Home Index ... Lenten Meditations Index ... Lent Entrance Page

Continuing a theme. . .

Lenten meditations on justice and peace

Friday, April 3

Readings: Jeremiah 20:10-13 -- Psalm 18 -- John 10:31-42

In today's Gospel, Jesus again teaches his divine origin, and people react by picking up stones. These are hard sayings for people to receive, then and now. It is much easier to think of Jesus as a really good man than it is to realize he was God and he was Man.

The Gospel of John is structured around a series of seven "signs" that are connected with various dialogues of Jesus that interpret the signs and teach important truths. These signs are (1) the changing of water into wine at Cana, the cure of the royal official's son, cure of the paralytic at the pool, the multiplication of the loaves, the walking on the water, the cure of a man who was born blind and the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Six of these signs occur before today's Gospel. When Jesus speaks of doing the works of his Father, it is these kinds of activities that Jesus is talking about. Healing -- feeding -- comforting, living in solidarity with those who are rejected. The response of the rulers? They can't find enough stones to throw at Jesus.

Jeremiah is also not very popular with the beautiful people of his era. His sufferings are a foretaste, a "forshadowing" of the experience of the Messiah. He is surrounded by secret plots and terrors, deserted by his friends. But God protects His prophet. Those who persecute the just will not triumph.

"For he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!" In speaking of this, Jeremiah accurately describes the lot of the poor throughout all history. The rich and powerful have forever seen the poor as their prey. From the pyramids of Egypt to the Roman galleys, and on to medieval serfs and the modern transnational corporation, the weak and helpless have suffered from the depredations of the rich and powerful. Today the rich support think tanks and political movements that fight against the payment of just wages while powerful corporations exploit the very poor with wages as low as ten cents an hour. Every time unemployment gets too low, the US Federal Reserve system raises interest rates, in a deliberate non-free-market coercive maneuver to throw people out of work and impoverish them. The social security taxes of the poor and working class fund the Medicare and Social Security checks of millionaires and corporate welfare gobbles up a greater share of the federal budget than all of the means-tested social programs put together. Urban renewal destroys poor neighborhoods and coercively increases the price of rental housing beyond market rates.

We are still burning the villages of the poor. We are still taking up stones to throw at our prophets and conspiring against those who call us to repentance, especially when the bottom line is at risk.

Jesus, who is God, did the works of the Father and calls us to follow Him and do likewise. Thus, all who take upon themselves the name of Christ are at risk for persecution. The message of love, repentance, conversion, solidarity and service was not popular 2000 years ago and it has not gained much in the modern era.

Prayer intentions today:

+ For all the poor who are at risk of attacks from the rich and powerful, that they will be protected and comforted in their time of need, we pray to the Lord.

+ For the rich and powerful, that they will cease their incessant attacks upon the poor, we pray to the Lord.

Praxis today:

+ Speak out today against the many ways the rich are attacking the poor, both in the US and worldwide. Educate yourself. The section of my website -- http://www.justpeace.org/demons.htm has information regarding corporate welfare and other such attacks on the poor by the political and economic elites of the U.S.

+ Fast and abstain today and give the money you save thereby to help feed the poor. Pick up trash in a public place and dispose of it properly.

Home Index ... Lenten Meditations Index ... Lent Entrance Page