Saturday, February 09, 2008

Saturday word, 09 Feb 2008

Saturday after Ash Wednesday(09 Feb 2008) Is 58.9b-14; Ps 86; Lk 5. 27-32
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

Keeping An Appointment

On Ash Wednesday Jesus reminded us not to do pious acts for show. Doing noble and holy things for show is to do them without the right reason and without sincerity. Doing noble and holy things so that others may see us do them carries the reward that others see us--which is a most shallow reward. Doing holy things with sincere hearts connects us with God, opens us to welcome God’s life--which is the most exquisite reward.

Isaiah sounded this same theme: external worship alone is not to our advantage, worship with our hearts deeply involved is. Removing oppression, false accusation and malicious speech makes our hearts more supple. Supple hearts are not hard hearts, to use the scriptural phrase. Supple hearts are bright with God’s light; they welcome God nourishing us; and they connect us with God’s life

Reconnecting with God’s life in Jesus, lavished by their Spirit, is the gift of Lent, our annual, God-given joyful season./1/ Reconnecting with God’s life is the focus of this Springtime of the church.

Reshaping our schedules in order to exercise our hearts--prayer; putting the needs of others ahead of ours then sharing our wealth with the hungry, homeless and burdened--almsgiving; and keeping ourselves focused on God’s life by specific practices--fasting: are Lent’s contours.

It takes effort. Jesus used a medical metaphor. “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.” It takes effort, and often prodding, to contact a doctor and make an appointment. It takes more effort to transform unhealthy lifestyles into healthy ones. Jesus has come as our physician, phyician of our spirits, the most real dimensions of ourselves. Will we make and keep our appointments with our divine physician? Without Jesus our efforts are empty. We can’t make our hearts more supple by our efforts alone. We know that, and it doesn’t inspire us.

Lent allows us to reconnect with God’s life in Jesus. Their Spirit helps us cooperate with grace, which inspires us, makes our hearts more supple and renews the church in its Springtime.

/1/ A phrase of Lenten Preface I.
Wiki-image of Call to repentence by a horner is in the public domain.

No comments: