The Final Five…

…Days, that is.  Yep, we’re down to the last week  of Lent before the Triduum, or the Three Days leading up to Easter Sunday.  Now, we’ve all related, on one level or another, that we haven’t been as focused as we’d like to be in our Lenten disciplines.   That’s human nature, right?  We’re never quite living up to our expectations, or our plans.

Luckily, we have a God of second (and third, and seventy-times-seven times) chances.  We’re not too late.  It’s never too late.  During this holy week, we can realize that transformation of life that we talk about every Sunday.  We can be a part of or maybe catalyst for a larger transformation of our community, as we strive to see  and be part of what John and Jesus proclaimed over and over, the kingdom of God.   It’s here.

In addition to taking part in this week’s services (See schedule here), we can walk the passion with Jesus in the form of five days of readings…you can start today!

We’re going to cram 5 separate ReFocus classes into one week.  Well, not that we’ll meet every day, but this link has 5 readings and questions for reflection, much like our class, for each day this week.  Every journey begins with a single step.  Let’s charge into this week fully expecting to change, or at least being open to the possibility.  See the first of five readings below…

The Sacred Journey Preparing For Easter

A Biblical Reflection…by Ernest Varosi, C.R.

As we pray and ponder the mystery of Jesus passion, death and resurrection let us ask God to create a new heart in our lives and societies, so that we may turn away from the ashes of destruction and begin to embrace more fully the new life given us by Christ.

Jesus is our model because Jesus throughout manifests full, complete and active adherence to the will of him who sent him. His passion glorifies the Father because it forcefully reveals the power of his love that saves the whole of human kind.

Every journey begins with a single step. To take that step one must have the desire to make the journey. Every journey is a voyage of discovery. Sometimes the terrain traveled is familiar, sometimes the terrain is seen for the first time; whatever the case, the Sacred journey is a journey intended to enhance our relationship with God and meet the Risen Christ in a new way.

Biblically, the first person to undertake a personal journey of faith and discovery is Abraham and his wife Sarah. “Now the Lord said to Abram (Abraham) ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.'” (Genesis 12:1) Two things are implied in this invitation: A journey into the unknown based on trust and faith and a personal journey of discovery of this God who offers the invitation and promise of blessing.

In spirituality the desert or wilderness is symbolic of the struggle to obey, heed, and listen to the voice of God who calls and issues the invitation. It is often tortuous, twisting, challenging involving purging, purifying, cleansing so that one’s personal self can experience transformation through the process of dying to the old self and rising to new life, a life of total trust and intimacy with the One Who Calls.

A we touch upon key moments in the life of Jesus’ journey we will try to make applications to our own journey of faith.

PRAYER OF THE RESURRECTION

O Risen Lord, the Way, the Truth and the Life,

make us faithful followers of the spirit of Your Resurrection.

Grant that we may be inwardly renewed:

dying to ourselves in order that You may live in us.

May our lives serve as signs of the transforming power of Your love.

Use us as Your instruments for the renewal of society,

bringing Your life and love to all people,

and leading them to Your Church.

This we ask of you, Lord Jesus,

living and reigning with the Father,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God forever.

Amen.

 

The Sacred Journey Preparing for Easter

First Biblical Reflection

The Desert Experience As Foundational For Spirituality

(Establishing The Relationship)

Theme: Jesus and I begin the journey. The first experience is the desert where one faces self and God.

The baptism and wilderness experience was very significant for Jesus as a person and for his ministry. Read slowly the following passage while imagining yourself out in the wilderness with Jesus.

Scripture Reading from Mark 1:12-15

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert (wilderness), and he remained in the desert (wilderness) for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (cf. Matt 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13)

Set the scene!

The desert appears in the Bible as an “intermediate” time, a “time between”: one can travel through the desert, but not settle down there. Forty years, forty days: this is the “time of the desert” for the people of Israel during their journey, but also for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. It is a stretch of time that can be endured only if we learn to be patient, to await and to persevere, accepting the high price of hope. (Enzo Bianchi, Words of the Inner Life)

 Reflection Starters!

Why did Jesus spend time in the desert? For what purpose? What could he have been struggling with? (tempted by Satan, other?)

  1. What can one learn in the “desert” (being alone) regarding self, others, mission, world?
  2. What makes the “desert experience” of Jesus foundational for spirituality?
  3. What “desert” experiences have you had that were foundational for your spirituality?
  4. What is the connection that Mark makes between Jesus’ baptism, temptation, and mission.
  5. In what way is Jesus, after the desert experience, different from the earlier Jesus?
  6. What temptations do I face that challenge my resolve to remain firmly among the followers of Jesus?
  7. In what ways has Jesus shown me the way?

See you Sunday in the Library – 9:15.   Bring tuna, bring a friend.  John


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