Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thursday in the First Week of Lent

FIRST READING (Esther 14:1, 3-5, 12-15)
Esther the queen, seized with deathly anxiety, fled to the Lord; and she prayed to the Lord God of Israel, and said:

"O my Lord, thou only art our King; help me, who am alone and have no helper but thee, for my danger is in my hand. Ever since I was born I have heard in the tribe of my family that thou, O Lord, didst take Israel out of all the nations, and our fathers from among all their ancestors, for an everlasting inheritance, and that thou didst do for them all that thou didst promise.

"Remember, O Lord; make thyself known in this time of our affliction, and give me courage, O King of the gods and Master of all dominion! Put eloquent speech in my mouth before the lion, and turn his heart to hate the man who is fighting against us, so that there may be an end of him and those who agree with him. But save us by thy hand, and help me, who am alone and have no helper but thee, O Lord. Thou hast knowledge of all things."

GOSPEL (Matthew 7:7-12)
Jesus said to his disciples, "Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

"Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?

"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

"So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. "

Esther - an Image of the Church
(Fr Mark OSB)

The power of prayer
(Word of Life Community)

Good Psychology
(Fr. Jack Dorsel)

Lent is a powerful weapon for our unseen spiritual warfare. It is the human tendency to fight always. But its proper orientation is not against other people but against evil within us and evil in the society. God is helping us to conquer passions like hatred, avarice, jealousy, greed, lust etc through Lent. Jesus Christ went through a long fasting and immediately after that we see him saying a bold NO to the evil force who brought temptations. Till the last breath there will be temptations and spiritual warfare in the lives of all and those who make use of Lent as a spiritual weapon will be victorious. The prayers of the great Lent highlight Moses, Elijah and Jesus as the great champions of fasting. According to the scripture they observed fasting for forty days and it was these three who are seen in unusually bright light on the transfiguration mount. When the Jews under captivity in Babylon were released and were about to go back to Jerusalem around two and half millennia ago, they declared a fasting to ensure God's protection in their journey. (Ezra 8: 21&22) It is recorded in the book of Ezra that they did not ask the King to send soldiers to ensure their security so that the gentiles could not laugh at the shallow nature of their faith. In our transient journey in this planet to eternity our ultimate trust and security is to be in God who strengthens us to conquer all kinds of evil and to progress. In short, through fasting we humble ourselves and surrender fully to God who empowers us to face all challenges and sinful tendencies.
Fr Theodosius Walker

Grant to us, Lord,
we beseech thee,
the spirit to think and do
always such things as are right;
that we, who cannot do any thing that is good without thee,
may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


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