4th Week of Lent, Thursday, March 18
Exodus 32: 7-14; John 5: 31-47
Jesus speaks to the Jews; "My works testify on my behalf. "
Seventy-nine-year-old Clara Hale has served as the foster mother to over 500 babies."Mama Hale" takes care of babies of drug-addicted mothers until the mothers are able to take care of their babies themselves. Babies of drug-addicted mothers enter life with a drug dependency themselves. That's what makes Mama Hale's job so hard. "When a baby is crying for a drug," she says, "all you can do is hold it close and say to it, 'I love you, and God loves you, and your mama loves you. Your mama just needs a little time.' "
Just as Mama Hale's works testify unmistakably to her love for children, so Jesus' works testified unmistakably to his love and his mission from the Father.
What do our works say to others, especially to those who don't know Jesus? "Love is more easily illustrated than defined." Anonymous
From today on and in the Holy Week, the opposition between the Jewish leaders and Jesus is growing. People always tend to adore their own god—a god or gods made in their own image and likeness, rather than accepting in humility, conscious of our limitations, that we are made in the image and likeness of God.
But we are fortunate enough to have Christ—as the Hebrews had Moses—a mediator who pleads for us, whom we can easily accept and identify with because in him we can recognize one of us, who opts for people, who defends us, who is involved with us in spite of our failures.
Jesus, as it were, like a new Moses stands before his Father and says, "Why, O Lord, should your wrath blaze up against these people whom I have saved in my own blood. These are my people, for I have redeemed them, and therefore they are your people too." What we do today has value in the eyes of God because as he looks upon us gathered for Mass, he sees in us the person of his Son, our mediator, and he says: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
We should try to be especially conscious of our union with Jesus at the time of the consecration, when Jesus renews his sacrifice, and at the time when the solemn words of the great doxology are pronounced: "Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever." To these words add your sincere and fervent "Amen" with the confidence that our worship is pleasing to the Father because Jesus is with us.
Have you ever wondered why you have the faith? It is a good question to think about. Maybe you were born of parents who passed the faith on to you, but you could have been born of parents who had no religion. Maybe you are a convert, but you could have lived in a country in which people do not even hear the mention of Jesus Christ. still another question is why have you kept the faith and not changed your mind about it.
The Israelites were a people especially favoured by God. They received the gift of faith through God's revelation to them, and experienced his salvation in the exodus. And yet "they forgot the God who had saved them." Incredibly they abandoned the true Cod; they "made a calf in Horeb and adored a molten indulge." Why should we be more faithful than they?
When Jesus came, his credentials were overwhelming: his good works done in the Father's name, his miracles, and the very testimony of scripture itself. And yet the leaders of the people failed to respond to Jesus. Why is it that we accept Jesus whereas those men did not?
I think we have all met people who are obviously very good people. We feel that they are In much more worthy than we to enjoy the gift of faith, and yet it is we who have the gift and not they. Why is it so?
The gift of faith is indeed a deep mystery, one which theologians have struggled to understand for centuries, but without much agreement among themselves. One thing is certain: we should-be grateful for our faith, not with a smug complacency that we are better than others, but with a sincere humility which recognizes that faith is God's gift of which we are unworthy.
Lord our God, we know, perhaps more in theory than in practice, that you are with us, that you are our God and we your people. Forgive us, Lord, when we fashion our own gods made in our own image – honour, power, prestige, things to which we are attached and enslaved. Remind us again and again that you are our loyal God, who made us in your own indelible image and who shows us your perfect likeness in Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord. Amen