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Athirst is My Soul

March 24, 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014: Third Monday of Lent

2 Kings 5:1-15. There were many people with leprosy in Israel, but none were made clean except Naaman the Syrian.
Luke 4:24-30. Like Elijah and Elisha, Jesus was sent not only to the Jews.

Gospel Reflection:

Praise be to Jesus Christ! For evermore!

Here we are, twenty days into Lent. How are we doing? How are we holding up? We should be into a routine by now: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We should be looking for opportunities to mimic the Beatitudes as we come across them in our day-to-day lives. Growing in the fruits of the Spirit. We should be lending example and support to the Elect, who, underwent their first Scrutiny this weekend. The Scrutinies are communal prayers celebrated around the elect to strengthen them to overcome the power of sin in their lives and to grow in virtue. The community does not scrutinize the catechumens; the catechumens scrutinize their own lives and allow God to scrutinize them and to heal them. This is something we as members of the Body of Christ can benefit from, as we, too are reminded to pay close scrutiny to our own walk in the world. This weekend we also were privileged to hear the beautiful, haunting story of John’s Woman at the Well; where we the thirsty hear how Jesus thirsts for us. Remarkable. So how are we doing?

The Woman at the Well, marks the midpoint for Lent, in that, so far, it has been a focus on the saving grace of living water, on spiritual healing, on not only the formation of the catechumen, but entering the waters of our baptism again and renewing those vows we made. We are halfway now. It is now time to go up to Jerusalem. Always up when you go to Jerusalem. And we experience a greater sense of urgency now, as we join our activities with those of the disciples.

Remarkable, also, the readings and prayer for today. In the first reading, we learn about Naaman, the Syrian. Who would have done anything extraordinary to rid himself of leprosy, but angered at a seemingly simple cure. But when presented with reason, he is washed clean, and “his flesh became the flesh of a little child” (2 Kg 5:14). Reborn of water and Spirit, he recognizes that salvation is centered on the saving power of God, centered solely in Israel. The Gentiles are drawing closer to the Lord, to Israel.

Now we go to Nazareth. We hear the Lord reminding the pious people that during a crippling , severe famine, Elijah only went to the aid of a widow in Zaraphath. And during a time Israel was being conquered, Elisha only helped a Syrian. It is too much for the locals to bear. They are incredulous – remembering earlier, ‘is this not Joseph’s son?’ (Lk 4:22). And murderous at the thought that the God of Israel, was now going to save everyone. Salvation, Jesus is teaching us, is that His Father will reach out to all the world; it will touch all Nations, like a stone of sin being dropped into the still waters, and ripples touching all the shoreline. We are in the middle of our Lent, the center of our desert; our thirst will be forever quenched by this living water.

But he passed through the midst of them and went away. – Luke 4:30

The mob seeks to hurl Jesus down the steep slope to his end. “But he passed through the midst of them and went away” (Lk 4:30). We look around our lives, but do we realize that the answers to our challenges just pass through our midst? The answers are just within our grasp, but they just seem to escape. Lent is the time to recognize simple solutions in our life. Lent is the time to release the leprosy of our lives, to feast on the saving power of this living water and turn our backs on the famine of the relative world. It can be just that easy.

The responsorial psalm is a lament that we will hear again, with the Elect, on Easter Vigil. “Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, O God. Athirst is my soul for God, the living God” (Ps 42:2, 0213). Then we will realize our lament turned to joy.

Amen.

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