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4th Week of Lent, Thursday, Mar 26


Exodus 32:7-14 / John 5:31-47 
Jesus speaks to the Jews: “My works testify on my behalf.”

Seventy-nine-year-old Clara Hale has served as the foster mother to over 500 babies. “Mama Hale” takes care of babies of drug-addicted mothers until the mothers are able to take care of their babies themselves. Babies of drug-addicted mothers enter life with a drug dependency themselves. That’s what makes Mama Hale’s job so hard. “When a baby is crying for a drug,” she says, “all you can do is hold it close and say to it, ‘I
love you, and God loves you, and your mama loves you. Your mama just needs a little time.’”
Just as Mama Hale’s works testify unmistakably to her love for children, so Jesus’ works testified unmistakably to his love and his mission from the Father.
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What do our works say to others, especially to those who don’t know Jesus? “Love is more easily illustrated than defined.” Anonymous
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The one thing that creates some problems for us and makes us feel aged is this thing called forgetfulness. Forgetfulness afflicts everybody, and especially when we are no longer that young and we forget this and that, then we become the butt of jokes. Anyway, if our individual forgetfulness can give us problems, how about the forgetfulness of a nation?

Certainly, it would be disastrous, as in the case of Israel. It was not that long ago since they experienced the liberation from Egypt and the miraculous parting of the Red Sea. But soon they forgot about the God who saved them and they created an idol in the image of an animal!

In fact, forgetfulness is too lame a word to be used here. The word should be stupidity. The Israelites were stupid enough to forget, and for that they wandered in the desert for 40 years just to have their memory corrected.

The 40 days of Lent is indeed a time for us to recall and remember the saving acts of God and the wonderful graces He poured into our lives so that we won't forget the meaning of love and mercy.

It  is also a time to cleanse ourselves of other distractions that have come into our lives that make us lose focus and forget about God in our lives.

For it is to God alone that we must say: You alone are my God.
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Lent 4th Week - Thursday - Liturgy
Introduction
From today on and in the Holy Week, the opposition between the Jewish leaders and Jesus is growing. People always tend to adore their own god - a god or gods made in their own image and likeness, rather than accepting in humility, conscious of our limitations, that we are made in the image and likeness of God.
But we are fortunate enough to have Christ - as the Hebrews had Moses - a mediator who pleads for us, whom we can easily accept and identify with because in him we can recognize one of us, who opts for people, who defends us, who is involved with us in spite of our failures.

Penitential Rite:
-We come like Moses to plead with you for our idol worship, LHM
-We come to testify to the witness of John the Baptist as the light, CHM
-We come to follow Jesus, greatest of all witnesses, LHM

Opening Prayer
Lord our God, we know, perhaps more in theory than in practice,
that you are with us, that you are our God and we your people.
Forgive us, Lord, when we fashion our own gods made in our own image - honor, power, prestige, things to which we are attached and enslaved. Remind us again and again that you are our loyal God, who made us in your own indelible image and who shows us your perfect likeness in Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord.

Commentary
We believe a person only if he or she is trustworthy. Someone who has betrayed our trust in the past will probably find us skeptical of anything that person might say. We believe that the words of Jesus are true because He has proven Himself to be altogether reliable. We have no reason to doubt His promises, because He never leaves disappointed anyone who believes in Him. Place your trust in the things of this world and you will find disappointment and sadness. Trust in the Lord in all things and find peace, for His word can be trusted beyond a shadow of a doubt.

General Intercessions
- For priests and religious, that the Lord may give them the strength and the joy to be shining lights of all they stand for, we pray:
- For those who have become unfaithful to their baptismal promises, that they may they find the way back to the Lord, we pray:
- For Christians, that their lives may bear witness to the compassion and goodness of the Lord, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
God, your Son is still alive among us in this Eucharistic celebration. Make us realize that, despite our false attachments, our hesitation and cowardice, he opts for us, he is involved with us, he is your sign among us that you still accept and love us. God, thank you for Jesus, your Son, who stays with us and shares our destiny now and for ever.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God, we thank you for giving us Jesus as your living sign among us of your strong and faithful love. May we too, Lord, everyone of us who claims to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, take the risk of being to our brothers and sisters a firm support, a true sign of your everlasting love. May this be the way we testify that Jesus is alive among us, now and for ever.

 

Homily Prayer:

God of unbelievers, we want to believe, but it is hard for us to trust what we do not see. You knew that need and so embraced our unbelief in Jesus, who sought sinners and loved us into truth. Give us, then, the love of your Christ who clothed his words in flesh. The courage of your Christ, who raised the burning lamp of John to light the horizon of life itself. The faith of your Christ, who poured himself into the chalice of human suffering to shatter its darkness forever. O God, fill us with faith that will carry us beyond the waters of our baptism that we, too, may be love, light and life. Amen.


The Turning:
Faith is a gift, not because some receive it and others do not...but because God gives faith freely.  I do not occasion the gift. Faith lives in the quiet corners of desire.

When I pray 1 say: Let it be this way. God knows best for me but it's hard to see when he's turned his back how he can keep track of my every need in the life I lead.
Listen, Lord, I cry, don't forget that my very life's at stake in the plans you make. Come around, please do. See my point of view. Your plan may be best. Let's give mine a test.

Guide and Goal of my life, hear my plea. Pour out your blessings upon me in ways I understand. Fill my cup with joy, not sorrow. Let me feel the force of your love in the things of your creation. Amen.