Thursday of the Third Week of Lent

Today's Mass Readings



O that today you would listen to his voice! “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the desert…” (Psalm 95:7c-8, Abbey Psalms & Canticles)

A reading from a letter To Peter on the Faith by St. Fulgentius of Ruspe:
“…no one should continue longer time in his sins out of hope for the mercy of God, since no one wishes to be ill for a longer time in the body because of the hope for future health.”5

Today’s Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 95: the great call to praise God, coupled with the great counsel to listen to God. Today’s refrain is: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” This carries a different connotation from that of other translations, like the one above from the Abbey Psalms and Canticles. I think it is not a question of “if” you hear his voice, but “O that you would listen” to his voice—and that you would listen “today.” God is continually calling us to repent, and we must not be stubborn and delay.

St. Fulgentius speaks to this urgency to repent. First, he describes the nature of sin: what illness is to the body, sin is to the soul. If we make every effort to have physical well-being, should we not do the same to have spiritual well-being? Further on in his letter, he gets at the danger of, on the one hand, presuming upon God’s mercy, and on the other, despairing of God’s forgiveness. We are to trust in God’s mercy, but not put His mercy to the test.

Reflection: God is merciful and just. While time is of the essence to repent, God is patient. Yet the patience of God should lead us to repent (cf. Rom 2:4). So, what are we waiting for? I suggest making an appointment with the Divine Physician.

Reflection by Brother Luke Kral, OSB

[5] Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Old Testament, vol. 8. Quentin F. Wesselschmidt, InterVarsity Press, 2007. p. 167.

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