Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Beyond Remedy

March 12, 2009

Thursday of the Second Week in Lent

More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? I, the LORD, alone probe the mind and test the heart, To reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds. Jeremiah 17:9-10

He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' Then Abraham said, 'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'" Luke 16:30-31


Jesus, we are not beyond remedy. To you we cry for justice. Help us reform our deeds to merit your mercy. Help us make sure that we listen to Moses and the prophets. Amen.


Listening is a frequent theme in Luke’s Gospel as well as throughout the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. How many ways do Jesus and God have to ask us to listen to him?

“Listen to him” was the commandment offered up at baptism and at the transfiguration. Yet Jesus knows that the human heart goes its own way despite the best intentions. Even his beloved Peter will deny him.

The word to the rich man who ignored the poor man Lazarus is that even resurrection is not enough of an attention getter for people to pay attention to God’s word. Ignoring Lazarus also foreshadows ignoring the sign of resurrection when Jesus bringing the other “Lazarus” back from the dead at the urging of his sisters Mary and Martha as related in St. John’s Gospel.

Jesus is telling us in big bold letters, “Listen to Moses and the prophets.” Unless “Moses and the Prophets” refers top a new rock band or a reality program, you won’t be hearing much about them in the media these days. Most people just show up for church and spend an hour on Sunday with God. Then, with their religion ticket punched, they rush out to the parking lot before the priest has even sung, spoken, blessed or prayed his last syllable and go about the rest of their business.

Those who don’t even bother to worry about the ticket-punching syndrome ignore religion as if it were the “opiate of the people” or because they see too much hypocrisy in “religulous” practices today. Who can blame them when the headlines scream about a Catholic bishop who denies the Holocaust ever occurred?

Today’s reading is basically saying to put the brakes on everything else. If not, we will be rewarded according to our ways just like the rich man who was thrown into the pit.

Instead, our model should be the person described in the words of the prophet Jeremiah: Blessed is the man or woman who trusts (listens) in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He or she is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.


Tonight begins the 128th Women’s Cursillo for the Diocese of Arlington. While the Palanca clock and the cooking clock are filled, you can still support the weekend with written Palanca, food Palanca, attendance at Mananita and at the Closing.

MaƱanita: Please gather at the entrance to Missionhurst out of view of the Mission Center by 6:45 a.m. on Sunday. Please do not park at Missionhurst or in driveways leading to Missionhurst. Parking is available in the church and medical building lots across Old Dominion Drive and along the nearby side streets. Please be respectful of the neighbors and keep the noise down while gathering.

Closing: Closing will be in the school cafeteria at St. John the Beloved, 6420 Linway Terrace, McLean VA 22101 (just off Old Dominion Drive between 123 and Glebe Rd, 5 minutes from Missionhurst). Please be seated by 4:45. Please bring heavy hors d’oeuvres or drinks to share and drop off at the back of the cafeteria prior to the ceremony. Closing will begin at 5:00. All musicians are welcome to join in.

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