Saturday of the Second Week of Lent
Micah 7:14-15, 18-20
Psalm 102:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
Draw Near to Hear
The first line of today's Holy Gospel is the key to all the rest: "The tax collectors and the sinners were all drawing near to hear Jesus" (Lk 15:1). They drew near to hear Jesus; this is the listening that changes life, and in this, tax collectors and sinners are our teachers. One cannot hear rightly while remaining at a distance.
God Seeking Man
Our Lord says, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (Jn 6:44). The Father seeks us to draw us close to the Son. In the canticle at Lauds we sang: "He sought them out in the wilderness, there in the fearful desert spaces, gave them the guidance, taught them the lessons they needed, guarded them as if they had been the apple of His eye" (Dt 32:10). God seeks us. When one consents to being found by Him, a flame of desire begins to flicker within: an inarticulate yearning to be enfolded in God's protecting love, and to be sheltered in the "shadow of His wings" (Ps 16:8).
One begins to turn one's life around when one begins to experience one's need for God painfully. So it was with the prodigal son. "Then he came to himself and said, How many hired servants there are in my father's house, who have more bread than they can eat, and here am I perishing with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee; I am not worthy now to be called thy son; treat me as one of thy hired servants" (Lk 15: 17-18).
Feeling the Pain
One experiences this painful awareness of the need for God in different ways. Loneliness, for example, can be an immense grace if it orients the heart towards God alone. Failure can serve the designs of God's mercy when it obliges one to seek Him, to call to Him out of the depths of one's brokenness. Illness can become a gift; the awareness of one's weakness can become the discovery of Christ's unfailing strength. Disappointments in human love can lead to drive one to the only Love that never deceives nor disappoints. God alone can satisfy the deepest longings of the heart.
Upon my Bed by Night
The bride of the Canticle of Canticles describes the experience of every human heart tormented by the desire for God: "Upon my bed by night, I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not; I called him but he gave no answer. I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves" (Ct 3:1-2). The nocturnal disquiet of the beloved in the Canticle is the image of restlessness in the soul. There is, within each one, an appetite more relentlessly gnawing than the appetites of the senses: the appetite for intimacy with God.
Where Art Thou?
The Word of God Himself has come down into the streets and squares of the city in search of all who search for Him, just as in the first pages of Genesis, the Father walked in paradise in the evening breeze (Gn 3:8) and called to Adam, saying, "Where art thou?" For this very reason does He abide, day and night, in the tabernacles of our churches. There too does He say, as the Father said in paradise, "Where art thou?" For He who has come in search of us, He who waits for us, is left alone. Though He searches for every man, there are few, very few, who search for Him. Though He is patient in waiting for man; there are few, very few who know how to wait in silence for Him.