Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

3/6/2015 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It is a time for brutal honesty about our own sin and failings.

Do you want to accompany Jesus closely, very closely? Open the Holy Gospel and read the Passion of Our Lord. But don't just read it: live it. There is a big difference. To read is to recall something that happened in the past; to live is to find oneself present at an event that is happening here and now, to be someone taking part in those scenes. Then, allow your heart to open wide; let it place itself next to Our Lord. And when you notice it trying to slip away -when you see that you are a coward, like the others - ask forgiveness for your cowardice and mine. (St Josemaria Escriva)

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/6/2015 (11 months ago)

Published in Lent / Easter

Keywords: Lent, Forthy Days, St Josemaria Escriva, The Furrow, the Way of the Cross, Gospels. St Luke, repentance, conversion, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - In his powerful reflection on the Way of the Cross, St. Josemaria Escriva asks a poignant question which can be of great assistance to anyone who desires to enter more fully into the Gospel stories we hear and read on a daily basis at Holy Mass:

"Do you want to accompany Jesus closely, very closely? Open the Holy Gospel and read the Passion of Our Lord. But don't just read it: live it. There is a big difference. To read is to recall something that happened in the past; to live is to find oneself present at an event that is happening here and now, to be someone taking part in those scenes. Then, allow your heart to open wide; let it place itself next to Our Lord. And when you notice it trying to slip away -when you see that you are a coward, like the others - ask forgiveness for your cowardice and mine."

This method of reading the Gospel stories by entering into them is an ancient practice. The early fathers not only did it regularly but their inspired writings offer us examples of the great fruit it can bear. St Escriva urges the practice regularly. In another instance in the section of The Furrow dedicated to the Interior Life he reminds the reader," I advised you to read the New Testament for some minutes every day, and to enter into each scene and take part in it, as one more of the characters. This is so that you incarnate the Gospel, so that it is "fulfilled" in your life... and "make others fulfil it"." (#672)

This Gospel text presented to us by St Luke provides an opportunity to put this into practice and enhance our Lenten experience: "Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth:

"Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land.It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian. When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away." (Luke 4:24-30)

The passage is an excerpt from entire event recorded by St Luke in the fourth chapter of His Gospel. Jesus entered into the synagogue where he was raised in as a child and picks up the scroll of the Hebrew Scriptures. He reads the passage from the great prophet Isaiah. After initially "speaking highly of Him", the men of the synagogue realized where he was from and began to change their initial response.

They succumbed to pettiness and the proclivity to sin which is so evident in each one of us. In fact, they succumbed to the root of all sin, pride. Sadly, as a result, instead of encountering the Messiah for whom they longed, they became so blinded by their disordered emotional reactions they try to throw Jesus off of a cliff! They lost the gift of an encounter with God Incarnate - and all that it could have entailed - and joined those who reject him by their actions.

This is not the only time in the Gospels where people seek to throw Jesus off of a cliff. St Mark records the stunning and dramatic story of Jesus setting the Gerasene demoniac free from the torment inflicted upon him by evil spirits. This poor man dwelt in the tombs, tormented by evil. This man's deliverance should have been a cause for great rejoicing by his neighbors. However, just like those who had gathered in the Synagogue of Nazareth, they instead drove Jesus out of their neighborhood.  (Mark 5:1-20)

There are many excellent reflections in the Christian tradition as to why they may have responded in this manner. Most point to the involvement of the pigs in this account; the demons went into the animals and 2,000 of ended up drowning - driven by the evil spirits into the sea. These sources point to the probability that these were gentiles involved in pig farming. Perhaps they lost substantial profits in this entire affair.  They also suggest that the disordered love of economic matters can offer an insight as to why they were so blinded to the wondrous works of Jesus.  

However, what is common to both stories is that each crowd encountered the Lord and failed to recognize Him. Each crowd witnessed the manifestation of the Kingdom of God and failed to be converted. They not only rejected all that could have been theirs if they had responded appropriately - they gave in to their own disordered response patterns and rejected the grace of the encounter. They became blinded to the glory of God as fully revealed in Jesus Christ. They missed the opportunity for their own deliverance and liberation.

This presents us with an opportunity for sober and honest reflection. We can hear or read the Gospel accounts on many levels. That is part of the reason why the Scriptures are such a treasure. They need to be read, re-read, prayed over, and read again and again and again. I suggest we take the Gospel account presented today as an invitation to ask ourselves a sobering question - and to answer it honestly. Where are we refusing to allow Jesus into our own lives? Where are we, in effect, driving Him out of our own neighborhood?

