Friday of the Third Week of Lent

 A Lenten Renewal:
Reflections on the Mass readings in light of our daily lives
By Mother Marie Julie, SCMC
My Dear Good People,
Today we have readings that touch our hearts deeply. The first reading at Mass is from the  Prophet Hosea (14: 2-10), which is a book that speaks volumes about the love God bears for His people. Throughout this book the prophet, speaking in the name of God, uses the image of spousal relationship to describe the desire God has to draw us to Himself.
The response is from Psalm 81 and is a moving plea from God, begging, as it were, that we would listen to His word and walk in His ways. He seems to be weeping as he reminds us that He brought us out of Egypt (slavery to sin), tested us, spoke to us, gave us commands for our welfare, and yet, as He says, If only my people would hear me… I would feed them with the best of wheat [the Eucharist?] and with honey from the rock I would fill them (81:10-11). Talk about hearing a tearful voice….
The Gospel follows with an intimate conversation between Jesus and a scribe, a literate individual with many tasks aimed at assisting the people to know and understand the Law. In this passage the scribe comes to Jesus to ask, What is the first of all the commandments? (12: 28). Clearly he wasn’t asking about the Ten Commandments. He seems to be sincere in wanting to know, perhaps for himself, how he can best please God.
Jesus responds with the words that ring down through the ages: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is God alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength (Deut. 6:4-5 and Mark 12: 29-30). The scribe seems to rejoice as if he had believed this all along, and now has his deepest conviction affirmed: Teacher, you are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’ And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. Jesus then commends him.
True, this is a conversation between Jesus and someone who is evidently trying to discern who Jesus really is, but it’s a conversation, this and the other readings today, meant for us to engage in personally. Do I listen to the words of God? Do I hear Him when He speaks to me? Above all, is it my joy to love Him with every fiber of my being? These are questions we have been asking ourselves all during these three weeks of Lent (and probably for many years before). Today, though, God juxtaposes these three readings into one invitation to find ourselves in Him, to make Him the Center of our lives—or rather, to recognize that the reason for our being is to be His alone. Today we can once again pray the beautiful Psalm Prayer found in the Divine Office:
May Jesus, Who is called faithful and true,
and Who lives with You [the Father] eternally, 
possess our hearts forever.
From Morning Payer, Saturday of Week I
God bless your Lenten Friday.
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“With Mary, our lives continually proclaim the greatness of the Lord and the joy experienced in rendering service to Him.”

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