Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……

Breathe in all that is of God and from God…all that is true, honest, pure, admirable, noble, decent, virtuous, worthy of praise, good, loving, kind – all that deserves respect..

Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence, into pure joy. Keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity. Come to that place, that space within, that place of deep silence – Solitude…to just being here and now, without having to accomplish something.

Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that come with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

Every day that we wake up is a good day. Every breath that we take is filled with hope for a better day. Every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good….every moment of the day brings new opportunities and possibilities.

May this moment and all other coming moments open new doors for you and may God bless you with wisdom and courage to walk in faith, as you continue your journey through Lent!

Take a moment. Bless your day. Let your day Bless you……Take another moment. Bless your world. Let your world bless you……

We begin our Lenten Journey with a cross traced in ashes on the foreheads of all who come to Church on Ash Wednesday as a declaration of the necessity of repentance, of change of heart and of faithfulness to the Gospel values. We heard the Prophet Joel proclaiming URGENCY: “It is time to sanctify the community” (Joel 2:12-18). We heard Paul urging (begging) the Corinthians and us today on behalf of Christ: “be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2) . Jesus urges: purify your motivations; your intentions. It’s all about being called again to conversion, holiness, perfection, purification, sanctification, transformation (Mathew 6:1-6, 16-18).

Tomorrow, the first Sunday of Lent, we meet man and woman living in a land of abundance in total communion with God, with themselves and nature. In the midst of such abundance of grace, they faced testing times and failed to be true to what God made them to be and lost their sense of God and of themselves as God’s special creatures made in His image (Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7).

Take a moment……..Reflect on temptations in a land of abundance. Reflect more on being grateful for blessings, gifts and much more!

The author of the book of Proverbs (Proverbs 9:1-6) personifies wisdom as a lady and speaks of wisdom, after having built her house, inviting everyone to share the abundance…rich food, choice wines, etc. and (9:13-18) “folly” as a harlot who also invites everyone to feed on stolen food and drink. What Wisdom offers brings life and what Folly offers brings death.

Listen to the call of wisdom… the riches and abundance of God’s Wisdom!

OR to the call of folly, to the unreal!

We will pray Psalm 51. This psalm is often prayed by individuals and communities seeking forgiveness and mercy, flowing out from the steadfast love of God. The Old Testament period considered two sins, murder and rape/incest as sins that could not be atoned – murder lead to the death of the body and rape/incest to the death of the soul. Nathan confronted David (2 Sam. 11-12) with these two sins that he believed could not be atones.

This great man, chosen by God to be king, had done something that could not be atoned. David threw himself at the mercy of God. This psalm reveals the heart of David as he realized what he had done. David appealed to God’s steadfast, unfailing, covenant Love because he knew God would never break His covenant, even when man breaks it. His confession and prayer for mercy has now become part of our liturgy.

Create in me a clean heart O, God

and put a steadfast spirit in me!

Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness;
In your abundant compassion, blot out my offense.
Wash away all my guilt;
From my sin, cleanse me.

We will read Paul’s reflections on sin and its effects on the person and the community (Romans 5:12-19). He further reflects on the abundance of Grace. The grace of God and the gracious gift of Jesus overflow for all people. Sin has come through disobedience. Grace has overflowed through the obedience of Jesus.

Reflect on how personal sin affects others in community. Reflect further on the power of Grace to transform your life.

Paul encouraged the Corinthian community to be generous with all of God’s gifts as a sign of gratitude and confidence in God’s watchful care (2 Corinthians 9:6-10). Generosity will become fruitful in abundance. God will provide in abundance, generosity will be enriched in every way…be joyful in giving!

Be gracious and joyful in giving! Let your giving be a sign of gratitude! Give from the heart of abundance! Have a big heart! Lent is a time to learn to live from a heart of gratitude and generosity!

Paul taught the Corinthians and teaches us today that we are earthen vessels holding the glory of God and this is God’s gift to us (2 Corinthians 4:7-15). This glory is being revealed through us, frail, weak, human beings through the power of Jesus living in us. The Grace given to us in abundance brings glory to God in spite of our frailty.

Be grateful! Grace in abundance has been poured into your heart!

Give from the heart of abundance! Have a big heart! Let the glory of God come through for you and for all!

We will read and meditate on the personal struggles of Jesus in the wilderness. Mathew describes Jesus going through testing times while he was in intense personal communion with his father in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11).

In the first temptation, Jesus refuses to use his power for personal need satisfaction – for personal comfort, benefit or pleasure. In the second temptation, Jesus refuses to compromise/negotiate with evil forces – with lesser goals, values, morals, etc. Jesus chooses to surrender to the will of his Father. In the third temptation, Jesus refuses a “show-off”, a display of power. Jesus chooses the way of trusting, confident Love.

Reflect on testing times (temptations) in your own personal life, even in times of intense search for God and God’s ways.

Reflect on being faithful, resolute and steadfast in the midst of personal struggles, testing and trying times! If our master was tried and tested, we can’t expect anything different!

My Prayer for you:

May your Lenten days of prayer, penance and almsgiving help you to be reborn in spirit, empower you to love without limits, teach you to pray constantly, help you seek the wisdom of God, enable you to live in compassion and help you celebrate the joy of Easter. May God bless you and your family and keep you safe in His Love.

Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs

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