Lenten Reflections Week 4 2022

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Church of the Resurrection


Lenten Reflections 2022

Come back to me with all your heart.

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Scripture:         Luke 15: 1 – 3, 11 – 32

Reflection:  The parable of the prodigal son is so familiar to us that we may be tempted to skip over this passage and not read it.  If this is the case, I encourage you to stop and read the passage, slowly.

Verses 1 – 3 provide the reason for the telling of this parable, in addition to the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin in chapter 15. When the Saviour came among us, it was people like the tax collectors, who were despised in Jewish society for their collaboration with the Romans, and sinners who sought his company.  Jesus readily welcomed them and ate with them – much to the horror of the scribes and Pharisees.  It wasn’t the first time they had been disgusted by his choice to dine with sinners.  The same happened when he was in the home of Matthew, the tax collector.  There Jesus responded to them “It is not the healthy who need the doctor but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: what I want is mercy, not sacrifice. And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.”  (Matthew 9: 12 – 13). This must surely be Good News for all who are conscious of and aware of our sins and failings.  We are the reason Jesus came,  and why he chooses to associate with us!

If this is not Good News enough, the parable of the prodigal son goes even further!  The father in Jesus’ story, whom we identify as God the Father, was filled with pity. He ran to meet his son, “clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly.”  What a beautiful description!  The dirty, stinky and bedraggled state of his son did not matter in this moment of exuberant and abundant joy!  Nothing but the fattened calf, the best robe, a ring on his finger and sandals on his bruised and dirty feet, would do.  This is the welcome we receive when we come back with all our heart!  WOW!

Just in case we don’t consider ourselves to be in the dirty state of sinners, the final part of Jesus story is for us:  “My son, you are with me always, and all I have is yours.  But it was only right that we should celebrate and rejoice” at the return of his lost son.

I always love the atmosphere in church and outside the church at the end of a Penitential Service.  There is such great rejoicing and much celebrating at having been forgiven!  This Lent don’t hesitate. Come back with all your heart!

Practical Suggestion: Plan and prepare now to go to confession at the Penitential Service and receive God’s forgiveness.  Then experience the joy at having been forgiven and made ready to renew your faith at Easter.  Listen to this song – Freely Freely (God forgave my sin) and sing along if you want to:

Prayer:  Father, forgive me for I have sinned.  Amen.


Scripture:                   John 4: 43 – 54

Reflection:   This was not the first time that a father had approached Jesus, imploring him to heal his child.  You may recall Jairus in the synoptic Gospels (Mark 5:21–43, Matthew 9:18–26 and Luke 8:40–56) who made the same request of Jesus as did the court official at Cana.  On that occasion Jesus went to the house of Jairus to heal his daughter.  This time, Jesus instructs the court official to “go home, your son will live.”  He put his faith and trust in Jesus and began his journey back to Capernaum, and while on his way his servants came to meet him to tell him that his son had recovered – at exactly the time Jesus had assured him that his son would live!

Lent is the season for the healing of our mind, heart, body and spirit; in other words, our whole being.  Who among us can say that we have no need for healing?

It is not without significance that Cana, the place of Jesus’ first miracle, is where Jesus was when the court official approached him.  On the occasion of his miracle of changing water into wine at the wedding feast, Mary told the servants to “Do whatever he tells you.”  When they did, they were able to serve the best wine.  Likewise, the court official does what Jesus tells him to do, “go home, your son will live.”

On the Second Sunday of Lent we heard the voice of the Father during the transfiguration of Jesus “This is my son, the Chosen One. Listen to him.”  During Lent we listen with an attentive mind and an open heart.  With the faith of the servants and the court official, we listen to Jesus and we do what he tells us.  When we do this, and place our faith and trust in him, we experience his healing power and presence in our lives.  Do you believe this?

Practical Suggestion:   Make a list of what you need for the healing of your heart, mind, body and spirit.  Light a candle and sit quietly for a few minutes.  Place a cross or crucifix over you list and listen to Jesus.  Then do whatever he tells you.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, I place my complete faith, hope and trust in you as I bring you my need for healing and wholeness.  Amen

Listen to this song:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyDr9-Mpc_s


Scripture:                    John 5:  1 – 16  “Do you want to be well?”

Reflection:   Jesus goes to the Pool of Bethesda and there he comes across a man who, for 38 years, has been paralysed, and had been trying to avail himself of the ‘healing waters’ of the Pool.

There was an underground stream which fed the pool, and every now and then some movement caused the water in the pool to bubble up.  The people had come to believe that this disturbance was caused by an angel, and that the first person to get into the water after it was disturbed would be healed of any illness from which he was suffering.  But people could not accomplish this unaided, and this man had ‘no-one to help him in’!

