Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday of the First Week
Today’s readings are an exhortation to live better lives, and they also warn us what we risk by straying from God.  All three readings acclaim the possibility and power of redemption through God’s love.

Ezekiel calls us to live just and virtuous lives and to avoid the path of wickedness.  If we live such a life, we will be saved.  If we lead a wicked life, we will die.  But, if a person turns away from wickedness toward the good, they will be redeemed; God rejoices when anyone turns from evil ways to good.  

The Psalm continues along this theme by extolling God’s forgiving nature.  We are encouraged to plead for forgiveness for our transgressions and to be vigilant, trusting in the Lord; kindness and redemption come from the Lord.

Matthew drives home this point by calling us to surpass even the scribes and Pharisees in righteousness.  That may seem like a very tall order because these individuals were the public face of righteousness in Jewish society…but they don’t always appear manifestly just in the Gospels.  Matthew tells us we must not just embrace the teachings of the Lord, we must live them in our daily lives.  He tells us to build on our commitment to the virtuous life by being ever present to the opportunities to do good, to follow the righteous path, to be open to God’s mercy, and to forgive and seek forgiveness from our brothers and sisters when we fall short.

Lord, open my heart and lead me to follow the just and virtuous choices I have before me in life. Help me to seek and accept Your forgiveness when I stray from You so that I may abide in Your eternal love.

John Paul Devlin, Associate Professor of Fine Arts, Theatre

First Reading: Ezekiel 18:21-28
Psalm 130:1-8
Gospel: Matthew 5:20-26

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

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