Friday, February 19, 2010

Saturday After Ash Wednesday

FIRST READING (Isaiah 58:9-14)
Thus says the Lord: "If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.

"If you turn back your foot from the sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honourable; if you honour it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."

GOSPEL (Luke 5:27-32)
Jesus went out, and saw a tax collector, named Levi, sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he left everything, and rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house; and there was a large company of tax collectors and others sitting at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes murmured against his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" And Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Walking into glory
(Presentation Ministries)

Those who need a physician
(Word of Life Community)

Do we have a clear goal in life? The athletes whose clear goal is the attainment of the Olympic gold are willing to let everything else become secondary. The way they eat, sleep, study, and train are all determined by that one clear goal.

This is as true in the spiritual life as it is in the life of competitive sports. Without a clear goal, we will always be distracted and spend our energy on secondary things. “Keep your eye on the prize,” Martin Luther King said to his people. What is our prize? Is it the divine life, the eternal life, the life with and in God. Jesus proclaimed to us that goal, that heavenly prize. To Nicodemus he said: “...this is how God loved the world: he gave his Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16).

It is not easy to keep our eyes fixed on the eternal life, especially not in a world that keeps telling us that there are more immediate and urgent things on which to focus. There is scarcely a day that does not pull our attention away from our goal and make it look vague and cloudy. But still, we know from experience that without a clear goal our lives become fragmented into many tasks and obligations that drain us and leave us with a feeling of exhaustion and uselessness. How then do we keep our goal clear, how then do we fix our eyes on the prize? By the discipline of prayer: the discipline that helps us to bring God back again and again to the center of our life. We will always remain distracted, constantly busy with many urgent demands, but when there is a time and place set apart to return to our God who offers us eternal life, we gradually can come to realize that the many things we have to do, to say, or to think no longer distract us but are, instead, all leading us closer to our goal. Important, however, is that our goal remains clear. Prayer keeps our goal clear, and when our goal has become vague, prayer makes it clear again.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (1932 – 1996)

Assist us mercifully, O Lord,
in these our supplications:
and grant that,
like as this fast hath been ordained
for the healing of our bodies and our souls,
so we may in all godliness and lowliness observe the same.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Ghost,
world without end. Amen.


Post a Comment