Inspiring Scripture quotes for Lent can come in handy for youth ministry, or any talk really! Here are some of my favorites from the prophets. Each has a little introduction for context and a reflection to help you get started. At the end I mention some tips on how to use these quotes. Stay tuned…there’s more to come!
(Painting of Malachi, by Duccio di Buoninsegna, c. 1310, at Siena Cathedral)
THE PROPHET MALACHI
Context: Malachi, which means “My Messenger”, was written in the mid-400s BC, just after the return of the Jews from exile and during the important reforms that sought to reorganize life in Jerusalem around the affairs of the Temple. Malachi decries the abuses of the rulers and the petty offerings of the priests. In this context, he foretells a “forerunner” that will prepare the way before the Messiah and a future day in which a pure sacrifice will be offered everywhere.
11 For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, my name is great among the nations; and everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering; For great is my name among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. (Mal. 1:11)
Reflection: Just before this verse Malachi complains that the priests are offering God poor and meager sacrifices: polluted food, blind or lame or sick animals… Yet (a clear sign of hypocrisy) they don’t dare offer these as gifts to their governor. Malachi reminds us that the Lord has no need at all of these sacrifices. These are not for Him; rather, they are for the good of the people to offer their God a sacrifice that matters, that touches the heart.
In contrast, Malachi’s prophecy refers us to the Holy Mass, today and until the end of time celebrated from the “rising of the sun to its setting”. During the Mass Christ Himself acts in a mysterious way through the ministry of the priest. Christ offers to the Father the one and the same sacrifice of His Body and Blood for our salvation made present once again on the altar. This is the truly pure sacrifice, offered by a truly pure priest.
(The Preaching of John the Baptist by Giovanni Gaulli, 1690, in the Louvre, Paris.)
1 Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; And suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek, And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. Yes, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. (Mal. 3:1)
Reflection: Through Malachi the Holy Spirit tells us of John the Baptist, who “prepared the way” for Jesus by preaching repentance from sin. Lent has much the same function: a period of 40 days to prepare us for the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord. There is no better preparation than one of repentance: to go before the Lord, open my hardened heart, recognize my brokenness, and humbly implore His healing grace and compassion. I trust and hope God will then lead me to a freedom lived from within, and a deeper experience of happiness.
17 And they shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my own special possession, on the day I take action. And I will have compassion on them, as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. (Mal. 3:17)
Reflection: It’s a real risk to open our heart to God! How do I do it? Will something happen? Can it be true? What will He ask of me? This is the prelude to what God may do in return: out of compassion, just like a kind father towards his son, He makes us His own special possession. We’re not “objects” to God; rather, by Baptism and faith we are His adopted sons. So this is how faith begins, by receiving the gift of grace in our life, which God gives as a gift, according to His timing, when He finds a open heart.
HOW TO USE THESE VERSES
Here are some of the ways you can use these verses:
- Include them in a talk on Lent.
- Or simply read them to your youth group or class, asking the teens to raise their hands if they liked it, or if they have a comment or question to make.
- Print them and hand them out to each teen in the chapel for some time of personal prayer, or adoration.
- Print them out in colorful cards and hand them to the teens to take home to hang somewhere in their room. Perhaps leave a space where teens write in their sacrifice during Lent.
- Again, print them and hand them out for small group discussion.
- Copy and paste them into your email to parents or teens regarding youth ministry or CCD.
- Any other ideas?
Quoting the Prophets Series:
You can find more quotes from the prophets below:
These are timeless verses from the prophets. They’re meant to be proclaimed, announced, shared on social media! Thank you!