by Theresa Homan, Notre Dame Associate
Two temptation stories and two different responses to temptation. We've heard them both many times. And we've heard how we are saved from Adam and Eve's disobedience by Jesus' obedience. So here we are at the start of another Lenten season, reminded again of our sinfulness, our need to turn again and again toward God; to turn from our misguided choices for self-satisfaction, power and control.
We are placed on the earth to cultivate and care for it, and to care for each other. We are called to work; to sacrifice; to share the goods of the world so that all have what they need; to empower the powerless; to be humble valuing service over control.
If, in any way, I consider myself more entitled than someone else, be they poor, rich, unemployed, differently abled, of a different religion or no religion, of a different skin color, or nationality, or political party--I need to turn.
If I support laws, structures or businesses that favor the wealthy or the dominant class, that leave some without health care, education, adequate employment, housing or food--I need to turn.
If I am apathetic about our involvement in unending wars, our abuse of the environment, those trafficked in slavery--I need to turn.
Saving God, you call me not to "do it all," but to have a softening and opening of heart so that I hear and act on how it is you want me to care for others and creation.
Gospel: Mt:6:1-6, 16-18
In today’s Gospel, there are many ways that God wants us to live. We give without acknowledgement; we pray in silence; we fast as Jesus did in the desert. What more can we do this Lent to be more Jesus-like?
~Associate Barb Hickey
First Thursday of Lent
How will I choose life today by loving God as I meet others?
~ Sr Rita Ostry, ND
First Friday of Lent
1st Reading: Isaiah: 58:1-9
This rather, is the fasting that I wish:
~Releasing those bound unjustly
~Setting free the oppressed…
**Can I fast from bias and negative thoughts, which hold others apart from me?
**Or can I fast from seeing others as “different than me” rather than as “my sisters and brothers?
~ Sr. Marie Alice Ostry, ND
First Saturday of Lent
Gospel: Luke 5:27-32
“Jesus said, Follow Me.” And leaving everything behind (Levi) got up and followed him.”
What is Jesus asking me to leave behind this Lent?
Am I stuck in regrets, old painful hurts, negativity or to what am I resistive?
~ Sr. Rita Ostry, ND
The reflections I offer come out of my having watched Dr. Maya Angelou on PBS this past week, having meditated on several of her famous quotes I found online, and having taught black and brown children these past two weeks. Her son, Guy Johnson, said in an interview, “My mother taught me a lot about justice, a love of doing what’s right.” May the parallels I found help you make life-connections for your week ahead.
– Sr. Cynthia Hruby, ND
Collect: Grant, we pray, almighty God, that, always pondering spiritual things,
We may carry out in both word and deed that which is pleasing to you.
First Reading: Leviticus 19:1-2. 17-18
“You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart…. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people.”
Miss Angelou: Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but hasn’t solved one yet.
Second Reading: Corinthians 3:16-23
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
Miss Angelou: While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God’s creation.
Gospel: St. Matthew 5:38-48
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Miss Angelou: I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Without the Holy Spirit, our efforts are in vain! – Pope Francis, 2013
by Rod and Connie Determan, Notre Dame Associates
In Sunday’s gospel, Matthew tells us that Jesus directs us not to just follow the Law but to take it to a higher standard. We are told that it is not acceptable to simply meet the visible appearance of the Law, but to follow the Law in our hearts where only God can judge us. We are told that we need to take responsibility for seeking forgiveness of others that we have offended. If we know in our heart that we have offended someone, we are to stop what we are doing and go seek that person out and ask for forgiveness. I appreciate the warning of doing this in a timely manner. Go find that person and make amends before you come before the judge. Or your opponent may hand you over to the Judge and you will be imprisoned for you offence.
I must ask myself if I have offended someone because of a grudge that I cannot let go. Can I go to the person and ask for forgiveness and make amends before it is too late, and I find myself before the Judge? Do I have it within me to take the high road and resolve what God has laid upon my heart? As we move forward toward Lent, this is an excellent time to step up with courage to forgive and ask forgiveness in damaged relationships in my life. As we move through this election season, we continue to see examples of people not courageous enough to forgive and ask for forgiveness. Rather it is pride or a serious lack of respect for their opponent, real solutions will never move forward without forgiveness from both sides.
Lord, as I enter this Lenten season, please give me the desire to respect and listen to those around me with new and different ideas. And when I do offend them, give me the courage to stop what I am doing and go seek forgiveness and mend my offenses. May God always show me the path to the high road.
by Juanita Harding, Notre Dame Associate
A reading from the Gospel according to Matthew 5:13/16
In today’s gospel Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?” Salt has always been a precious commodity. Salt is necessary for life. Our own blood, sweat, and tears have this mineral in them.
Jesus also told the disciples: “You are the light of the world.” He explains that you do not light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket. The light is for all to see and use. Light guides us and shows us the way.
We are disciples too, and Jesus is speaking to us also. Being salt of the earth and light of the world calls us to use our gifts in service to others. The need is all around us. People are hungry and homeless, and in need of many services. We are called to make a difference. “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”