Tuesday, March 8th is the observance of International Women’s Day. Below is a special reflection from theologian M. Shawn Copeland, taken from the Lent booklet she wrote for Pax Christi USA in 2003. It is based on the readings for March 8, the fourth Tuesday of Lent.

by M. Shawn Copeland, Ph.D.

Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12 | John 5:1-16

God is life. Jesus acts for the sake of life. He breaches the rules and rituals of the Sabbath only for life. But it is never easy to transgress the rules and rituals of ancient religions. Jesus pays a price for life. His actions are criticized, his teaching interrogated, his authority undermined. But Jesus never wavers. God is life. He acts for God for the sake of life.

We Christians also belong to an ancient religion, vigilant of its doctrine and ritual. When we question doctrinal protocol or adjust ritual etiquette for the sake of life, we can expect to have our actions criticized, our opinions interrogated, our authority challenged. Like Jesus, we must never waver. God is life. We too must act for God for the sake of life.

Reflection Questions:

  • Does fear of loss of human respect make me reluctant to share my opinions in church gatherings?
  • Have I stepped up to defend the poor and excluded when others blame them for their condition?
  • Do I join in derogatory or mocking conversation about gay men and lesbians or those whose race or culture is different than my own?
  • To whom and where do my actions for life take me?

* This reflection is from To Live the Passion and Compassion of Jesus: Reflections for Lent 2003.

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