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PRAYER / Reflections for Ordinary Time

Sister Rea McDonnell, SSND, offers daily reflections on the Liturgical Readings for each day. If you wish to share your own reflections or have comments or questions, please feel free to email Sister Rea. For information about Sister Rea's publications, visit our online gift shop.

Previous weeks 2005:   Jun 25-Jul01 Jun 18-24 Jun 11-17 Jun 04-10 May 28-Jun03 May 21-27 May 14-20 May 07-13 Apr 30-May 06 Apr 23-29 Apr 16-22 Apr 09-15 Apr 02-08 Mar 26-Apr 01 Mar 19-25 Mar 12-18 Mar 05-11 Feb 26-Mar 04 Feb 19-25 Feb 12-18 Feb 05-11 Jan 29-Feb 04 Jan 22-28 Jan 15-21 Jan 08-14 Jan 01-07 Dec 25-31 Dec 18-24 Dec 11-17 Dec 04-10 Nov 27-Dec 03 Nov 20-26 Nov 13-19 Nov 06-12 Oct 30-Nov 05 Oct 23-29 Oct 16-22 Oct 09-15 Oct 02-08 Sep 25-Oct 01 Sep 18-24 Sep 11-17 Sep 04-10 Aug 28-Sep 03 Aug 21-27 Aug 14-20 Aug 07-13 Jul 31-Aug 06 Jul 24-30 Jul 17-23 Jul 10-16 Jul 03-09 Jun 26-Jul 02 Jun 19-25 Jun 12-18 Jun 05-11 May 29-Jun 04 May 22-28 May 15-21 May 08-14 May 01-07 Apr 24-30 Apr 17-23 Apr 10-16 Apr 03-09 Lent 2005 Feb 02-08 Jan 25-Feb 01 Jan 16-20

This week's Lenten Reflections are shared with us by Eileen Reilly, SSND.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Fourth Sunday in Lent
2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23, Psalm 137:1-6, Ephesians 2:4-10, John 3:14-21

Nicodemus comes to Jesus looking for the answer to the question of how to be born again, how to have new life. Jesus answers, "God so loved the world that he gave his only son." (John 3:16) Perhaps our "new life" this Lent could be found in a litany of praise:

God so loved the world that we were given the beauty of spring
God so loved the world that we were given Earth as our home
God so loved the world that we were given ...
God so loved the world that I was given the gifts that enable my ministry to flourish
God so loved the world that I was given the family and friends to support me
God so loved the world that I was given ...

Monday, March 27, 2006
Isaiah 65:17-21, Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13, John 4:43-54

Taken together, today's readings give us a roadmap for our Lenten journey. Isaiah describes a new reality in which "the things of the past shall not be remembered." (Is 45:17) and the royal official of John's Gospel "put his trust in the words of Jesus." (John 4:50)

My friend Toni Bosco, whose son and daughter-in-law were murdered, has written a book entitled Choosing Mercy. Her title reflects the choices she has made that the things of the past -- in her case, this horrible crime -- shall not be remembered. She and her other children have heard Jesus call to love enemies and have "put their trust in the words of Jesus." Toni has become an outspoken advocate for abolition of the death penalty.

Choosing mercy is not easy in the face of any injury. Pray for the grace to put your trust in the words of Jesus today and to choose mercy towards those who have injured you in any way.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12, Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9, John 5:1-16

What is important in your life? This is the question of today's Gospel reading. The man who had been sick for thirty-eight years thought that being carried to the pool was important. Those nearby thought that the rule about carrying mats on the Sabbath was important. The reality was that with Jesus, the pool was not necessary for a cure, and that Sabbath rules must give way to urgent needs.

What do you need to let go of so that urgent needs can be addressed? Perhaps it is plans that must be put aside when confronted with a need? Perhaps it is spending patterns that need to be altered to allow for almsgiving. Perhaps it is long-held beliefs about "those people" and what they are like that need to be discarded.

Jesus, show me what choices I must make to respond to what is important for me and for the world.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Isaiah 49:8-15, Psalm 145:8-9, 13-14, 17-18, John 5:17-30

"Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?" (Is 49:15) In a recent trip through the airport, I observed what seemed to be a mother "without tenderness for the child in her womb." This woman, traveling with a very small child who had apparently just started walking, was busy about checking her ticket, and repacking luggage while her child cried out for attention and held out his arms, begging to be picked up. The truth of Isaiah's words came home to me. I couldn't take my eyes off this situation until the mother responded to the child. To the casual observer, it could appear that this mother temporarily "forgot her infant."

But God says, "Even should she forget, I will never forget you." (Is 49:15) Although I might be tempted to think that God has forgotten me, that I might cry out like that little child, I know in the depth of my being that the tenderness of God is present and that I am held in the palm of God's hands.

Thursday, March 30, 2006
Exodus 32:7-14, Psalm 106, 19-23, John 5:31-47

The Israelites had apparently forgotten the promise that they would be God's people, and God alone would be their God. In their distress, they fashioned another god, a golden calf. In the face of this, Moses is left to deal with the wrath of God.

Moses' response is the heartfelt response of one whose personal relationship with God is real. Moses is not afraid to share his true feelings and is not beyond reminding God of the promises made to previous generations that descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky.

Today both the Israelites and their leader, Moses, teach us valuable lessons. We are invited to ask ourselves -- has any image, person, place, thing, taken the place of God in my life? We are also invited to deepen our relationship with God so that our prayer becomes more and more like the prayer of Moses -- deeply felt and perhaps even disarmingly honest.

Friday, March 31, 2006
Wisdom 2:1, 12-22, Psalm 34:17-21, 23, John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

I heard a story recently of a religious community that was promising prospective members that, once they joined, they would never again have to wonder if they were doing the will of God. They were told that obedience to their superiors would always guarantee that they were doing God's will. Don't we all sometimes wish it were that simple.

In today's Gospel we see that even Jesus struggled to know the will of God in each concrete step along the way. He felt called to go to Jerusalem, but he did so in secret -- at first. He spoke in public, but evaded their attempts to arrest him -- for now.

Like Jesus, our on-going search to know the will of God is never ending. And, like Jesus, we will often find that from day to day, our reality, and so our response, is changing. Our daily prayer can come from today's first reading: let us pray continually to know "the hidden counsels of God" in whatever way they are revealed. (Wisdom 2:20)

Saturday, April 1, 2006
Jeremiah 11:18-20, Psalm 7:2a, John 7:40-53

"Surely the Messiah is not to come from Galilee." (John 8:41) Surely, she can't have anything valuable to say. Surely you don't expect me to listen to him. Surely those people can't teach us anything about democracy. Surely you don't expect me to drive less. Surely you don't expect me to be bothered with recycling. Surely you can't believe that I should forgive her.

How often we hear ourselves say words like these. Like the crowd around Jesus, we do not want our preconceived notions challenged. We know how things have "always been," and we like them that way.

Surely this Lent isn't an invitation to let go of any of my deeply held ideas, or prejudices, or practices -- or is it? Surely, the two remaining weeks of Lent aren't enough time to make a difference in my life -- or are they?

Last updated: Saturday, 25 March, 2006 6:29 PM

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