In our first reading from Isaiah, the Lord wants our sacrifices and our fasting to lead to humble service and not to angry bickering. In order to lead to humble service and loving concern of others, we have to see the sacrifices as actions that unite us to Jesus. We must be intentional with them by offer the sacrifice to God with a prayer. Otherwise, we can tend to do these sacrifices for our own reasons and they lead us to be grumpy and bitter. When we combine them with prayer and the intention of growing in our relationship with Jesus, they become a means of spiritual growth. This spiritual growth should lead us from looking inward to looking outward to those around us in need.
There are those in need of the material necessities of life. There are those in need of our time and presence. There are those in need of God's love. St. Theresa of Calcutta said that the most profound poverty in this world is the poverty of love. Everyone is hungry for love. Love is a choice we make to seek and promote the good of the other person. We can be God's instrument of love in this world if we but offer our sacrifices in union with Christ's sacrifice on the Cross and allow it to be the source of humble service directed to those around us.
Today, start by loving your family better and work your way out.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice on the Cross,
May we unite our sacrifices to you,
so that we may grow in sacrificial love,
and share it with those around us.
We ask this in Your Holy Name. Amen.
Daily Lenten reflections by Father Browning.