Show Your Father Your Face

First Reading: Jeremiah 7:23-28

Thus says the LORD:
This is what I commanded my people:
Listen to my voice;
then I will be your God and you shall be my people.
Walk in all the ways that I command you,
so that you may prosper.

But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed.
They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts
and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.
From the day that your fathers left the land of Egypt even to this day,
I have sent you untiringly all my servants the prophets.
Yet they have not obeyed me nor paid heed;
they have stiffened their necks and done worse than their fathers.
When you speak all these words to them,
they will not listen to you either;
when you call to them, they will not answer you.
Say to them:
This is the nation that does not listen
to the voice of the LORD, its God,
or take correction.
Faithfulness has disappeared;
the word itself is banished from their speech.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Gospel: Luke 11:14-23

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,
and when the demon had gone out,
the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself,
how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”


march 3

It’s the middle of Lent, and we’ve been working at this for a few weeks now. How is it going? Did you start out strong, full of resolve to increase in holiness and virtue? Are you still keeping up with all your good intentions? Have any of your Lenten practices started to feel too heavy or burdensome to maintain? Have you thrown up your hands in frustration and given up entirely?

By this point, reality has usually set in for me, and I have realized that I might not be able to follow through on some of my loftier goals. Maybe someone in my family got sick, and I wasn’t able to keep up with my spiritual reading. Maybe we had to travel unexpectedly, and I missed a few days of the prayer practice I wanted to do. Maybe my retreat was canceled for snow.

Whatever the reason, maybe Lent isn’t going exactly the way we had planned.

There is good news for us, because what God really wants from us is our hearts. In today’s reading from Jeremiah, God seems less concerned with the specific commandments that His people have broken and more concerned with the state of their relationship with Him. He wants their love. He wants them to be His people again. He sent prophet after prophet to try to speak sense to them, and they wouldn’t listen. They turned their backs, not their faces to God.

He wants to see our faces, not our backs. He wants us to turn to Him and away from whatever distracts us from His love.

Our checklists and plans and to-do lists might make us feel holier, but what really matters is how they help us grow in our relationship with God. Whatever we have set out to do needs to pull us in the right direction—toward a closer, more loving, more honest relationship with the One who knows us better than anyone, who loves us even if we can’t check off all our boxes, who wants us to be His before we are anything else.

Where do you stand? Is Lent drawing you closer to God this year? There’s still time.

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Take a few minutes today to examine things in your life. How is your relationship with God today? What is one thing you could do to improve it?

Abbey Dupuy writes her life as a homeschooling mama of four while relying on coffee and grace. You can find out more about her here.

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