Monday of Holy Week, Year A; 10th April 2017.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up His voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not quench; He will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not fail or be discouraged till He has established justice in the earth; and the islands wait for His laws.
Prophet Isaiah gives an amazing phophecy about Christ’s death and mission on earth, no wonder the Holy Mother Church takes verses from it for most of its reading during the Holy Week. Today Christ is portrayed as the servant who God delights in; the chosen one filled with the Holy Spirit to bring forth justice to the world. And what justice is it He brings, we might be compelled to ask; after all, injustice still lurks in our world this present age. We seek a justice that stops evil abruptly, a justice which shouts power and authority, one with dictates right from wrong immediately. But the justice Christ brings isn’t loud; for He came neither crying out justice nor lifting up his voice to instill it. He came in all humility and simplicity to establish justice on earth. And this He calls us to do: to be instruments of justice; a justice found in righteous living; a justice that doesn’t falter when faced with the world’s failure to adhere to it and discouragement from unjust happenings around us. We are called to be like Christ this Holy Week, to be the light to people around us so that they can see the joy Christ brings, to open their eyes to God’s infinite mercy and forgiveness, to bring out those who live in the chains of sin to the freedom the Sacrament of Penance gives.
God calls us to be just. God calls us into righteousness today. Like Our Lord Jesus Christ, may we embrace humility and establish justice on earth through love.
Saturday After Ash Wednesday, Year A: 4th March 2017.
At that time Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office; and He said to him, “Follow me.” And he left everything and rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house; and there was a great company of tax collectors and others sitting at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes murmured against his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need for a physician, but those who are sick; I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Leaving everything he followed Jesus. Ever been in a sinful state soo deep you can’t wait for that glimspe of saving grace? Well that’s how Levi probably felt. Like a plant sprouting out of a concrete ground, he broke out of his sinful life to become Christ’s follower and a saint!! This call of Levi reminds us of the special concern Our Lord Jesus has for sinners. “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” The response of Levi to this call shows us what greater joy there is in being one of Christ’s compared to the fickle pleasures our sins could ever give. “He left everything, and rose and followed him and made a great feast.” And sometimes we may act like the Pharisees, “pointing fingers at others.(Isaiah 58:9c)” Like Christ who goes in search for the “sick” and sinners, we can “take away the burden off the back of people, pour ourselves to the hungry, comfort the afflicted, and be the light in someone’s dark days” as Prophet Isaiah beckons on us today.
May the Lord strengthen us as we respond to his call and reconcile with God and one another.
Friday After Ash Wednesday Year A; 3rd March 2017.
Is such the fast I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a rush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to the undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke? Is it not to share bread with the hungry and bring homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not you hide yourself from your own flesh?
God speaks to our hearts and minds today through Prophet Isaiah to “take it up a notch” in our ways of fasting: to loose the bonds of wickedness and be more loving as we fast, to share bread with the hungry, provide shelter for the homeless poor, to clothe the naked (Isaiah 58:6-7)-all these Corporal Works of Mercy and works of charity done with love is what is required of us this Lent. What is fasting without Mercy if not unacceptable in the Lord’s sight. So let’s not fast for ourselves, there is no “self-giving” in that. Saint John Cassian once said,
“Fasts and vigils, the study of Scripture, renouncing possessions and everything worldly are not in themselves perfection, as we have said; theyare its tools. For perfection is not to be found in them; it is acquired through them. It is useless, therefore, to boast of our fasting, vigils, poverty, and reading of Scripture when we have not achieved the love of God and our fellow men. Whoever has achieved love has God within himself and his intellect is always with God.”
It is the love of God that gives us the grace to live a life of mercy for our fellow men who are in need. So let us pray as we fast for the grace to be loving and merciful this season of Lent. Only then shall our light break forth like the dawn, our healing spring up speedily,and our righteousness go for before God who always answers His own.