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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Thursday

Lenten reflection, day 20

Scripture readings for today: Jeremiah 7:23-28; Psalm 95; Luke 11:14-23

Someone commented to me that they thought it strange to see Polish people walking out of church backward. If the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, some Polish people walk backward when leaving church. They continue facing the altar and do not turn their backs to the Lord as a sign of respect.

I’ve seen it myself, and I remembered it not long ago when speaking with a number of Catholics from Mexico who complained to me that their pastor would only install the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the back of the church. They told me, “We could never turn our backs to Our Lady.”

Turning your back on someone is never a good thing. It shows a lack of respect. It’s mean to ignore, reject, and try to forget. Putting something behind you means to leave it in the past, to move forward without it. The prophet Jeremiah refers to sin as turning one’s back on God or others.

Living in grace and peace means being able to look God and others in the eye, face to face. Are there people whom you cannot look in the eye—whom you can no longer face? Why?

Turn around, turn toward them today, and face them. Turn to God with your whole heart, for God is gracious and merciful.

Father Bruce Lewandowski, C.Ss.R.
Philadelphia

Download our 2015 Daily Lenten Devotions booklet here.