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Lenten Reflections

The Adult Faith Formation team will be sponsoring a weekly Lenten Reflection each Friday of Lent. In preparation a reflection for Ash Wednesday which is this Wednesday March 6th is posted here.  On each Friday of Lent, beginning March 8th, a link to the readings and a brief reflection written by different FP parents will be shared. As Ignatian Companions on this Lenten journey, we look forward to deepening our faith together.

Ignatian Companions on a Spiritual Journey

By Elaine Clark

Friday April 12, 2019

Readings for this week

Once again this week’s Gospel reading reminds us of the growing danger Jesus faces.   The Jews who are about to stone Jesus tell Him that they are not going to commit this terrible act of violence against him because of the good works He has done but rather because they feel He has committed, “. . . blasphemy”.  The crowd is about to murder Jesus because he has “blasphemed” which means that they believe He has spoken in a disrespectful or sacrilegious way about God. Jesus counters their argument asking them to examine the works that He has done in His Father’s name, “‘. . . so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father’”.

I am very certain that in the course of my almost 56 years, I have heard or read this Gospel countless times and yet today as I write this I am struck by the wisdom and clarity of Jesus’ reply to those who would murder him.  He simply tells them to examine the reality of His preaching and of the miracles He has performed and to believe.  I feel as if this day, Christ is calling to me to look and see God’s work both in my life and in the world around me and to believe. 

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Ignatian Companions on a Spiritual Journey

Writer- Elaine Clark

Friday April 5, 2019

Readings for this week

The tone and mood of this week’s readings turn painfully as we are reminded that in a short period of time Jesus will be arrested, tortured, and crucified because He is a witness to God’s truth.   The Old Testament announces this idea and foreshadows what will happen to Christ.  Those angry at Christ’s message will, “‘. . . beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; /he sets himself against our doings, /Reproaches us for transgressions of the law’ ” John’s gospel recounts the terrible danger that Jesus is in as people plot to kill him.  Despite the danger, Jesus teaches in the temple. Those listening feel certain that Jesus cannot be the Christ because they know where he is from.  Jesus replies to them, “‘You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, /but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. /I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me’" Jesus’ simple and clear statement angers the audience and they try to arrest him.  They do not want to accept the truth and so they turn to violence to negate it. 

As I contemplate these readings, I know how lucky I am to have the wisdom of the ages taught to me, so that I know and believe Jesus was sent from God the Father and that He is God’s son.  And yet, I hear a small voice in my head saying “Not so fast Elaine”! Like Christ’s audience I am left to wonder how many times I hear Jesus’ message and ignore it because the truth of it is inconvenient for me or not what I want to hear.  These readings challenge me to listen to Christ even when it is difficult and then turn toward Him and love Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength.

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Ignatian Companions on a Spiritual Journey:  Weekly Lenten Reflections for FP Parents

By Elaine Clark

Readings: Friday March 29, 2019

Over the course of the last three weeks of our Lenten observance, we have been reminded to love those around us authentically and with all our hearts.  In the previous two weeks, in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus reminds His audience to enter the temple with a sacrifice only when they have been “reconciled with their brother”.  Last week, Jesus likens the kingdom to that of a vineyard and once again reminds His followers that, unlike the evil tenants who attempt to control the vineyard with violence and hatred, the kingdom will be entrusted to those who work within it to produce “fruit”.

Now today, in Mark’s gospel, Jesus clearly announces what His followers must do to gain entrance into God’s kingdom.  There is no ambiguity or lack of clarity in Jesus’ message.  His followers, “are to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength”. And yet this is not enough! Jesus adds, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no other commandment greater than these”. Even now as I type these words, I lean back in my desk chair stunned by not only the simplicity of the words, but by the enormity of what they are asking me to do.  Jesus is calling us to give it all and to hold nothing back. Not only must we love God with all we have, but we must love our neighbors.  It is easy to get angry at God when life gets difficult and yet Jesus tells us we must persevere and continue to love Him with all of our hearts.  It is even easier to turn away from our family, friends, and acquaintances over disagreements and hurts and yet Jesus pushes us to continue to “love”.  Jesus reminds us that through love and with love we can be the vineyard workers who produce the “fruit” and gain entrance in Christ’s kingdom. 

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Lenten Reflection for the 2nd Friday of Lent

Writer- Elaine Clark

Readings: Friday March 22, 2019

To access the readings, click here.

As one contemplates Matthew’s gospel, the violence of the tenants who have been left in charge of the master’s vineyard is overpowering.  When the fruit is ripe and ready for collection the owner’s servants arrive at the vineyard to collect the fruit only to be killed by the tenants.  Again, the master sends more servants and again they are murdered.  Ultimately, the tenants fueled by greed and jealousy even murder the master’s son. 

As Jesus explains the parable to his audience, He reminds His listeners that, “the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit."   As we reflect on this idea, we must realize that through Jesus’ death and resurrection, which this gospel foreshadows, Jesus has claimed the kingdom for all of us! Now, we must work in the kingdom and help it bear great fruit.  Unlike the tenants that Jesus describes, we cannot let the human tangle of emotions such as greed, rage, and jealousy keep us from spreading God’s love to all those we encounter.

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Ignatian Companions on a Spiritual Journey:  Weekly Lenten Reflections for FP Parents

Writer: Elaine Clark

Readings: Friday March 15, 2019

To access the readings, click on the link and then click on the calendar on the right.  The readings will appear.

This week’s readings once again remind us that God is always ready to forgive us.  In the first reading Ezekiel,  the ancient prophet reminds his audience that even if someone has been “wicked”, if he, “... turns away from all the sins he has committed,/if he ... does what is right and just,/he shall surely live ...”. More importantly Ezekiel reminds his followers that God is not a grudge holder. If one has turned away from sin, “None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him”. 

In the gospel, Jesus’ builds on this message as he reminds His audience that sin originates in our human struggles with one another and He offers a path to the mercy and forgiveness of God. Unlike the scribes and the Pharisees who may think that an offering at the altar of God is enough to negate sin, Jesus warns that this is not enough. Jesus teaches, “if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother,”. Once again, Jesus pushes us to be authentic. 

In earlier Lenten readings we were reminded that our holy works should not be done for show but only to deepen our relationship with God. Today, Jesus reminds us that unless we are reconciled to those around us, we are not doing enough. Although letting go of hurt and being reconciled to those that may have hurt us may be the most challenging thing to do, Jesus is calling us to do just that knowing that God’s love and mercy await us.
 

Throughout Jesus’ public ministry, He often offers a new approach that His followers find different and radical. For example, in Matthew’s gospel Jesus tells his followers to turn the other cheek and to love one’s enemies. 

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