Today's First Reading is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, 58:1-9a. It's another stunner! God Himself is speaking to His people about their religious practices. "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." Some definition of fasting, right. It's God's part of a dialogue with His people who are complaining that they fast and God doesn't see it and appreciate it. He says to them "On your fast day you carry out your own pursuits and drive all your laborers...your fast ends in quarreling and fighting...." On this third day of Lent, when we abstain from meat, it's time for a quick check of our Lenten practices. Ask yourself how you are doing?
When you saw the title of this post you probably thought of the story of Eli and Samuel and Samuel's response to God. The reference is from today's reading, and it's God who utters the words. "You shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!"
Lent is about crying to the Lord for help as we try to turn back to Him. By the way, as one who hears confessions, some people only think of the "Big Ones" when it comes to sin. Deadly or Mortal Sin isn't the only kind. Venial or light sin can abound and divert our attention from He who is the Source of Life. Those everyday distractions to which we can so easily fall prey, turn us away from Him and we need that constant reminder to turn back. It's so nice to know that no matter what, He says "Here I am!"