Keeping things Simple

Written by Sr. Rosemary Finnegan, O.P.
Readings from:

Isaiah has a way of keeping things simple, or as my father would caution us on occasion, ‘no ifs, ands, or buts’!  We heard Isaiah give us, in no uncertain way, these directives:

  • Wash yourselves clean!
  • 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.

And Jesus is also very clear in the gospel today about our role and responsibilities.  He is the Master and we are the students.  We are learning from him, watching what he does, and imitating his actions. The things Jesus said often to the scribes, Pharisees, the crowd, the disciples, and us, are direct and to the point:

  • Love one another
  • Love your enemies
  • Forgive one another
  • Seek justice
  • Be merciful
  • Be compassionate
  • Do unto others
  • Do not be afraid

Jesus is teaching not only the Pharisees, but us as well, that the key to the spiritual life is not the law, the food we eat, or the rules and regulations we follow.  Rather, the key to the spiritual life lies in the heart, that symbol of our inner life and the divine spark within us.

In like manner, and as our teacher here on earth now, Pope Francis clearly states this same message in his latest encyclical “Fratelli Tutti”.  If you have not read this letter, I’d invite you to use this as your Lenten reading.  In 8 short chapters, Pope Francis urges us as sisters and brothers in our contemporary society to care for our neighbor and build a global society based on justice for the common good.  He says:  “Now there are only two kinds of people:  those who care for someone who is hurting and those who pass by; those who bend down to help and those who look the other way and hurry off.”  (para. 70)

As we reflect on how we live out our spiritual lives, I think Isaiah and Jesus are addressing to us the same question Pope Francis poignantly asks: “Will we bend down to touch and heal the wounds of others?  Will we bend down and help another to get up?”  (para. 70)