Tuesday - First Week of Lent
February 20, 2018
In the selection from Isaiah, God compares his word to the life-giving rains that make the earth fertile. This reminds me to be not worrying in my faith in God – that just as the rain falls and the plants grow, so God also remembers to bless us with his words and his grace. Even at times when it seems that I can’t handle the burdens that arise in life, I remember that I don’t have to
anything to fight those situations, but rather give them to Jesus and have faith in the Lord. He promises to provide the fertile ground, the seed, and the rain for our lives to be fruitful.
The Lord rescues us when we cry out to him and heals those who are distressed. In the first reading, God is calling out to his people, and in the psalm we are calling back to him with praise and with prayers of deliverance. Our own words are shown to have power as well, because “when the poor one called out, the Lord heard.” In faith, we know our prayers are heard and answered according to God’s will even if they aren’t always the answers we expect. I want to be more childlike, trusting in the parental guidance of God’s will and his laws.
This back and forth between God and his people in the first two passages seems to lead directly to the gospel. Jesus gives us the most well-known prayer in all of Christianity. God had spoken to his people through the prophets, and his people had cried back as best they could. Now Jesus teaches us how to pray to the Father directly.
Jesus doesn’t ask us to pray with many words or with great effort or great skill. We humbly praise our Father, ask him to align our will to his, grant us the bread, the rain, that we need to survive. As in the psalm, we call out to God to guide us in right actions and away from evil, and to forgive our sins in the same manner we forgive others. It’s interesting how the relationship that God wants us to have isn’t just between our individual selves and God – it’s fully connected to our relationship to everyone that we encounter and our actions toward them.
As I go through the Lenten season, I am certainly reminded to love God and turn toward good actions, and away from evil. In seeking forgiveness and uprightness for myself, it is also a wonderful time to examine my life for any grudges or unforgiven actions that others may have done against me. I am reminded of Jesus’ words to “pray always.” Every breath, every word, every deed can be aligned to God’s will, I simply need to be present in the moment and always ready to act according to the good of those around me.
God promises that he will give us the strength and grace the overcome whatever obstacles we face. Maybe there is a person that is very difficult to forgive, maybe there is some often-repeated sin. He promises us that his “word…that goes forth from [his] mouth…shall not return…void.” Jesus gives us the Our Father, and we return it back to him with our words and our actions, through which God accomplishes his will. When God’s word truly becomes our word, our actions become God’s actions.
St. Anthony Parishioner (and high school youth group leader)