Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent

We seem to fear the least threatening dangers and ignore the most threatening. Last summer it was the Ebola virus; now it’s the Zika virus. Several years ago we were ostracizing people suspected of HIV although it takes a good deal of intentionality to contract that nasty bug. Terrorism -- another threat to our health -- remains a perennial favorite of politicians and the news media, although its direct impact is minimal. 

Meanwhile, we ignore the real threats: heart disease, lung disease, addictions, diabetes, guns – all the life-style related illnesses. 

But the worst threat of all, and perhaps the easiest to address, is that of which God speaks in today's first reading:

Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.

… if you refuse and resist,
the sword shall consume you:
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken!

This is the greatest irony about the predicaments, problems and crises we create: they can so easily be avoided. Whether it's the collapse of our infrastructure, the environmental crisis, gridlock in the federal government or any number of other issues: there are reasonable solutions -- all involving sacrifice -- that could be enacted if we had the political will. 

It's not easy to be human. The Buddha figured that out; Jesus proved it on the cross; the Church has never tried to hide that. 
Unfortunately the American experiment, hijacked by a market/consumer economy, promises that life should be comfortable, easy, fun and without real challenges. (Those who wish may create their own faux challenges.) They tell us, "You deserve a break today." 

No thanks. 

The Lord, who loves us tenderly and stands ready to guide us every step of the way, makes no empty promises. Nor does he make empty threats. And yet, we prefer to listen to impotent, distant enemies, and overreact to their threats.

The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, seeing the ecological damage and waste of human beings during the industrial revolution, wondered, "Why do men then now not reck his rod?" Why indeed do we not pay attention to the voice of our Savior? 

The real threat comes to us as an invitation from one who loves us far more than our enemies hate us. Jesus urges us, 
...do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
The first thing God says to us is, "Do not be afraid." Those who hear his voice know what to do. They fear nothing.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.