Daily Reflection
February 15th, 2002
Roc O'Connor, S.J.
Theology & Campus Ministry
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
St. Claude La Colombiere, Memorial
Isaiah 58:1-9
Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 18-19
Matthew 9:14-15

Many folks have heard the one about the guy who bought this mule.  The farmer who sold the mule lauded its hard work and its intelligence and its health and its many other good 'mule' qualities.  So, the guy put the mule in his truck and took it home.  Next day, this guy went to put the mule to work, but it wouldn't budge.  He tugged and swore and pushed and shoved all to no avail.  So he called the farmer who said he'd come on over.

The other guy told the farmer, "You sold me a dud!  I want my money back."  Meanwhile, the farmer walked up to the mule, looked it in the eye for a moment.  Then, he disappeared around the corner.  Came back with a two-by-four and hit the mule square between the eyes, "BAM!" 

"Now it'll work for you, mister.  Sometimes ya just gotta get its attention."

What is it about Lent and 'not getting it?'  They seem to go hand in hand, eh?

I hear today's reading from Isaiah as a two-by-four to my stony heart.  But, it's easy to deflect.  Just ignore it.  It's so inconvenient to be reminded that my actions have an effect on the world.  I'd rather just try to deal with my knee jerk reactions of guilt or my small vices during this Lent.  That's much more to my liking.  I'd rather entertain some Lenten practice that won't throw me off too far from my enforced sovereignty over my little life.

What a thrilling and icy call to see! It's a call to see me and you and the others in this troubled world as related.  It's a call to see that my fasting has everything to do with the poor, homeless, naked and oppressed.  Maybe it's about fasting from hiding, from being blind to others around me.

So, here's Isaiah.  Here's the two-by-four.  Want to duck?

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