Introductory Prayer:Lord Jesus, in this Lenten season, I want to draw
closer to you. I believe that you truly became one of us to save us as an act of love beyond all
human understanding. I know I can count on you to carry me through each day. I know that in
all circumstances you are with me. I want to love you more than myself and say yes to your will in
every moment. I trust totally in your grace. Thank you, Lord! This Lent, I want to learn to love you
more, as you deserve. I want to be the person you want me to be
Lord Jesus, help me to re-discover all the gifts you have given me and help me to
use them to bear fruit.
1. Re-Discovering the Familiar:
We all know the saying,
"familiarity breeds contempt." In today's Gospel, Jesus contemporaries were in that situation
regarding Jesus himself. He had already worked miracles, and his preaching and holiness of life were
totally exceptional. Yet, some people were not satisfied, and Jesus rebukes them for seeking more
signs. It's all too easy for us to fall into this same attitude with our faith. Instead of
appreciating the riches conserved in the tradition of the Church, many still look for extraordinary
signs. The Beatitudes, or the Gospel accounts of Jesus raising people from the dead might seem
boring, but private revelations and possible apparitions capture our imagination. Lent is a good
time to go back to the basics, and re-encounter Our Lord in the Scripture and in the Mass, as if for
the first time.
2. The "Sign of Jonah" Is a Sign for Me:
Despite his harsh tone in
the Gospel, Jesus actually does promise to give them a sign "the sign of Jonah." By this he means
his death and resurrection, as he explains in the Gospel according to Matthew (12:40). There could,
in fact, be no greater sign than this and the celebration of the Pascal Mystery is the true
climax to which the period of Lent is directed. The penitential character of these forty days can
seem to belie their true meaning as a season of hope. Really, we're purifying ourselves to
participate in the death and resurrection of Christ!
3. Sharing Our
Jesus says to his listeners that they will be judged because they are not
appreciating the gift they have before their eyes. It's an invitation for us not only to appreciate
all that we have received in the Church, but also to share it with others. The truths of our faith,
which we commemorate and re-live in Lent and Easter, are not intended for us alone but for all
humanity. Whether or not that message gets out depends on each one of us. What are we doing to
share the true meaning of Lent and Easter with those around us?
Lord Jesus, help me to appreciate the great gifts you've
given me in
the Church your presence in the Eucharist and
in sacred Scripture, the sacraments,
the testimony of the holy
lives of so many saints and in my own life through the work
of your grace in my soul. I don't need any more signs!
Help me to share these
gifts with the people I encounter by
living what I profess and by having the
courage to speak about my faith.
Today I will focus on what I am
doing when I pray, read the Scripture, or participate in the liturgy. I will raise my level of
awareness as if I were doing it for the first time.