Isaiah 1:10, 16-20; Matthew 23:1-12
Lent is a season for listening, as it is a time of renewing and re-greening one’s interior life. Six weeks is a long time to have one’s ear cocked for the slightest whisper or the loudest sound which suggests that God is afoot in your life and in your relationships. One of the central challenges of Lent is discerning and identifying the voice of God in the cacophonous sounds and competing slogans that surround each of us.
Identifying the authentic voice of God is complicated. Jesus tells us that there is but “one teacher”, “one father”, and “one master.” But we are surrounded by competing teachings, slogans, diets, miracle drugs, would-be masters and ideologies. Lent is a time to discern and identify, to reject the voices of false teachers for the authentic teachings of the one teacher; to replace the dross of winter with the verdant colors of spring.
Listen carefully for God’s voice as you clear the underbrush of your spiritual garden; listen for God’s call as you prune the branches of self-confidence, self-doubt or self-sufficiency. Listen for God’s directive in the songs of the returning robins and the shower of spring rains. For as has been said: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” Amidst that grandeur God speaks! Our creator God, our savior God, the spirit of God, speak to each of us in our own time and circumstance. God speaks gently in love and thunders fiercely in judgment. God comforts and secures those who are faithful.
Lent, as a forerunner of spring, has time left before spring is upon us, before Lent matures into the Easter mystery. Ours is the opportunity and the responsibility to live these days well. There is time to stir from the doldrums of sin and selfish involvements. There is time to rip-up and replant the weak places in one’s life. Ours is the opportunity for a renewal and a re-greening of our spiritual life in our own context and setting. For as Isaiah says in today’s first reading: “If you are willing and obey, good things will come your way…”
By John Schlegel