February 27, 2018

Feb. 27

February 27, 2018:  Tuesday, 2nd week, Lent

  • Tie with red and snowmen:  Though your sins be like scarlet/crimson, they may become white as snow (1st reading)
  • Blue and white shirt:  Wash yourselves clean! (1st reading)
  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  If you obey, you'll eat the good things of the land (1st reading); "the scribes and the Pharisees love places of honor at banquets" (gospel)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes (1st reading); I'll draw your misdeeds up before your eyes (psalm); the scribes and Pharisees perform their works to be seen (gospel)
  • 'Fire' pin:  Your burnt offerings are before me always (psalm)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  The scribes and Pharisees lay burdens on people's shoulders but don't lift a finger to move them (gospel)
  • Purple suspenders: Lenten season
Ask for the grace of conversion, growing close to God, and changing your life.  Today's 1st reading is a call to conversion; it shows God doesn't threaten but calls us gently with kindness and gives us confidence.  After pointing out to the rulers the evil they should avoid and the good they should do, the Lord tells them, "Come, let us reason together."  He does the same with us:  he doesn't frighten us.  He's like a father correcting his child who's pulled a prank, approaching with trust and confidence, not a stick.  Since God knows his child is thinking, "But I did something wrong…," he adds, "Even if your sins be like scarlet, they may become snow white...."  Jesus inspires trust and confidence, to bring us to a change of heart, as he did when calling Zacchaeus and Matthew; he helps us see how to take a step along the path of conversion.
The Lord gave his life for us and is looking for a way to our heart; he doesn't want to beat and condemn us.  Priests should have this attitude when they hear confessions.  The Lord, like a father whose child thinks he's grown up but isn't, knows we need to hear, "Come; don't be afraid; there's forgiveness."  This encourages us.  Go to the Lord with an open heart; he's waiting for you.
Read
  • Is 1:10, 16-20  Wash yourselves clean!  Cease doing evil; learn to do good.  Make justice your aim.  Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white.  If you obey, you'll eat well...
  • Ps 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21, 23  "To the upright I will show the saving power of God."  Why recite my statutes when you hate discipline?  I'll correct you.  Offer praise as your sacrifice and do right.
  • Mt 23:1-12  Do what the Scribes and Pharisees tell you, not what they do; they don't practice what they preach.  Don't be called ‘Rabbi’ or ‘Master’ or call people ‘Father’; God is the only Father.  Serve; humble yourself and be exalted.
Reflect
  • Creighton:  Today's readings invite us to set things right with God, go the right way, looking to God for guidance, instruction, and encouragement.  We're invited to make justice our aim, cast away our misdeeds, be renewed in heart and spirit, be humble, and see God's salvation.  God does not want obedience that looks like burnt offerings but faithfulness that offers praise as a sacrifice....
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Humble yourself; be exalted":  We want others to see us at our best.  God sees us as we are, in need of his mercy and help.  Isaiah warned the people to listen humbly and submit to God's teaching.  Jesus warned Israel's teachers and rulers to teach and serve with humility and sincerity; in their misguided zeal they sought honor for themselves rather than God and made practicing faith a burden, not a joy.  Jesus warned his disciples and the religious leaders against seeking honors that draw attention to ourselves rather than God.  Respect for God inclines us to humble ourselves and submit to him.  Pride tempts us to put ourselves first.  "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."  "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."  "You have one teacher, and you're all brothers....  Don't put yourself forward to be called teacher; you know that when you perform well, it's Christ within you.  Whoever is greater among you, let him be the servant of all" (Origen).
Respect for God and his ways inclines us to humility and simplicity, readiness to seek the one true good, God.  True humility isn't low self-esteem, which focuses attention on ourselves; it frees us from preoccupation with ourselves.  Humility is truth in self-understanding and action, seeing ourselves as God sees us.  The humble assess themselves realistically and don't put on a façade to look good to others.  Humility frees us to be ourselves, avoid falling into despair or pride, and not be swayed by reputation, success, or failure.  It enables us to see as God sees; it helps us be teachable so we may acquire true knowledge and wisdom.  It directs us to give ourselves to something greater than ourselves; it frees us to love and serve others for their sake, not ours.  Jesus is the greatest model:  he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death on a cross.