Deacon Stu Dobson’s Reflection
Friday of the 1st week of Lent, March 11, 2022
Ez 18:21-28; Ps 130:1-8; Mt 5:20-26
Since Ash Wednesday we have been hearing many admonitions on what we should and should not do, all to remind us of our own fallen nature and what can happen if we fall prey to sin. Today is no different, and in fact, it digs a little deeper into what will happen to us. Jesus minces no words, you will be liable to a fiery Gehenna, He says. That seems pretty harsh, but Jesus always spoke the truth. Sometimes that truth is hard to hear. But it is what it is, and nothing can change that.
Last weekend we had a wonderful speaker, Jesse Romero, who came for our parish mission to talk about how we get to the point of sinning, how much the world influences us to make those poor choices, and what we can do to overcome it. Those who heard him talk will also attest to the fact, Jesse didn’t mince any words either. He made it very clear who was running the world, and trust me, it is not someone you want to make friends with. If it sounds all pretty much doom and gloom so far in Lent, then I encourage you to go back to the beginning of Lent and re-read all the scriptures presented to us in the daily readings. Yes, we are being exhorted to turn from sin, but there is also hope. We just need to look for it.
In today’s psalm, for example, we hear tremendous hope. We start by pleading with God, “Lord, hear my voice!” But then we turn our attention to what God can do for us. “But with you is forgiveness…” the psalmist says. Here we recognize that we can be saved from our sins, if we turn to God. “I trust in the Lord; my soul trusts in his word” the psalmist laments. We, like the psalmist, make the conscious decision to turn from sin, just like the wicked man in Ezekiel’s story does and God forgives him, just like He will forgive us. “For with the Lord is kindness, and with him is plenteous redemption.” Plenteous redemption, what more could we ask for?
Lastly, there is a prayer that is in the missal that we don’t say much during daily Mass, but it is there, right before the Gospel reading. Today’s prayer says, “Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed says the Lord, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.” This is the hope we have in Lent, the hope of a new heart and clean spirit. Now go out there, re-read the readings and find the hope God offers us today.