Meditation for Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Lent

First Reading: Jeremiah 18:18-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 31:5-6, 14, 15-16
Gospel: Matthew 20:17-28
No one can get to the glory of God without going through the sufferings of Christ.  We, as modern-day Christians in America, have become complacent in our freedom of religion, without acknowledging that things have not always been this way.  We tend to feel that, by virtue of our citizenship, we should be immune to persecution for the faith.  Although this should be the case, it also should have been the case that the Son of God would be welcomed by all those created by the Father.  Sadly, reality does not always mimic the ideal, and just because we follow God does not mean we will be protected from all harm.  However, this does not give us license to retaliate in like manner (cf. 1 Peter 3:9).
As Christians, we are called to drink the chalice of Christ (both literally in the Eucharist and figuratively in bearing our sufferings as He did) and commend our spirits into the hands of the Father.  While we suffer for the faith, we are also to pray as Jesus did on the Cross: "Father, forgive them – they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).  Although we hear the taunts and traps of those that mock the faith, our responses are to be first to the Father, that they may be converted and be brought (back) into the fold by the Good Shepherd.  Only after we have prayed for them may we respond to their questions, for in asking the Father’s forgiveness and mercy upon them, the Holy Spirit will descend upon us, so that we may, "Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame." (1 Peter 3:15b-16)
So, always pray for those in politics, especially our leaders, judges, and legislators, but most especially pray for those that you consider to be political enemies, so that both you and they may come to a better understanding of God’s will for us and our country.
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