Lenten Reflection: 2/20/2021
If you remove from your midst oppression . . . (Isaiah 58:9)
We might be tempted to say, “I can’t possibly serve the Lord on top of everything else I have to do! Can’t someone else do it?”
The short answer is yes, everyone can—and should—serve him and his people. There is more than enough work to go around, and we are the ones—each and every one of us—God is calling to do it.
Make no mistake; God is calling you to serve him by caring for the people around you. But he is not asking you to do it alone, and he certainly is not expecting you to go unrewarded. As you put his love into action, he promises to pour his blessings into you. As the Prayer of St. Francis says, “It is in giving that we receive.” So let’s take a look at some of the ways God may be calling you today.
Help the “oppressed,” “hungry,” and “afflicted” (Isaiah 58:10). You can be God’s eyes, ears, and hands for his beloved poor. The work may be challenging. It may take you out of your comfort zone. But know that each time you reach out like this, you are doing more than just offering food or money. You are bringing God’s own love to someone in desperate need. As you do, God will reach out to you and give you a deeper empathy for people who may not be like you. He will expand your ability to love as Jesus does.
Avoid “malicious speech” (Isaiah 58:9). Talking badly about other people only reinforces your negative feelings toward them. It also risks raising negative thoughts in the person you’re talking to. But when you make an effort to hold your tongue or, even better, to speak well of someone, you open the door for God’s Spirit to bless them. You also become more peaceful yourself, and that makes you a more credible witness of Christ’s love.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that God’s call to serve is just another chore on your list. It’s a chance to share Christ with the people around you—and to live a fuller and more joyful life yourself. When you seek to serve the Lord, the blessings flow freely in all directions!
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”