March 2: Monday of the First Week of Lent

Guido Reni: Moses, Galleria Borghese, Rome, 1600-10

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 15
Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46

Rx. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life (NRSV, John 6:63b).

Let us pray.

Father, it was as you led us out of Egypt into freedom that we realized for the first time who you are, that you are God, that we are your people, that you love us and expect us to love one another. In the encounter that we remember as a mountain storm in the Sinai desert all of this and more became clear to us. We came away from the holy mountain convinced that you were leading us to a destiny. We were sure that it was the land that you promised. It was a promise, we would remember, that you had long before made to Abraham as you called him out of his ancestral home in Mesopotamia. We also came away from Sinai convinced that we are a covenanted people bound to you by the Law. Ever since, we have been struggling to read your holy will for us given, we believed, once and for all on the holy mountain. In succeeding generations, Lord, we have refined our understanding of the Law, enshrining it in precepts attributed to you.

Jesus, truly one of us, from his first moment in his mother's womb, has so completely accepted you, that he is your spoken Word made fully manifest in the flesh. In the resurrection of Jesus, your Anointed One, a new understanding has emerged. Yes, we are truly a covenanted people but we are not bound to you by the Law, as we once thought, as best we could, but by your Holy Spirit, given to us, even from the beginning, through your Word, and in whom we live. Your Spirit is given to all human beings as that Spirit is accepted in the womb, one life shared by you, Father, with everyone.

Your Word, made fully manifest to us in the flesh in Jesus, is always present to us, not just from the time of Jesus alone but in every moment of human history. Nothing, not even the worst of sins, can cause him to abandon us. He remains ever present to each of us, and to all your people, challenging us in each moment to growth in the life of your Holy Spirit.

With that growth in your divine life, Father, always comes greater understanding of the one Word that you speak to us, not just from the holy mountain, but at every moment in the Spirit in the depth of our being. We must always be ready to let go not only of who we are that we may increase in you but we must also be ready to grow in our understanding of how you want us to live. The love that you would have us make our own, Father, has never been written down in final form on tablets of stone. In every generation, in every moment of every generation, we must be ready to find new and better ways of living out your love with and among one another.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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