Saturday Week 3 of Lent

There’s a peculiar feeling about that first reading. I wonder about people who think so ill of God and yet want to draw close.
I thought, at first, I was disturbed by the way they place their disaster at God’s feet: ‘he has struck us down; he has torn us to pieces’. And that disturbance is at least partly recognition—I know the dark thread of my own unfounded fear of God. But what shakes me more, is that, even blaming God for their pain, the people go back for more—glutton for punishment, like an abused wife, like a confused hostage. ‘He has torn us to pieces’, they say, ‘but he will heal us … he doesn’t mean to hurt us really … maybe if we try harder, don’t annoy him quite so much, maybe’. And I wonder if, maybe, there isn’t a trace of that in me too … or in you. ‘If I do this, if I do that, then God will stop hurting me.’ And, if there is, what I need to hear I is here in the reading …
‘What am I to do with you, Rob? What I want is love, not sacrifice; relationship, not empty offering. Love, Rob’.