Readings and Reflection for March 5, Saturday after Ash Wednesday


“If you pour yourself out for the hungry, then shall your light rise in the darkness.”
A reading from the Book of Isaiah 58:9c – 14

Thus says the Lord: “If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in. “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honourable; if you honour it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

The word of the Lord

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 86: 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 (R. 11ab)
R/. Teach me, O Lord, your way, so that I may walk in your truth

Turn your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my soul, for I am faithful;
save the servant who trusts in you, my God. R/.

Have mercy on me, O Lord, 
for I cry to you all the day long.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
For I lift up my soul to you, O Lord. R/.

R/. Teach me, O Lord, your way, so that I may walk in your truth.

O Lord, you are good and forgiving,
full of mercy to all who call to you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer,
and attend to my voice in supplication. R/.

Gospel Acclamation Psalm 95:7d.-8a
Glory and praise to you, O Christ. I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord, but that he turn from his way and live. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 5:27-32)

At that time: Jesus saw a tax collector, named Levi, sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he left everything, and rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house; and there was a large company of tax collectors and others sitting at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes murmured against his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

The Gospel of the Lord

It is so easy to notice the speck in my neighbours eyes but somehow, I have come to love the log in my own eye. It is so easy to preach to others but find it extremely difficult to examine my conscience. Stop pointing fingers like the Pharisees whom Jesus described as white-wash-tombs. Before you accuse anyone of sin, look inwards and be sure you are not guilty. Admit your faults like Levi and be willing to leave sin behind to follow Jesus. On the other hand, one may ask: “But if we don’t correct people, how do we make the world a better place? Are we to allow people wallow in their sins?”
The answer is: NO. We should not allow people remain in their sins. We should correct them by first correcting ourselves.

Use words if necessary. Actions speak louder than words. The loudest actions are acts of charity. Convert sinners by giving them food. Convert your enemies by being nice to them. Even the most hardened heart can be broken over an act of charity.  “Help, don’t hinder.” Isaiah says: “Pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted” Isaiah 58:10.  Do you know that by inviting Jesus for a meal in his house, Levi became an evangelist to his fellow tax collectors? He indirectly brought them all to Jesus so as to give them the opportunity to repent. He did not preach with words but with actions.


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