Pray, Fast, Give: Journey with Solidarity Bridge Through Lent
Weekly Lenten Reflections for Lent 2019, written by Solidarity Bridge.
Reflections for Lent 2019
As we celebrate Palm Sunday and begin Holy Week, we enter into Jesus’ suffering and death. We journey with him through his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, and sit at the Last Supper with his disciples. We hear his agony in the Garden and witness his betrayal and crucifixion. We watch, as the women gather at the foot of his cross, and he breathes his last breath.
This week, we encounter the familiar story of the woman caught in adultery. A large crowd has gathered in the temple to hear Jesus teach, when the Pharisees bring in the woman and challenge Jesus as to her fate. They tell him that the law says she must be stoned. Jesus doesn’t rise to the bait or contradict the law. Instead, he tells them that whoever is without sin should cast the first stone. As Jesus writes in the dirt, one by one, the accusers leave. Jesus then rises and speaks directly to the woman. He does not dispense punishment, but asks her to change her ways.
This week, we encounter the familiar story of the Prodigal Son who experiences the abundant and unconditional love of his father. Jesus tells this story to illustrate the depth of God’s love for us. Wherever we are, God is ready to meet us and invite us into a deeper, more intimate relationship. Like the father in today’s Gospel, God doesn’t just wait for us to come, but runs out to meet us with welcoming arms and great joy. And, like the Prodigal Son, we can be changed and transformed by this love.
This parable in Luke brings a message of hope and redemption with a simple reminder to us all - God forgives! Like the gardener pruning a fig tree, God loves us and is always ready to give us another chance to blossom. God’s tender, compassionate activity in our lives allows us to bear fruit. Let us remember God’s mercy and compassion this week.
In Luke’s account of the Transfiguration, Jesus brings Peter, John, and James to a mountain to pray. There they are granted a vision of Jesus speaking with Moses and the prophet Elijah. God speaks to the group, declaring, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” Today, we too are called to listen for Jesus’s voice in our world, and to be transformed by what we hear.
This short passage describes Jesus’s temptation by the devil after forty days of fasting and prayer in the desert. We see that the devil approaches Jesus when he is weak and weary and offers to satisfy his most immediate need – hunger. He then seeks to tempt Jesus with power, status, and wealth, and dares Jesus to prove his relationship with God. Jesus, relying on scripture and intimate trust in his relationship with God, spurns the devil’s offers. The devil leaves to await another opportunity
It is easy to look at the beginning of Lent as a time of sacrifice and suffering, of desolation in the desert. But Lent can also be seen as a time of stripping away that which is keeping us from the love and joy that God intends for us. Pope Francis says, “Lent is a powerful season, a turning point that can foster change and conversion in each of us. We all need to improve, to change for the better.” Lent is a time that invites us to transform our lives - an opportunity to turn back to God with our whole hearts and reorient our lives.
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