The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Homily: Wednesday, 4th Week of Lent

Readings: Is 49:8-15; Ps 145; Jn 5:17-30

As the time of His passion and death approach, Jesus once more patiently tells His disciples, His critics, and us that He does all through God the Father, not through His humanity.

We can never fully understand Jesus’ relationship with the Father because it’s unlike any human relationship, even the most idealized. In our imperfect state we’re simply unable to grasp perfection.

But from this Divine Father-Son relationship comes a love so great that it extends to us all. Our Father loves us so much that He sent His beloved Son to take on our humanity, to offer Himself as a living sacrifice to redeem us from our own sinfulness. And the Son loves us and His Father so much that He does this willingly. He takes on all our sins, all our indignities, throughout all time. What kind of love is that? We sin, we fail, and He who made us pays the price.

And so today we encounter Jesus, fully aware of His approaching suffering and death, and yet loving even those who will condemn Him. He continues to explain the truth to those who reject it. He continues to hold out hope to all of us that the day of resurrection is coming. You see, brothers and sisters, Jesus isn’t just foretelling His resurrection, but ours as well. He tells us plainly that “the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” And He invites us to trust in the perfection of His relationship with His Father, and to join in that same relationship, at least to the extent allowed by our limited human capacity.

We’re really not all that different from those who were blind to the loving divine relationship. The Pharisees and others, driven by fear and jealousy, rejected Him and the Good News, accusing Jesus of blasphemy. They never looked inward, did they? They never asked, “What do I bring to others?” Indeed, what do you and I bring to others?

Do we really hear and accept the Good News Jesus offers us? Or do we only pretend to hear, remaining closed to the Word of God because sharing it demands that we have a changed heart? Ask Christ to touch your heart and bring you the gift of openness to His Word.

Never doubt God’s love, but recall the words we heard from Isaiah – “I will never forget you" – words intended to strike the heart, words that we all long to hear from those who love us.

And so today, let’s all just keep this simple truth in the forefront of our thoughts: God will never forget me.

I will go to Calvary in my prayer and pray:  "God will never forget me."

I will go to the Empty Tomb in my prayer and pray:  "God will never forget me."

I will bring my brokenness and worries, my problems and joys to God and pray: "God will never forget me."

And then, filled with God’s love, let me then ask, “Who is God asking me never to forget?"

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