Lenten Meditation


O God, you so loved the world that you gave your only–begotten Son to reconcile earth with heaven: Grant that we, loving you above all things, may love our friends in you, and our enemies for your sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Scripture Readings

Genesis 42:18–28

On the third day Joseph said to them, ‘Do this and you will live, for I fear God: if you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here where you are imprisoned. The rest of you shall go and carry grain for the famine of your households, and bring your youngest brother to me. Thus your words will be verified, and you shall not die.’ And they agreed to do so. They said to one another, ‘Alas, we are paying the penalty for what we did to our brother; we saw his anguish when he pleaded with us, but we would not listen. That is why this anguish has come upon us.’ Then Reuben answered them, ‘Did I not tell you not to wrong the boy? But you would not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.’ They did not know that Joseph understood them, since he spoke with them through an interpreter. He turned away from them and wept; then he returned and spoke to them. And he picked out Simeon and had him bound before their eyes. Joseph then gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to return every man’s money to his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. This was done for them.

Joseph’s Brothers Return to Canaan

They loaded their donkeys with their grain, and departed. When one of them opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at the lodging–place, he saw his money at the top of the sack. He said to his brothers, ‘My money has been put back; here it is in my sack!’ At this they lost heart and turned trembling to one another, saying, ‘What is this that God has done to us?’

Psalm 72

Prayer for Guidance and Support for the King

Of Solomon.

Give the king your justice, O God,
 and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May he judge your people with righteousness,
 and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
 and the hills, in righteousness.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
 give deliverance to the needy,
 and crush the oppressor.

May he live while the sun endures,
 and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
 like showers that water the earth.
In his days may righteousness flourish
 and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

May he have dominion from sea to sea,
 and from the River to the ends of the earth.
May his foes bow down before him,
 and his enemies lick the dust.
May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles
 render him tribute,
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
 bring gifts.
May all kings fall down before him,
 all nations give him service.

For he delivers the needy when they call,
 the poor and those who have no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
 and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
 and precious is their blood in his sight.

Long may he live!
 May gold of Sheba be given to him.
May prayer be made for him continually,
 and blessings invoked for him all day long.
May there be abundance of grain in the land;
 may it wave on the tops of the mountains;
 may its fruit be like Lebanon;
and may people blossom in the cities
 like the grass of the field.
May his name endure for ever,
 his fame continue as long as the sun.
May all nations be blessed in him;
 may they pronounce him happy.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
 who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be his glorious name for ever;
 may his glory fill the whole earth.
Amen and Amen.

The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.

I Corinthians 5:9–6:8

Sexual Immorality Must Be Judged

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral persons—not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since you would then need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother or sister who is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber. Do not even eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge? God will judge those outside. ‘Drive out the wicked person from among you.’

Lawsuits among Believers

When any of you has a grievance against another, do you dare to take it to court before the unrighteous, instead of taking it before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels—to say nothing of ordinary matters? If you have ordinary cases, then, do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to decide between one believer and another, but a believer goes to court against a believer—and before unbelievers at that?

In fact, to have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—and believers at that.

St. Mark 4:1–20

The Parable of the Sower

Again he began to teach beside the lake. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the lake and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the lake on the land. He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.’ And he said, ‘Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’

The Purpose of the Parables

When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that

“they may indeed look, but not perceive,
 and may indeed listen, but not understand;
so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.”’

And he said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing. And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.’

Focus on the inner world, deep within your soul. Listen in silence and be bold and honest with yourself. The outer world is made of the tangible; the desireable things that your mind wants to hold on to. In this Lenten season, let go and be wanting nothing—nothing but God and Him alone.
—— Metropolitan Yohan


Fasting gives birth to prophets and strengthens the powerful; fasting makes lawgivers wise. Fasting is a good safeguard for the soul, a steadfast companion for the body, a weapon for the valiant, and a gymnasium for athletes. Fasting repels temptations, anoints unto piety; it is the comrade of watchfulness and the artificer of chastity. In war it fights bravely, in peace it teaches stillness. It sanctifies the Nazirite and perfects the Priest. For it is not possible to dare to perform sacred actions without fasting, not only in the mystical and true worship of the present era, but also in the symbolic worship offered according to the Law.

— St. Basil, Homily on Fasting, 6.


Sneaking out early to avoid prying eyes, constantly fearful of attack, feeling ashamed and embarrassed—this is common for some women in Asia, the unfortunate individuals who don’t have access to private toilets. Rithika was one of those women.

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Donate to Sanitation Projects

Safe, sanitary outdoor toilets typically cost around $540, to build in Asia, and benefit multiple families in remote, impoverished communities. You can help provide one for a needy village, by donating a portion of the construction costs through GFA World.

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Source for Collects: The Collects are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.

Source for Revised Common Lectionary Prayers: Reproduced from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission. A complete edition of the prayers is available through Augsburg Fortress.

Source for Scripture Passages: Scripture texts are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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