Malvern Minute – Thursday
Malvern Minute

 

March 23, 2017 – Thursday of the Third Week of Lent

If today you hear his voice,

harden not your hearts.

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A Reading from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah (7:23-28)

Thus says the LORD:
This is what I commanded my people:
Listen to my voice;
then I will be your God and you shall be my people.
Walk in all the ways that I command you,
so that you may prosper.

But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed.
They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts
and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.

From the day that your fathers left the land of Egypt even to this day,
I have sent you untiringly all my servants the prophets.
Yet they have not obeyed me nor paid heed;
they have stiffened their necks and done worse than their fathers.
When you speak all these words to them,
they will not listen to you either;
when you call to them, they will not answer you.
Say to them:
This is the nation that does not listen
to the voice of the LORD, its God,
or take correction.

Faithfulness has disappeared;
the word itself is banished from their speech.
Reflect: Listen to my voice; walk in the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper. So God speaks to us, commands us, out of love. He gives us the word of life. He wants us to thrive not wither. Regardless, we balk at anything that even hints at us being subservient to another – even if it is God who wants only good for us! The Prophet Jeremiah encountered the stiff-necked people and their hard, evil hearts. We want self-determination: to do what we want, when we want, and with whomever we want. Who of us hasn’t gone through some kind of spiritual rebellion? Who of us hasn’t encountered deception, disappointment, discouragement, pain and suffering as a result? In today’s Gospel (Luke 11:14-23), Jesus unveils the enemy as he heals a mute man. Satan, the father of lies, is intent on penetrating any aspect of our lives, to leverage our stubborn, selfish, and prideful human nature. Jesus invites us to put on the armor of faith; to believe and trust in him. Maybe we should listen to his voice and walk in the ways that he commands us so that we may prosper!

Questions: How might my pride, arrogance or selfishness open the door for Satan’s deception? How can my practices of Lent help me to listen to God’s voice – not as a yoke of slavery, but as a way of discovering true freedom?

Pray: Loving God, give me the courage to press forward in listening to your voice so that I might experience the grace of freedom and life found in the Paschal Mystery.  I ask this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Even now, says the Lord,

return to me with your whole heart,

for I am gracious and merciful!

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ENCOUNTERING THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)

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