Celebrant: As we continue our Lenten journey, let us present our needs to God with greater confidence than ever.
That our bishops, and all who teach God's word may proclaim the need for repentance and ongoing conversion, we pray to the Lord...
That government leaders may hear the call of God to lead people in the ways of justice and peace, we pray to the Lord...
That the catechumens of the Church may be blessed with deeper understanding of God's word and holiness of life as they prepare for their baptism this Easter, we pray to the Lord...
That God, who always hears the cry of His people who are being oppressed, may enable us to hear those cries and to save the poor, the vulnerable, and the unborn, we pray to the Lord…
That those who are ill may be strengthened by the love of family and friends, and the prayers of the Christian community, we pray to the Lord...
That all who have died may be purified of sin and welcomed to the glory of heaven, we pray to the Lord...
as you hear our prayers,
bless us with the gift of repentance.
May our lives bear the fruit of holiness.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lent, A Eucharistic Time
“’The Eucharist draws us into Jesus’ act of self-oblation … we enter into the very dynamic of His self-giving’ (Encyclical Deus caritas est, 13). Let us live Lent then, as a ‘Eucharistic’ time in which, welcoming the love of Jesus, we learn to spread it around us with every word and deed. Contemplating “Him whom they have pierced” moves us in this way to open our hearts to others, recognizing the wounds inflicted upon the dignity of the human person; it moves us, in particular, to fight every form of contempt for life and human exploitation and to alleviate the tragedies of loneliness and abandonment of so many people. May Lent be for every Christian a renewed experience of God’s love given to us in Christ, a love that each day we, in turn, must ‘regive’ to our neighbor, especially to the one who suffers most and is in need. Only in this way will we be able to participate fully in the joy of Easter” (Pope Benedict XVI, Lenten Message, 2007).
Ex 3:1-8a, 13-15
1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12
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“I have heard the cry of my people who are being oppressed…Therefore I have come down to rescue them.” So God speaks to Moses in today’s first reading. We enter now into a more intense period of Lent, preparing those who are to be baptized, and preparing to renew the vows of our own baptism. We reflect on the central mysteries of our Faith, to better celebrate the passion, death, and resurrection of the Lord. The Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, as well as the Paschal Mystery – that is, the central events of the Old and New Testaments -- are both about God rescuing his people who are being oppressed. Our forefathers were oppressed as slaves in Egypt and rescued through the waters of the Red Sea. We are oppressed by sin and death, and are rescued through the waters of baptism.
Yet the rescued must also rescue. The saved must also save. We cannot turn to God for mercy and be deaf to the cries of others for mercy. One of the three key Lenten activities is “almsgiving,” because it symbolizes this basic truth about living our faith all year long. We are not allowed simply to look at God and thank him for rescuing us, individually. We are, rather, to let our gratitude become service, directed at rescuing others. This is the fruit of which Jesus speaks in the Gospel passage; this is the repentance he seeks of us.
God’s name, as revealed to Moses, is “I AM.” It does not only mean “the fullness of being.” It means “I am here FOR YOU, to rescue and save you.” The same words are spoken by God when he is announcing that he will rescue his people from their captivity in Babylon (see Isaiah 45) and when Jesus announces the liberating effects of his passion (see John 8).
In our day, these reflections show us our obligation to rescue the most vulnerable human beings of all, oppressed by abortion and euthanasia.