Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Saint Scholastica, Virgin, (480-+543) Patron Saint of Schools and Convulsive Children
Book of Genesis 2:4b-9, 15-17, Psalm 104:1-2a, 27-28, 29bc-30, and Mark 7:14-23
One week from today is Ash Wednesday. It is the beginning of a six-week season of allowing ourselves to be more aware of God’s saving grace in our lives. During the Season of Lent, God has a gift for each one of us. All we have to do is prepare our hearts to receive the gift.
Today’s Gospel narrative comes just after Jesus scolded the Pharisees. It seems they have gotten so caught up in the externals of their religion that they forget about the people they could and should be serving. Jewish law about food was both complex and revered. Our Lord tells us that rather than worry about what goes into our mouths, what really counts is what comes out of our hearts; evil thoughts, murder, adultery, and so forth.
I suspect we could skip most of the categories that Jesus described as those that “defile.” However, we may have to look at a few, such as arrogance, greed, and evil thoughts. Maybe this is the year we look at Lent in a new way. There have been years when we “gave up something” for Lent, but perhaps this year, we could think of a new way to love our families and our neighbors just a bit better. Changing our behavior to become a more tolerant and loving person might create a better focus on Lent than merely “giving up” something.
I’m not suggesting that we not give something up for Lent. I’m suggesting that we reflect on what it is we give up. The question we should ask ourselves is, “what do I need to change about myself to free myself and open my heart more to God?” I am suggesting is a self-examination of our conscience.
Question of the Day: Will you take the time to consider a Lenten obligation that will challenge you to be the person God wishes you to be?
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, who loves us unconditionally, is waiting for us with joy during Lent. May we be ever faithful in our call to love God, our neighbor, and become the person God created us to be. Amen.