Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Gospel: John 5:17-30
Today’s readings ask us to remember that our relationship with God has been revealed as a bond as close as that of a mother and her children (Isaiah), or a parent and child (John).
Since we are past the midway point in this season of Lent, our consideration of this close relationship with our God and creator could help us to prepare for the final weeks of Lent and the Liturgical celebration of the saving Sacrifice of Jesus prior to his Resurrection.
Because we chose to belong to the Body of Christ, affirming our Baptism, and nourishing our Christian life through the Sacraments, we are members of a relationship that not only includes the Trinity of God, but also the Body of Christ. Baptism, and the Sacraments that follow it, are the work of the Holy Spirit of God acting through the Church. By these Sacraments we renew and nourish our life in the hands of God.
Lent is traditionally a time of penance and sacrifice, fasting and almsgiving, but for those who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil this is a season of anticipation, thanksgiving and commitment. Those of us who have lived many years, if not a lifetime, of the Sacramental life of the Church, should join with our brothers and sisters by renewing our decision to live in the body of Christ, in the Church.
The words in Isaiah, then, can be our words:
"Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth,
break forth into song, you mountains.
For the LORD comforts his people
and shows mercy to his afflicted."
Even though our lives may have passed through periods of sadness, loss, or failure, and we have cried out even as Zion did:
"The LORD has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me."
Nevertheless, in the rhetorical question and its concluding affirmation…
"Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you"
…we hear God’s reassurance to each of us that no matter the course our lives take, no matter how much circumstances in life may make us feel abandoned by the loving providence of our God, God will never forget any one of us.
The New Testament, in today’s passage from John’s 5th Chapter, puts the stamp of the Christian Community’s faith in the affirmation Jesus makes that not only will the committed believer be delivered from ultimate condemnation, but has already passed from death to life.
"Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word
and believes in the one who sent me
has eternal life and will not come to condemnation,
but has passed from death to life."
Let us add this reflection to our Lenten devotions and prayers. Let us give thanks to God for the unbounded love and fidelity of God to each one of us who continue on our Lenten journey toward the Easter passage from death to life.
Fr. Arthur Carrillo, C.P., is the director of the Missions for Holy Cross Province. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.