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Promise of Redemption

Lenten meditations on justice and peace

Saturday, April 4

Readings: Ezekial 37:21-28 -- Jeremiah 31:10 - 12:13 -- John 1:45-47

Archived at http://www.justpeace.org

Today we hear three promises of redemption -- from Ezekial, from Jeremiah, and from reading between the lines of John.

Ezekial promises a gathering and a return, a time when the two kingdoms become one, a place where the laws of God are honored and respected. "They shall live by my statutes and carefully observe my decrees." This must be read in the context of the Law of Moses, which contained the statutes and decrees that were to be obeyed. And the Law of Moses comes complete with a detailed set of structures to support the poor, especially, single mothers with children (whether they be single due to widowhood or desertion) and foreigners.

Jeremiah speaks of the same return and gathering about which Ezekial writes. Mourning will turn into joy and gladness will replace sorrow.

Today's Gospel begins right after John records the great seventh sign that Jesus was Messiah and God -- the restoring of life to Lazarus. Many of those who had come to be with Mary and Martha during this time of mourning came to believe in Jesus because of this act. Others ran away and told the political and economic elite what was happening. Caiaphas the High Priest, who had obviously read Machiavelli's "The Prince" a millenium and more before it was written, says that Jesus must die or the whole nation will perish.

Because of the threats and plots, Jesus withdrew from the public eye. The spies of the rulers were about in the streets and marketplaces, looking for the Galilean rabbi.

He in retrospect we see another promise of redemption -- of obedience unto death, even death on a cross, a redemptive work, love-in-action, the same level of commitment that we are called to over the intervening two thousand years. Characteristic of this redemption is the preaching of the Gospel to the poor, and we must remember that in this endeavor, actions speak louder than words. Our commitment to the Reign of Christ calls forth a commitment to the statutes and decrees of God, not excepting those regarding our relationships with each other.

Prayer intentions today:

+ For all prophets of justice and peace who are persecuted throughout the world, that they will be comforted in their time of great need, especially the School of the America's prisoners who this week are reporting to serve their prison sentences for protesting the involvement of the US government in training programs that have produced some pretty major thugs, we pray to

the Lord.

Praxis today:

+ Do something in support of those who are persecuted for their work for justice and peace; write a congressman, write a prisoner, make a donation, speak with friends about situations you are aware of, educate yourself about what is happening.

+ If you haven't done this already, now is the time to prepare for your Lenten confession. In doing so, the lists you have made during this prayer journey will be helpful.

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