4th Week of Lent, Wednesday, March 17
Isaiah 49:8-15 / John 5:17-30
Jesus speaks to the people; "I seek not my will but God's."
Hikers and mountain climbers sometimes experience incredible highs. A Swiss hiker describes such a high. It took place on the sixth day of a hike with a group of friends.All of a sudden, she had the feeling of being raised out of herself. She says: "I felt the presence of God… as if his goodness and power were penetrating me." The hiker was so overwhelmed that she let the others pass her up. Then she sat down. She said later: "My eyes overflowed with tears. I thanked God that in the course of my life he had taught me to know him. I begged him ardently that my life be consecrated to his will."
How ardently do we desire God's will? Jesus said, "Father not my will but yours be done." Luke 22:42
When Jesus is questioned and blamed for curing a paralyzed man on a Sabbath, Jesus says how he is like the Father. Yes, after the work of creation, God rested on the seventh day. But the work of redemption is going on, the Father and Jesus are always at work, even on a Sabbath. Both continue the work of liberation, comforting and loving, bringing abundant nourishment to the chosen people, raising up, all expressions of the work of salvation. God passionately declares that he is with us, that he cannot forget us, that he wants us to live in his love, that he is faithful to his covenant even if his chosen people are not. Jesus is the sign of God’s love. He is the source of life now among us. With Jesus, we have to seek the Father’s will.
One of the greatest problems facing the world today is a movement either to deny or ignore the divinity of Christ. There are some who would want to see Jesus as a great philosopher, or social reformer, or even as some kind of beloved beatnik. To be sure, Jesus has a human nature which creates great appeal for us: he graced the wedding banquet, blessed little children, ate and drank with sinners.
Jesus manifested his claim of divinity by attributing to himself two works in particular which are distinctively God's works:
First, Jesus gives life; he raises the dead to life. Secondly, he judges all people, and thereby grants them eternal life or sentences them to eternal condemnation, depending on whether they accept or reject him.
We accept Christ, we believe in his divinity. We should take this occasion to remind ourselves of what this belief entails. It is only by our faith in Christ that we can pass from death to eternal life. It is in Christ that we find God and in him alone. The divine life which God the Father has in himself he has given to us through the Son, by sending him into this world as life-giver and judge. To seek happiness in anyone or anything apart from Jesus is the worst of folly. In Jesus alone is our eternal salvation and our happiness.
In densely populated cities, it can be quite
difficult to be alone. There seems to be people everywhere. But as much as
we might be surrounded by people and not quite able to be alone, that doesn't
mean that we are not lonely. Even in the midst of being in a crowd, we can
feel lonely, especially when we are facing problems alone and there is no one
to come to our help, or that no one seems to know, or worse still, that no one
seems to care.
In this season of Lent, besides reflecting on our life and on how we have sinned and turned away from God, and hence this feeling of loneliness, we also must meditate on the sufferings of Jesus. Every Friday, there will be the devotion of the Stations of the Cross and it is there we reflect and meditate about that final journey of Jesus to Calvary and how He suffered along that way.
Indeed Jesus was alone in His suffering as He carried the Cross. But He wasn't overcome by loneliness despite His disciples deserting, denying and betraying Him. He knew that God His Father was with Him and He believed that till the end when He gave up His life on the Cross.
It is quite a contrast from the 1st reading when the people complained that the Lord has abandoned them and forgotten them. But God reiterated that He won't abandoned or forget His people, just like a mother will not forget her baby at the breast. Yes, God will not abandon or forget His people, and neither did he abandon or forget Jesus in His suffering. Neither will He also abandon or forget us in our loneliest moment.
Our God and Father, you keep seeking us out with love as passionate as a mother’s love, even when we have abandoned you. Give us hope and courage, especially when we feel uncertain. Reassure us that you want us to live in the security of your love and that you stay with us through your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen