Second Week of Lent

Friday 1 March

Saint David
Philippians 3.8-14
Psalm 1; Matthew 5.13-16

The greater part of what is handed down about David in the tradition is legendary though he was undoubtedly an historical figure. What is certainly known of him is that he attended the Synod of Brefi, c. 560, where his powerful oratory is said to have extinguished the Pelagian heresy in Wales and led to his nomination as leader of the Church in that country by popular acclaim. He was thought to have been born c. 520 of a noble family and been ordained priest, though his personal asceticism and zeal for the preaching of the Gospel led him to found twelve monastic communities characterised by an extremely ascetical lifestyle after the example of the early Desert Fathers. He finally settled in one of these communities in Menevia. The motivation in adopting and promoting such a severe discipline of life was to enable David and his followers to accept ‘the loss of everything’ so that, like St Paul, they might ‘look upon everything as so much rubbish’ so as to ‘have Christ and be given a place in him.’

Saturday 2 March

Micah 7.14-15, 18-20
Psalm 102; Luke 15.1-3, 11-32

The pastoral references in this passage from Micah capture the feelings of the people returning from exile. They are disorientated like lost sheep and trying to recover their sense as God’s people now they are back in their God-given land. They cast God in the role of shepherd gathering his flock around him, giving them security and the comfort of his care. God is a loving Father for them, not holding grudges about past offences but forgiving faults and burying any of their failings which might create a barrier between him and them.

The famous Gospel passage has exactly the same image of the loving Father who, far from disowning or even scolding his seriously errant and ungrateful son, brushes away his attempt at apology to smother and embrace him with love and shower him with gifts on his return. It is a beautiful image of God to reflect on in Lent, encouraging us to turn back to the Father who loves us beyond our imagining and will not let our sins get in the way.

 

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