Saturday, February 28, 2009

Follow me!

Today's First Reading (Isaiah 58:9b-14) is the continuation of yesterday's and in it the prophet, speaking on behalf of the Lord calls the people to action. "Remove oppression, false accusations and malicious speech, ... bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted." It sounds like a list of Lenten penances. The Lord also said that He "will guide you always and give you plenty even in a parched land."

The Gospel (Lk. 5:27-32) is the story of the call of Matthew/Levi, and the Pharisees and scribes again complain about Jesus and the disciples as they "eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners." How nice to know whose company He preferred; comforting to know that even as the sinner we are known and loved by Him.

These first four days before the first Sunday of Lent are a wonderful opportunity to start Lent over again if we didn't get it right on Wednesday. I was with friends last night for dinner and unconsciously one of my friends began to nibble on a piece of salami; I didn't even notice until the other friend picked some "interesting" looking bread. Once picked out I mentioned it had meat in it and we all blanched -- the irony of it. But, remember the last line of yesterday's post.

Not eating meat isn't really a sacrifice for most people but its a way of sending ourselves a message. One year I was on a cruise with another priest during Lent, and one of the appetizers was frogs legs. I had never tasted them and decided to try. I was in collar and some of the people at the table were horrified that I was eating meat on a Friday in Lent. I explained that amphibian doesn't count as meat; I'm not sure that they bought it, but it doesn't.

God bless!