Prayer to St. Joseph
“Gracious St. Joseph, protect me and my family from all evil, as you did the Holy Family. Kindly keep us ever united in the love of Christ, ever fervent in imitation of the virtues of our Blessed Lady, your sinless spouse, and always faithful in devotion to you. Amen.”
Jesus urges us to imitate God in His mercy/compassion. Too often we see what is wrong in someone while the good lies hidden. Don’t judge/don’t condemn. God will forgive us abundantly.
Today, we read how Peter, James, and John had a “mountain-top experience,” seeing the transfiguration, Jesus in glory. Humans can’t live in the constant glory of the mountain top. Our faith helps us surrender to the reality that we live and die in incompleteness. Lent tells us, until the Messiah comes in fullness, we have to make peace with the human glory of our incompleteness. And it is glorious, because it sharpens our longing for the only One who can ever satisfy our waiting hearts, God Himself.
“Love your enemies.” and “Pray for those who persecute you.” What a challenge! Why should we love our enemies when they have hurt us? The Lord is reminding us not to continue to have grudges against others. We are not to hate and take revenge. Instead, we are to learn to forgive those who have offended and hurt us. For it is in love that we may regain peace of mind and peace within ourselves.
After today’s reading from Ezekiel, religion was never the same. He puts forth the notion of personal responsibility for one’s actions. Each moment and each decision counts. People had believed that punishments and rewards were passed down from one generation to the next. We are held accountable for what we do. So, we can have a conversion, a change of heart, and go from vice to virtue.
The liturgy takes up, again, the theme of prayer. Prayer, then, is fundamentally important. “Ask,” “seek,” “knock” are all present tense. In other words keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking.
In AD 45, a man named Theudas claimed to be the messiah and promised a sign: he would part the Jordan River the way Moses parted the Red Sea. He wasn’t the Messiah and failed. In today’s gospel, the people ask a sign from Jesus who says He will give the same sign that Jonah gave to the Ninevites, preaching. Jonah gave no sign to back up his preaching, People with open minds and hearts accepted the preaching and changed their lives. If people couldn’t hear God’s voice in Jesus, they wouldn’t see God’s hand in signs, either. How open is our heart to God’s voice speaking to us through others?