Father David's Reflection for First Tuesday of Lent
The Responsorial Psalm promises: "God will deliver the just from all their afflictions" (Psalm 34). But the verses make clear that God requires action on our part. Notice the words: "I sought," "look to him," "called out." It is when the just "cry out" actively that "the Lord hears them."
Isaiah 55: 10-11 tells us three things: 1. The initiative comes from God. 2. God gives us life through his word. 3. God's word bears fruit. If we really respond to God's initiative by reading and reflecting on his words, his words will transform our lives, because they will teach us to know God, to know his mind and heart.
But something depends on us. Jesus explained what that is in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3 ff.)
Matthew 6: 7-15 gives us Jesus' answer to his disciples when they asked him "Lord, teach us to pray"
(Luke 11:1). The "Our Father" tells us what we are to pray for. It tells us Jesus' own priorities. If we make his petitions our own priorities in life, we will learn how to pray. And all the petitions in the Our Father are asking for the end of the world!
We are asking for Christ to come again, for his triumph to be complete. We ask God to hasten the day when the Father will be known and loved by the whole world, and his reign will be accepted, when forgiveness and peace will be universal and all evil will be abolished. Even "our daily bread" refers to Jesus, the Bread of Life, the food of the heavenly wedding feast, given to us in Eucharist. We know this triumph is assured; Jesus won it by his sacrifice on the cross. And so in the Mass we make these petitions "with confidence" to the Father as we "wait in joyful hope."
But we have to act as we hope. What will delay Christ's coming in glory? Only the failure of his body on earth, the Church, to accept his word entirely, live it authentically, and make it known throughout the world. If we truly embrace discipleship ourselves, we will be able to "make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19) and establish the reign of God on earth.
"God will deliver the just from all their afflictions." But an essential condition for this is a commitment on our part to total and ongoing discipleship - learning and living the word of God that teaches us the mind of God. This is a long- standing prayer that reflects the faith of the Church: "Send forth your Spirit and our hearts will be regenerated." It is the belief of the Church that this can happen. And when it does, God will "renew the face of the earth."
Initiative: Be a disciple. Cultivate God's words in your heart. Set time aside to reflect on Scripture in a way that leads you to decisions that affect your life.