Brothers and Sisters,

As we continue our journey through this season of Lent, we are met with the question of who is worthy in God’s eyes. The Israelites and the Pharisees never thought David would be chosen king! Nor did they ever fathom that Jesus would heal the man born blind!  Their expectations were based on false beliefs. They didn't realize that God sees differently. 
Worthiness isn't found in reputation, pedigree or appearance.... but in one’s heart! Let us pray for purity of heart in ourselves and others so that we may welcome our Lord into our worthy hearts.
 
 
Brothers and Sisters,
As we enter into the Third Sunday of Lent our readings focus on water and on God’s self-revelation to seemingly unworthy people. Those who are in most need of help, who appear to be unworthy, are those to whom life is given: the doubtful, the sinners, the impatient grumblers, the wanderers. My prayer is that we all recognize our need for God’s grace and humbly open our hearts toward this transforming love.
 
 
Brothers and Sisters,

As we begin the second week of Lent, we encounter Abram moving to a new place, the disciples struggling to understand Jesus, and the early Christians trying to figure out how to live the Gospel. If our own understanding about who Jesus is remains a struggle with ongoing questions, let us not be discouraged. If our hearts are open, we can trust that there will be people and experiences to help us along the way. My Lenten prayers continue for open hearts and trust for all.
 
 
Brothers and Sisters,

The battle between good and evil is written large in literature, drama and religion. Our Sunday readings, indeed, all of Scripture, reveal a truth we know all too well. Even the best of us has experienced the powerful attraction to what we should not do. Our tradition tells us even more profoundly that the story is larger than temptation or failure. We hear, instead, what is possible: Grace, justification, obedience, righteousness and life are the real end of the story!  

 
 
Brothers and Sisters,

Our weekend readings make even more difficult demands on us regarding our behavior as Christians. We live in a culture where there is so much rhetoric about protecting oneself and one’s property, about guns and gated communities. How do we reconcile this with Jesus’ call to turn the other cheek and love one’s enemy? What does it take to embrace these teachings, which many of us... quite honestly... find foolish?  It's a very simple answer.... We need to stay rooted in Christ, to keep our trajectory always aimed toward heaven!  It is an easy solution, but very hard in "the doing".  I pray that we all may keep our focus on Christ and do as he taught us to do. 

 
 
Brothers and Sisters,
Our weekend readings build upon last week’s focus on expectations. Living the Christian life requires a deep sense of responsibility and a desire to go beyond the minimum of the law. Spiritual maturity and integrity lies somewhere between deadening legalism and a casual approach that mocks the rules and takes pride in “getting away with it.” We are given the freedom to act responsibly. Let us pray for the wisdom to discern what that means and to live accordingly.

 
 
Brothers and Sisters

What does it mean to be salt, light, a city built on a mountain?  Our weekend's readings remind us that, as baptized Christians, we can’t hide. God, who is a God of justice and mercy, had expectations of Israel. The Israelites weren’t off the hook regarding how they were to act, and neither are the followers of Jesus. God has expectations of us. People see us, they observe what we do and how we act. What are they seeing? We can’t be followers in name only!
 
 
Brothers and Sisters,

In a culture obsessed with strength and success, our weekend readings are startling. The qualities and behaviors identified in the Beatitudes look nothing like economic, political or social strength. Instead, they appear to demonstrate weakness. Saint Paul tells us that God chose the foolish, the weak, the lowly, and despised to shame the wise and the strong. 

Those of us who say we follow Jesus have some soul-searching to do. How do the Beatitudes fit with our professional and life-style commitments? How willing are we to engage in the really hard practices? And what would it mean if we don’t want to?

Something to consider as we get closer to Lent!
 
 
Brothers and Sisters,

Jesus begins his healing ministry by calling ordinary people ... simple fishermen to follow him. What was it about his invitation that appealed to them, caused them to accept it? 

One would not have guessed what was yet to come of his being and doing. We never know the outcome of an invitation or a promise that is made. We are called in many ways, most of them simple. We don’t know where we will be led. Our task is to keep our hearts and minds open to God’s calling, however or whenever it may come. Let us all pray for each other that we may have the grace to be open to God's will.

 
 
Brothers and Sisters,

In our weekend readings, we hear the titles of Jesus….Son of God, the Lamb, and the true Servant who brings salvation to the whole world. His role is completely based on his relationship to God, whom he calls his Father. Our role is based on our relationship to Jesus, when we begin to know him as he is and what he is called to do. Like him, our task is to continually deepen the relationship that leads us to know who we are and what we are called to do. That noble work is never finished!