March 23, 2022
Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings lead us to thank God for our heritage of faith. They remind us how precious that heritage is.
Moses, after reiterating the history of God’s goodness to Israel, enjoins the People:
Take care and be earnestly on your guardDeuteronomy 4:6
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.
Jesus, too, acknowledges the importance of his religious heritage:
Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.Matthew 5:17
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Readings such as these move us to remember, consider and appreciate our own faith story – that personal unfolding of grace-filled circumstances which have led us to our present relationship with God.
For many of us, faith planted itself in us through the seeds of our family. We simply “inherited” the faith from our parents, grandparents and extended family. That community of blessings was extended through our parish and through our Christian education.
Take time to remember:
- Who taught you your childhood prayers?
- Who told you Bible stores?
- Who prepared you for the sacraments?
- Who served as a example to you of what a good Christian is like?
The answers will not be some big religious events. They will be simple memories that, at the time, you might not have even recognized as important to your faith life. I remember, for example, that every day in Lent my father walked with me to 6:30 AM Mass. Because many of the laborers had to be in work by 7:00 AM, the priest distributed communion for them before the Mass began. Just after the Gospel, Dad and all the other workmen would quietly exit to get to work on time. No fanfare. No preachy words. Just deep faith and devotion.
I can’t exactly put that lesson into words. All I know is that it deeply affected my faith and my profound appreciation for the Eucharist — and for my Dad.
And as you grew up and grew older:
- Who has sincerely engaged with you on your questions of faith and morality?
- Who has encouraged you to live a life of Christian service and social justice?
- Who has modeled everyday holiness for you?
- Who challenges and invites you to deeper spirituality and Christian witness?
The names and faces who have come into your prayer as you considered these questions — these people are the “fathers” and “mothers’ of your faith.
Poetry: On Religion – Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)
And an old priest said, Speak to us of Religion.
And he said:
Have I spoken this day of aught else?
Is not religion all deeds and all reflection,
And that which is neither deed nor reflection, but a wonder and a surprise ever springing in the soul, even while the hand hew the stone or tend the loom?
Who can separate his faith from his actions, or his belief from his occupations?
Who can spread his hours before him, saying, “This for God and this for myself’ This for my soul, and this other for my body?”
All your hours are wings that beat through space from self to self.
He who wears his morality but as his best garment were better naked.
The wind and the sun will tear no holes in his skin.
And he who defines his conduct by ethics imprisons his song-bird in a cage.
The freest song comes not through bars and wires.
And he to whom worshipping is a window, to open but also to shut, has not yet visited the house of his soul whose windows are from dawn to dawn.
Your daily life is your temple and your religion.
Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.
Take the plough and the forge and the mallet and the lute,
The things you have fashioned in necessity or for delight.
For in revery you cannot rise above your achievements nor fall lower than your failures.
And take with you all men:
For in adoration you cannot fly higher than their hopes nor humble yourself lower than their despair.
And if you would know God be not therefore a solver of riddles.
Rather look about you and you shall see Him playing with your children.
And look into space; you shall see Him walking in the cloud, outstretching His arms in the lightning and descending in rain.
You shall see Him smiling in flowers, then rising and waving His hands in trees.
Music: e Will Serve the Lord