Friday, March 21, 2014

Afternoon meditation: Lenten Friday with Francis

Part of a continuing series of reflections on Pope Francis' Lenten Message 2014.

A third image Pope Francis invokes in his message (after that of the Incarnation and of the Baptism of the Lord) is the Good Samaritan. In each of these images, there is on the one hand, a going-out (Francis' famously repeated "Uscire!"), and on the other, a movement towards needy humanity. This poverty of Christ's is founded in his true wealth: his Sonship. "Jesus is rich in the same way as a child who feels loved and who loves his parents without doubting their love and tenderness for an instant." Not for nothing did Jesus' final words begin, "Father." He is so rich in this Sonship that he can share it, without his own "inheritance" being diminished in the slightest.

This is the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount, proclaimed the Sunday before the Lenten season began: The child of the Heavenly Father does not "worry about tomorrow" or about what to eat, or drink, or wear: "Your heavenly Father knows all that you need. Seek first God's kingdom and righteousness, and all other things will be given in addition."

"When Jesus asks us to take up his 'yoke which is easy,' he asks us to be enriched by his 'poverty which is rich' ... to become sons and daughters in the Son, brothers and sisters in the firstborn brother." That spirit of adoption has its crowning glory in the Gift of the Holy Spirit that is Piety. It is Jesus living in us "to" the Father, with his trust, his joy, his unshakable confidence, his praise. This is, in fact, where the Lord wants to take us by Eastertime (or at least by its end at Pentecost!).

How has this Lent, so far, renewed you as an adopted child of God and strengthened your relationship with the Father of Jesus?

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