Friday of the First Week of Lent
Book of Ezekiel 18:21-28, Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, & Matthew 5:20-26
I suspect that I have always been a bit shocked when I read scripture readings like today. The lesson from the prophet Ezekiel seems so harsh, and a little scary, and yet the message is clear; “do what is right and just.” It reminds us of our need to pay attention to what God has told us and not confuse civil law with God’s laws. If a person violates a civil law, they must accept responsibility for their actions and are penalized accordingly. Additionally, that same person must ask for forgiveness and then choose to live according to God’s laws.
After meditating on the Responsorial Psalm and Matthew’s Gospel, I thought that “most of the people I meet are, well, pretty good people.” But if we are not careful, we can become complacent in our daily lives and begin to believe, “I’m a pretty good person, so I will just continue with the way I live my life.” This complacency, I address, leads us to become less critical about our shortcomings or what we might consider minor infractions against others. Our opportunities to grow in understanding of how God asks us to live are easily forgotten.
As we continue to experience the season of Lent, we should feel grateful to be able to meet with good people and discover how we can move to a new level in understanding ourselves a little better. Our individual ministry is to truly understand our shortcomings and work to improve how we respond to the message of forgiveness and ways to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Question of the Day: How will you ask the Lord to keep from falling into a life of sinful behavior?
Prayer: Lord God, never let me deny those in need, to receive forgiveness from the gift or penance, and to give it back through works of kindness and mercy. Amen.