Lenten Reflections 2023 Week 5

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Our Lady of Lourdes Parish


Lenten Reflections 2023

Ransomed, Healed, Restored, Forgiven

Week Five

Sunday 26 March

Scripture   John 11: 1-45  


Jesus had restored Jairus’ dead daughter to life, He had given life back to the widow’s son but this time, the miracle of awakening Lazarus from the sleep of death from a tomb really showed that He had absolute power over life and death. The people were astounded and drawn to Him. The Jewish elders were scared and threatened by His power, and this event was the beginning of their determination to have Him killed. They hated Him for this demonstration.

Christ’s heart is human and divine. His lordship over death does not stop Him from experiencing sincere compassion and sorrow as we do when we are separated from someone who was once alive with us. He too wept with Martha and Mary.

“Lazarus, come out” is from the call from Him who is the master of life, and who through His passion, death, and resurrection, has defeated the enemy of humanity. Our Lord does not resign himself to the tombs we have built with our free will. Our sins, wrong choices and lack of love have buried us, and His constant call is to come out of that darkness, and to be freed from the bandages of pride. This pride makes us slaves to ourselves and to others, slaves to material possessions and slaves to unhealthy relationship and life choices. 

Our coming back to the fulness of life begins when we obey the command of Jesus to come back into the light by repenting, fasting, abstaining, and helping others. The mask we hide behind because of our sinfulness must fall away and our real original face made in the image of God must courageously be found.


Practical Suggestion

Our fear of death and our real fear of losing someone to death must be weighed against this miracle. We have in Jesus one who gives us all hope that, even better than Lazarus’ restoration to life, our resurrection to eternal life is now possible. We must listen to His commanding voice and not just hear it.


Almighty God, the reality of bodily death is painful to us and causes much grief. Grant us the comfort won by your Son for our constant hope in the face of this. Amen.

Monday 27 March

Scripture: John 8: 1 – 11


The focus of our Gospel today is on sin, compassion, forgiveness and restoration or redemption. It tells of a woman caught in adultery who is brought before Jesus by the scribes and Pharisees. They ask Jesus whether the woman should be stoned, in accordance with the law of Moses. Jesus responds by saying, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).  This response reveals Jesus’ deep compassion for the woman, who is likely terrified and ashamed. Rather than condemning her, Jesus shows her mercy and compassion. His response also highlights the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees, who are quick to condemn others but fail to recognize their own sinfulness.

This account then takes a surprising turn. After the accusers leave, Jesus addresses the woman directly and says, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again” (John 8:11). This statement is a powerful reminder that forgiveness is not simply a matter of ignoring or excusing sin. Rather, it requires a genuine transformation of heart and a commitment to turn away from sin and toward God.

We are called to reflect on these themes of sin, forgiveness, and redemption in our own lives. We are called to recognize our own sinfulness and to seek God’s mercy and forgiveness. We are called to follow Jesus’ example of compassion and to extend that compassion to others, particularly those who are marginalized or outcast. And we are called to embrace the transformation that comes with true repentance and to strive to live our lives in accordance with God’s will.

Practical Suggestion

We are often quick to judge others.  The next time you have the urge to judge someone else, think about how you have sinned in your thoughts, words and deeds and ask God for forgiveness.


My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.  Our Saviour Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.  Amen

Tuesday 28 March

Scripture: Numbers 21: 4 – 9 and John 8: 21 – 30


We are now approaching Holy Week also known as the Passion Week during which we celebrate the Paschal Mysteries: the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. God’s plan of salvation will reach its climax in the resurrection of his Son. Saint Augustine said that the New Testament is concealed in the Old and the Old is revealed in the New. Today’s first reading evidently points us to the death of Jesus Christ. The reading from the book of Numbers takes us to the wilderness experience of the Israelites. We are told that in the wilderness the people lost patience and spoke against God and against Moses.

As a consequence of their rebellion and impatience, God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel. When Moses interceded for the people, God gave them a remedy. He instructed Moses as follows: “Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he will live.” The bronze serpent was a symbol of health and healing. Likewise, in the Gospel, Jesus uses the image of the lifting up of the Son of Man (just like the bronze serpent) as a remedy. The lifting up on the Son of Man distinctively points us to the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus’ crucifixion proclaims the good news that we are Ransomed, Healed, Restored and Forgiven. 

