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The Week of Feb 18, 2018

Provisions for the Journey to Jerusalem

Brief reflections on the week’s Scripture readings.

Preparing for Lent, 2018


 

Brief reflections on the week’s Scripture readings.

~ Lent Week 1 ~

 


Sunday, February 18: God said to Noah…"See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants… and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals…” (Gn 9: 8-15)

The animals don’t get much attention post-flood. But God makes it clear: the covenant he offers is for all of creation, not just humans. It’s interesting: the animals fared better pre-flood—even the unclean ones made the “ark cut.” Not so for their human counterparts. Our catechism tells us “by their mere existence they (animals) bless him and give him glory.” (#2416)  Do we, by our mere existence, bless God? “The forms and individual characters of living and growing things…constitute their holiness in the sight of God. Their inscape is their sanctity. It is the imprint of his wisdom and his reality in them…it declares the glory of God…But what about you? What about me?” (Thomas Merton) Bless and cherish God’s creation this Lent.

Today’s provision—Cherish Creation: Have you decided on Lenten practices or sacrifices yet? Gather the family around and come up with some ideas about cherishing and caring for creation. Maybe volunteering at an animal shelter. Instead of fasting from a particular food, fast from waste. See https://www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste/index.htm for information and ideas. Think about cutting your shower time down by a few minutes each day to conserve water (just look at what is happening in South Africa to get real-time impacts of water shortages). As the weather permits, see if your local community is planning an early spring clean-up and make a day of it. Whatever you choose to do, do so with a focus on thanking God for the gift of our earth, the plants and animals, and each other.

Monday, February 19: “You shall not go about spreading slander among your kin; nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor's life is at stake. I am the LORD. You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. Though you may have to reprove him, do not incur sin because of him.” (Lv 19:1-2, 11-18)

The Book of Leviticus does not make for light reading. It is tedious and in parts, goes into such minute legal detail, it can make your head spin. And yet there are verses scattered throughout the Book that provide sound advice and guidance for the Israelites and for us as to how we are to live out God’s commandments. What do you think God means that we should not “stand idly when our neighbor’s life is at stake?” I find myself standing idly by when I hear about the young lives lost in the city not 15 miles from my home. What does God say to me about that? While I hope I can claim hatred is not part of my make-up, I sure can have feelings of fiery anger and indignation when I hear the vitriol and hatred spewed by others, especially those at the highest levels of government and religion. How do I comes to terms with that reality? Throughout this chapter, God reminds us, “I, the Lord, am your God,” as if to say, ‘Don’t forget, in the midst of the challenges of everyday life, who to look to for strength and guidance, who’s in charge.’

Today’s Provision—Reflect on God’s Message: We’ve heard the words of Scripture so often that we let them pass without a second thought about their message for our lives. Some, particularly in the Old Testament, may seem to have no meaning in contemporary society. And in some cases, that is true. But human nature has not changed much over the millennia—just take a look at Lv 19: 33! When you read Scripture, make sure to go beyond the printed word in those verses that seem to have no meaning for you. Reflect on the message God is sending you.

Tuesday, February 20: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Mt 6: 7-15)

Recently, Pope Francis called attention to this phrase in the Lord’s Prayer. What does Jesus mean when he says these words? What do we mean when we pray them? In Matthew’s Gospel, there are at least two other uses of the same Greek word for temptation: in chapter 4, we hear Jesus is led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted; in chapter 26, Jesus admonishes Peter to stay awake and pray that he will not be put to the trial or the test. We read of many instances when God did indeed put people to the test: Abraham, Job, Jacob, and Jesus to name a few. To me, the operative word here is “lead.”  Some contemporary translations read, “Save us from the time of trial,” which has more to do with God protecting us from tests of our faith. And yet, it is when we are tested and turn to God that we receive the grace and strength to persevere. It is when we are tested and fail, and turn back to God that we receive the amazing gift of God’s mercy. As Jesus might ask, “What is your opinion?”

Today’s Provision—Reflect on Your Request of God:  Another opportunity to reflect. Think about these words. What are you praying for? Is there a difference between praying that we not be led into temptation and that we be delivered from evil? Have you ever felt that you were “led by the Spirit” for the purpose of being tempted? Think about the disciples and their bravado about accepted the cup Jesus was to drink. How did they fare on their tests?


© 2017, Elaine H. Ireland.  “Come and See!”

Reflections are available at http://www.preacherexchange.com/comeandsee.htm

To receive “Come and See” via email, send a request to ehireland@loyola.edu


Elaine Ireland has a passion for working with parents and anyone who struggles to maintain a sense of God’s love and peace amid the day-to-day challenges of life. She has a master’s degree in Spiritual and Pastoral Care from the Pastoral Counseling department at Loyola, Maryland, with a focus on developmental psychology and spiritual guidance.  Rooted in Ignatian spirituality, she is a writer, retreat and workshop leader, and presenter on topics such as pastoral parenting, “letting go,” and finding the spiritual in the midst of everyday life. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland with her husband, Mark and children, David and Maggie.

 

We hope you enjoy "Come and See!" and we welcome your input. Please contact Elaine Ireland at ehireland@loyola.edu with questions, comments, and responses.

 

© 2009, Elaine H. Ireland - Images@FaithClipart.com


Come and See Archive

Up to 6 weeks of "Come and See!" reflections are saved here.

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