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Millennial Lenten Reflections: Harden not your Heart


Editor’s Note: The following is part of Millennial Lenten Reflections, a blog series in collaboration with Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Short reflections on the day’s readings, written by young adults from FMS and other organizations, will be posted everyday throughout Lent. 

The first reading and the reading from today’s Holy Gospel strike a similar chord, namely they both carry a flavor of defiance.

Couched between these readings, however, we hear the sweet melody of the psalmist exhorting us, imploring us, that if today you hear our Lord call, “harden not your heart” (Ps 95:1).

The passage from the Gospel cries for more attention. Jesus is healing a man, and onlookers accuse him of using demonic forces. It’s here that we see our Lord in his humanity; he’s been affronted, and he won’t take that sitting down.

First, He defends Himself saying, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste.” Then He challenges His accuser, saying that if He does not employ demonic powers, then the only other explanation is divine power, meaning the Kingdom of God is upon the people.

Jesus has successfully shifted the entire focus of this event from a miraculous healing, for which he is not even thanked, to the passerby, the pedestrian, the onlooker, and even the scoffer, and he poses this question: Will you gather with me, or will you scatter?

If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart.


Mark Forrester is a teacher at Holy Family Academy in Manchester, NH, and enjoys studying theology and mathematics, as well as writing essays and short stories. Mark studied at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, CA, and did graduate work at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC.

Franciscan Mission Service often invites guest writers to contribute to the blog. Contributors often include board members, formation leaders, Secular Franciscans, Franciscan friars and sisters, and other friends of the organization. If you would be interested in contributing, please contact info@franciscanmissionservice.org.