28Feb 28 Feb. Tuesday of the 1st week in Lent

28 Feb. Tuesday of the 1st week in Lent

Isaiah 55:10ff. God’s word comes down from heaven like rain, to make the earth fruitful

Matthew 6:7ff. Guidance about prayer and the spirit of forgiveness.

Safe in the Hands of God

Year after year, one Lent after another, we hear and ponder God’s word. The process of listening to the word of God, of appreciating and absorbing it, of responding to it obediently,  is a long one. This cycle of life is symbolized by rain and snow, falling  from the sky and soaking the earth, then rising towards heaven as bushes and trees. Divine inspiration is the rain and snow, our inspired lives are the bushes and trees. This image concludes the great section of Isaiah 40-55, some of the most sublime literature of the Old Testament. The lines of this exalted poem show all the hallmarks of human genius, well trained and carefully exercised. They seethe with hopes and ideals, with courage and persistency, calling us to trust in God. The author of this sublime poetry was “Second Isaiah” the great unknown genius of the Old Testament.

“See!” God says through this anonymous prophet, “upon the palms of my hands I have written your name” (Is 49:16). Earlier, he offers this explanation: “because you are precious in my eyes and glorious, and because I love you” (43:4).  This divine love is portrayed in terms of unconditional forgiveness. And this is exactly the type of love which Jesus teaches us when he taught us to pray the Our Father. Hope, confidence and security are planted in our hearts and genuinely confessed, when we say: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, forgive us … and deliver us…”  These beautiful words – of a kingdom to come, of fresh, daily bread, of gentle forgiveness from depths of understanding, of deliverance from anxiety, of soothing every wrong – allow the soul to develope from a new embryo into a fully formed man and woman of God.

A gentle, persistent concern reaches us through the penance and prayer of Lent. This year is not just another Lent, but a fuller divine word, within us, “achieving the end for which I sent it.” From all their afflictions God will deliver the just. Look to him that you may be radiant with joy.

First Reading: Isaiah 55:10-11

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Gospel: Matthew 6:7-15

“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 


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