First reading: Sir 27:4-7
Second reading: 1 Cor 15:54-58
Gospel: Lk 6:39-45
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Lent is just around the corner—and today’s Scriptures can help you plan your Lenten observance. But first recall the purpose of Lent: A time to prepare candidates for baptism, and to call baptized Christians to penance, conversion, and a renewed commitment to Christ at Easter.
Conversion involves the heart. The Hebrew sage Sirach uses metaphors to explain how our speech reveals what’s in our heart. A clay pot is only as good as how it was fired; a tree’s fruit reveals how well the tree was cared for.
Luke offers agricultural images from Jesus to make a similar point. “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit.” Jesus’ focus is the heart: “from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks”—good or evil. We’re to behave in ways which go beyond society’s accepted standards. That’s how God acts toward us.
Take the final phrase of today’s Gospel as a handy norm for observing Lent: “From the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” Be creative in what you choose as external Lenten practices, but be certain they lead you to conversion in speech and action from a renewing heart.
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
According to the first reading, what is the test of the just?
In the second reading, what is meant by “they sting of death is sin?”
In this week’s Gospel, what do the “splinter” and “wooden beam” represent?
ACT | By Susan Hines-Brigger
On slips of paper, write down what you see as your faults. Place them in a bowl and cover with sand, sugar, or some other similar material. Empty the bowl into a sieve and watch your faults reappear, just as we hear about in this week’s first reading.