MARCH 21-27: 3rd Week of Lent

March 21 Mon Lenten Weekday 2 Kgs 5:1-15b/Lk 4:24-30 

22 Tue Lenten Weekday Dn 3:25, 34-43/Mt 18:21-35 

23 Wed Lenten Weekday Dt 4:1, 5-9/Mt 5:17-19)

24 Thur Lenten Weekday Jer 7:23-28/Lk 11:14-23

25 Fri Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord Is 10:7-14; 8:10; Heb 10:4-10; Lk 1:26-38 

26 Sat Lenten Weekday Hos 6:1-6/Lk 18:9-14 

27 SUN FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT 1 Sm 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a/Eph 5:8-14/Jn 9:1-41 or 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38 

Last week’s weekday readings ended with the story of the Prodigal Son; this week’s end with the tax collector who prays in the temple and finds mercy. There are also readings from the Book of Hosea this week; he’s the prophet whose unbroken love for his unfaithful wife reminds us of God’s relationship with humanity. God wants us back.

Last Sunday’s readings from cycle A, are basic catechetical teachings. The Book of Exodus and John’s multi-leveled account of the Samaritan woman who meets Jesus at the well prepare us to meet him in sacraments. The story of Naaman the Syrian general (Monday) is also a multi-leveled story. Naaman’s appreciation of the saving water of the Jordan recalls the mystery of baptism, celebrated in the Easter mysteries.

Naaman and the Samaritan woman, both interesting people, remind us that sacraments are meant for real complicated people who are drawn gradually into the mysterious reality of God’s grace.

Sacraments can be easily forgotten or unappreciated, simple signs as they are. They draw on the natural world, which can also be unappreciated, as we are learning today. Can a renewed appreciation of nature lead to a greater understanding of the sacraments? Can figures like the Samaritan woman and Naaman remind us that the sacraments are meant for people immersed in their own time and place?

The Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, is a reminder that Jesus who comes among among us, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. He was truly human as well as divine. The feast is a feast of hope. “The Lord is with you,” the angel says to Mary, “Do not be afraid.” The angel announces to her that a Child will be born to her who will bring God’s kingdom to us. The Lord is with us, do not be afraid.

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