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Thursday of the Third Week of Lent

My dear encountered couples:

The whole season of Lent is an earnest call to repentance, the admonition to turn back to the Lord with all our hearts. Throughout these days, the scripture readings continually return us to this central message, which is also re-echoed in the Church's liturgical prayers.

Yet in spite of the simple, unflagging insistence of this penitential invitation, many fail to hear it or, even worse, fail to act on it, effectively turning their back to the Lord, instead of turning back to the Lord!

This is the complaint voiced in the first reading: “Thus says the LORD: ‘This is what I commanded My people: Listen to My voice.... Walk in all the ways that I command you.... 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.”’

It is, of course, easy to point to so many other people we know who are turning their backs to the Lord. But, while you and I do have an obligation to help such people hear the Lenten call to repentance, our primary responsibility is to commit OURSELVES whole-heartedly to repentance!

As the half-way point of Lent approaches, it's time to honestly consider how seriously we're taking that call to turn back to the Lord, and to repent of even the small ways in which we're still turning our backs to the Lord!

This Lent we pray for the grace to be open to hear the voice of God. Teach us to be aware that no matter what words I hear, the message is, “Accept the person I am. Listen to me.”

Listening to the voice of God opens my heart to what truly matters. Do you hear me?

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