Reflection on the Daily Readings for 3/10/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Tue. of 2 week in Lent, March 10, 2009. Isaiah 1:10,16-20.
Psalm 50:8-9,16-17.21.23. Matthew 23:1-12. Lectionary # 232:
Calls to conversion and repentance from the greatest of the classical
prophets, Isaiah, are rare, but today we have one. From chapters 6-36 it
will be difficult to find a call to such a dramatic conversion. Isaiah
wants Israel and us to have a change in the way we think. Our attitudes
have to be atuned to God’s voice not our own. Isaiah speaking directly for
God wants the new way of thinking to be followed up by ethical actions.
“Put your evil doings away from my sight. Cease to do evil; learn to do
good.” (Isaiah 1:16). The prophet then spells out the ethical actions for
us: “Devote yourself to justice; aid the wronged; uphold the rights of the
orphan; defend the cause of the poor.” As Christians we can easily see
they are similar to the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
There is a helpful summary of these works or ethical actions that
would be a good check list for Lent:
Corporal works of mercy: Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty,
clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit those in
prison, bury the dead. The spiritual works of mercy are: convert the
sinner (ourselves!), instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, comfort
the sorrowful, bear wrongs patiently, forgive injuries, and pray for the
living and the dead. Perhaps, we could practice one of them from each
listing this day.
Our Psalm confirms such ethical practices and fulfills Isaiah’s
charge to reform our lives: “He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies
me; to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
In line with both the spiritual and corporal works the Gospel of
Matthew asks us to listen to those who have religious authority even when
they themselves do not do what they teach or preach. We are to be good
parents, good teachers,and models for God’s ethical commandments of love
and mercy. We are not to have simply bold words and few deeds like some
who are religiously rigid and controlling. The “greatest among you will be
the one who serves the rest.” Thus both Isaiah and Jesus are showing us
that we have our work cut out for us in our everyday dealings with one
another and especially with ourselves in the presence of God. Amen.