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Poverty of Spirit

Lenten meditations on justice and peace

Monday, March 23

Readings: Isaiah 65:17-21; John 4:43-54, Psalm 30

Today's readings bring us to the second of the great signs that John records as evidence of the messianic nature of Christ's life and ministry. The Church links it with a messianic prophecy in Isaiah.

This should remind all of us that our work for justice and peace has more than a temporal dimension, that what we see before us is not all that there is to reality. Rather, our work for justice and peace is a manifestation of the messianic hope that remains with us, even today, 2000 years after Christ, as we continue to look forward to the Reign of God on Earth, a time when children will not die prematurely, and all will live to a natural old age in a place without sorrow, hatred, war, or violence. A most noble ideal, a world that is renewed and healed with rejoicing and hope.

The sign that John presents is very bold and challenging. We have seen during these Lenten readings how the poor and rejected are open to the ministry of Christ. Today we learn that it is possible for the rich and powerful, for this with power, authority, assets, and status, to also open their hearts to the ministry of Christ. Here we see a Royal Official, who snaps his fingers and actions are done, humbly coming to Jesus and asking that his son be healed. He believes Christ's words and goes and finds that in fact, his child had been healed. He and his entire household came to believe.

Do you suppose his behavior changed? We don't know what he was like before this healing, but can we expect that his life was never the same again? Did his manner of life change so that he exercised his authority in a just manner? These are questions we can't answer, but if this man and his household did come to believe in Jesus the Messiah, this must have had profound effects on them and their lifestyle. God's message is to everybody, and that includes those with power, assets, authority, and status. All are called to come to Jesus in humility and poverty of spirit.

Prayer intentions today:

+ For all those with power, authority, status, privilege, and assets, that they will come to Jesus in humility and poverty of spirit and that as a result of this on-going conversion, they will change their ways and manners of living.

Praxis today:

+ As an act of humility, pick up trash in a public place and dispose of it properly.

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