Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary
2 Sm 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16
In yesterday’s Gospel Jesus told us that our righteousness needed to surpass that of the scribes and the Pharisees (Matthew 5:20). Today we celebrate a person, Joseph, because he was a righteous man. He heard the call of God and responded to that call in faith.
Joseph followed in the footsteps of Abraham, the father in faith of us all. It was Abraham who “believed, hoping against hope” (Romans 4:18) that the Lord’s promise to him would be fulfilled. Mary, Joseph’s wife, also believed that God’s promises to her would be fulfilled. Joseph trusted in God’s word as did Mary and Abraham.
This Lent we have the opportunity to listen more carefully to the word of God – in Scripture, in our hearts, and in the words and lives of others. May we receive the word, act upon it, and be blessed with the righteousness that comes from faith (Romans 4:13).
Friday of the First Week of Lent
“Peace” was Jesus’ greeting to the Apostles huddled in the Upper Room. They were afraid, confused, and guilty of abandoning and denying Jesus. Jesus gives them his peace.
At Mass we exchange peace with one another. Do we truly mean it, or do we harbor anger, hurt or resentment against one another? We are called “to do what is right and just” and to remain in “virtuous ways” by the prophet Ezekiel. We are to act each day to reconcile ourselves and one another. What is one way I can be a peacemaker in our world torn by disaster, wars and violence?
Jesus says to us, “Peace.” May we make this peace our own and share it with others today!
Thursday of the First Week of Lent
We have an interesting combination of readings today. We are encouraged to ask, to seek, to knock because our God is open to us. And this is Good News! Our God cares for us more than any other person can. And God always acts for what is best for us - no matter what.
The plea of Queen Ester in the first reading, as she takes her life into her hands, can be a challenge to us. What have we asked for from God in the last month? How has what we sought measured up in the big picture? Do I only ask for things for myself, or do I intercede for the people in Japan, those who do not have enough to eat, those who are lonely, …?
And then finally we have the Golden Rule. One of the implications of the ‘rule’ is that since we want God to be open and responsive to our prayers, we need to be open and responsive to the prayers and requests of others. Seeking God’s grace we join Queen Ester and pray, “Come to help me.”
Wednesday of the First Week of Lent
The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time – because after the first time Jonah had tried to run away! What word might God be trying to speak to me today? In today’s Scriptures both the first reading and the Gospel praise the Ninevites for listening to the word of the prophet Jonah and acting on that word. We have Jesus, ‘greater than Jonah,’ calling us each and every day to live in his love. How might I better hear and respond to that call?
On the other hand, we are often like Jonah when we try to ignore God’s call. We go off in other directions seeking fulfillment. But our God is persistent and faithful. To paraphrase St. Augustine, “I sought and I sought, and finally He found me.” All we need to do is open our heart to his love. God will do the rest.
We continue to pray our Lenten theme ‘sustain in me a willing spirit” for ourselves and all our sisters and brothers on this Lenten journey.
Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
Monday of the First Week of Lent
We have entered into Lent hearing the call to repentance on Ash Wednesday, and then yesterday learning from Jesus as he uses the Word of Scripture to ward off temptation – yet this is only the beginning of our Lenten journey into the fullness of life Christ has won for us.
Through Moses we hear our God tell us, “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” Quite a challenge in itself, but then we are told that this holiness needs to flow through us to others! In the Gospel for today the king says to those on his right, “… whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Only by uniting all our thoughts, words, attitudes AND actions with Jesus will we know the life God desires for our joy. Only by acting on behalf of our neighbor, our sisters and brothers, will Christ’s Spirit fully transform us this Lent. May we continue in prayer for, and support, of one another.