“This is the nation that does not listen to the voice of the Lord, its God, or take correction. Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech” (Jer. 7:28). When God speaks to Jeremiah in the First Reading, He is lamenting the disobedience of His people, even when given constant access to the prophets. We can use this passage as an examination of conscience.

Throughout the readings, God is calling for our attention and our worship. He is constantly sending us messages through His Word and His continued providence in our daily life, and He expects us to listen and “take correction.” This means a reorientation of our lives, an adjustment of practices and mindsets that we have perhaps grown too comfortable with.

Are we listening to the voice of the Lord? Are we “taking correction”? “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” (Psalm Response) “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Luke 11:23). Our Lord is demanding: He gives us many, many opportunities to listen to and understand His voice, and then He expects us to follow Him without reservation. If we are not clearly with Him, we scatter aimlessly.

This is a fitting call for Lent. Especially if we live among those friendly to the Faith, we might get comfortable living a life of simple kindness and peace, not doing much beyond that. In the midst of the pagan nations, the Israelites had become lax in their morals and complacent in their faith. God sent prophet after prophet to remind them that they must never settle for mediocrity, and must never “blend in” with non-believers. For ourselves, we can ask: Do we think that we can witness to Christ without speaking up in difficult situations or without living a radically different lifestyle than those around us? 

As we continue into the Lenten season, we ought to consider in which areas of our lives we are growing complacent. Have we told ourselves that we’re doing a great job following the Lord and that we don’t need to do anything special? Is there much that is distinctively Catholic about the way we conduct ourselves? Could a stranger tell we’re Catholic from an initial conversation? From visiting our home? There are always things we will have to correct, and there is always an opportunity to heed the Lord’s voice more deeply.

In Lent, we have an opportunity to do penance for our sins, so as to be ready to receive the graces of the Paschal Mystery. When we reflect on the purpose of the season, and when we consider the radical witness of Christians throughout the centuries, we understand that we should not simply be an example of kindness to others; we need to have reformed our lives so intensively in response to God’s Word that we are markedly different from our neighbors. Let us use the graces we receive to practice heroic charity, extraordinary penance, radical Christian hope, and visible faith.

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Daily Reading


Saint of the Day


Saint Ludovico of Casoria

The first part of Saint Ludovico of Casoria’s life was somewhat “ordinary,” but not the second. Having had what he called a mystical experience, he began establishing institutions for all kinds of people in need. He even founded two religious communities.