Malvern Minute – Wednesday
Malvern Minute

 

April 5, 2017 – Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Saint Vincent Ferrer, Priest

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance.

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 holy Gospel according to John (8:31-42)

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him,
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham
and have never been enslaved to anyone.
How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
A slave does not remain in a household forever,
but a son always remains.
So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.
I know that you are descendants of Abraham.
But you are trying to kill me,
because my word has no room among you.
I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence;
then do what you have heard from the Father.”

They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children,
you would be doing the works of Abraham.
But now you are trying to kill me,
a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God;
Abraham did not do this.
You are doing the works of your father!”
So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication.
We have one Father, God.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me,
for I came from God and am here;
I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”

Reflect: If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. To know Jesus is to know the Word; to know Jesus is to know the Truth. The Truth sets us free. Who doesn’t want to be free? Throughout the history of humanity, people have fought for freedom. We find the fullness of freedom in Jesus. As we struggle through our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we do so to focus on Jesus, to focus on the truth. We begin to experience in our heart, mind and body a fresh awareness of Jesus and what he means to us. Our Lenten journey helps us to focus on the truth so that we can be set free from whatever holds us back from being the person that God intended us to be. In the first reading today from the Book of the Prophet Daniel (chapter 3), we see the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who were challenged by King Nebuchadnezzar to worship the created god of the king’s society. They strongly and peacefully refuse because of their unwavering trust in the true God. Infuriated, the king ordered them bound and thrown into the hottest fire imaginable. Instead of disintegrating in the heat, they are seen walking around unfettered amidst the flames together with a fourth man who “looks like the son of God”.  The king’s heart was melted by what he witnessed and he declared his belief in the true God: “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego”! May God give us the wisdom to seek the truth and the courage to make him known. Then we will truly be free!

Questions: Do I prefer to be bound by the hopelessness of sin rather than to be freed by the truth of Jesus Christ? What might be one step I can take today to begin walking toward a new freedom from my false gods? How might Jesus be inviting me to witness to his love and mercy in the midst of the flames of a secular world?

Pray: Loving God, give me the grace to let go of sinfulness so that I might be freed to seek the Way, the Truth and the Life with all my heart.  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you!

Saint Vincent Ferrer was a Dominican priest who died in Brittany in 1419. He was born in Valencia (Spain). He was a noted orator and missionary preacher; called the “angel of judgement”. He worked tirelessly for the unity of the Church that was divided by the great Western Schism.

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

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