Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tuesday word, 20 Feb 2007

7th Tuesday of the Year (20 Feb 2007) Sir 2.1-11; Ps 37; Mk 9. 30-37
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
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While Mardi Gras is a time to enjoy, so is Lent. Our scriptures today help us prepare for Lent. While much of Sirach exhorts a noble boy to help him be a responsible, compassionate and just leader, its exhortation to wait for the Lord, the compassionate and merciful, is universal.

The Lord Jesus is the compassionate and merciful one. He upset the images and burst the boundaries of the messiah people expected. His death, about which he began to teach his disciples, was a both a murder and a salvific one. It was no matter for human understanding: perhaps we can take a cue from his first hearers, who were afraid to question him about it. Yet, they were not afraid to argue about greatness after hearing what greatness really meant.

Jesus placed a child in their midst make clear to them and to us how Jesus measured, and how we ought to measure, greatness.

Do we allow Jesus to place his arms around us? Do we draw near to Jesus? Above all, do we commit our lives to the Lord?

Jesus died and rose for us, yes. But Jesus does not force his saving power on anyone. To use the gospel imagery, you and I can argue with Jesus along the way of our lives, keeping him distant, and worse, refusing his compassionate, saving loving power.

Or, we can give ourselves more wholeheartedly to Jesus. Lenten practices help us do that better. You probably have given thought already to selecting your personal lenten practice for this year. If you have not, remember that lent is a joyful season/1/ to draw closer to Jesus, to commit our lives to the Lord with greater freshness and ardor, relying on the Lord to help us grow more compassionate.
/1/ Lenten Preface I: “Father...Each year you give us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with hearts and minds renewed.”

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