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March 6, 2008 Edition

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Lent: A time of waiting and hoping

Word to Life 

Jeff Hensley 

Lent is a time of waiting, of waiting and hoping and of sacrifice, knowing that hope will not disappoint, that Easter will come as a sign of life eternal.

I recently learned of a friend's trial with her daughter during the daughter's senior year of high school, of the distancing and pain the daughter put her mother through. Now a few years further on, their relationship is back on track again.

I think frequently these days of a taxi driver I rode with in Washington, a native of Kenya. When I asked if he had a tribal identity, Isaiah told me, "Everyone in Kenya is a member of a tribe." I wonder which one he belonged to and how his relatives are faring. If they hold on to the end through the current violence, will there be an Easter day for Kenya?

March 9, 2008
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Ezekiel 37:12-14
Psalm 130:1-8
Romans 8: 8-11
John 11: 1-45

And what of the waiting Europe had to endure from 1938 to 1945? More than a long Lent, more like enduring hell, how did they sustain hope?

Yet the message of Scripture, clear this weekend, is that holding out with hope, praying to the Lord for his blessing does yield fruit. Kids grow up; tribal groups reconcile; wars end; we come out on the other sides of trials, both personal and societal.

God offers us hope in Psalm 130 when the psalmist says, "More than sentinels wait for the dawn, let Israel wait for the Lord, for with the Lord is kindness and with him is plenteous redemption."

And that redemption was promised as far back as Ezekiel's time when the Lord promised in Ezekiel 37:13, "Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people!"

Jesus makes it graphically clear that this is not merely poetic language or a figure of speech when he raises Lazarus from the dead in the reading from John for this weekend: "He cried out in a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come out!' The dead man came out," wrapped in his grave clothes.

For reflection:

• What areas of your life are awaiting a redemption that only time and God can yield?

Easter is coming not just in a few weeks but in all the situations of our lives and our worlds, and it is coming in the redemption of each of us and of our entire world. Wait and see.

This column is offered in cooperation with the North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.

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This week's readings

Week of March 9 - 15, 2008

Sunday, March 9, 2008
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Reading I: Ez 37:12-14
Reading II: Rom 8:8-11
Gospel: Jn 11:1-45 or 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33b-45

Monday, March 10, 2008
Reading I: Dn 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 or 13:41c-62
Gospel: Jn 8:1-11

Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Reading I: Nm 21:4-9
Gospel: Jn 8:21-30

Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Reading I: Dn 3:14-20, 91-92, 95
Gospel: Jn 8:31-42

Thursday, March 13, 2008
Reading I: Gn 17:3-9
Gospel: Jn 8:51-59

Friday, March 14, 2008
Reading I: Jer 20:10-13
Gospel: Jn 10:31-42

Saturday, March 15, 2008
Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Reading I: 2 Sm 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16
Reading II: Rom 4:13, 16-18, 22
Gospel: Mt 1:16, 18-21, 24a or Lk 2:41-51a

Pope's Prayer Intentions

March General Intention

Forgiveness. That all may understand the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation between individuals and peoples and that the Church may spread Christ's love.

March Mission Intention

The Persecuted. That Christians who are persecuted because of the Gospel may be sustained by the Holy Spirit and continue to bear witness to the Word of God.

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