While the readings this week are all pointing us toward the passion of Christ. Because we are his body, they also speak to us. Today's first first reading has that not uncommon two edged quality.
On the happy side we have:
The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame. He is near who upholds my right; if anyone wishes to oppose me, let us appear together. Who disputes my right? Let him confront me. See, the Lord GOD is my help; who will prove me wrong?
We love this. Vindication! But before we get to this we have:
Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear; And I have not rebelled, have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.
Morning after morning he opens our ears, but how soon into the day is it before we shut them, particularly
when the truth is something we don't want to hear.
Or when it involves some kind of pain or sacrifice.
Or when the voice of our conscience is telling us not to do something that we really want to do.
Just to walk through one whole day, keeping our ears open to that that voice of the spirit we call our conscience is a chore. It takes incredible discipline to get through one whole day without complaining, without the uncharitable comment, putting others ahead of ourselves on the road. All of these may seem like trivial things but they are what mark us a true disciples. Doing with love all those little things that are a pain, but we know we should, knowing that sins of omission can be greater than sins of commission.
Morning after morning he opens our ears, and day after day we must practice keeping them open. Then it becomes habit, and we call that virtue.