Jesus asks a question which seems entirely superfluous:  “Do you want to be well?”  Surely that was why the man was there?  However, Jesus wants him to make the decision, because it may well have been the case that the man wanted to remain a ‘victim.’  Healed, he would have had to shoulder the burden of making a living – fending for himself; he could no longer depend on the charity of others.  Sometimes it is easier to be dependent, and leave the work and the worrying to someone else.

We too can get ‘stuck’ or ‘paralysed’ in life – it may be a physical ailment, or an addiction of some kind, or fear, or pride, or vanity.  And we too have to make a conscious decision to ‘pick up our mat’, throw it away and walk forward in trust, with Jesus!

Practical suggestion

Reflect on the things in your life that need to change in order for you to ‘be well’.  Also, reflect on the people in your life who allow you never to say that you have ‘no-one to help’, and give thanks for them.


Jesus our healer, help us to see the infirm and paralysed in our midst, and give us the grace to bend down and help them experience the healing waters of Your love and reconciliation.  Amen.


Scripture                     John 5: 17 – 30


At every Sunday Mass, celebrated in over two hundred and fifty thousand Catholic Parishes world-wide, hundreds of millions of the faithful recite the words “God from God, light from light, true God from true God “(Nicene Creed)

In today’s Gospel, Our Lord goes to great lengths to explain, as best He can, the reasoning behind these words: the most incredible intimacy between two persons we can ever imagine. The Father is the air that Jesus breathes. Jesus’s heart is in perfect union with the heart of His Father. Together with the Holy Spirit, who is born of this intense intimacy, they are utterly united.

Of course, our limited rational capacity, our inability fully to understand the enormous humanity of Jesus, and the fullness of His divinity, makes us leap into faith. In this faith we rest in the knowledge that the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father. They are fully and perfectly informed about each other.

So the words of Jesus to us, carry the authority and authenticity of the will of the Father.  We can measure our sensitivity or insensitivity to His message and easily determine if we are living well or not, in our spiritual relationship with God.

Through His discourse we also learn how God works.  Running the world is a big and complicated task where nothing is left to chance. Father, Son and Spirit are deeply involved in the drama of our lives whether we perceive this or not.  God does not rest, even on the Sabbath: we are supposed to rest in honour of Him.

Whatever we do to the Son, affects His Father and thus the Father has given to His Son the role of coming to “ judge the living and the dead” ( Nicene Creed)

Practical Suggestion

This passage must be read quietly and slowly as a prayer that truly allows us to pay attention to what Jesus is saying.  It is fundamental in understanding why Jesus came down from heaven to earth to reveal so great a mystery.  Read it again, quietly and slowly.


Father, in the great prayer of the Nicene Creed we acknowledge the intimacy you have with your Son in the unity of the Holy Spirit, and we come to appreciate our only realistic response to you is:” Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.” In coming back to Jesus with all our heart, we come back to you, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Scripture:                   John 5: 18, 31-47


The Jewish leaders were out to find fault with Jesus at any cost. They would have had a very good knowledge of their scriptures but they were unable to recognise that He was the promised saviour even though the writings of the prophets showed that to be true.


They had the testimony of John the Baptist that Jesus was the long awaited messiah and Jesus’ preaching, teaching and miracles all bore testimony to the fact that He was the chosen one of God, but they just couldn’t see it …. Or perhaps they just wouldn’t see it.

Jesus chastised them because, although they were well versed in the Law and the Prophets, the Word of God was not a lived reality for them. Reading God’s Word alone will never guarantee eternal life to the reader. The words of scripture have to be internalised and become an integral part of our life. Once that happens it is impossible not to testify that Jesus is the Son of God, because all scripture points to that fact.

Their religious rules and traditions would not allow them to accept a messiah who said He had come to fulfil the law and then broke those lawful requirements under the pretext of love. Instead of accepting God’s divine grace, they preferred the approvals of others. They sought after self-love rather than God’s divine love.

It was clear to Jesus that they did not have the love of God within them. That was quite evident by the way they treated Jesus and His followers. It would seem that Jesus’ words were falling on deaf ears as they continued to plot his demise.

The love of God is made real in us through our thoughts and actions. It grows and is strengthened by our regular participation in the sacrament of reconciliation and our reception of the Eucharist. In 1 John 4:12 we are told that if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us and in 2 John 6 we read “To love is to live according to His commandments …. To live a life of love.”

As we continue of our Lenten journey, we seek to grow and be strengthen by the power of the love of God poured so generously into our lives.

Practical Suggestion: Set aside some time to read the First Letter of John. There are many concepts in today’s reading which are explained in more detail in this beautiful Epistle.

