Lent is not too far off – Ash Wednesday is March 9th. I think Sunday’s readings are a perfect preparation for some good reflection during the Season of Lent.
The first reading from Isaiah has the Israelites complaining about their feelings of abandonment by God, something all of us have felt at one time or another in our lives. Through Isaiah, the Lord responds with one of the most exquisite images in all of Scripture: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.”
The Psalm encourages us to put all our trust in the Lord, for he alone is our refuge, our safety, our hope, our strength.
In the second reading,Paul speaks of the human tendency to judge ourselves and each other, usually negatively. He reminds us that ultimately God is the only one who knows a person’s inner being….and ultimately, “everyone will receive praise from God.” This is another way of saying that God’s ways are not our ways, God’s judgments are not ours. God knows that we are weak sinful mixed-up people, and will always take that into account.
The Gospel is filled with exhortations not to worry about what we are to eat or drink or wear. Our Father will provide all that we need for each moment of each day. That’s crucial: each moment of each day. God is not going to provide you with what you’ll need five minutes from now, or late today, or tomorrow or next week or next month. God and the gifts of God are found only in the present moment. What a difference it would make in our lives if we all took that to heart!
Let me suggest another way of looking at the above….it’s something I’ve been thinking about for the last week. It’s a simple, yet profound question: “To whom do I belong.” Your answer will tell you a lot about the depth of your relationship to God and your trust level in the Lord’s care for you.
Be God’s smile for someone today!
Fr Herb, C.S.C.