As Moses confronts the Pharaoh:
Please notice one thing about Moses. When GOD asks him to do something, Moses often replies I can’t do that I am not good at that. Moses then listens and eventually does what he is asked to do. What Moses is good at is listening, and he is obedient. Lent is about doing things. Listening for GODS word, and being obedient to His commands are two good to do during lent. Listen.
There was a man of the tribe of Levi who had taken a woman of Levi as his wife. She conceived and gave birth to a son and, seeing what a fine child he was, she kept him hidden for three months. When she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him; coating it with bitumen and pitch, she put the child inside and laid it among the reeds at the river’s edge. His sister stood some distance away to see what would happen to him. It’s not a bad time to think of Moses, his name means he was drawn out of the water. Moses was drawn from the water when the Egyptian woman retrieved that basket his mother placed him in as protection against the pharaoh. The basket, protection from destruction just as the ark of Noah offered protection from the flood. Boat and basket, both arks. Boat, basket, ark of the covenant, manger. Note Moses mother placed him in that ark, that mother that gave birth to him. Note to the woman who drew him out of the water, pay attention to the protection she gives him. Mary, mother of God. Look where Moses is suspended. On one side the love of his mother, on the other the fear of the Pharaoh. Suspended in an ark made of paper, saved by the love of a woman who drew him out of the water. That woman’s love conquered the fear of a Pharaoh. Love as Moses entered the water, and love when he was drawn out of that water. Salvation. Mary never abandons her Son. Not at the annunciation, nor in the manger, or at the foot of the cross.
The tradition of the Fridays of Lent is to walk the way of the Cross. Traditionally this was done at around 3:00, a reminder of Good Friday. Today that hour is often shifted to one that can boost attendance in a church. I don’t know how to feel about that. On one hand there is the abandonment of tradition. On the other the shift opens a path to others. In allowing some to attend, others are excluded. What to do? Personally, I prefer the 3:00 hour. That is my bias, but I do realize others can’t keep to that schedule. Solution? The prayers of the Cross can be carried in a pamphlet (or probably on an APP) , and prayed on almost any walk. The walk, a city street, or a country trail. That is the best some can do.
A day late and a dollar short, Lent began yesterday. Yet, yesterday was a busy day. I could not attend Mass or receive ashes. That is no great sin as Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation. Missing the Mass was not a sin, but it was my loss. Fortunately the readings for that Mass are always the same: go into your inner room to pray, don’t put fasting on display. That is the contradicting part of Lent. The Mass is communal, and the ashes an outward sign. Thus there was no contradiction this time. This Lent is private. It is a personal challenge. Few around me observe the fast, fewer observe the abstinence. Not many approve of my Religion, or any religions. A day with many outward signs, becomes invisible. It becomes the secret handshake, cryptic so that only those that need to know, know. Properly the day or season doesn’t involve everyone, nor does it exclude anyone.
Part of the readings speak of going into the inner room to pray signifies the room that is a person’s soul. It is turning inward. The phrase does remind me of something else though. It reminds me of the inner room of the Temple of Jerusalem, the Holy of Holies. It’s the room few were granted admission to, it as limited to the high priests. Contrast a room that was exclusive by law, to the inner room of the soul. One room excludes by law and enforcement, the other is not reached for lack of effort. One is blocked off by others, the other isn’t entered through ones own fault.
Timothy and Titus, early bishops whose feast we celebrate today. They are disciples and companion of Paul. Gentiles and Jewish-Gentile ethnicity. Some say wow! The right hand man of Paul, for certain they must have been important. But wait, stop and think. Paul as not revered in society, they tossed him into jail. If Paul was the criminal, they were much less. Outcasts and deviant the three of them, yet these two served Paul, in the name of the LORD. Fact from fiction, truth separated like fire tried gold. For those that pray the Liturgy of them Hours, Paul is celebrated as Apostle. The other two with the Common of Pastors. Peter the Popa , and the Church is served. Outcasts, prisoners, and warriors; they fought for the faith. Timothy and Titus did not gain respect from men, their celebration is because they taught the will of the LORD. Esteemed now, not then. One must look at them in their culture and not through the rose-colored glasses of today. They went against the grain, they challenged and provoked and served. Uncelebrated, downcast, persecuted, yet resolute. Think about the outcast and mumble the reading of today:
Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”
They were the seed that bore fruit, against all odds. Trampled and scattered, yet they still grew; and they did so against all odds. Let me correct myself, it was not they who grew. It was the message they spread, and scattered, and nurtured. It took hold, that word of God. For they were simple servants, let’s celebrate them. Today.
Switzerland declares Lobsters can no longer be “boiled alive.” Lobsters now must be sedated before being placed in the pot. Also, the creature can no longer be stored “on ice.” The animal must be stored in its natural environment. Cruelty has been eliminated and humane treatment is finally guaranteed for the crustacean.
(**no word yet on the humane treatment of humans)