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Saturday after Ash Wednesday

February 25, 2012

Blessed Saturday!

Almighty ever-living God,
look with compassion on our weakness
and ensure us Your protection
by stretching forth the right hand of Your majesty.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
(Opening Prayer for Mass)

Readings:
Isaiah 58:9-14 (obeying God’s law brings new hope)
Psalm 86:1-6 “Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth”
+Luke 5:27-32 (Jesus came for sinners)

How often do you think of an examination of conscience
as an invitation to divine rewards?

That’s what we see in today’s readings.

First God lists all sorts of sins to remove
(on the assumption that at least some of them are present in our lives!):
oppression
false accusation
malicious speech (even if it’s true!)
leaving the hungry to starve and the afflicted without help.

Then He describes the rewards of turning away from those sins:
He will guide you always, give you plenty even on the parched land,
renew your strength,
making you as luxuriant as a watered garden whose spring never fails.
He will rebuild the ancient ruins, for your sake and in your honor.
The damage your sin has done, He will help you repair when you repent.

Next He picks up with another examination of conscience,
focusing on honoring the sabbath, delighting in it,
keeping it honorably and using it for His purposes rather than your own.

In return, He promises to give us delight in Him,
to make us ride on the heights of the earth (!),
nourished by our holy heritage.

Jesus came among sinners to heal them of their sin,
to reward their repentance with spiritual health and renewed strength.

He does the same today.

When you pour out the brokenness of our soul in the sacred tribunal of the confessional,
making firm resolutions to amend your life through the help of His grace,
He reaches out with healing hands to reward your return.

Which of the sins God’s listed today are depriving you of divine rewards?
What concrete actions would start the process of rooting them out of your life
and replacing them with the virtues God that wants so much to reward?

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