In the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, God's Word pierces mankind's darkness and reveals a light that will always shine for those who walk in it.
In the first reading, God chooses one of Jesse's sons to be king. While Jesse presents seven sons, God doesn't choose any of them. God tells Samuel, "Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart."
The readings for the Third Sunday of Lent are simultaneously simple and overwhelmingly profound. Our eyes see and our hearts hear of physical water, but our spirits hunger and thirst for the Holy Spirit.
On the second Sunday of Lent, the Church gives us the scene of Jesus, up on the mountain, being transfigured before Peter, James and John. The Church wants to lift our eyes to the beauty of our calling in Christ. Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus' Transfiguration lifts our eyes above our present period of purification to allow Jesus to have a new freedom in our hearts. This prepares us for the glory as pre-figured in the Transfiguration.
The readings for the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time call us into a new freedom by trusting in God's loving providence that surrounds us. As we open our eyes to this, anxiety is replaced with trustful abiding.
In the first reading, Isaiah expresses Israel's panic that God had forsaken her, since things aren't going Israel's way. God's response is poetically beautiful: "Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even if she should forget, I will never forget you."
The readings for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time suggest the word of God comes directly from His heart, and if we follow His word, it leads us directly back to His heart.
In the first reading from Sirach, we learn that if we exercise the free choice of keeping His commandments, the commandments will save us. What does it mean to be saved by the word of God? Does it mean we will be saved from starving to death or losing our property or friends?
The readings for the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time make clear that God desires to share His power with sinful mankind.
To fully appreciate the importance of the first reading from Genesis, we must review what had happened just before this passage from Genesis. Abraham and Sarah were very old, many years past the childbearing age. Yet God had promised over and over again to Abraham that he would make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sands of the sea shore.