In the words of a dear priest friend of mine, Lent is a season of "no kidding". It is a time for brutal honesty about our own sin and failings. It is an invitation to shine the light offered by Jesus Christ into the areas of our daily lives which remain in darkness. It is a time to  ask ourselves where have we sought to eject Jesus? Where are we behaving as the crowd?

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Lent / Easter

Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Take our Lent quiz! See how much you know about the tradition of Lent! Take our Lent quiz, then challenge your friends. See how much you know about this special season in the Liturgical year. The quiz has just a few questions, but will certainly provide a quick ... continue reading


The Way of the Cross continues on Watch

Image of

By Tony Magliano

In his strong identification with the poor and vulnerable, Jesus makes it perfectly clear that when we meet the needs of these least brothers and sisters, we are ultimately serving him. And when we - as individuals, churches, states and nations - do not adequately meet ... continue reading


Take this thought provoking Stations of the Cross survey

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

How familiar are you with the Stations of the Cross? Take the Catholic Online survey now to share your answers to our questions. Your responses will help us serve you better by tailoring content that suits your needs. The survey is short and should take just 1 minute ... continue reading


'God hasn't forsaken me': Church of England to release short films addressing serious topics for Lent and Easter Watch

Image of The Church of England plans to launch a JustPray campaign throughout Lent, with its final video released on Easter Sunday (Shutterstock).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Church of England is set to launch its latest campaign called the "Psalm 22 project," which will feature stories of former homeless and ex drug addicts who tackled some of life's most difficult trials. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Psalm 22 refers to the ... continue reading


10 important things to consider during Lent Watch

Image of What are our options during Lent? (Shutterstock)

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Every year we give something up for Lent. Sometimes picking what to give up is hard and other times we consider doing something extra to really immerse ourselves in what God has for us - but what are our options? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Lent isn't just ... continue reading


5 little-known facts about Lent you need to learn this Ash Wednesday Watch

Image of Lent is more than just fasting (Rhoy Cobilla, InterAksyon.com).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Everyone knows that Mardi Gras kicks off the upcoming 40-day Lent, which honors the time Jesus fasted in the wilderness, but did you know there is more to it? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Recently the Independent released their list of "5 things you might not ... continue reading


Ash Wednesday: 'Seek To Experience God's Presence Within' Watch

Image of

By F. K. Bartels

"You may ask me: 'But, does God exist? And if he exists does he really concern himself with us? Can we reach him?' It is, indeed, true that we cannot place God on the table, we cannot touch him or pick him up like an ordinary object. We must rediscover our capacity to ... continue reading


POPE'S MASS: Ash Wednesday (FULL TEXT: English) Watch

Image of

By Pope Francis, Libreria Editrice Vaticana

The unofficial English translation to Pope Francis' prepared homily for the 2016 Ash Wednesday Mass: The Word of God, the beginning of the Lenten journey, addressed to the Church and to each of us invitations.The first is that of St. Paul: " Be reconciled to God " ( ... continue reading


Pope Francis' special Ash Wednesday message for 'Keep Lent' initiative Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis sent out his first audio message for "Keep Lent" over social media. 'Keep Lent' is an initiative of the Prelature of the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii's youth ministry office. According to the Vatican Radio, "The initiative begins on Ash ... continue reading


Fat Tuesday - Mardi Gras Meant to Be More than a Party Watch

Image of Some have tried to argue that this term meant that people should discard their moral faith commitments and for the night and just

By Fr. Randy Sly

One could call this celebration the last gasp of Ordinary time as the Church anticipates the penitential Season of the forty days of Lent. Rich foods are consumed as pilgrims prepare for times of fasting, abstinence, confession and penance. Ironically, carnival ... continue reading


All Lent / Easter News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Daily Readings for Friday, February 12, 2016
  • Is Valentine's Day...? (Take the quick survey!)
  • Daily Reading for Saturday, February 13th, 2016 HD Video
  • Daily Reading for Friday, February 12th, 2016 HD Video
  • The Way of the Cross continues on
  • St. Buonfiglio Monaldo: Saint of the Day for Friday, February 12, 2016
  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 58:1-9
1 Shout for all you are worth, do not hold back, raise your voice like a ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:3-4, 5-6, 18-19
3 For I am well aware of my offences, my sin is constantly in ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 9:14-15
14 Then John's disciples came to him and said, 'Why is it that we and the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 12th, 2016 Image

St. Buonfiglio Monaldo
February 12: He was one of seven Florentines who had joined ... Read More