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Thursday, Third Week of Lent

March 31, 2011

Blessed Thursday!

Today we pass the halfway point between Ash Wednesday and Easter.
How are you doing on the journey?

Father, help us to be ready to celebrate the great paschal mystery.
Make our love grow each day
as we approach the feast of our salvation.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Opening Prayer for today’s Mass)

Readings:
Jeremiah 7:23-28 (God’s chosen people are rebellious)
Psalm 95:1-9 “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts”
+Luke 11:14-23 (those who aren’t for Jesus are against Him)

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts
-Psalm 95:7-8

The experiment’s been run–and replicated.
The data is in…it isn’t pretty.
Hard hearts are bad news.

God’s been dealing with them for a long time.

They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts
and turned their backs, not their faces, toward Me.
From the day that your fathers left the land of Egypt [over 3000 years ago]
even to this day.
-Jeremiah 7:24-25

There’s not much God can do with hard hearts.
Even though He untiringly sends them prophet after prophet,
they do not believe in the blessings He has for them.
They will not carry out His plans for their prosperity–
on the contrary, they do just the opposite!

The results are predictable.
There a reason Israel went into captivity.

Things really weren’t much better in Jesus’ day.
As He was in the process of setting a man free from enslavement to the evil one,
in the process of demonstrating His desire for their benefit,
the crowds accused Him of being evil!

They did not believe in the blessings He had for them.
They would not cooperate in His plans for their prosperity–
on the contrary, they did just the opposite.

God has plans for us.

I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord,
plans for your welfare, not for woe!
plans to give you a future and a hope
-Jeremiah 29:11

This is why He gives us commandments.
This is why He comes to cast out the evil from among us–
the sins by which we’ve become enslaved;
sins which have robbed us of our voice.

He comes to give us a say in the matter,
to set us free.

But if our hearts are hard, we will not believe in the blessings He has for us.
We will not cooperate in His plans for our prosperity–
on the contrary, we will do just the opposite.
In our self-sought woes, we will never see the future, the hope, that He has for us.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts
-Psalm 95:7-8

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