We are a stiff necked people. “They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them” says the Lord. We often are quick to judge those in Scripture as being stubborn, lazy, short sighted, or prideful, but maybe that is why Scripture speaks to our hearts and we need to hear and reflect on Scripture because we fall just as easily into the same ways of missing the mark and turning away from God. We need to hear God calling us back to Himself.
We are also a forgetful people. We forget God’s loving kindness. We forget His mercy and compassion. We forget His forgiveness and healing grace. In the Psalm for today, we offer the plea, “Remember us, O Lord, as you favor Your people,” but we should also pray, “Help me remember, O Lord, Your goodness.” Sometimes, it is not that we don’t know God’s love, but that we get distracted by golden idols of our own making and are too stiff necked to shift our gaze away from the idol to see God surrounding us. Sometimes we willingly squeeze our eyes shut and miss the gift God offers to us. As Jesus says in the Gospel, even when others are a “burning and shining lamp” testifying the truth and even when God reveals His love to us, we often remain stiff necked and forgetful.
Sabbath is a time to remember. God, in His great wisdom, gave us the gift of His very self through Jesus and Sabbath is the time we come together as a community to embrace and receive this gift. Throughout Lent, we can also create Sabbath moments at times during each day when we loosen our stiff necks, shift our gaze back to God, and be living testimonies to the great love God offers the world.
Loving God, help me to keep my eyes open and fixed on You. Help me not be distracted by idols that keep me from Your love. May I create Sabbath moments to recognize Your presence in my life so that I might testify to Your great love and goodness and shine out to others.
Anna Lester, ’98, Assistant Director of Edmundite Campus Ministry
First Reading: Exodus 32:7-14
Gospel: John 5:31-47
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website