In this Fifth Week of Lent, we follow closely in the footsteps of Jesus as he approaches his passion, death, and resurrection. We need to experience the healing and redemptive power of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Gospel tells us that as Jesus was speaking, many came to believe in him. Unfortunately, the Pharisees were not among those who believed. Do not be like the Pharisees.  Believe in Jesus in order to have everlasting life through the power of His cross. 

Practical Suggestion

Keep a crucifix in your home so that it serves as a visual reminder of the price that Jesus paid for us, out of love. 


Lord Jesus, you came to set us free from sin, doubt, fear, and ignorance. Your Word brings life, truth, and healing of mind, heart, soul, and body. Let your healing love free me from the blindness of sin and disbelief, and from the destructive force of evil and wrongdoing. May I always find peace, joy, and strength in knowing your merciful love, truth, and goodness. Amen. 

Wednesday 29 March 

Scripture: John 8:  31 – 42

“You will learn the truth and the truth will set you free.”


I used to have a poster in my office that had the caption, ‘The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable!’  That is so often true.

Truth these days is elusive; there are far too many ‘alternate facts’ being presented to people as being the truth, so that we no longer believe or accept anything at face value!

Jesus said that if we follow Him, we will learn the truth, and that truth will set us free.  What is the truth that He referred to?

Firstly, it is a confirmation that we are precious in the sight of God.  Secondly, it reveals the values of life that are real, and which each of us should own, and try to live:  the values of love, justice, peace, truth, and freedom.

If we own those values, they set us free; free from thinking that the things of this world are important, or that they will bring us true happiness.  It frees us from fear because we will never walk alone as we journey through life.  Jesus will be there every step of the way.  And it frees us from worrying about what others might say or think!

The people to whom Jesus said all this did not really understand what He was saying.  They filtered out what was uncomfortable or unpalatable.  Have we learnt the truth, and do we revel in being free?

Practical Suggestion

Look at your life and your truth.  What is that truth for you?  Do you have a relationship with Jesus that sets you free?  Is there one thing you can change that will bring you closer to that truth and freedom?


Lord Jesus, You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Keep my mind focused on that promise, because only You can set my soul free.  Amen.

Thursday 30 March 

Scripture: John 8: 51 – 59


Why do Catholics make such a big deal of Holy Week and Easter? Surely it’s no more important than Christmas when we celebrate the birth of the Saviour? After all, we are celebrating God the Son being born and coming to live among us.

Of course that is important, but when we follow the Holy Week services, we are remembering the great sacrifice that Jesus made to ransom us from the power of sin, and when we celebrate His resurrection at Easter we remember this great promise accomplished for us by Jesus when He rose from the dead and conquered death forever. “Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.” John 8:51

Had Jesus not risen from the dead, our faith would be in vain. It would have been sufficient evidence that he wasn’t who he said he was. But we know that everything Jesus did and said was true, and He went on to prove that truth by dying on the cross and rising from the dead after three days. 

At our Baptism we were given the great gift of faith which offers us eternal life. Our physical bodies are guaranteed to die but we, who have been created in the image of God who is spirit, (John 4:24) have, by our Baptism and faith, died to sin and we will live for all eternity with God. We too can rejoice with St. Paul as he acclaimed in 1 Corinthians 15:55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?


Practical Suggestion

Holy Week is upon us commencing with Palm Sunday. Take your church bulletin home with you on Sunday and diarize the times of the various Holy Week services in the parish. Enter fully into Holy Week so that accompanying Jesus through His passion, you can celebrate and rejoice at His resurrection. 


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.   Amen. 

Friday 31 March

Penitential Day of Fast and Abstinence  

Scripture: Jeremiah 20: 10 – 13


Many people post on Facebook or Instagram and other such social media platforms to see how many ‘likes’ they will get.  Others compete to see how many ‘friends’ and followers they have on social media.  We all want to win the approval of others.  We want to be well-liked and popular.  But at what cost? 

The Old Testament prophets knew that their message was unpopular and would be rejected by the people – as would they. Most were persecuted and some put to death.  Jeremiah is often referred to as the reluctant prophet, reluctant because he knew what was in store for him if he accepted God’s call.  He was caught between God’s insistence and Israel’s resistance.

