Father David's Reflection for Second Tuesday of Lent
The Responsorial Psalm tells us: "To those who go the right way I will show the salvation of God" (Psalm 50). God is not setting conditions on his help; he is saying that if we follow his path he can show us where it leads. So we need to pay attention and learn.
Isaiah 1: 10-20 calls us to discipleship: "Hear the word of the LORD. Listen to the teaching of our God.." If we are not intent on learning from God how to live, all our devotions, rituals, religious festivals and recited prayers are just pretense: things we do to make us feel better, "low cost" observances we think will keep God on our side.
What God wants is action in response to his teaching: "Learn to do good!" And we need to notice his priorities: "Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow." It is easy for us to focus on obvious sins against conventional morality, the sins to which there are "easy answers," while not even looking at the sins that naturally follow from deep attitudes and values that are evil: greed, ambition, indifference to the poor, arrogance and violence in defense of our cherished way of life - not asking what it is about our way of life, our business practices, our politics, that makes people hate us enough to kill themselves killing us.
Lent is an invitation to return to life. God will not reject us: "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow.. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land." If not, it is understood that our sins will destroy us; we will die.
In Matthew 23: 1-12, Jesus warns us it is not enough to let Church officials and authorities do our thinking for us: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you. but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach."
We have to distinguish between the teaching of the Church and the teaching of those in the Church. Unless it is simply a repetition of Church doctrine (without interpretation) the teaching of someone not deeply united to God is suspect. Jesus said to the Pharisees, "You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34).
Jesus says we only have one teacher. Those who teach in the Church are simply fellow-students sharing what they have learned from him. And we must always compare what they say to what we ourselves have heard from the Teacher as disciples.
Initiative: Be a disciple. Try to learn constantly from Jesus himself - but with humility: "All who exalt themselves will be humbled."