Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. 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 live in.
If you refrain from trampling the sabbath, from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call the sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs; 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 your ancestor Jacob, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
This fourth day of Lent we read encouraging words from our God, as given to us by the prophet Isaiah. What would Lent 2017 really be like for each of us if we take to heart these encouraging phrases:
“Then light shall rise for you in the darkness” … “Then the Lord will guide you always” … “He will renew your strength.” We rightly begin Lent with a sense of “giving something up” and “serving others more thoughtfully.” But today’s reading from Isaiah turns the tables on us. It reminds us that God will not be outdone in generosity. It assures us that the Lord desires both to stretch and strengthen us along this Lenten journey 2017. God longs to renew us deep within, even as we walk the way of the cross with Jesus.
Consider today those particular ways you hope the Lord will “guide you” this Lent. Bless Jesus for renewing your strength. Open your heart to the insight and grace God longs to send you these 40 days of strength and new life.
—the Jesuit Prayer Team
Holy God, I open my heart to you. Send your grace deep into my soul.
Strengthen my spirit these holy days of grace.
Help me to walk with Jesus towards Calvary and then to Easter. Amen
—the Jesuit Prayer Team