Feb. 28: Thursday of the Third Week of Lent

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called Il Guercino, Study for the Prophet Jeremiah, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1626

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Jeremiah 7:23-28
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Gospel: Luke 11:14-23

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “They did not obey or incline their ear, but, in the stubbornness of their evil will, they walked in their own counsels, and looked backward rather than forward (NRSV, Jeremiah 7:24).”

Let us pray.

Father, in every situation you are our future. Your Word is given to us to be our guide on the journey. Jesus said of himself: I am the way and the truth and the life. In every moment the Word challenges us to move forward through the present towards you. Yet so often, Father, not only do we refuse to advance but, under the sway of the sin of the world and our own selfishness, we actually turn our backs on you, as if it were possible to remove ourselves from your presence, you who are in all things.

Your Word, Father, is always there to guide us if only we would listen to him as he speaks at the depth of our being. There are among us, those more sensitive than the rest of us, however, who do listen and understand with greater clarity. They, Father, are your prophets, who then do their best to interpret the Word for us. So often we reject them. Instead of listening, we stone them, we banish them from our midst, we put them to death.

Father, may we give up our sinful ways that we may look always towards you. May we not only listen more faithfully to your Word ever present to guide and challenge us on our journey, but may we also be more open to those among us, our sisters and brothers, who are your prophets. Because they are more sensitive and responsive, they have so much to teach us. May your prophets make us more open to the Word and may they help to guide us on our journey to you.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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