58:9b-14 “…If you hold back your foot on the
Sabbath from following your own pursuits on my holy day; If you
call the Sabbath a delight, and the LORD’s holy day honorable;
If you honor it by not following your ways, seeking your own interests,
or speaking with malice-Then you shall delight in the LORD, and
I will make you ride on the heights of the earth...”
Psalm 86: 1-2, 3- 4,5-6 “…Have mercy on me,
O Lord, for to you I call all the day...”
Luke 5: 27-32 “…Those who are healthy
do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come
to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.’”
Today while on our Lenten journey we are invited to look at our
world, our lives from a different perspective; to refocus our gaze
so as to encourage new life.
In the Word of God from Isaiah; we find our invitation, wonderfully
written. See what a difference it will make if you make the
effort to remove oppression, false accusation and malicious speech,
“bestow your bread” and satisfy the afflicted.
The Isaiah’s expression is similar to the teachings of Jesus
on the Sermon on the Mount when he gave us the Beatitudes.
Another invitation towards the end of this reading invites us to
look at the way we spend our time on the Lord’s Day, the Sabbath.
“If you honor it (the Sabbath) by not following your ways,
seeking your own interests, or speaking with malice…”
Can we even imagine restructuring that day, to include more time
with the Lord? Can we consider accepting this invitation for
this Lenten Season? After Mass on Sundays for me, my day doesn’t
usually look any different than the day before it. I have
found myself thinking about not doing manual labor, like mowing
my lawn, or going into work if I’m really behind. But,
the truth is, that I’ve only considered it and not always
followed that consideration. Maybe we could try it for one
Sunday, and see how it feels. It could be like being on retreat
one day each week, where we’d direct our attention towards
the Lord and see what He would have us do.
Maybe we haven’t visited a friend for a long time, who is
very ill; or maybe we need to settle a dispute with a family member
or friend who we’ve grown apart from because of the words
spoken a long time ago. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel the “spring
whose water never fails” run over these situations?
This is the Lord’s invitation and promise found in today’s
readings in Isaiah. Maybe we could seek direction by picking
up Scripture or some other Spiritual book to read. Checking
with our parishes might give direction in finding things families
could sign up for like visiting the people who live in nursing or
assisted living homes, maybe you have a loved one whom you haven’t
seen for awhile in a place that is too far to visit often.
The homeless shelters usually need volunteers to help serve meals,
and of course there is always a need to make donations of money
to countless organizations who serve our poor. The promise the Lord
makes is that we will have our strength renewed, we will be like
a watered garden; “I will make you ride on the heights of
the earth” if you will accept this invitation to look at this
world from a different perspective. Looking at our world from
this perspective will take the focus off our own lives and when
I did that over the Christmas season, I found great joy in participating
in a few programs that reached out to those with fewer resources
than me. Now when I look at the postcard I was sent from one
of those programs, at the smile on the face of a youngster in a
far away land, my face smiles back and I feel grateful to my God
who gently invited me to share my gifts with others.
In Luke’s Gospel we are reminded that Jesus did not come to
sup with those who knew and understood His message, he came to spread
the Word far and wide, to let all people hear the message.
He said “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but
the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance
but sinners.” (Luke 5:31&32) During the Lenten
Season let us all think more carefully of what the Lord is asking
of us to consider…feed the hungry…clothe the naked.
The world asks us to look only at our own needs everyday, and having
focused on ourselves for a long time, we know there is greater joy
to be found. May we consider today’s invitation…there
was something in it for everyone.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in kindness to all who call upon you. (Psalm 86:3)