Malvern Minute – Friday
Malvern Minute

 

March 3, 2017  – Friday After Ash Wednesday

Saint Katherine Drexel

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A Reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (58:3b-9a)

Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

 
Reflect: Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed. This reading from Isaiah puts our Lenten practices into perspective. Are we doing what we’re doing for the right reasons? This scripture challenges us regarding our motivation to do whatever we do for Lent. Our God wants our choices to build up his Kingdom on earth. Concretely, he asks us to be attentive to the most needy and vulnerable: the oppressed, the hungry, homeless and naked. Essentially, our God is calling us to practice the Corporal Works of Mercy: feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty; clothe the naked; visit the sick; shelter the homeless; visit prisoners (set captives free); bury the dead; and give alms to the poor. By caring for others, by recognizing the dignity and sacredness of the other, we honor God. Then as we journey through Lent our light shall break forth like the dawn and our wounds shall quickly be healed.

When was the last time I put the effort into practicing one of the Corporal Works of Mercy? Can I look for ways to fast as presented by the Prophet Isaiah (find suggestions here)? Can I reach out to someone in need, someone who is burdened in my community?

Pray: Loving God, give me a heart that forgets myself and is more concerned with the needs of the vulnerable and marginalized in my midst. I ask this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and the Lord will be with you.

 

ENCOUNTERING THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)

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