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The Gospel of the New Covenant

On this Holy Saturday, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.

Jesus calls us all to Him, but not only to be followers.  He draws us personally into His family.  He calls us to be His siblings.

He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers.”  Heb. 2:11.

And, as His brothers and sisters, we share the same divine Father.  Jesus extols us to acknowledge this in prayer:

“This is how you are to pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors;
and do not subject us to the final test,
but deliver us from the evil one.”  Matt. 6:9-13.

How wonderful that I can call our Creator “Abba”, or “Dad!”  Just as Jesus cried out to the Father in agony, I can also call to Him.

Jesus doesn’t stop there.  He also adopts us into His human family, giving us His Mother as ours.

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”  Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.”  John 19:26-27.

By these words, Jesus entrusts His Mother to the care of John, but even more significantly, He entrusts us in His Mother’s care.

Throughout these millennia since Christ’s death and resurrection, Mary has been faithful in helping the Church.  More personally, I have found great comfort in seeking her aid.  She has never let me down.

Day 46-1

Recognizing how pure and holy Mary is, I am grateful to have such a strong advocate of chastity in today’s age of lust saturation.  It’s impossible to watch TV or drive an expressway without being visually assaulted by something catering to our base prurient interests.  Being a man, I am familiar with the whiplash I can experience walking by a pool, for example.  I am grateful that I can turn to Mary when tempted by visual impurity.  Just as the Israelites turned to the bronze serpent to protect them from the seraph serpents, I have learned to avert my eyes from visual temptations and venomous images, turning to Mary in prayer, Day 46-2


Three Incredible Promises

On this Thursday of the Second Week of Lent, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.

 “But you promised!”

How often have I heard this protest—usually in the form of a whine.  It usually occurs when a child twists an off-the-cuff response to their request.  Something like:

Child: Can I go to the movies with my friends this weekend?

Dad:  We’ll see.

Child promptly interprets “we’ll see” as something like:

most definitely.  I promise. I do hereby swear or affirm that you will be allowed to go do whatever you want with your friends this weekend and I will do all in my power to make sure you do.

And then Friday finds the Child in flight grabbing his coat and the car keys in a mad dash out the door.  Dad is the sole obstacle to his progress.

Dad:  Where are you off to?

Child:  The mall with my friends.

Dad:  You can’t go until you (pick one):

(a) Finish the dishes

(b) Clean your bedroom

(c) Do your homework

(d) Complete some other mundane, unnecessary yet arduous task.

Child:  But you promised!

 Frankly I can’t always remember what I said five minute previously, let alone what I told the kids days before, so I am very cautious about using any words that can be construed as a promise by an objective observer.  Maybe that’s the lawyer in me.

Today’s reading discusses three promises God made to Abraham:

I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you;

I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.

All the families of the earth will find blessing in you.  Gen. 12:2-3.

God promised, and God delivered.  Praise be to the name of God!  He never forgets His promises.

In my life I find that I can be very childish when it comes to what God has promised.  Whenever I respond to a situation with “why me?!” or “why not me?“, it’s an implicit demand that God fulfill a promise He didn’t really make.

When I lose a job, “why me?!” loosely translates to “God, you promised to keep me in this job!”  Conversely, when I am jealous of others’ blessings, “why not me?” can be loosely translated to “God, you promised me many blessings and successes!

And again, the antidote to these false expectations is an attitude of gratitude.  When I am truly grateful for all that I am blessed with, I can focus on the real promises our Father has made, particularly the greatest promise: salvation through the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Day 16-2

Note the promise embedded in these verses:  “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving [NB: attitude of gratitude], make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Phil 4:6-7.

Day 16-1

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