March 20: Friday of the Third Week of Lent

Vincent Van Gogh, The Good Samaritan (after Delacroix), Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, Netherlands, 1890

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Hosea 14:2-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 81:6-8, 8-9, 10-11, 14, 17
Gospel: Mark 12:28-34

“‘To love the Lord your God with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’ —this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices (NRSV, Mt 12:33).”

Let us pray.

Father, in each moment that we say “yes” to you, we grow in your life. As we grow in your life, we also grow in love. That, Lord, is because your life is love, love that is the mutual sharing in the Holy Spirit both of you, Father, who gives life to the Word, and of the Word who receives life from you.

To be a human being, Father, is to be on journey towards you our future. As well as a journey of growth in life and love, there is also growth in understanding of the one revelation that the Word always speaks to us at the depth of our being. Our understanding of the dignity of life grows as we make progress on the journey as does also our understanding of the meaning of love. Progress can be made as individuals but also as a human family.

There was a time when we first recognized you, Father, as God for us, as we came out of slavery in Egypt, that our understanding of the dignity of life and what it means to love was much more limited than it is today. Thou shalt not kill, we thought, but that was limited only to members of the tribe. Slavery was permissible even within the tribe. Women were treated like chattel, things to be owned. Death was imposed as penalty even for minor crimes.

And the neighbors we were challenged to love were only our own people, not the others.

Much has changed, Father, as we progress on our journey towards you. We are especially thankful for the teaching of the Word made flesh, your only begotten son, Jesus, who has enlightened us in so many ways. May your help, Father, through your Word, continue to increase our understanding of your truth that is revealed to us from the beginning that we may grow constantly in the life and love which in you are one.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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