In 1 Samuel 15:22 it says: Obedience is better than sacrifice. In this Lenten season of sacrifice, how can simple obedience be better? We are called to obey the laws set down for us. If we do not, then what good is our sacrifice? Obedience is not a popular word in our present day culture. People recoil from the word as from a hot flame. Yet what sacrifice can bless the disobedient?
In Isaiah 58 we read: “This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.”
Who are bound unjustly? Anyone I hold in contempt or have a resentment against…especially those bound unjustly by me who doesn’t know all the details of their action. We are here to add to the world. We are not here to simply say “too bad for them” and then to do nothing. In our haste in getting from here to there are we racing by those who need our assistance. Mother Theresa said when we share our lunch a thousand are fed. Can we share our lunch with coworkers who may secretly be hungry? The immigrant “situation” does not call for us to turn our backs to their plight. We are a nation of immigrants. Let us not forget their quest for a new land and the opportunities here.
This is quite a tall order. One in which I fail on most days. But, the reward is said to be: “Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am!”
Lord, let me find ways to obey your commandment to love our neighbors!