A blessed Lenten journey to you and yours.
Lent is always traditionally a time for repentance. We come to the Holy Father in Lent, confessing our sins, seeking forgiveness, and asking for strength for a new start.
Jesus teaches us to repent. It comes through hearing his Word. We are in Liturgical Year B, where we hear the good news of Jesus Christ from Gospel Writer Mark: They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he (Jesus) entered the synagogue and taught.
They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, "What is this? A new teaching — with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him." At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee. Mark 1:21-28.
Mark writes that “Jesus taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Jesus taught as if he was speaking from God. And God loves ALL people. The scribes taught according to the traditions, which excluded people. All kinds of folks could be determined to be excluded. But Jesus said that it was precisely for EVERYONE that he came.
This is a difficult teaching in this time of division in our world today. The people most in need, most different from us, most difficult for us to accept and love, are the very people Jesus came for. Jesus came for them, and Jesus came for us. We need to hear this, again and again, and believe.
So, let us not be tempted to follow our prejudices or our fears. Jesus’s teaching will have authority only for those who have ears to hear.
Let us hear and, in this time of Lent, come to the Lord. God softens hearts. God’s grace is for all. Let us pray: God of grace, you humbled yourself and came to forgive sinners such as us. Bring us humbly together on level ground at the foot of the cross, that we may learn to forgive and love as you have forgiven and loved us. Amen.