Thursday of the Third Week of Lent, March 11
God Himself Knocks on the Door of Our Hearts, Inviting Us to Remain Faithful to His Truth, and to Walk Alongside of Him with Each Step We Take in Our Everyday Journey Through Life.
We hear the words of our Lord today, words which strike at the very heart of who we should be as faithful Christians, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
What does it take for you and me to remain faithful to all that God is asking of us? What does it take for us to open our hearts and listen to His words – words of Truth – and obey all His Commandments, observing all the Precepts of our faith?
The Scriptures are filled with stories of God’s Chosen People turning their backs on God and following their own path, a path which always led to suffering and sorrow.
In our First Reading today from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, God speaks to His children about their lack of obedience. He says, “Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people…But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed. They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.”
God was telling His children, through His prophet, that He desired them to be a faithful people, a humble and obedient people embracing His way, not theirs. And today’s Reading ends with God bearing witness against those who had forsaken Him, “Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.”
And in verses which follow today’s Reading, we read, “The people of Judah have done what is evil in my eyes, says the LORD…I will silence the cry of joy, the cry of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride…for the land will be turned to rubble.”
One could easily read into this a rather prophetic message alluding to how the Messiah Himself, the Eternal Word made flesh, would be banished from the hearts of those who say they hear His voice, but only pay Him lip service – those whose hearts are far from God, those who call themselves Christian but who have willfully chosen to turn their backs on His message, even today – especially today – throughout much of the world!
Even our psalmist feeds us with the thought of faithlessness. “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Today’s Responsorial is from a psalm which invites us to prayer, inviting us to give praise to God; but it is within the last few verses of this psalm wherein we are reminded of the hearts of the Chosen People which were hardened against their God –
– a people who had been wandering in the desert, a people who had been shown such might and power by God’s hand in freeing them from the slavery and oppression of Egyptian rule, for it is at Meribah and Massah that they challenged and provoked God’s judgment upon His children.
Now, we come to today’s Gospel Reading from the Book of Luke. Jesus is curing a mute person – someone who cannot speak. We are told that it was a demon that was causing the muteness, and, after it is cast out, the one who was afflicted begins to speak.
The people, who were standing around listening to Jesus and witnessing what had just happened, began to accuse Jesus of representing the lord of darkness – “Baal, Beelzebul, the ‘lord of flies’, the prince of devils” – and others wanted to test our Lord, asking for a sign.
But the Scriptures state that Jesus “knew their thoughts”. He knew they were looking for a Messiah who would be a powerful king in a secular world. Jesus would not validate their misconception of who He was, so He showed them no sign.
And He went on to say that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, for He cured this man for the glory of God, not for the dominion of Satan. He concludes today’s Gospel Reading with an analogy about a “strong man” who is overpowered by someone stronger, a story which speaks to us about the fact that God will always conquer evil – that God’s Love and Mercy is stronger than the greatest evil.
Today, we are presented with two pieces of Scripture that speak to us about the battle that rages between light and darkness – between good and evil, and the choices that we must make in our daily journey of life and faith.
Oftentimes, the easy path is not always the right path! So how do we, as good Christian people, choose what is best, if that which seems the most pleasurable or is easiest to attain might be the wrong choice?
How do we show love, especially when love for a stranger or someone we dislike can be one of the hardest things to do? How do we choose to remain faithful in our vocation of marriage, especially when life’s journey is strewn with potholes and temptations, and even in those times when the marriage ends up on shaky ground?
How do we remain faithful to the will of God and the teachings of our faith, especially when the seductions of secularistic relativism attempt to undermine God’s Truth when it comes to the evils of abortion, same-sex unions, contraception, euthanasia, and all the other moral teachings of our Holy Apostolic Church?
How do we remain faithful to all that our Lord is asking of us, when we find ourselves in the midst of a great spiritual battle which is now raging over the face of the Earth!?
When we fail to embrace all that God asks of us, then the “father of lies” takes hold of our hearts and minds; the prince of this world takes hold of our souls!
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
It is by means of the faith which we have been taught and live in our daily lives, which teaches us that we give glory to God through the love which we show towards our Creator and each other as His disciples and followers in our personal walk of faith, whereby we unite ourselves with God and gather with Him for the sake of His Kingdom – not only when it is easy, but especially when it is difficult, especially when we look to the example of Love which Jesus showed to all those He encountered.
If we are to focus our lives on Jesus Christ, on His Love for us, then we must also focus on His Truth, a Truth which is eternal, a Truth which remains constant throughout the course of human history and is not subject to the whims of secularistic thinking.
During this Lenten season, as you and I grow to better understand the Love which God has for each of us, let us pray that the Holy Spirit may strengthen us in our daily decisions – that we may be faithful to God’s Truth in all that we do, that we may embrace all the teachings of our faith, that we may not give in to the seductions and the false teachings of our culture.
For it is God Himself who knocks on the door of your heart and mine, personally inviting each of us to remain faithful and to walk alongside of Him with each step we take in our everyday pilgrimage through life. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people…But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed. They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.” (Jeremiah 7:23bc, 24)
- “Say to them: This is the nation which does not listen to the voice of the LORD, its God, or take correction. Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.” (Jeremiah 7:28)
- “…this people draws near with words only and honors me with their lips alone, though their hearts are far from me.” (Isaiah 29:13b)
- “Oh, that today you would hear his voice: Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the desert…I said: ‘This people’s heart goes astray; they do not know my ways.’ Therefore I swore in my anger: ‘They shall never enter my rest.’” (Psalm 95:7b-8, 10b-11)
- “The people of Judah have done what is evil in my eyes, says the LORD…I will silence the cry of joy, the cry of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride…for the land will be turned to rubble.” (Jeremiah 7:30a, 34)
- “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Luke 11:23)
- “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching.” (Hebrews 13:8-9a)
- “One day within your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. The threshold of the house of God I prefer to the dwellings of the wicked.” (Psalm 84:10)
- “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
- “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith…” (1 Peter 5:8-9a)
- “But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it, and that from infancy you have known the sacred scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14-15)
- “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
Prayer for the Day
“O Lord God, my Savior and my dearest Friend,Anonymous
I pray for the grace and the strength
to remain faithful to Your teachings
and to the Sacramental life of the Church.
“Help me to persevere in the commitments
and promises I have made to You.
Give me the fortitude to live up to the vocation
I received during my Baptism as Your faithful child.
“Help me to place love and service to You
before all else in my life,
remaining true to Your Truth,
not abandoning myself to the lies and deceits of Satan.
“Grant me the grace to be a holy example for others,
never abandoning Your laws for my own sake.
May I be a model of faithfulness and selfless love,
giving You honor and glory both now and forever. Amen.”