Third Day of Lent   19 comments

The Calling of St. Matthew, by Hendrick ter Brugghen, 1621

“I desire mercy….”

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Friday, February 28, 2020

Collect and lections from the Episcopal Lesser Feasts and Fasts Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints

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Follow the assigned readings with me this Lent….

Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Isaiah 58:1-9a (Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition):

Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet;

declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.

Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;

they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God.

Why have we fasted, and you see it not?

Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?

Behold, in the day of your fast you seek you own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.

Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with wicked fist.

Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.

Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a man to humble himself?

Is it to bow down his head like a rush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?

Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD?

Is not this the fast I choose:

to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house;

when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily;

your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am.

Psalm 51:1-9 (Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition):

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your merciful love;

according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your singt,

so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless in your judgment.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, you desire truth , in the inward being; therefore, teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

wash me, and an I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me hear joy and gladness, let the bones which you have broken rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins, and blot out my iniquities.

Matthew 9:10-17 (Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition):

And as he [Jesus] sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.  And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples,

Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?

But when he heard it, he said,

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’  For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying,

Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?

And Jesus said to them,

Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?  The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.  And no one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for one patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made.  Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; if it is, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.

The Collect:

Support us, O Lord, with your gracious favor through the fast we have begun; that as we observe it by bodily self-denial, so we may fulfill it with inner sincerity of heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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Let us remember (or learn then remember) that we cannot love God, whom we cannot see, if we do not love those whom we can see.  How do we measure up by that standard?  I can speak only for myself:  I need to improve.

Too often we human beings focus on justifying ourselves.  This is a form of ego defense, not holiness.  We might not even be aware of what we are doing, for we mortals have a proclivity for living within our delusions while being oblivious to them.  So, while we sin, or “miss the mark,” we think ourselves righteous.

So we look down upon others while ignoring our own wickedness.  Even we, who might think ourselves more righteous than we are, benefit from grace.  How much more, then, do those we might regard as “sinful” (in contrast to ourselves, of course) benefit from God’s unmerited mercy?  God has extended mercy to us, and God expects to do likewise.  Are we observant of this command, or are we oblivious to it?

KRT

Written on February 18, 2010

Edited on October 27, 2010

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Posted October 27, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2020, Episcopal Church Lectionary, February 28

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19 responses to “Third Day of Lent

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