Sunday, April 2, 2017

Reflection for the 5th Week of Lent, Part 1

Monday – Jesus Wrote

We see Jesus writing only once in the Gospel. The scribes and Pharisees were standing in front of Jesus with a woman who had been caught in adultery. They were demanding His judgment upon her. He bent down and wrote on the ground.

They continued to demand. They wouldn't let up. Finally Jesus stood up and said, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then He went back to writing on the ground.

One by one, the scribes and Pharisees walked away. The woman was left alone with Jesus. He told her that He did not condemn her and that she should go and sin no more.

But what did Jesus write on the ground? Some say it might have been a few pertinent verses from Scripture, perhaps reminding the scribes and Pharisees about fairness and mercy. Others wonder if Jesus wasn't writing out the sins of each of the accusers in detail. Or perhaps He was jotting down only a few key words that would have meaning to the individuals present without revealing their shame to everyone else.

Whichever it was, we should ask ourselves what Jesus would write on the ground if we were the ones standing before Him. We've all been quick to accuse others and overlook our own sins. We've all fallen into the trap of pride and excuses. But Jesus knows our deepest secrets and our innermost weaknesses. He loves us anyway, but He won't hesitate to bring the truth firmly to our attention. What would He write on the ground for you?

Tuesday – This Wretched Food!

Poor Moses! The Israelites just wouldn't stop complaining. Why have you brought us out to die in this desert? We had it good in Egypt, where there was enough to eat and drink! We're tired of this wretched food!

This wretched food... How could they say such a thing? They were talking about the manna God had sent down from Heaven. It was miraculously sufficient. Each person always had just the right amount every single day. It tasted like honey cakes to most people but was perfectly suited for every individual. They didn't even have to work for it, only collect it daily from the ground where it lay waiting for them. How could it possibly be wretched food?

But don't we do the same thing? Don't we often tire of God's gifts? How often have we heard, or maybe even said, “Why go to Mass? It's so boring!” Yet at Mass, we receive a food infinitely greater than manna. We receive Jesus Himself in the Eucharist. Do we realize the gift that is? Or are we like the Israelites who are always looking for something else, something more interesting.

Something to think about...

Wednesday – God's Servants First

You have to hand it to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Those three had their priorities in the right place. They were among the king's favorite servants, and they seemed to do their best for him, but they had their limits. They were God's servants first. So when the king ordered them to worship a golden statue, they simply refused to do it.

They didn't care about the consequences. If they ended up in the white hot furnace, God could choose to save them if He wished. But even if He didn't, they would still remain faithful to Him. They would not worship another “god” no matter what the cost.

Can we say the same? Are our priorities in the right place? Are we God's servants first, before all else? Would we choose God over an idol even under the threat of death? Would we faithfully trust and obey God no matter what the cost?

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