Prayer: God my Father, thank you for revealing Jesus to me as my Lord and Saviour.  Fill me with Your divine love and strengthen my faith so that I may be a beacon of Your love to others.  Amen


Scripture:             Wisdom 2: 1, 12 – 22  &  John 7: 1 – 2, 10, 25 – 30


“Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us and opposes our way of life.” As we approach Holy Week, the battle lines are drawn in both readings today. In the reading from the Book of Wisdom we witness the wicked plotting against a Just One. They said, “The very sight of him weighs our spirits down; his way of life is not like other men’s, the paths he treads are unfamiliar.”  On this fourth Friday of Lent, it becomes apparent that the reading from Wisdom points us to Jesus, the Just One.  The wicked find those who are holy, like Jesus, an obstacle and should therefore be removed.

In the Gospel , John tells us bluntly that “the Jews were out to kill him” (Jesus). Such a plot to kill Jesus was public knowledge.  Some of the people in Jerusalem were saying, “isn’t this the man they want to kill? And here he is, speaking freely, and they have nothing to say to him!” Like Wisdom, the Jewish authorities tried to eliminate Jesus because he opposed their interpretation of the law, showed compassion to sinners and the marginalized, healed the sick and called himself the ‘Son of God’. All these accusations had no basis. The plot was concocted because the authorities had met their match in Jesus. They were hostile towards him and all he stood for.

“Let us condemn him to a shameful death since he will be looked after – we have his word for it.” This prophecy pointed to the shameful death Jesus was going to suffer in the hands of religious authorities. Jesus knew very well what was in store for him, but it never deterred him from his mission.

Today we cannot afford to be indifferent towards Jesus and his mission. As disciples, we need to stand up for the Gospel.  We can start by becoming witnesses by our lives.  The Christian life is the way of the cross which takes us through Calvary to Eternal Life. Among the many things lacking in our world today, is true commitment. We only experience this when we commit ourselves, without reservation, to our Christian faith.  Ask God to give us the grace to hold firm to the teachings of Jesus.

Practical Suggestion

Do you accept all that Jesus taught and did for you, with faith and reverence or with disbelief and contempt?  Many men and women laid down their lives for their Christian faith.  Likewise we are told not to be indifferent or lukewarm, but to commit ourselves to our faith. What are the ways you can commit yourself to your faith?


Eternal Father, who are the light of the minds that know you, the joy of the hearts that love you, and the strength of the wills that serve you; grant us so to know you, that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Scripture:                       John 7: 40 – 53


Earlier in Chapter 7 of John’s Gospel we hear that Jesus knew that going to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles would be dangerous for him.  “He would not go about in Judea because the Jews sought to kill him.” (Jn 7:1)  Jesus did go though, because he wanted to teach the people. Whilst he taught “the Jews marvelled at him.” (Jn 7:15) However, instead of taking in what they heard, they started arguing amongst themselves about His credentials. Do we open up our hearts and minds to Jesus’ teaching or do we try to question and discredit his Word and the Scriptures?

The Temple officers or police had been given instructions to arrest Jesus, but on hearing Him teach, they were amazed and could not bring themselves to arrest Him.  Many of us enter into situations and conversations with preconceived views.  Are we open to hearing the truth, even if it is uncomfortable and contrary to our preconceived ideas?  Are we open to hearing the Word of God and going back to Him with all our Hearts?

Jesus was certainly making an impression on those who heard Him.  No one could be indifferent when confronted with His teaching.  He was believed by some to be the prophet, by others to be the Messiah, and by others to be a phony.  How do we react to his teaching?  With amazement like the Temple officers? With contempt like the Pharisees or with timidity like Nicodemus?  Nicodemus didn’t have the courage to openly defend Jesus to his fellow Pharisees, but he did find enough courage to challenge the Pharisees not to judge Him before he had been heard.  Do we have the courage to speak the Truth in the face of many who oppose it?  Are we able to speak up in defence of Jesus and our faith, accepting the consequences of doing so?   Have we ever considered the consequences of not speaking up?

Today’s Gospel ends with each person huffing off to their own separate homes.  How much better it would have been if they had gathered to talk to God and to one another to resolve their confusion through prayer and mutual understanding.  Isn’t this what our small group faith sharing during Lent and Advent gives us the opportunity to do: to listen to the Word of God (from the Holy Scriptures), to pray for guidance and understanding, to ask and answer questions of each other and discuss areas of confusion?  Then, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to reach a mutual understanding and resolution.

Practical Suggestion

Next time you are in the company of people, and you hear criticism of your faith, have the courage to say something to defend your Catholic Christian faith.


My Lord and my God.  Forgive me for my lack of amazement at hearing your Word and my lack of Courage to defend you in the face of criticism, when your name is used in vain and in mockery.  Let me hear your teaching with an open heart and give me the courage to speak up and speak the truth in the face of dissent.   Amen.

These Daily Reflections for Lent 2022 are written by Fr. Desmond Nair,  Irene Helsdon, George Cominos, Veronica Donnelly Fr. Wandile Cagwe, and Mike Montocchio.  Please acknowledge the authors when copying and distributing.  We wish you a fruitful and blessed Lenten Season as you respond to God’s call to come back to him with all your heart.

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