Friday after Ash Wednesday
(Isaiah 58:1-9a; Matthew 9:14-15)
When we were children, my sister, brother, and I would ask our mother what she wanted for her birthday or Christmas. She invariably answered, “Good kids.” Her response is not much different from God’s in today’s first reading.
The Jews want to court God’s favor. They think that by prayer and fasting he might be won over to their side. They see God as a politician sees a rich person whose money she needs. They do not understand that God is more like a Father who wants his children to love one another. He announces what he expects of them -- mercy and justice. God is especially concerned that the needs of the weakest among them be looked after.
We should consider Lent a time of inventory and reconciliation. We want to ask ourselves how have we treated others and make amends where we are lacking. By “others” we should not think only of those whose paths we cross daily. The indeterminate category should include people of other nations.