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Saturday, February 20, 2021

Homily 2021-02-20 Saturday After Ash Wednesday

Isaiah 58:9-14; Psalm 86; Luke 5:27-32
The season of Lent is the season where God’s call is more intense. Which is why he pours out his grace abundantly so sinners can repent, the sick will be healed, the weak will be strengthened. While these are God’s work, we have to respond to this grace.
The First Reading has two conditions and promises. The first condition talks of doing away with evil from ourselves. When we do this, God promises his guidance and his providence even in parched places.
The second condition is honoring the Sabbath by not pursuing our own interest, nor going our own ways, nor pursuing our own affairs. When we do this, God promises we will delight in him and he will make us ride on the heights of the earth.
1 Timothy 2:4 tells us it is God’s will that all be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. While this is God’s will, we need to desire this so we can be saved and know him.
In the Gospel today Jesus saw a tax collector named, Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him “Follow me”. Luke tells us Levi got up, left everything and followed him. Levi shows us how we fulfill God’s will for our salvation and knowledge of him: we get up, leave everything and follow Jesus wherever he leads us.
Some may ask, how can God call me to himself? I have ignored him all my life, I have rejected him all my life, I have done evil in my life. Will he still love me even if no one loves me? I am not worthy of him. Brother or sister, if this is how you feel, listen carefully: You are right. You are not worthy of God’s love. In fact, no one is worthy of God’s love. But he loves you anyway. He loves you for who you are and he loves you so much he does not want you to remain where you are. Everyone needs forgiveness because everyone sins. Everyone needs God’s healing. Jesus said in the Gospel today: those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick do; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance. Jesus wants to heal us so we can live with his Father for eternity. This life God has planned is not the life of a slave, but of a son and daughter of God. This life is eternally more than what we have now and it is more than what we can imagine in our wildest dreams. If you want the life God has planned for you, turn away from sin and trust Jesus, then, in the name of Jesus, rise up against sin, by the grace of God leave everything and in the power of the Holy Spirit follow Jesus so God’s plan can be fulfilled. Come to Jesus and encounter the eternal love of God that forgives and heals and restores. For Catholics, this happens in a special way in the sacrament of confession because it is through this sacrament that we rise up from our sins, leave our sins at the foot of the Cross of Jesus and follow Jesus to a new life.
The Psalm today prays: incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. God listens to those who call him. To call on God is to invite him into our life and let him take charge. This requires trust and when we trust God and reject our sins, the First Reading tells us, he will make us ride in the heights of the earth. God will transform our lives and make all things new. The Psalm prays and tells God: Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
God wants to gladden our souls and this happens when we lift up our soul to him. As we continue in this mass, we will be brought before the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, where the bread and wine are transformed into his true Body and Blood. After we proclaim him as our Lord and God, we lift our soul to him surrendering our sins, our wounds, our emptiness, repeating the words of the Psalm to Jesus: teach me your way Lord, that I may be faithful in your sight, now and always.

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