by Michelle Khawam
There is no doubt that Tuesday’s first reading from Isaiah (found here) is about the Word of God. In verse 11 God says: “So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth…” The word of God comes to us from heaven. The word of God is also the seed that plants itself here on earth and it is up to us to water it, to “make it fertile and fruitful” so that others may be nourished by it.
We not only learn from reading Scripture but we also gain life. Lent is the perfect time to dive into Scripture. Sometimes as Christians we can to forget to pick up our Bible, read, pray, and study with Scripture. Sometimes people are intimidated by the Bible; they get confused and are not sure how to read and pray with it.
Consider starting a Bible Study with your friends, co-workers, or family members. Pick up a commentary book or find a commentary online to help you understand the readings a bit more. Try different Scripture reading methods like Lectio Divina. Pick up a daily devotional book from the book store! Whatever makes you most comfortable! Reading and praying with Scripture should not cause you stress or anxiety, but rather hope and joy.
God sends us his Word to reveal Himself to us, to bring us to faith, and to bring us to eternal life so that we may have fullness of joy. How will you pray with Scripture during this Lenten season?
Michelle Khawam is a Campus Minister at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY.
If you want to go deeper with this reflection, check out our Going Deeper page
In today’s first reading from Joel (found here), we the Lord says “return to me.” We are asked to return with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Later on we read “Blow the trumpet in Zion! proclaim a fast, call an assembly; Gather the people”.
As we begin Lent today and receive ashes, we begin a season of penance. This can be lived out in a variety of ways. The well known ways include not eating meat on Fridays, and giving something up for Lent. Allow me to suggest some other ways we might observe this season.
“Gather the people”… Nothing, especially everyday life, is easy alone. Consider connecting with people you have not connected to in a while… reach out! Find a Lenten buddy who you can talk with about your experience of God or pray with during the season. Maybe start a small group where you are!
“Proclaim a fast”… giving something up for Lent can be a practical symbol of your dedication to not only “fast”, but to look more deeply at your relationship with God. In Lent we seek penance, but this time can be an opportunity to come to God with other prayers (not just asking forgiveness). As we give something up, let us consider adding extra time for prayer to our schedule. Prayers of thanksgiving, special petitions for those around us, a walk with God outside, or silent mediation.
“Then the Lord was stirred to concern for his land and took pity on his people”… God’s relationship with the his people in the First Testament was a covenant relationship. Let us remember that God is merciful to us in this relationship. Lent is not a “beat yourself up” season. It is a season to remember that relationship with God is based on love, commitment, and reflective prayer. We do our part and try to be mindful of ways we can better enter into this relationship.
What is Lent to me? How will I approach Lent this year? Include more time to pray this Lent. Can I reach out to somebody this lent?
If you want to go deeper with this reflection, check out our Going Deeper page.