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Lent Retreat - Week 2, Tuesday

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Readings: Isaiah 1: 10. 16-20; Psalm 50; Matthew 23: 1-12

In today’s Mass readings, as indeed in Lent as a whole, we are reminded of how we stand in relation to God, and how, given that relationship, we should behave. It can be very easy for us, as for the scribes and the Pharisees, to think that our religious practice, or perhaps a knowledge of intricate theological questions, will win us favour with God. But, as we are reminded in the psalm, even if though God may find no fault with our sacrifice (i.e. religious practice), that is not enough. Our actions on their own cannot win us favour with God, or ‘tame’ him to get him to do what we want.

Rather, at the root of all our actions must be the realisation of our need for God, and that he alone is truly our Father and Teacher. In this state of humility, then, listening to God’s will for us rather than thinking we know best, we will be able to hear his call to ‘cease doing evil’ and ‘learn to do good’ (Isaiah 1: 16-17), and, grateful for his saving work and teaching, may be able to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving which is acceptable to him (cf. Ps 49 (50): 23).

And so, as during this Lent we remind ourselves through our penance of our dependence on God, let us ask him to deepen our awareness of that need and so come to appreciate more fully the saving events of his death and resurrection, in which we find God’s loving response to our need for him, and which we prepare to celebrate in this season.

Gregory Pearson OP


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