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 began our Lenten Journey with a cross traced in ashes on the foreheads of all who came to Church on Ash Wednesday as declaration of the necessity of repentance, of change of heart and of faithfulness to the Gospel values. Ashes direct our attention to the transitory character of created realities – that nothing in this world is permanent, nothing in the world of matter is forever. The journey that we began in ashes will take us to the cross. The cross tells us that in the love of God nothing is lost.

From the ashes of destruction, we make our way to the cross of Christ and beyond it to the fire. Unlike the fire of terror, we encounter a purifying, life-creating fire that gives light to a dark and despairing world. It is the fire that light the Paschal candle which proclaims: “the light of Christ”. It is the fire that brings us into the light of Christ and lights up our own path. Our Lenten journey will end in Baptism and the renunciation of the forces of evil.

First week of Lent reminded us that it is important to recognize that none of us is free from temptations and testing times. Jesus himself was tested during his time in prayer and contemplation. The Scripture readings also reminded us of the gift of Grace that is always available to us, to enable us and empower us to walk faithfully even in the midst of testing and trying times. Let us put our confidence in the Grace of God, especially during our difficult moments, as we continue our journey through life.

Second week of Lent reminded us that letting go is not easy and to let go of a sure and certain and secure thing in order to welcome something new and untried is even more difficult. And that is the challenge! We were given Abraham and Sarah as our models and their faith in God as our inspiration and strength

We were reminded that our faith journey and the challenge of Gospel living will bring hardship and struggle and that our security is in the gift of God’s Grace. God’s Grace will empower us to bear our share of hardship for the Gospel. You are saved and called to a holy life. God will Grace us to live this call to holiness.

The third week of Lent reminded us again that the season of Lent can be a time of dismantling, breaking down those barriers to God’s loving, compassionate, graceful, peaceful presence in the surprising, even unimaginable corners of our life. We are reminded again and again that Jesus will transform them into Grace-filled moments and opportunities for transformation of life.

Jesus breaks down barriers between people, culture, religion, race, etc. We were called to reflect on those barriers that need to be broken in our own personal life?

We were called to reflect on the life-giving water that we need to drink and the source of that life-giving water in the spring within us, in prayer, in the sacraments, in the scriptures, in the church.

We are assured that Jesus will empower us to face the truth. What is the truth in yourself or about yourself that you need to face? Come to the Lord Jesus, He will empower you to face the truth. Being empowered, we must share His truth with others.

The fourth Sunday of Lent called us to come to the cleansing water, to new vision, to new challenges, to new risks, to new opportunities and possibilities and to new and demanding relationships.

The man born blind enters the paradox of meeting Jesus, receiving his sight, then being expelled from the Synagogue. He was once a skillful beggar, self-sufficient, well positioned at a prime spot right next to the pool of Siloam. Now he could see and therefore he is faced with finding a job for the first time in his life…….and out of the Synagogue!

The fifth Sunday of Lent called us to reflect on the mystery of the resurrection. Ezekiel, the Prophet reminded us that it is by the Spirit of God that we will be called forth to rise from the dead and live. St. Paul assured us that the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead is alive in us, transforming us to live the new life in Christ. We heard the promise of Jesus that whoever believers in Him will live because He is the “resurrection and the life”.

On Palm Sunday, the sixth and the last Sunday of Lent, we meditate on the Prophet Isaiah’s experience, “The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue, that I may know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them” (Isaiah 50:4-7).

Let us reflect on developing a “well-trained tongue” and “well-disciplined” life; reflect on speaking words of affirmation, compassion, encouragement, kindness…

We will meditate on Jesus humbling himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even on a cross (Philippians 2:6-11).

We will remember Jesus entering Jerusalem to face rejection and eventual death. He moved, with courage, into hostile territory. He entered a city which killed its prophets and did not know how to receive the things that are for its own good, a city that did not know how to receive blessings and gifts and grace!

They greeted him as they would greet a pilgrim: “Blessed is he who enters in the name of the Lord” (Ps. 118:26). And they shouted “Hosanna!”, “Hosanna” means “Save now”. It was a cry for help, which a people in distress addressed to their king or their god. “Save us, we beseech thee, O Lord” (Ps.118:25). Hosanna in the highest means, let even the angels in the highest of heavens cry unto God, “save now”. It is essentially an oppressed people’s cry to their savior and king for deliverance. These hosannas of Palm Sunday will become the cries of “crucify him, crucify him!”

Reflect on how you share in the passion and the cross of Jesus.

Remember those who have heavy burden to carry. Remember the innocent, especially children and the helpless who have to suffer without support.

Remember and pray for those who are facing difficult and hostile situations.

Remember and pray for those who are crying out “Hosanna” – Lord, “save now”.

On Holy Thursday, we will remember Jesus bending his knees before his disciples with a bowl of water, to wash their feet…take a moment…. imagine him with a bowl of water, on his knees, before you! We will also remember Jesus breaking bread and sharing His life with us and taking the chalice and sharing the cup of compassion.

On Good Friday, we will meditate on the Prophet Isaiah’s reflections (Isaiah 50:4-7): The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue, that I may know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.

We will remember Jesus being betrayed, tried, judged, condemned and crucified and thus giving himself totally in life and in death…….obedient unto death on the cross.

The Lenten Journey which we began with a cross traced in ashes on our foreheads has brought us to the cross. From the ashes of destruction, we have made our way to the cross of Christ.

In the cross, we meet Jesus, the one who took away the sins and overcame death in dying for us. We also remember those who suffer, those with heavy burdens to carry and those who have no one to help them carry their burdens.

We see much more in this cross. We see the infinite value of human life – we see Jesus dying out of love for humanity, we see redemption, we see glory – we see the one who left the glory of heavenly home and entered into our life and into our death. In the cross we see hope, we encounter love.

The cross tells us that in the love of God nothing is lost.

We remember the cross, the sign of shame and punishment, becoming the symbol of sacrifice, healing, unconditional love, total giving, redemption and salvation. We remember and relive the passion, the cross and the death of Jesus.To the world Jesus was condemned and finished. To the believer, Jesus being lifted on the cross is the Victory of Grace and the Ultimate revelation of God as LOVE.

The one lifted on the cross reveals glory andnot shame. The creator of the world comes to the world…….the creator of the earth walks on the earth which he created… falls to the earth…prostrates on the earth…goes deep into the earth… uses mud to heal…… walks into places where he was rejected…..

The creator of the flesh becomes flesh…….. makes his abode in the flesh. The creator of the tree hangs on the tree and gives up his life for those who rejected him.

Acting out of love to the extent of dying on a cross is a mystery hard to grasp….We carry our crosses carefully, trying to make sure they don’t take too much out of us…

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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