February 27, 2018
by Barbara Dilly
Creighton University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology 
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Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent
Lectionary: 231

Isaiah 1:10, 16-20
Psalms 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23
Matthew 23:1-12

Praying Lent
Lent Prayer for Today

The Second Week of Lent - 41 min. - Text Transcript

During the season of Lent, the Lord invites us to “set things right.”  In Isaiah it definitely sounds like we are given a choice.  But we might also read that it is an ultimatum.  Still, I think that if we are more discerning here, The Lord is clearly offering us a very attractive invitation, not an either/or situation.  Yes, it is clear that if we don’t accept the invitation, we are pretty much doomed.  Yet, I think that the Lord is really trying to reason with us as mature people of faith who know we are dealing with God, not just someone who is trying to make a deal with us.

Because they come from God, I read invitation into all the readings for today.  In the Psalm we read of the generosity of God to those who go the right way.  Why would we just pay lip service to God’s statutes, hating them all the while as yokes of discipline?  That is the way children think of discipline and rules.  It seems more adult to look to God for guidance, instruction and encouragement.  That instruction and encouragement comes today in the form of an invitation.  We are invited to make justice our aim, redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, and defend the widow.  In so doing, we shall see the salvation of God.  We are invited to cast away all our misdeeds so that we can make for ourselves a new heart and a new spirit.

Lent is the time to focus on making for ourselves a new heart and a new spirit.  As such, it is about more than just ceasing to do evil and learning to do good.   As I reflect on the lessons today, I hear instruction and invitation, not an ultimatum.  God does not want obedience that looks like burnt offerings, but faithfulness that offers praise to God as a sacrifice.  This is also the time to learn to be humble.  Being among the upright who have seen the salvation of God could be a heady trip if we do not take seriously the invitation to make for ourselves a new heart and a new spirit.  Each new Lenten season is a new opportunity for that sort of renewal.  I give thanks for this gift of the Church to bring us closer to the word of the Lord during Lent.  There are more opportunities to hear the word of God and to pray together at this time.  It is a very special invitation that I pray all Christians will hear and accept, and it is up to each of us to humbly invite others to this time of “setting things right” with God in the same spirit that it is extended to us. 

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