for Our Time
Please send your own reflections on these passages to email@example.com
Lenten Reflections: Views from within Voice of the Faithful
Susan Troy, MDiv, VOTF Prayerful Voice
I remember trying to communicate to years of Confirmation
students the wonders of reading Scripture, Scripture’s “aliveness” and
its never-ending ability to be personally engaged by
the individual in a particular time and place and happenstance. “This
is a living document,” I would say. Thinking back
on the blank stares, I do hope that at some time in their
journey those young people found an opportunity to experience
the wonder of discovering how Scripture can be so pertinent,
so relevant, so contemporary and so meaningful.
Every time we read a passage of Scripture it becomes
new. It offers something very different to us, because,
we are different, every time. We bring a different perspective,
the nuances of age, and experience, and life lived.
We have heard the Lenten readings for a lifetime. What
can be new? There is desert and more desert. There is
John the Baptist. There is the going up to Jerusalem.
What is different is what we bring to the encounter.
For many of us these last days, months, years, have been
deeply colored by the fact of our Catholic faith lived
out in a Church mired in shame, conceit, and delusion.
What will we see through our “Voice of the Faithful” lens
when we encounter the readings this year? What is our
particular Lenten journey as members of a Church in desperate
need of reform?
During this Lenten season, In the Vineyard will repeat
whatever the current passage is from the list below.
We invite readers to reflect on the passages selected
and share your thoughts in our e-community.
What is your experience? What “revelations” do
you experience this Lenten season that relate to our
Church, our faith in these difficult days, to the mission
and goals of Voice of the Faithful?
First Sunday of Lent, March 5, 2006 – Gospel
of Mark 1: 12-15
“The Spirit sent Jesus out toward the desert.
He stayed in the wasteland forty days, put to the test
there by Satan.”
This going into the desert does not seem to be a totally
unencumbered choice by Jesus. it seems the Spirit is
a force at work in Jesus’ life and in Jesus’ choice
of destination. Another translation says, ”The
Spirit drove Jesus into the desert.” Implied is
that, given the absence of this Spirit, a different choice
might have been made.
Voice of the Faithful is said to be a Movement of the
Spirit. What does this mean in terms of your understanding
of this passage in this season of Lent? What is the “desert” where
we might be as an organization? And, what is the value
or meaning of desert time in our tradition?
Second Sunday of Lent, March 12, 2006 – Second
Reading Romans 8: 31-34
“If God is for us, who can be against us? Is it
possible that he who did not spare his own son but handed
him over for the sake of us all will not grant us all
things besides? Who shall bring a charge against God’s
What do we within Voice of the Faithful do with all
the adversarial feelings that our organization seems
to engender within the institutional Church and among
our brothers and sisters in the faith in light of this
passage? Why is our “faithfulness” questioned?
What does this passage say about us? About God?
Third Sunday of Lent, March 19, 2006 - Gospel of John
“As the Jewish Passover was near, Jesus went up
to Jerusalem. In the temple precincts he came upon people
engaged in selling oxen, sheep and doves, and others
seated changing coins.”
In just this simple first sentence, what can we understand
about Jesus, his faith and faithfulness and his expectations?
What do we hold today, as Catholic Christians in the
beginning of the 21st century, that is familiar with
Jesus’ own self as related in this Scripture passage?
Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 26, 2006 - Gospel of John
“Yes, God so loved the world that he gave his
only Son, that whoever believes in him may not die but
have eternal life… but men loved darkness rather
than light because their deeds were wicked. Everyone
who practices evil hates the light; he does not come
near it for fear his deeds will be exposed. But he who
acts in truth comes into the light, to make clear that
his deeds are done in God.”
Some evil or wickedness is not easy to recognize. Wickedness
can be secretive, disguised, alluring, hidden. But some
evils are so blatant, that there can be no question.
This is the case with the sexual abuse of children by
priests and religious of the Catholic Church. The light,
Christ’s action in us, shines on evil and yet we
are faced with an institutional Church that blocks the
light. What do we do with this knowledge? How might this
passage help us prioritize and recognize what is demanded
of us as individuals and as the Body of Christ? What
is our ultimate authority?
Fifth Sunday of Lent, April 2, 2006 - John 8:1-11
“Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak
he reappeared in the temple area; and when the people
started coming to him, he sat down and began to teach
Sometimes it is instructive to ask the simplest of
questions. What do we know of Jesus from this simple,
seemingly inconsequential passage? Jesus was accessible
and it was the action of the people coming to him that
moved him to teach. There was nothing between Jesus
and the people except the beginnings of a new faith.
How do we experience Christ as accessible to us? How
do the structures of our faith, our traditions and
institutions, enable or deny that access? In what way
are we in Voice of the Faithful sitting at the feet
of Jesus and what do we expect?