LK 15:1-3, 11-32
Today, we celebrate that Lent began a little over two weeks ago, and we have one month away until Easter. Plus, the University is returning home from Spring Break today and tomorrow. I think today is a great time to use today’s readings at mass to reflect upon our Spring Break adventures (even for those who stayed on the couch for a solid week!)
The first of today’s readings come from the 20th chapter of Jeremiah the prophet. In this passage, he begins by addressing that all his friends have turned against him, and are ready to take him down at any instant. Then he prays a beautiful prayer to the Lord, asking for guidance to continue his ministry. Jeremiah says, “But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.” We must use this same prayer for ourselves, as we forge our Lenten journey. Our peers may taunt us for what we promise for Lent, or they may tempt us to break our Lenten promise in subtle ways, especially on Spring Break. Sadly, Spring Break is not a vacation from our Lenten promises!
The Responsorial Psalm response says, “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and He heard my voice”. This comes from the Psalms, and revisits this theme found in Jeremiah’s message. My favorite part of this Psalm is: “Praised be the LORD, I exclaim, and I am safe from my enemies.” If you truly fall in love and trust in the Lord, people’s judgments and ridicule won’t shake you. God’s love and mercy triumphs over all evil, all snide remarks, and all deeds of our enemies done unto us.
The Gospel is from John, and Jesus is faced with the Jewish priests, who are prepared to stone Jesus. They attempt to arrest Him at the end of the passage, yet according to the Gospel “He escaped from their power”. When I read this, I imagined a James Bond-type escape scene, where Jesus runs away, hops on a motorcycle, and rides off into the sunset. How ever this “escape” is to be imagined, this Gospel completes the message found in the first reading, that God can save us from our persecutors.
Hopefully these messages can revitalize our mission towards holiness this Lenten journey. Again, I can imagine that with the Spring Break holidays, you may have fallen away from your promise you made just over two weeks ago. If you “fell off the Lenten horse”, recognize that you can try again! I know that I have suffered greatly during this Lenten season. Recently, my grandma passed away, and my family and I have been mourning her death greatly. Our love, support, and strength within our family has been just a glimpse of the power God has in helping us overcome tragedy. God’s mercy is ready and available to us, and God is on our side here. God wants us all to keep trying, and never give up on our quest for greater holiness, no matter how big or small.
Stephanie Landgraf is a Junior from Chesterfield, Missouri. She studies Marketing and Political Science, and is a modern-day pilgrim! Within Campus Ministry, she has attended World Youth Day and MAGIS in Poland, the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice Conference in Washington, D.C., as well as the most recent March for Life and Cardinal O’Connor Conference. She is also a member of the Edmund Campion Society and hopes to lead others towards holiness, peace, and justice!