Israel would not listen, and neither would they heed the warning of the prophet.  To be true to God’s call he would have to endure being denounced, the rejection of those who used to be his friends, and plots for his downfall.  But Jeremiah had the certainty of God’s presence by his side and he chose to put his complete faith, hope, and trust in God, and to give God praise.

His words ring so true when we think of what Jesus experienced at the hands of Israel, most especially from the religious leaders.  Jeremiah’s words were true not just for himself but also for the One whose coming he was sent to prepare Israel for; Jesus the Messiah, the Saviour. 

In a week from today, Good Friday, we will witness Jesus being denounced, abandoned by his friends and the plot against him succeeding in his arrest, passion, and death on the cross.  God himself came among us and look at what mankind did!

Are we willing to listen, prepared to change from our sinful ways, experience genuine metanoia, and return to the sinlessness of our Baptismal state?  This, after all, is what Lent is all about.  As this sacred season intensifies so too should our Lenten resolve.  Going to Confession, humbling ourselves and opening acknowledging our sins, faults and failings is not a popular practice in our world, and neither is it among many Catholics.  Do you have the humility to go before a priest and to say: “Bless me Father, for I have sinned”?  Practicing the Catholic faith is not popular in our modern society and probably won’t win us many friends or make us famous on social media.  In his time Jesus was not a popular preacher and neither was he famous, but he was true to the will of the Father. Lent calls us to this same honesty and truth – regardless of the cost.

Practical Suggestion  

Be humble enough to go to Confession before Easter and say: “Bless me Father, for I have sinned.” 


Lord God, you are by my side to strengthen me, just as you strengthened Jeremiah, and Jesus your only Begotten Son.  With you in me may I be faithful, honest, humble, and true. Amen. 

Saturday 1 April

Scripture John 11: 45 – 56


The plot against Jesus thickens!  Hearing that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead is the last straw for the chief priests and the Pharisees. They are afraid of Jesus, afraid of the Romans and possibly afraid of losing their power and control.  

It is almost as if giving Lazarus the gift of his life seals the death of Jesus.  This irony is not lost on us, and neither is the prophesy of Caiaphas the high priest: “you fail to see that it is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”  Jesus was to be the sacrificial lamb, offered for sinful mankind.

The reality is that the Holy Place was destroyed by the Romans, and the nation was scattered about 40 years after the death and resurrection of the Lord. Caiaphas’ fear that “everybody will believe in him” actually happened.

Today we find ourselves at the eve of Holy Week, the events of which we know only too well.  Jesus was indeed the sacrificial lamb, prefigured in the Passover lamb the blood of which in the first Passover in the land of Egypt was shed to save the Hebrew slaves from death.  During Holy Week we will commemorate and remember the body of Jesus broken for us, and his blood poured out for the forgiveness of our sins.

Christians throughout the world will be united in the commemoration of these sacred events by which our salvation was won.  The once scattered children of God have been gathered together in a unity of faith.

Where will you be as these events unfold in next week’s sacred events?  These events remind us of what Jesus was willing to do for us.  What are we willing to do for him, and for others?  Will you share in his self-sacrificing love?  Will you do it in love for him, as he did it in love for you?

Practical Suggestion

Make Holy Week personal for yourself. Proclaim “Hosanna, blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord” on Palm Sunday; sit at table with him at the Last Supper on Holy Thursday night as he says to you “Take and eat, this is my body, take and drink, this is my blood”; pray with him in the Garden of Gethsemane “could you not keep watch with me one hour?” walk beside him to Calvary at the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday morning; and stand with Mary his mother, the disciple John and Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross on Good Friday afternoon at the Veneration of the Cross service.


Lord Jesus, this Holy Week provides an opportunity for me to walk with you in thanksgiving for your presence in my life, walking beside me in my life’s journey. May I be as loyal and faithful as you are. Amen


These Daily Reflections for Lent 2023 are written by George Cominos,  Mike Montocchio, Fr. Wandile Cagwe, Irene Helsdon, Veronica Donnelly and Fr. Desmond Nair.  Please acknowledge the authors when copying and distributing.  We wish you a fruitful and blessed Lenten Season that you may be Ransomed, Healed, Restored and Forgiven.

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