Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

Jonah 3:1-10; Psalm 51; Luke 11:29-32

The Father Of Mercies

Return to me with your whole heart, for I am kind and merciful. Joel 2:12 (Gospel Acclamation)

When God saw that at Jonah’s preaching the Ninevites “turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil he had threatened to do to them.”

But it was God who sent Jonah to Nineveh in the first place! “I do not want sinners to die, but to change their ways, and live!” (Ezekiel 18:23).

In sending Jesus, the Father showed more mercy than he did by sending Jonah. “The people of Nineveh… repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!” (Matthew 12:41).

The Father sent Jesus: that we might “have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

Knowing the Father loved him because he wanted to give us life strengthened Jesus in his passion. “For this reason, the Father loves me, because I lay down my life” for the sheep” (John 10:17).

Because life is what the Father is all about, Jesus taught us to call God “Father.”

If we really knew the Father’s heart, our relationship with him, instead of causing fear, would fill us with more confidence than anything we can imagine.

We can know the Father’s heart by knowing Jesus. “If you know me, you will know my Father also…”

ACTION: Measure all fears against the Father’s love as Jesus taught it.

PRAYER: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father of mercies and God of all consolation!” (2Corinthians 1:3).

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Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 34; Matthew 6:7-15

The Father Nourishes

Just as… the rain and snow come down… Isaiah 55:10

God’s word is life-giving. “My word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” He sends it to “water the earth, making it fertile and fruitful.”

Jesus assures us, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” He also knows what is best for us. And supplies it—more reliably than any human father for his children. Where anything is lacking, it is because humans have deprived one another.

Most—and best—of all, God nourishes us with truth. Jesus rejected an expected but false messianic role when he refuted Satan: “It is written, ‘Humans do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4).

“My Father gives you the true bread from heaven… I am the Bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry… will live forever… As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.”

Jesus is the Word made flesh, the “living bread that came down from heaven” to give his “flesh for the life of the world.”

The Father promised: “My Word shall… do my will, achieving the end for which I sent him.” That end is the life of the world. Blessed be God forever.

ACTION: Read God’s words. Thank the Father for them.

PRAYER: “Give us this day the Bread of heaven.”

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Monday of the First Week of Lent

Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18; Psalm 19; Matthew 25:31-46

The See (Chair) of St. Peter

1Peter 5:1-4; Psalm 23; Matthew 16:13-19

The Father Gives Rebirth

Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy. Leviticus 19:1

We understand that God would proclaim his holiness to us; but not that he would call us to a holiness like his own! What kind of God would suggest that we could be anything like him? What does it say of God that he wants us to be?

God doesn’t want to stay remote from us, just adored in his infinite transcendence. Yes, he alone is God. But he doesn’t want to be God alone. He wants us to “be God.” For that he shares his own divine life with us, life that makes us holy as he is holy.

The Father lifts us above created existence to share in his own uncreated Life; abolishes the barriers of being; fuses finite and infinite, amplifies the human through union with the divine.

Like the water mixed with wine at Mass.

God can only do this by sharing his own Life with us—as Creator making himself our Father: God giving, not only being, but birth. Through a mother.

The angel said to Mary, “The power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born… will be called Son of God.”

Jesus said to the Church, “You will be ‘clothed with power from on high.’ All ‘born of water and Spirit’ by Baptism will be called children of God” (see Luke 1:35; 24:49; John 3:5).

And of Mother Church.

ACTION: Think of God as Father.

PRAYER: The Our Father.

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