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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday, Second Week of Lent

The entrance antiphon for today's Mass jumped out at me: "Do not abandon me, Lord. My God do not go away from me! Hurry to help me, Lord, my Savior."

Are you feeling like crying out the same? I love the "Hurry to help me" as though God were not more present to me than I am to myself.

In the opening prayer we ask the Father to "teach us to live good lives, encourage us with your support and bring us to eternal life."

The Gospel is from Matthew 20:17-28. Jesus is going up to Jerusalem and again took the Twelve aside by themselves and said to them: "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day." Jesus predicts his Passion and death with accuracy but also announces his resurrection. It is too much for the Apostles and they do not seem to grasp what Jesus is telling them. Instead, the mother of James and John comes to ask if her sons can sit in the places of honor when Jesus comes into his kingdom. Jesus says, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?" When they reply in the affirmative, Jesus tells them that they will indeed drink his chalice, but to sit at his right and his left it not for him to decide; it is for those for whom it has been prepared by the Father. The others are now indignant and so Jesus again needs to tell them: "Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Jesus speaks clearly; are we really listening? Do we understand what he is trying to say to us even today?

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