Lent: On God’s Good Side?

March 7, 2022
Monday of the First week of Lent

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we are invited to be like God:

The LORD said to Moses,
“Speak to the whole assembly of the children of Israel
and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.

Leviticus 19:1

Our first reading goes on to tell us how to be a decent person.

Don’t steal, lie, or cheat
Pay just wages
Respect and help those physically burdened
Be impartial and just
Defend life
Don’t slander, hate, take revenge, or hold a grudge

Basically, the message is about kindness …
deep kindness,
the type that comes from realizing
how infinitely kind God is to us.

Leviticus, after a long list of practical examples, sums it up:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD.

Leviticus 19:18

Our Gospel tells us what happens when we make the choice to take the Old Testament advice — or not.

We are all familiar with the parable of the sheep and the goats. And we all hope our scorecard gets us into the right herd “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him …”

In this parable, Jesus puts the advice of Leviticus into practical form for his followers. But he adds one dynamic element that not only invites but impels our wholehearted response:

Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.

Matthew 25:40

Leviticus invites us to become holy as God is holy. But Jesus reveals the secret that this Holy God lives in the poor, hungry, homeless, imprisoned and sick. By embracing these most beloved of God, we find the path to holiness.

Poetry: When Did I See You – Renee Yann, RSM

When Did I See You …
(Woman Who Is Homeless)

In the bitter rain of February
I sat inside a sunlit room,
and offered You warm prayer.

Then, she passed outside my window
dressed too lightly for the wind,
steadied on a cane, though she was young.

She seemed searching for
a comfort, unavailable and undefined.
The wound of that impossibility

fell over her the way it falls
on every tender thing that cries
but is not gathered to a caring breast.

Suddenly she was a single
anguished seed of You,
fallen into all created things.

Gathering my fallen prayer,
I wear the thought of her
like cracked earth wears fresh rain.

I’ve misconstrued You,
Holy One, to whom
I spread my heart

as if it were a yearning field…
Holy One, already ripe within
her barest, leanest yearning.

Music: The Least of These – Karl Kohlhase

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