drown out God’s voice?
  2. Do we remember and raise up memories of the great graces Jesus has won for us in the past so that our hope for the future is deepened and His promise of eternal life is central in our earthly lives?
  3. “Gratitude is the virtue of the spiritually mature.” It gives us the power to integrate suffering and loss, as well as sadness and joy, into our daily walk to Jerusalem.” Let us remember some events in our lives which, like Jesus’s accepting the Father’s will that He be raised up, have raised us up. In that rising we were able to radiate light to others as they seek truth on their journey.

 “Whoever lives the truth, comes to the light so that his works may be  clearly seen as done in God.” (St. John)

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