Friday 15 December 2023
Day of penance
Isaiah 48:17–19. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life – Psalm 1:1–4, 6. Matthew 11:16–19.
Be alert to my commandments
Misunderstandings happen when we half-hear conversations or just pay heed to the bits we want to. How many times have you been in a meeting but when talking with others afterwards, wonder if you’d been at the same gathering with them? What they heard can sometimes be diametrically opposed to what you understood. Today’s scripture readings want for there to be no misunderstandings. They can be summed in a command – ‘listen’. That is, to truly listen to what is being said and not said. Instead of shouting in the marketplace at each other and ignoring scripture because it comes from people whose way of life doesn’t match your ideal of a religious leader (Jesus is condemned because he is always out with friends, and yet John’s opposite way of life is also criticised), you are asked to be alert to the commandments (Is 48:17–19). Indeed, happy is the one whose delight is the law of the Lord and ponders his law, day and night (Ps 1:1–4).