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Fr. David's Lenten Reflections

Day 1:

Today is the first day of our Lenten journey, God bless you as you travel the path to the Cross to our Lord’s resurrection.

This year’s reflections focus on the Lenten readings from the prophesy of Isaiah. I’ll do the readings in the Lenten reflections; but since they are almost always rather long, my comments will be short. Today we’re going to hear Isaiah’s warnings to the people of Israel about their lack of faith and God’s withdrawal

of His favor and protection. But don’t simply hear this as a condemnation of a nation of people from many centuries ago. The Church gives us these readings during Lent in order that we

would place ourselves in them, and hear them as a fresh commentary on our world, and really, on our individual lives, today - the same way believers heard them long ago. Let’s listen to Isaiah 1:1-20.

1 The vision which Esaias the son of Amos saw, which he saw against Juda and against Jerusalem, in the reign of Ozias, and Joatham, and Achaz, and Ezekias, who reigned over Judea.

2 Hear, O heaven, and hearken, O earth: for the Lord has spoken, saying, I have begotten and reared up children, but they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel does not know me, and the people has not regarded me.

4 Ah sinful nation, a people full of sins, an evil seed, lawless children: ye have forsaken the Lord, and provoked the Holy One of Israel. 5 Why should ye be smitten any more, transgressing more and more? the whole head is pained, and the whole heart sad. 6 From the feet to the head, there is no soundness in them; neither wound, nor bruise

, nor festering ulcer are healed: it is not possible to apply a plaister, nor oil, nor bandages. 7 Your land is desolate, your cities burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is made desolate, overthrown by strange nations. 8 The daughter of Sion shall be deserted as a tent in a vineyard, and as a storehouse of fruits in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9 And if the Lord of Sabaoth had not left us a seed, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been made like to Gomorrhah.

10 Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; attend to the law of God, thou people of Gomorrhah. 11 Of what value to me is the abundance of your sacrifices? saith the Lord: I am full of whole-burnt-offerings of rams; and I delight not in the fat of lambs, and the blood of bulls and goats: 12 neither shall ye come with these to appear before me; for who has required these things at your hands? Ye shall no more tread my court. 13 Though ye bring fine flour, it is vain; incense is an abomination to me; I

cannot bear your new moons, and your sabbaths, and the great day; 14 your fasting, and rest from work, your new moons also, and your feasts my soul hates: ye have become loathsome to me; I will no more pardon your sins. 15 When ye stretch forth your hands, I will turn away mine eyes from you: and though ye make many supplications, I will not hearken to you; for your hands are full of blood.

16 Wash you, be clean; remove your iniquities from your souls before mine eyes; cease from your iniquities; 17 learn to do well; diligently seek judgment, deliver him that is suffering wrong, plead for the orphan, and obtain justice for the widow.

18 And come, let us reason together, saith the Lord: and though your sins be as purple, I will make them white as snow; and though they be as scarlet, I will make them white as wool. 19 And if ye be willing, and hearken to me, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 but if ye be not willing, nor hearken to me, a sword shall devour you: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken this.

Brothers and sisters, what a beautiful line that is: come let us reason together. It’s amazing how much spiritual clarity comes to us when we quiet our minds and simply listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. What is the result? Reason. Come let us reason together. I pray that the first day of the Lenten fast is confident and hopeful for you, and gives you a good start on the path Isaiah describes: though your sins be as purple, I will make them white as snow; and though they be as scarlet, I will make them white as wool.

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