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Tuesday, Second Week of Lent

March 22, 2011

Blessed Tuesday!

Lord, watch over Your Church,
and guide it with Your unfailing love.
Protect us from what could harm us
and lead us to what will save us.
Help us always, for without You we are bound to fail.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever. Amen.
(Opening prayer of today’s Mass)

Readings:
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)

Come now, let us set things right, says the Lord
-Isaiah 1:18

You wouldn’t think we’d be so resistant to that.
It is, after all, the fulfillment of our deepest desire.
Things out of order, things that just aren’t right
unsettle us on a fundamental level, if they don’t downright torment us.

The trouble is, these same things may feel pleasant in the short term,
on a more superficial level, masking the damage they’re doing at the core of our being.
That’s why we keep doing them.
There is a brief, superficial pleasure in having our own way at someone else’s expense,
in shutting out the orphan’s plea so that we won’t feel bad about pampering ourselves,
in being honored for putting on a show of holiness.

God knows that won’t last, won’t satisfy.
He wants so much more for us!
He wants for us a happiness that permeates every fiber of our beings;
a happiness grounded on setting things right.
He assures us that it’s possible:

Though your sins be as scarlet,
they may become white as snow;
though they be crimson red,
they may become white as wool
-Isaiah 1:18

He challenges us to action:

seek justice,
correct oppression;
defend the fatherless,
plead for the widow.
-Isaiah 1:17

It’s not enough to just stop being part of the problem.
We need to become part of the solution,
following through on our “bold words,”
helping to carry burdens,
and generally serving as the servants of all.

As paradoxical as it sounds, this is the fulfillment of our deepest longings,
the blueprint to lasting happiness.

It is as we humble ourselves that God can exalt us;
as we release our hold on temporary pleasures
that He can fill us with eternal joy.

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