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Lectionary 83: Tenderness

February 25, 2017


Lectionary 17:  Scripture:  Feb.26. Sunday (8th, A).  Isaiah 49:14-15. Psalm 62:2-3,6-7, 8-9.  I Corinthians 4:1-5. Matthew 6:24-34:

Pope Francis frequently uses the word tenderness in his writings as well as in his preaching.  Isaiah, the noble priestly prophet, declares that God shows great tenderness even surpassing that of a mother for her child. If she would neglect or abandon her child, God never would.  Most of us are familiar with God holding us a child in his hand in many of the paintings and statues that capture God’s tenderness that Isaiah has handed on to us in several passages. God will never abandon us nor forget our needs. We are to trust in God’s promises and God’s care for us throughout our lives.

Psalm 62 is very consoling hymn  and continues the prophetic passage with its prayer like composition.  This is a psalm of absolute confidence in God. “My soul in stillness waits, for in God alone is my salvation.”  Just as we are led to think of a mother holding her child in her arms as Isaiah suggests, so our soul rests in God. This psalm is so focused that it helps us to remember to place ourselves in God’s presence at the beginning of our prayers. We know that God alone can really help us in our struggles for God is our Redeemer. We lift up our hearts to the God of mercy and tenderness who will prevent us from falling into discouragement and lack of hope.  We need only to be alone with God and wait in the stillness of our hearts.

Paul declares he has a clear conscience. He boasts only in the Lord which means he sees the Cross as his hope and salvation. Only this has he to know. His writings show us that he did experience the cross and thus and is a model for our own boasting in the Lord and the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our conscience is clear when we realize that God knows our inmost thoughts and desires. Like Paul we pray continuously without knowing this is prayer.

Jesus assures us that we are to trust in God and live simply in the presence of God. We are valued more than all of creation by God who loves us as only a parent could.  God cares so much for all of creation, but especially for us. Jesus says, “Will not God provide much more for you, O weak in faith.  Your heavenly Father knows all that you need. Seek ye first his kingship over you, his way of holiness, and all these things will be given you besides.” Amen.

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