THE SERVANT GENERAL
NO ONE IN NEED
12 & 13, 2016
These days’ reading: Isaiah 58:1-14
All the good that we do, if it does not positively impact
the poor (both material and spiritual), would fall short of
what God wants of us. What are the good things we do these
days? We pray and seek God’s will. “They seek
me day after day, and desire to know my ways” (v.2a).
These days of Lent, we fast. Our manner of fasting is to cut
down on food and “to bow one’s head like a reed,
and lie upon sackcloth and ashes” (v.5b).
many Catholics who do so actually are not doing what is pleasing
to the Lord. There are those who are actually looking not
to God but just to themselves. “See, on your fast day
you carry out your own pursuits and drive all your laborers.”
(v.3b). Others are unruly and troublesome. “See, you
fast only to quarrel and fight and to strike with a wicked
fist!” (v.4a). Others do not practice justice and mercy.
“Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose: releasing
those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting
free the oppressed, breaking off every yoke? Is it not sharing
your bread with the hungry, bringing the afflicted and the
homeless into your house; clothing the naked when you see
them, and not turning your back on your own flesh?”
Lord challenges us: “Is this what you call a fast, a
day acceptable to the Lord?” (v.5c). What actually is
acceptable to God?
is looking to the poor and the oppressed. “If you
lavish your food on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted”
is avoiding gossip and maligning others, especially engaging
in slander and calumny. “If you remove the yoke from
among you, the accusing finger, and malicious speech”
is truly honoring the Lord’s Day, by attending to
God and family. “If you refrain from trampling the
sabbath, from following your own pursuits on my holy day”
is being selfless and self-denying, looking to God’s
interests first and foremost. It is “not following
your ways, seeking your own interests, or pursuing your
own affairs” (v.13c).
When we do all the above, that is when we can experience the
fullness of God’s blessings. What are the good things
we can look to?
light will shine forth in the world. “Then your light
shall break forth like the dawn” (v.8a). Jesus tells
us that we are the light of the world. Unfortunately, most
Catholics are more like children of darkness. But we can
overcome. “Then your light shall rise in the darkness,
and your gloom shall become like midday” (v.10b).
will receive healing. “and your wound shall quickly
be healed” (v.8b). We are all in need of healing--physical,
emotional, psychological, spiritual. God is a God who heals,
if only we live according to His ways.
will receive vindication and have the Lord’s protection.
“Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory
of the Lord shall be your rear guard.” (v.8c). Those
who do God’s will are often maligned, oppressed and
persecuted. But God is there to look after those who truly
will have access to God and receive the help we ask for.
“Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer, you
shall cry for help, and he will say: ‘Here I am!’”
(v.9a). We never need be helpless and hopeless in a darkened
world, for we can always turn to our God.
will receive God’s wisdom and guidance. “Then
the Lord will guide you always” (v.11a). We need not
go astray, nor be confused, nor veer away from our mission.
will receive what we need from God, and be strengthened
by His constant provisions. God will “satisfy your
thirst in parched places, and will give strength to your
bones” (v.11b). In fact, the grace and blessings will
be overflowing. “And you shall be like a watered garden,
like a flowing spring whose waters never fail.” (v.11c).
will be used effectively by God to help rebuild our Church
and our society. “Your people shall rebuild the ancient
ruins; the foundations from ages past you shall raise up”
(v.12a). God will use us to bring renewal and revival to
When we experience the above, then our life and work will
have been truly of worth. Then we can look with delight upon
our merciful God, as He Himself exalts His worthy and beloved
people and servants. “Then you shall delight in the
Lord, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth”