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Tuesday, Second Week of Lent

March 14, 2006

Blessed Tuesday!

Isaiah 1:10, 16-20 (let’s set things right)
Psalm 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23 “To the upright I will show the saving power of God”
Matthew 23:1-12 (leaders must be humble servants)

Today we ponder more ways to agree with God, to actively fulfill our place within the sacred order He designed in creation. He calls us to obedience, to a special care for the helpless, and to humility.

Obedience, especially when submitted to God, is simply doing what makes sense in light of eternal values. God created things to work a certain way & He tells us how to cooperate with the way things are. If we obey, everything works. If we don’t, things break. We break. It’s a lot like the law of gravity except the results aren’t always as immediately obvious.

One element of that cooperation is a special care for the widow and the orphan, the most helpless members of society (today we might add the unborn, elderly and disabled). God won’t abandon them, and He extends to us the privilege of being His instruments as He provides for them.

Yet another element of our cooperation with Reality is humility. Cooperation with Reality is humility, by definition, and vice versa. We are creatures. We have limits. Everything we have, everything we are and everything we do comes from God. Even our desires to do good, even our prayers originated with Him. He gets the credit. He takes the responsibility. Only our sin is our own. This is more freeing than it seems on the surface, especially for control freaks like me. Yes, we do have supernatural graces available to us through the Sacraments. We are responsible for using them, for developing our strengths and for serving God to the best of our abilities. But ultimately, life is beyond our control. It’s supposed to be. God calls us to be faithful, not successful, because we don’t know what real success looks like. We don’t know what God’s doing behind the scenes to bring everything together at exactly the right moment. Sometimes He lets us catch a glimpse of His amazing coordination. Most often it’s easier for us to be humble if we don’t know. We’re not as tempted to take credit for it ourselves the way the Scribes and Pharisees in today’s Gospel did. We recognize ourselves as servants, even if we happen to have high-profile positions.

May we find freedom in letting God be God and letting humans be human.

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